Who Is Mistral Dawn?
Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Monday, February 15, 2016
The #Good, The #Bad, & The #Romance! ;-)
Hey Everyone!! :-)
I've got a random musing for you today. Specifically, I've been thinking about why science fiction/fantasy/paranormal stories and the romances that fit within those genres seem to be so popular. First, I decided to see if they really were as popular as they seemed to me, and the information I found bore out my assumption. According to the Business of Consumer Publishing 2006, the science fiction/fantasy genre accounted for $495 million out of the $6.31 billion in book sales in the US that year and romance accounted for $1.37 billion in book sales. So, clearly people are spending some serious cash on both romance and sci-fi/fantasy stories!
I guess it's not really surprising. Human beings have been spinning yarns about the supernatural, mythical, and speculative for thousands of years. Just look at all the god/goddess/fairy/monster/etc legends there are in circulation! Every culture has its own version of those familiar themes, and the stories have survived the test of time to be passed down through generations so that now they can be made into movies starting Hugh Jackman, Vin Diesel, Chris Hemsworth, and Sean Bean. ;-)
And as for romance, well, have you ever read some of the old Greek and Roman mythology? Whoo! *fans self* Steamy stuff there! ;-) And considering that "Greek God" has become synonymous with the perfect male body, who can blame those people for fantasizing? ;-)
But none of that answers the question of why it's so popular now. Okay, some of it has to be that these are clearly themes that have an almost universal appeal and are prone to capture the imaginations of a wide variety of people. Why else would they have lasted so long? But that doesn't explain what about them is so alluring.
Well, as you might have guessed, I have an opinion about that. And that's all it is, just my opinion, I don't have any statistics or research to back it up. But you can decide if you think I might be on the right track or not. Personally, I think it's because it allows us to explore the extremes of human nature in a safe way.
Think about it, in a lot of sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal tales, there are clear and well-defined delineations between "good" and "bad." Yes, some stories also have shades of gray in them, and they are often fantastic, but one of the things that defines these genres is having a "good guy" and a "bad guy." That leaves readers with the option to put themselves in either role and exploring either their light side or their dark side. So much fun to be had!
Add to that the fact that the characters in these stories often have superhuman powers, intelligence, technology, etc, and you not only have the opportunity to be a hero or antihero, you can be an ultra, super, mega hero or antihero! Talk about getting a lot of bang for your buck! ;-) Who wouldn't want to go on those kinds of adventures? And when you're reading about the exciting exploits of your favorite characters, you're probably not thinking about the shopping or the laundry or your asshole of a boss, am I right? It's escapism, and everyone needs to escape now and again, even if it's just between their ears.
Then, there's the romance. Okay, be honest, who doesn't enjoy a good love story? Huh? There's another universal theme for you. Either you identify with the rush of passion, think of it with nostalgia, or wistfully dream of the day you might experience it, right? And then add the superpowers, supernatural good looks, and element of mystery that many characters in the paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi romance genre possess, and you have the perfect recipe for some good, old-fashioned lust. After all, who wouldn't want to be swept off their feet by a hottie with mysterious powers and lots of experience? ;-)
The best thing about characters in the paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi romance genre, in my opinion, is that they're almost never perfect. Generally speaking, the authors in this genre build complex, imaginative worlds for their characters to contend with, and the way all the moving parts come together leaves a lot of room for the kind of quirks, foibles, and imperfections that make characters "real." The "good guys," while clearly good, have their faults. And the "bad guys," while clearly bad, have their virtues. Which makes the ride through the story all the more fun! Escapism at it's best.
So, there you have it, folks. My take on why the sci-fi/paranormal/fantasy genre, and the romance subgenre, is so popular. It provides wonderful opportunities for escapism, vicarious wish fulfillment, topics to tease readers' imaginations, and themes that appeal to almost everyone. Now pardon me while I find a vampire, shape-shifter, hot fairy, hunky alien, or sexy god to read about. ;-)