Why do people read fantasy–or science fiction, romance, Westerns, or what have you?
For escape, of course.
Now the whole idea of escape is to go to a better place, from a worse. People don’t tunnel into prison camps. So the fantasy reader has always the desire to seek a better world, an imaginary world, and escape into it, if only for as long as it takes to read the book.
How are we able to imagine a world that seems better to us than the one we live in? If you imagine yourself in Tolkien‘s Middle-Earth, for instance, you have monsters and dragons to deal with, not to mention a terrible Dark Lord. But you don’t have politicians’ lies to listen to, enormous taxes sucked out of your paycheck, race hustlers, militant sodomy, squawking idiot liberal churchmen, or natural beauty spots torn down to make way for “smart growth.” You don’t have any of that. So you escape to Middle-Earth for a few hours and are all the better for it.
Because the God who made us built into us an unfailing desire for something better.
Our worldly leaders, from Mao Tse-tung to Eliot “Love Client No. 9” Spitzer, are great fantasists. They promise us a better world, but can’t deliver. Our Science with one hand gives us air conditioning and youtube, but with the other gives us nerve gas and Darwinism. Our worldly philosophers give us what can only be described as dreck.
God gives us salvation and a promise to regenerate His whole creation, but many of us don’t seem very interested in that.
Tolkien said that Christianity is the one myth that is true. We should be hearing that from our theologians and our pastors, but in all too many cases, we don’t.
Never mind. We’ve got the Bible, and it tells us the truth. That’s where the thirsting fantasy writer found the water of life–because that’s where it is.