afraid of fantasy

December 8, 2019

For fantasy is true, of course. It isn’t factual, but it’s true. Children know that. Adults know it too and that’s precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons because they are afraid of freedom.

Ursula K. Le Guin
The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction

see a symbol hiding

November 30, 2019

In many college English courses the words “myth” and “symbol” are given a tremendous charge of significance. You just ain’t no good unless you can see a symbol hiding, like a scared gerbil, under every page. And in many creative writing course the little beasts multiply, the place swarms with them. What does this Mean? What does that Symbolize? What is the Underlying Mythos? Kids come lurching out of such courses with a brain full of gerbils. And they sit down and write a lot of empty pomposity, under the impression that that’s how Melville did it.

Ursula K. Le Guin
The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction

denied its spiritual equality

February 10, 2017

alien-seeding-her-womb_luis-royo_planet-of-the-apes

If you deny any affinity with another person or kind of person, if you declare it to be wholly different from yourself – as men have done to women, and class has done to class, and nation has done to nation – you may hate it, or deify it; but in either case you have denied its spiritual equality, and its human reality. You have made it into a thing, to which the only possible relationship is a power relationship. And thus you have fatally impoverished your own reality.

You have, in fact, alienated yourself.

Ursula K. Le Guin
American SF and the Other, from The Language Of The Night: Essays On Fantasy And Science Fiction