Now, I admit that I have something of a love-hate relationship with fantasy, but this thought just struck me when I read about an aspiring authors high fantasy plot: Isn’t it peculiar that so many fantasy writers tend to create worlds where everything is, from their own political point of view, alright? Worlds where the good usually wins in the end; worlds where men and women are equal; where homosexuality is perfectly normal; where the colour of your skin is irrelevant. Granted, there are other issues with these worlds: tyrants, evil supernatural entities, monsters and so on, but socially they seem to be ordered just like the writer would like our world to be organized. And since the good guys usually wins in the end … well, it all turns out alright.
Fantasy is sometimes accused of being nothing more than escapism, and when I read about worlds constructed this way I can’t stop myself from agreeing. Instead of using fantasy to put a light on real issues (such as sexism, homophobia, racism and so on) some writers choose to simply ignore them and behave as if they are not real. The logic seems to be: If I write a book where the colour of someones skin doesn’t matter, then I will add to the normalization process, that is: help build a better world, where skincolour actually is irrelevant. Maybe it works that way, I’m not convinced.
In my eyes racism is a very real problem and fantasy (like any other art) should deal with it, not ignore it. The books should be about racism, sexism and homophobia, not about worlds where these things don’t exist. Just a thought.