Aren’t you just the littlest bit curious about what lurks in your unconscious? Dark secrets, fragile dreams, absurd self-portraits,...
Fantasy stories let the unconscious out to play; that’s why they’ve been popular since humans sat around campfires and told stories with shadow puppets on cave walls.
We know we can’t explain everything in the world. We can’t even explain our own actions and secrets of the mind. But with fantasy, we can explore and celebrate the mysteries. We can tell each other great truths by cloaking them in fantastical garb.
I’ve mentioned before my love for Terry Pratchett’s satirical fantasies, but I’m talking now about something less tangible than explicit social commentary. I’m talking about aspects of our unconscious playing out in the stories we share.
Maybe I’m wrong: I’m no psychologist. I’m simply a writer intrigued by the perils and monsters each generation imagines, the fads that rise and fall in fantasy media (books, movies, games), and how these changes might reflect and shape wider social and personal concerns.
Are vampires our fascination with destructive relationships? Cinderella our martyr complex? Superman our powerlessness? More positively, is steampunk active nostalgia, the belief that once (and maybe again) all things were possible? Shifters our capacity to re-engage with the natural world, draw strength from it and renew it? Is magic wish fulfilment, and the twist in its tail, our acceptance that choices have consequences?