From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

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Essays

Nonfiction

How to Steal a Million Dollars Dragons

Most of us identify as lawful/neutral good, aspiring to the ideals of truth and justice and equity. Why is it, then, that heists and cons are so compelling in fiction? Why cheer for the robbers, the con artists, the swindlers . . . when they go against everything we believe in? Other than the fact […]

Nonfiction

The Fiction of Peace, the Fantasy of War

As an American millennial, my country has been legally at war for more than half of my life. As a Black person in the United States, and as someone aware of the displacement and genocide of indigenous Americans, I would say the country has been at war with itself since its beginning. War seems as ubiquitous in fantasy novels as it does in the real world.

Nonfiction

The Validity of Escapism

I was a lonely kid. As a nerdy, quiet child with big glasses and braces, I was at the bottom of the social pecking order. Books—fantasy books in particular—were my escape. I gravitated toward stories where the underdog gets what they want through sheer determination or discovers they have magical powers, or both.

Nonfiction

All the King’s Women: The Sewer Clown Tragedy of Beverly Marsh

Walking out of the theater after seeing IT part one in 2017, there was only one person I wanted to talk to. Best-selling and Hugo-winning author Seanan McGuire is one of the only humans I’ve ever met who loves Stephen King like I do. When I got to Twitter, she was already yelling. And she was joined by best-seller and Hugo winner Catherynne M. Valente, who is on the same level as Seanan and me when it comes to these books.

Nonfiction

Still We Write

For me, writing is not an easy thing. Of course, there are days when everything flows perfectly, when the words dance out of me like they were always meant to exist and all I have to do is let them flow. But those days are far outnumbered by the ones when the blank page mocks […]

Nonfiction

Give Us Back Our Fucking Gods

Creation myths are the stuff of old, intuitive science. They are the stories that attempt to explain the source of the universe and the very beginnings of life. Creation myths are not synonymous with folktales, animal stories, or playful allegories that instill morals and values. They are, ultimately, our embellished truths—complete with fucking gods, incest, […]

Nonfiction

Learning to Dream in Color

I didn’t grow up dreaming in color. I dreamed in white. Not my literal dreams, the thoughts that flickered within my mind’s eye while I dozed. In those dreams I was a frizzy-haired black girl with unkempt hair and an overbite, same as I was in my daily life. Those nightly dreams were cast in […]

Nonfiction

The Sleepover Manifesto

We know that queers need fantasies. We believe that queers specifically need fantasies of the future to sustain us moving forward. We need utopian dreams of worlds that could be, because, as Jose Muñoz argued, without fantasies we cede the not-yet-here to the imperatives of reproductive futurism. We argue that we need fantasies not just of the future, but of the past.

Nonfiction

Language and Imaginative Resistance in Epic Fantasy

Our view of the world, and reality, is a constructed one. Our brains—in their unending quest to be more efficient—often pull on early images and memories to construct our view of the real world. After all, what other information do we have to achieve this but those early stories about how the world is, how it works?

Nonfiction

The Princess and the Witch

Once upon a time, there was a woman who told stories. Stories of witches and of princesses and of choosing true love. Stories that began once upon a time, and ended in happily ever after. You think you know what these stories are, and oh, perhaps you do. But until this woman, until Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, the stories were not yet called what they are now. But she wrote these stories, and she gave them their name—contes des fées. Fairy tales.