Lots of real-life stuff, not much blogging time, but I thought I'd file a follow-up to my post from the other day about the dangers of imagination and fantasy being a one-way street. (This was originally written during my lunchbreak at a conference I was attending for work, so my apologies if it seems a bit scattery.)
It struck me on re-reading the essay that I really didn't want to construct an argument in favor of people who flip up their noses at the likes of Harry Potter and feel all the better for themselves for having done so. Not my argument at all: I have nothing but pity for the Harold Blooms of the world, who see some things as being so far beneath them they can't even be bothered to lift the lid.
So if I have an argument against the use and abuse of the imagination (now there's a title for you), it's because I don't want to see something so powerful used for something so ignoble. We need to have getaways, counterfactuals, what-ifs, and we need them in the substance of the lives we live every single day. Most of what happens in your average SF story isn't possible, or even plausible, but the point is not how likely it is to happen; the point is to be open to what we would do if it were possible.
Some people seem to think this stuff is only OK when it comes in these nice, sanctioned little containers. They get uneasy when people take, e.g., Harry Potter a little too seriously. One theory bandied around about why is because such believers are harder to keep under control (as the quote goes, "What sort of people are most preoccupied with escape? Jailers").
But I'm not sure I buy that. I think when people get uneasy with "escapism" it's not because they have entirely the wrong idea. It's bad to let your escapes run away with you, but the answer to that is not to declare all forms of escape self-indulgent and sick. The answer is to find a way to lead the runaways back to the world they left, because whether or not they know it, they've got something to give back to that world.
The more I turn this rock over, the more I find under it, especially as it pertains to Fold and all that'll be going into it. Expect more posts in this vein.