Who Needs Reality?

Life is too short to waste it all on reality and we don’t! Daydreams and fantasy play an important part in our lives as children and as adults in our imagination and through novels fantasy and films. And what we imagine in our daydreams very often materializes in the future. It is our unique trait as a species that we dream of things that don’t yet exist and then turn them into reality. And then the new reality encourages new daydreams because reality becomes humdrum and tiresome and we need some means of escaping from it at least for a time.

Fantasy novels for adults, many of which are just as suitable and entertaining for children, make up a large part of every year’s literary fare. Whether or not they resemble it in any way, publishers like to compare these new novels to The Lord of the Rings, which is one of the most popular novels of the genre and which has been the subject of several cartoon and movie versions aimed both at children and adults. Imaginative characters from classic works of fantasy from the past - elves, dwarfs, fairies, trolls and dragons are very popular inhabitants of these new books.

Then there are the fantasy novels for adults which nowadays often spring from the imagination of what the world might look like and what life might be like after the collapse of our self-evidently unsustainable modern world. No need for trolls and fairies in these fantasies, though zombies and vampires created by plague and mutation are very popular right now. Very unusual and perhaps unique in this re-imagining of a new civilization is Gahan Hanmer’s The Kingdom on the Edge of Reality, a novel suited both to children and adults, which doesn’t employ any make-believe creatures but which plays reality off against reality until we wonder whether we can tell the difference.