Fantasy and Reason in Writing

The Death You DeserveMy younger brother, Jonathan, recently wrote a novel called The Death You Deserve, and it is continuing to receive very positive reviews and ratings both on Amazon.com and Goodreads.  It is available on Amazon.com, and if you like medieval style fantasy mixed with gritty realism, I encourage you to check it out.

I am writing a novel as well, and am pleased with how it has worked out, so far.  My story is set approximately 40,000 years in the future, and is a science fiction and fantasy type story.  The current title is “Tuin.”

The vocation of a novelist is first and foremost to entertain, so I hope to complete a fun and adventurous story with well drawn characters.  But I also hope to reflect the truth of the world from a Confessional Lutheran Christian perspective.  God willing the completed work will be reasonably okay.

J.R.R. Tolkien said that creative fantasy was derivative in the sense that we take real things that we know and rearrange them, and that the clearer the reason, the better the fantasy.  We were created in the image of a Creator, so we create with what we have been given.

Said Tolkien, “Fantasy is a natural human activity.  It certainly does not destroy or even insult Reason; and it does not either blunt the appetite for, nor obscure the perception of, scientific verity.  On the contrary.  The keener and the clearer is the reason, the better fantasy will it make.”  (54).†

“For creative Fantasy is founded upon the hard recognition that things are so in the world as it appears under the sun; on a recognition of fact, but not a slavery to it.”  (55).†

In defense of myth and fairy stories Tolkien wrote:

“Dear Sir,” I said — “Although now long estranged,
Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Dis-graced he may be, yet is not de-throned,
and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned:
Man, Sub-creator, the refracted Light
through whom is splintered from a single White
to many hues, and endlessly combined
in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Though all the crannies of the world we filled
with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
and sowed the seed of dragons — ’twas our right
(used or misused).  That right has not decayed:
we make still by the law in which we’re made.”

— page 54.†

“Fantasy remains a human right: we make in our measure and in our derivative mode, because we are made: and not only made, but made in the image and likeness of a Maker.”  (55).†


“Leaf by Niggle” is a short story  that I recommend all artists to read.  It can be found at the end of J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, Tree and Leaf.


†  J.R.R. Tolkien, Tree and Leaf, First American Edition, 1965 A.D., page numbers cited above.

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