This often scoffed-at genre has more potential to change hearts and minds than you may think.

The sun cast itself through the living room window as I passed by, having just emerged from the bedroom isolation that made up the majority of my high school summer vacation. My brother sat on the couch, changing the channel as the latest football highlights reel switched to commercial. “Who cares about fantasy novels?” He said to another sibling. “They’re not even real.”

This pulled me out of my obliviousness. As an avid fantasy reader, this opinion had not only never occurred to me, it shocked me. I stopped, but I had no answer.

Soon after, I’d enter college, where I would often hear professors scoff at the fantasy genre. Is it really so immature? I’d wonder.

After graduation, as mainstream interest in fantasy soared, so jokes and memes continued to appear making fun of young people (who admittedly tend to veer left on the political spectrum) who take an interest in the fantasy genre. It’s an escape from reality, isn’t it? These people can’t handle the real world, so they’re looking for a distraction. They don’t want to work hard, so they seek entertainment.


For some, it may be just that: entertainment for the senses. Some fantasy, certainly, exists only to provide a brief escape. Take that for what it is. Fantasy can be much more.

The younger generation’s attempt to escape into fantasy cannot be reduced to that, however. It belies a generation that is desperately trying to right itself. Those who would seek to destroy Western Civilization are deliberately obfuscating what it means to be human. The senses are all that matters. Evil is good, and good is evil. Everything that Man has created is actually ugly – worthless at best, oppressive at worst. Deny your eyes, deny your conscience, deny your heart.

If this is reality (which to them, it is), then to seek escape is to seek something beautiful. This is good! It presents an opportunity to those still loyal to Truth to present Truth in disguise, as Beauty, and orient these lost young people back toward the Good.

The fantasy genre provides an antidote. Ideal fantasy takes something from the material world and changes it, always leaving human nature the same. This change to the material world should act like a colored lens, washing away the incidentals of life, in order to make something of the human heart evident. Without the obfuscating trappings of modern society – and the conditioned beliefs surrounding them – the human heart can be put on proper display. Under the veil of narrative, a story can make that beauty so apparent to the reader that he falls in love with it, despite his conditioning.

This ideal is what has made Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings into an enduring classic that has remained (relatively!) immune to the subversives. Tolkien’s supreme awareness of the beauty of Man – and the beauty to which it points – shines through his work. It captivates hearts. It turns them toward the Good.

No, this is not seduction or illusion. It’s not merely a play on the senses to distract from reality. The reader knows he is suspending his disbelief for this modified world the author has created. The deeper substance of the author’s work is the beauty of Man, the innate goodness of Man, however buried under depravity it might seem. The Good and the Beautiful – of which Man is an image – is also Truth itself. Anything properly beautiful will also be logically consistent. This is something the wanna-be destroyers of the West may mimic but cannot replicate. This is what you as a fantasy writer can create. It’s what even the most foolish crave and only the obstinate can deny.

You should not seek to change minds, only to prod hearts. Many have been conditioned to repel Truth the second they recognize it under a familiar form. To expose it too much by trying to change minds, like an activist, would produce the same reaction that one would get by exposing a beautiful woman: your reader will avert his eyes. No, Beauty must be veiled. Narrative, and especially fantasy narrative, is the perfect material for doing so.

First, your goal—not just as a fantasy writer but as a human being—should be to produce in yourself a supreme awareness of Beauty and a love of human nature as it was created to be. You must immerse yourself in Beauty. Ponder it, seek it out, feed on it at every opportunity. Only someone who is intimate with Beauty can veil it properly and still write about it.

Then, aim to orient your readers toward that Beauty with joy. Some of your readers may only be turned a single degree back toward the Beauty for which they were made, but every degree will be that by which our communities are made better.

Do not underestimate the potential of fantasy.

Fight our destroyers. Create beautiful stories.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t point to my own series, being re-released by a new publisher later this summer. But let me be serious and point at Terry Goodkind. In his Sword of Truth series, one of the mid-way-through-the-series books has Richard Rahl stuck in an area where the people are captive to an evil ruler…the bad guys hate the idea that humans can do or be “good” or can have anything worthy about them. When Richard carves a statue of a man that is stunningly perfect and wonderful, it reminds his fellow humans that there is beauty in humans and in art and in their labor, etc. It’s a wonderful moment. And then Richard destroys the statue with one hit of the hammer. It’s crushing on a number of levels. But it wakes the crowd.
I look forward to our society emulating such things as we find in good fantasy. You’re right that we have to be sneaky about it. Sneaking in a message of hope amid all the howling noise out there today? Not easy. But it’s doable.

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