When asked what my go-to genre was back in college, I always chose non-fiction. I felt comfortable with writing grounded real-life stories and essays. But as a reader, without a doubt, my favorite will always be speculative fiction, particularly fantasy.
For as long as we can remember, humans have been telling stories.
From troglodytes telling tales by the fire to an audience of fellow tribe members, or even today when people share photos and videos on social media—stories are everywhere.
Storytelling is such a common practice that many different types of stories exist.
Fantasy is one of the most popular genres among readers worldwide. But why do so many people love fantasy stories?
What makes them so appealing?
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this genre stands out among others.
Escapism is key
The fact that people want to escape their current lives and transport to a completely different setting is a testament to the desire for escapism.
Fantasy allows readers to explore a brand-new world, meet exciting characters, and discover new cultures.
For this reason, fantasy is one of the most popular genres in multiple media formats.
Readers can experience something entirely new without having to leave the comfort of their homes—or without putting themselves in any real danger.
Elves, magic, and dragons… oh my!
Another reason that so many people love fantasy is that it’s a genre that allows for creativity.
Readers can explore a world with endless possibilities and no limitations. While fantasy is often associated with magical creatures, it also allows humans to have supernatural powers.
Fantasy writers take full advantage of their creativity and create whatever they like. Fantasy allows writers to explore various elements, including elves and dwarves, talking animals, and magic spells.
It also allows writers to create unique creatures, like dragons, goblins, and imps, that don’t exist in our world—and may never have existed.
Readers love the chance to explore these new creatures and settings they’ve never seen before.
Fantasy can engage your imagination.
A good story engages the reader. It lets them imagine living inside the story, experiencing whatever the characters are experiencing.
Fantasy stories, especially fantasy novels, excel at this. They put readers directly into the action and let them explore a new world alongside the characters.
Reading or watching fantasy can have a therapeutic effect on readers, helping them escape the realities of their everyday lives and transporting them to new, more exciting places.
It can also help readers explore new emotions and feelings and develop new skills and strengths by immersing themselves in different characters. Fantasy novels often feature a cast of characters who are much different from the readers.
Fantasy helps readers gain a new perspective on the world around them and see different types of people, leading them to empathize with people they might not have before.
An opportunity to showcase diversity and inclusion
Fantasy is a genre that allows writers to explore a wide variety of cultures, settings, and characters.
Writers can showcase and celebrate diversity and inclusion by featuring characters of different races, religions, sexual orientations, and abilities.
Fantasy stories often let writers explore worlds vastly different from ours, allowing them to create unique cultures and societies. This opportunity to showcase and celebrate differences is one of the reasons that fantasy stories are so popular.
Readers love the chance to explore new cultures and characters that are unlike themselves. They also love the opportunity to see themselves and their cultures represented in the stories, often finding this experience even more meaningful.
A chance to see different perspectives and promote empathy
Another great reason to explore fantasy is that it lets writers explore different perspectives and promote empathy.
Readers can explore different cultures and societies, allowing them to understand other people and their ways of life. Fantasy stories often feature characters that are different from the reader, offering readers a chance to see the world from new perspectives.
This experience can be precious in helping readers better to understand other people, cultures, and viewpoints.
It can also help readers develop empathy, leading them to care more about others and work to make the world a better place.
Fantasy can help readers explore new societies and cultures, giving them a chance to see how other people live their lives, what they believe in, and what their hopes and dreams are.
Fantasy is the perfect genre for readers who want to escape their everyday lives, explore new places and cultures, and experience something new.
It lets writers explore different cultures and characters, showcasing and celebrating differences. This genre also offers readers a chance to explore different perspectives and promote empathy, helping them to understand other people and viewpoints and develop new skills and strengths.
If you love fantasy, there are plenty of stories to enjoy: in books, comics, TV, and more!