Welcome Kelly A Harmon!!

Kelly is here to talk about her love of fantasy novels right across the board, and how fantasy encompasses so much more now than Tolkien...

The Appeal of the Fantasy Genre

I like to read fantasy for the escapism. I enjoy being transported to a different time period or a different world each time I open a book. There’s something appealing to me about the possibility of magic and the likelihood of meeting some fantastic creature, like a dragon or satyr, between the pages of a good book. Fantasy is bedtime stories for adults...
And why shouldn’t we have our bedtime stories?
We grow up believing in fairy tales. We make wishes on stars and birthday candles. We wait for the tooth fairy to show up. It’s not until we’re older that we realize the truth.

It’s for this reason I think that fantasy is on the rise, and science fiction is on the wane. Science fiction used to be fantastic fiction. In its infancy, it was about rocket ships and men from Mars, and later on became psychological. Always, it was about computers and gadgets. Except for the men from Mars, these things are common place these days. Where’s the fun in that?

I’m exaggerating, of course. But there’s a grain of truth there, I’m certain.

Mark Chadbourn writes, “The more rational the world gets, with super-science all around us, the more we demand the irrational in our fiction.”

What’s nice about fantasy is that “irrational” bit isn’t “one size fits all.”

These fantastic tales may have started with Lord Dunsany and proceeded to Tolkien and Terry Brooks, but fantasy has grown so far outside those boundaries of dwarfs and dragons and swords that even its sub-genres have sub-genres. And what this means is there is a slice of fantasy out there that appeals to just about anyone.

If dwarves don’t rock your world, maybe steam punk will, ala Alan Campbell’s Deepgate Codex where the world is built on chains suspended over a tremendous chasm, and angels fight for supremacy.

A lot of people enjoy their fantasy set in modern times and modern places, like Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series about the witch, Rachel Morgan. Her stories take place in an alternate “now” in Cincinnati where witches cast spells with visual results, vampires run casinos and pixies winter over inside rather than hibernate.

Fantasy is so appealing that even the romance are publishers jumping on the bandwagon, with great success, as readers of fantasy try new authors, and romance writers, such as Mary Jo Putney, known for her fabulous historical romances, delve into the fantastical, albeit while continuing to write romance. Paranormal romance, with were-cat, wolf, whatever and vampire heros, is a hot market.

Fantasy has even crossed over to literary (much to the horror of more than a few literary authors, I’m certain) with stories such as Susanna Clark’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norvell.

At the heart of it, fantasy is still about escaping. It’s about ignoring Facebook and email and turning off the cell phone. It’s about exploring new ideas (or old ones) and maybe discovering a little about yourself.

Young adult author T.A. Barron says, "Fantasy opens the door to experiencing the magic that is in the world around us and more importantly the magic in ourselves. As a genre, fantasy is about moving from our world into the world of experiences beyond. By tapping into those experiences we come to know more about ourselves."

Here is the blurb for Kelly's latest short story, Blood Soup. To find out more go to www.eternalpress.biz
A tale of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

King Theodicar of Borgund needed an heir. When his wife, Queen Piacenza, became pregnant, he’d hoped for a boy. His wife, along with her nurse, Salvagia, knew it wouldn’t be so: with each cast of the runes, Salvagia’s trusted divination tools yielded the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women were convinced that the child would be a girl.

When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised. The king is faced with a terrible choice, and his decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

Thanks for being here today, Kelly - I can't wait to hear from my readers and yours alike!


  1. Hi Rachel!

    Thanks for having me here today, and letting me talk about fantasy! I look forward to the conversation.

  2. Hi Kelly and Rachel,

    Nice post, ladies.

    I am a fan of both science fiction and fantasy at times. It all depends on the exact subject matter.

  3. Hi Debra! I'm glad you liked the post.

    I like science fiction, too. And you're right: subject matter is important. I'm also a huge fan of characters. The plot can be fantastic, juicy and original, but if the characters are dull, I won't finish the book.