Anchor Staff Writer
From tales of elven warriors and brutish creatures to the elegant faerie, it seems the fantasy genre has grown to dominate home libraries across the globe. A recent rise in popularity has encouraged many fantasy books to crush the competition, promptly enchanting their way into the heart of the common reader. Will this new surge in occult fiction remain a mystery or might it be unveiled?
Fantasy is not a new genre, and has persisted as a fan-favorite for almost 200 years. There is much debate about which author should be credited with writing the first solely fantasy novel, but many have settled on English writer John Ruskin. His book, “The King of the Golden River,” was published in 1841. The book expresses a balance between magic and morality when three brothers are faced with wilting and infertile land. It’s the youngest brother, Gluck, who eventually saves the valley via his kind heart and generosity rather than utilizing the magic that others, namely his brothers, take advantage of. Ruskin’s story quickly grew to become a beacon within 1840s London as many struggled with famine and illness. The uplifting narrative of a man sharing his wealth and kindness alongside the otherworldly properties of the story combatted the darkness that plagued London, bringing some joy to those who needed it most.
The resurgence of the fantasy genre began promptly in 2020, when the world saw similar hardship. Caught in the throws of the pandemic, book-lovers sought an escape from the tragedies occurring and turned to the world of fantasy. From 2020 to 2021, the fantasy genre experienced a 45.3% jump in sales before cementing itself as the eighth best selling genre on Amazon. In a time where staying inside was the norm and the world seemed to be ending, fantasy books were a savior for many as they supplied unique universes for readers to find comfort in.
This is the freedom of fantasy. Writers experience no limitations when crafting mystical universes filled with dragons, wizards and warlocks. They can build worlds infested with bewitching beasts and ruled by magic without fear of being told what is right or wrong. The appeal of fantasy is the lack of these limits that are utilized to create something completely detached from reality; and whether intentionally or not, create safe spaces for those who might be drowning under the weight of the existing world.
Fantasy is an acquired taste, but the limitless creativity that it allows creates for a vast variety of stories to choose from. Modern fantasy authors are continuously creating new works for readers to enjoy, almost ensuring that you too will find a new world to get lost in.