Bosch, Hieronymous, Garden of Earthly
Delights (right panel)
Fantasy, Horror, and Being Human -
by Ernest Lilley - Editor/SFRevu
Fantasy. We all understand why we like Fantasy, or
at least it's easier to accept as escapism or wish fulfillment, or
something, easier than Horror, that is.
So why do we crave (each according to their own taste) Horror? Stories
about bad things happening, usually to good people? And why good people?
Part of the answer both, it seems to me, is because bad things happening
to good people evokes what they called back in my psych classes a
"cognitive dissonance"…and if it's strong enough, it's a weird
sensation. Is it pleasure? Is it pain? It's weirdness incarnate, it's
the essence of "a strange feeling" and you either have a taste for it or
you don't. No, let me take that back…you do have a taste for it, a
hunger for it…but you may not want to admit it.
On the other hand, if you get pleasure from reading about the horrific, you may also have
issues about others that you should probably see a professional for help
Personally, Horror scares me, and when I'm scared I want to fight
something. When they were handing out fight or flight reflexes I got
shortchanged on the run away part. So Horror stories leave me sitting
there mute, adrenalized and impotent.
Well, being scared is part of the human experience, so we might as well
enjoy it. In the safety of a comfy chair, with a cup of tea, and a good
book of Horror and Fantasy. Mixing the two has the utility of keeping
you guessing which you're in for when a story starts…and it only becomes
clear when the creaks in your chair turn into the phantom strangler
creeping up behind you to slip a silken noose around your neck.
So what's the difference between Fantasy and Horror? Who comes out on
top, for one thing.
Editor – SFRevu
Tabula Rosa: A History of