Swancon 16 – Progress Report 3 – Page 3 – “Fantasy and the Real Worlds: A Visitor’s Guide”

Transcribed by Elaine Walker. This is the top half of page 3 of Progress Report 3. All typos reproduced as faithfully as possible.

“Fantasy and the Real Worlds: A Visitor’s Guide.”

“Halflings!” laughed the rider that stood beside Eomer. “Halflings! But they are only a little people in old songs and children’s tales out of the North. Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?”

“A man may do both,” said Aragorn. “For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!”

J.R.R. Tolkien The Two Towers

All fiction is fantasy. The events described in Song of Kali or Wizard of the Pigeons are no less possible (but possibly less escapist) than those in, say, the latest Sidney Sheldon novel, and the elves of Faerie Tale are much easier to believe in than the human characters (or those of the average TV commercial or porno movie). My favourite fantasy stories are those which show how strange, magical, and interesting the real worlds could be if we paid a little more attention.

Real worlds? Why not real world?

If you think that we live in the same “real world”, listen to an ecologist arguing with an economist sometime. Or imagine the different “real worlds” inhabited by a novelist with leprosy, a Seattle street person, a fiftyish cei li violinist, a civilian war nurse, and a Californian computer programmer. Or the “real world” of an Oxford professor of Medieval Literature during World War II – a “real world” as much like Bilbo Baggins’s as it is like ours (in which the green earth is widely seen as a too-expensive luxury, and daylight is becoming increasingly hazardous).

“Real world” fantasy can offer you the best of all the worlds. And so, we hope, can Swancon 16.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *