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Author Mark Chadbourn explains the enduring appeal of fantasy fiction:

I don’t write fantasy fiction simply to provide a trap-door from reality. For me, the genre is as much about the world around us as EastEnders [or CSI, Desperate Housewives, or The West Wing, for those who don’t watch UK TV].

But instead of coming slap-bang up against it, fantasy charts the unconscious hopes and aspirations of our modern society through symbolism and allegory in story-forms as old as humanity.

It’s about turning off the mobile phone and the computer and remembering who we are in the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves.

Of course, he’s not the first to talk about this. Tolkein said some of the same things in “On Fairy-Stories,” and C.S. Lewis’s explored the territory in “Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What’s To Be Said.” The two essays, and the two writers’ fantasy writings, are compared and contrasted effectively by David C. Downing in “Sub-Creation or Smuggled Theology: Tolkien contra Lewis on Christian Fantasy.”

Time to re-read The Lord of the Rings or Till We Have Faces?

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