The Flavour and Ambience of Reality

I thought, just for the hell of it, I’d give an insight into one of my own little passions when it comes to fantastical writing.

Some might regard me, on this website, as a bit of an impostor – and not unreasonably.

I’m not a fantasy writer.

I’m a crime writer, and a historical fiction writer, and a science fiction writer BUT…there is an aspect of surreality – the flavour and ambience of fantasy – in everything I do. And what I have to say about my work, I suspect, could apply to just about anyone here.

To refer only to my sci-fi material – I always start with the here and now.

I like sci-fi (or fantasy for that matter) that starts out squarely in the ordinary present day, and traverses slowly into the extraordinary. To my mind, this makes the sci-fi / fantasy seem so much more real when it comes and that’s what I find truly satisfying.

Of course I can enjoy totally far out fantasy or sci-fi – but what I produce myself must have the flavour and ambience of reality.

Discuss.
 

Svrtnsse

Staff
Article Team
I'm fully with you on this.

The way I see it, the fantastic becomes both more real, and more fantastic, when it's anchored in a solid foundation of the mundane. It creates a contrast between the familiar and the outlandish, which makes it easier to show just how amazing the fantasy aspects of the story really are.
 

Yora

Maester
Being asked to accept that magic exist on planet Earth is something that never works for me.

I am a huge fantasy fan, but for a fantasy world to feel in any way believable, it has to be its own thing and not a hidden place in our world, or reachable through a magic portal or something.
 

Ban

Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
I like sci-fi (or fantasy for that matter) that starts out squarely in the ordinary present day, and traverses slowly into the extraordinary. To my mind, this makes the sci-fi / fantasy seem so much more real when it comes and that’s what I find truly satisfying.

Instead of writing and reading outright fantasy, you might enjoy delving into magical realism. That is to say if you haven't already, seeing as that genre is pretty much word for word what you describe.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
Well, I write alternate history fantasy, so I start not with here and now but there and then which, I would argue, is very much what SF writers do. Their "there and then" is in the future while mine's in the past, but it's analogous. I'd also argue that many (not all!) SF writers posit a normal situation which they then alter. That normal situation might be far in the future and far different from our own, but it's normal for the characters in the story. The author then changes (or blows up!) that normal and that's the story.

Even when starting with "today" there are many realities to choose from. Or, better, many settings to choose from. I don't, for example, see many SF or fantasy tales that take place in third-world slums or in the depths of a jungle in a small village. Most have an urban setting and draw on middle class settings (the innumerable monsters-in-the-suburbs tales) or upper class, among the powerful (aliens have captured the president!). I agree there are many opportunities for tale-telling to be found in the here and now.

For me, in many ways 15th century Germany is more real than much of here-and-now. I've lived more in today, but I haven't studied it the way I have the past. Write what you know (and make up the rest <g>).
 
Being asked to accept that magic exist on planet Earth is something that never works for me.

I am a huge fantasy fan, but for a fantasy world to feel in any way believable, it has to be its own thing and not a hidden place in our world, or reachable through a magic portal or something.
As a very science minded (and atheistic) person, my inclination is 99% to agree with you.

However, I never entirely discount the preternatural or even the magical possibilities of existence - we maybe don't see some things because we don't have the sensory tools; or maybe there are things we do see but don't appreciate their significance.

That last 1% makes all the difference when it comes to story telling.
 

Justin

Acolyte
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O was an absolute treasure in regard to this concept or spin thereof, it grounds the disappearance of 'magic' in science and then the recreation of it therein again. I don't want to get to much in the details but of the novels I've seen roundabout this theme, it was one of the most absolutely fun grounded in realism scientifically/magic interweaves that I've ever seen.

But, for me this falls more into what mood am in category. .
 
Well, I'm possibly the only person here who doesn't write fantasy, or aspire to write fantasy.

Mind you, this is one of the better writer's forums I've found.
 

Ban

Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
Well, I'm possibly the only person here who doesn't write fantasy, or aspire to write fantasy.

Nope I'm afraid you're not. I haven't written in fantasy for years and the lovely folks here have not kicked me out, and even allow me to write articles for them. You fit right in ;)
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
For completely unrelated reasons I’ve made several attempts to ban Ban but every time that name creates a weird circular coding error that crashes my internet. One of these days...
 
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