Fantasy refers to constructs of the imagination; in storytelling fantasy generally refers to a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. It is is generally distinguished from science fiction by the expectation that scientific laws are not inherently assumed to be like those of reality, though the two genres can overlap and are both sub genres of speculative fiction.
- In “Unbearable Weight”, I describe the postmodern body, increasingly fed on “fantasies of rearranging, transforming, and correcting, limitless improvement and change, defying the historicity, the mortality, and indeed, the very materiality of the body. In place of that materiality, we now have cultural plastic.”
When I wrote these words, the most recent statistics, from 1989, listed 681,000 surgical procedures performed.
In 2001, 8.5 million procedures were performed.
They are cheaper than ever, safer than ever, and increasingly used, not for correcting major defects, but for “contouring” the face and body. Plastic surgeons seem to have no ethical problem with this. “I’m not here to play philosopher king,” says Dr. Randal Haworth in a “Vogue” interview; “I don’t have a problem with women who already look good and want to look perfect”. Perfect. When did “perfection” become applicable to a human body? The word suggest a Platonic form of timeless beauty-appropriate for marble, perhaps, but not for living flesh. We change, we age, we die. Learning to deal with this is part of the existential challenge-and richness-of mortal life. But nowadays, those who can afford to do so have traded the messiness and fragility of life, the vulnerability of intimacy, the comfort of human connection, for fantasies of limitless achievement, “triumphing” over everything that gets in the way, “going for the gold.” The Greeks called it hubris. We call it our “right” to be all that we can be.
- Susan Bordo, “Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body”, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2003 pp.xvi
- Fantasies are things that can't happen, and science fiction is about things that can happen.
- But films . . . it’s funny. People buy a ticket. That ticket is their transport to a fantasy which you create for them. Fantasyland, that’s all, and you make their fantasies live. Fantasies of love or hatred or whatever it is. People want their fantasies over and over. People who masturbate usually masturbate with, at the most, four or five fantasies. By and large. Most people like the same food and they like the same kind of music, they like the same kind of sexual fantasy for a period of time, then maybe it changes. As it is in children. Who is it? Bruce Lee. That’s the hero. Then you grow up and grow out of your Bruce Lee period, or your Picasso Blue Period, and go into another period.
“But with kids, because they outpower us, because they have no representation, because they are so dependent, all they think about is power. Dinosaurs or the Million Dollar Man, because they feel so helpless, because they have no way out of it, except fantasy. Because they are only that tall.
“And that’s all films are. Just an extension of childhood, where everybody wants to be freer, everybody wants to be powerful, everybody wants to be so overwhelmingly attractive that there’s just no doing anything about it. Or everybody wants to have comradeship and to be understood.
- Your true adult, with fully-developed mind can enjoy fantasy whole-heartedly if it's written in adult words and thought-forms, because, being absolutely confident of his own mental capacity, he doesn't have any sense of embarrassment at being caught reading "childish stuff"....And every human being likes fantasy fundamentally. All we need is fantasy expressed in truly adult forms. Every author who honestly and lovingly does that makes a name on it. Lord Dunsany, Washington Irving, Stephen Vincent Benét.
- A long time ago, in a conference room far, far away... it was ordained that sword-and-sorcery movies would be the Next Big Thing. Just imagine crossing the fantasy worlds of JRR Tolkien and George Lucas! Mythic reverberations! Megabucks! Didn't work.
- "There, Master Niketas," Baudolino said, "when I was not prey to the temptations of this world, I devoted my nights to imagining other worlds. ... There is nothing better than imagining other worlds," he said, "to forget the painful one we live in. At least so I thought then. I hadn't yet realized that, imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one."
- Umberto Eco, Baudolino (2000), p. 99.
- Thus, modern pleasure seeking according to Campbell is no longer related to the senses but to activities like daydreaming or fantasizing. The purpose of goods in this context is to act as props. They are the building blocs around which consumers create their pleasurable visions.
- Andreas B. Eisingerich, Gunjan Bhardwaj, Yoshio Miyamoto, Jackson Dykman, "Coming to live in a consumer society", (April 2010).
- Well, I really want to encourage a kind of fantasy, a kind of magic. I love the term magic realism, whoever invented it — I do actually like it because it says certain things. It's about expanding how you see the world. I think we live in an age where we're just hammered, hammered to think this is what the world is. Television's saying, everything's saying "That's the world." And it's not the world. The world is a million possible things.
- My fantasy since I was a small child was to dominate a dominating man. That turns me on more than anything, a man who does not want to be dominated—like Sean Connery, a really macho man. The kind of man who has no desire for submission. It’s truly perverse. It’s the power play: who has it, how long you have it for, and what you do with it.
- The Onion: How did your interest in fantasy first develop?
- Jean-Pierre Jeunet: Actually, it comes very naturally for me, because all day my mind drifts off into fantasies and little stupid jokes. For example, when Amelie looks out at the city and wonders how many people are screwing at that moment. I have those same kind of ridiculous questions all the time. [Holds up glass of water, points at the skyline.] Like now, how many people in this city are bringing a glass of water to their mouths? It's always been pretty easy for me to exercise my imagination. The other part of the brain, the one that does mathematics, is a nightmare for me. It doesn't work at all. When I was a kid, I used to escape from my family with my imagination, and I kept this spirit into my adult life. This doesn't always happen. All children have imagination, but for some it doesn't carry over.
- The Onion: How did you develop your particular visual style?
- Jean-Pierre Jeunet: Well, it came to me naturally, too. In literature, we think about and accept the fantastical style all the time, but in film, that's not always the case, especially in France. Sometimes they hate the style. They prefer ugly things, realistic movies. I love to play with everything: the sound, the costumes, the camera.
- "This sort of fiction, commonly called "sword and sorcery" by its fans, is not fantasy at its lowest, but it still has a pretty tacky feel; mostly it's the Hardy Boys dressed up in animal skins and rated R ( and with cover art by Jeff Jones, as likely as not). Sword and sorcery novels and stories are tales of power for the powerless. The fellow who is afraid of being rousted by those young punks who hang around his bus stop can go home at night and imagine himself wielding a sword, his potbelly miraculously gone, his slack muscles magically transmuted into those "iron thews" which have been sung and storied in the pulps for the last fifty years.
- It [fantasy literature] is accused of giving children a false impression of the world they live in. But I think no literature that children could read gives them less of a false impression. I think what profess to be realistic stories for children are far more likely to deceive them.
- C. S. Lewis, "On Three Ways of Writing for Children" (1952)
- Good fantasy, unlike other genres, is more resilient to the tests of time, mainly because the ceaseless march of technology leaves less of a mark.
- Maeda Toshio suggests that aside the theme of human selfishness, the hard-core rape and tentacle porn with which this manga and animation have become synonymous, are "Fantasy service [extras] for the male readers, men are hen-pecked by their wives and their are wages are increasingly equal to women's so they like the rape scenes as they restore their sense of power."
- Fantasies of any kind are distorted forms of thinking because they always involve twisting perception into unreality. Fantasy is a debased form of vision. Vision and revelation are closely related, while fantasy and projection are more closely associated because both attempt to control external reality according to false internal needs. Twist reality in any way, and you are perceiving destructively. Reality was lost through usurpation, which in turn produced tyranny... No fantasies are true. They are distortions of perception, by definition. They are a means of making false associations, and obtaining pleasure from them. Man can do this only because he is creative. But although he can perceive false associations, he can never make them real except to himself. Man believes in what he creates... [Eventually] fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent...
- Those who lack wisdom are children... Children do confuse fantasy and reality, and they are frightened because they do not know the difference. p. 132 What can be fearful but fantasy, and no-one turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality. Yet it is certain that he will never find satisfaction in fantasy, so that his only hope is to change his mind about reality... The impossible can happen only in fantasy. When you search for reality in fantasies you will not find it. The symbols of fantasy are of the ego, and of these you will find many. But do not look for meaning in them. They have no more meaning than the fantasies into which they are woven.
Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful... Children may believe them, and so, for a while, the tales are true for them. Yet when reality dawns the fantasies are gone. Reality has not gone in the meanwhile. The Second Coming is the awareness of reality, not its return... reality is here. It belongs to you and me... and is perfectly satisfying to all of us.
- Harmless erotic fantasies are terrific, it’s the lousy ones you have to look out for—the harmful, destructive, morbid erotic fixations—real sadism, killing, blood-letting, torturing where the pleasure is in the victim’s actual pain, etc. Those are 100 per cent bad and I won’t have any part of them.
- The Thousand and One Nights, with its magnificent apparatus of genii and afrits, is the greatest work of fantasy that has ever been evolved by tradition, and given literary form. But it, alas, is not English, and has no English equivalent. The Western world does not seem to have conceived the necessity of fairy-tales for grown-ups — though it has been suggested that the modern detective story is an equivalent — and that is perhaps why it condemns them to a life of unremitted toil.
- Herbert Read, English Prose Style (1928)
- John Bell: What attracted you initially to heroic fantasy, a subgenre of fantastic literature that was once notorious for its less-than-enlightened racial attitude?
- Charles R. Saunders: As a reader, I was attracted to the action, the mayhem, the exotic settings, and the sheet imaginary power of the genre. Also, I was fascinated by the kinship between heroic fantasy and the ancient myth-cycles that were the world's first literature. The legend of Beowulf, for example, could easily have been marketed today as heroic fantasy. As for the unenlightened racial attitudes, I must admit that when I first encountered the genre, in the early 1960s, I did not pay very much attention to the racial content of the stories I read. It was only when I became deeply absorbed in the study of African history and culture that I took a second look at the fantasy I had been reading, and at that point I began to seriously question the racial content of some of it.
- Fantasy is a distorted form of vision. Fantasies of any kind are distortions, because they always involve twisting perception into unreality. Actions that stem from distortions are literally the reactions of those who know not what they do. Fantasy is an attempt to control reality according to false needs. Twist reality in any way and you are perceiving destructively. Fantasies are a means of making false associations and attempting to obtain pleasure from them. But although you can perceive false associations, you can never make them real except to yourself. You believe in what you make. If you offer miracles, you will be equally strong in your belief in them. The strength of your conviction will then sustain the belief of the miracle receiver. Reality is "lost" through usurpation, which produces tyranny. As long as a single "slave" remains to walk the earth, your release is not complete.
- Helen Schucman in A Course in Miracles, p. 7 (1976)
- No fantasies are true. They are distortions of perception, by definition. They are a means of making false associations, and obtaining pleasure from them. Man can do this only because he is creative. But although he can perceive false associations, he can never make them real except to himself. Man believes in what he creates... [Eventually] fantasies become totally unnecessary as the wholly satisfying nature of reality becomes apparent...
- Helen Schucman in A Course in Miracles, p. 19 (1976)
- Children do confuse fantasy and reality, and they are frightened because they do not know the difference. p. 132
- What can be fearful but fantasy, and no-one turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality. Yet it is certain that he will never find satisfaction in fantasy, so that his only hope is to change his mind about reality... The impossible can happen only in fantasy. When you search for reality in fantasies you will not find it. The symbols of fantasy are of the ego, and of these you will find many. But do not look for meaning in them. They have no more meaning than the fantasies into which they are woven. Fairy tales can be pleasant or fearful... Children may believe them, and so, for a while, the tales are true for them. Yet when reality dawns the fantasies are gone. Reality has not gone in the meanwhile. The Second Coming is the awareness of reality, not its return... reality is here. It belongs to you and me... and is perfectly satisfying to all of us. p. 209-210
- It is said that science fiction and fantasy are two different things. Science fiction is the improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable.
- Fantasy literature, in its broadest definition from "Cinderella" to "Beowulf" to Stephen Donaldson, is literature which makes deliberate use of something known to be impossible.
- Tom Shippey, in "Introduction" to The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories (1994).
- Fantasy is a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most potent.
- 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.
- I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used. Why should a man be scorned if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it.
- The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
- Lionel Trilling, in The Liberal Imagination (1950).
- The "hard" science-fiction writers are the ones who try to write specific stories about all that technology may do for us. More and more, these writers felt an opaque wall across the future. Once, they could put such fantasies millions of years in the future. Now they saw that their most diligent extrapolations resulted in the unknowable … soon.
- Vernor Vinge, "The Coming Technological Singularity" (1993).
- It is easy to imagine fantasy as physical and myth as real. We do it almost every moment. We do this as we dream, as we think, and as we cope with the world about us. But these worlds of fantasy that we form into the solid things around us are the source of our discontent. They inspire our search to find ourselves.
- Evan Harris Walker, in The Physics of Consciousness : The Quantum Mind and the Meaning of Life (2000).
- Our writers, I believe, discern a resemblance between the world and their books. Through fantasy, they are saying something about life which could not be said within the naturalistic frame of reference.
- Edward Wagenknecht, ""The Little Prince Rides the White Deer: Fantasy and Symbolism in Recent Literature", College English, (May 1946).
- In 1977, Klaus Theweleit published a book in which he sought to understand the germination of fascism in interwar Germany. His method was to study the fantasy life of that era’s conservative revolutionaries, by reading the diaries, novels and letters of the men who joined the Freikorps militias, and fought against insurgent communists during the early days of the Weimar Republic.
- Jason Wilson, "What do incels, fascists and terrorists have in common? Violent misogyny", The Guardian, (4, May 2018).
- In the fantasies they committed to paper, the men associated the women they despised with floods of liquid and slime, and with dirt – substances that would threaten to overwhelm the defences of their ill-formed psyches.
- Jason Wilson, "What do incels, fascists and terrorists have in common? Violent misogyny", The Guardian, (4, May 2018).