And, unlike Mieville, I do believe that fantasy can deliver this experience.
The problem with escapism is that when you read or write a book society is in the chair with you. You can’t escape your history or your culture. So the idea that because fantasy books aren’t about the real world they therefore ‘escape’ is ridiculous. Fantasy is still written and read through the filters of social reality. That’s why some fantasies (like Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels) are so directly allegorical—but even the most surreal and bizarre fantasy can’t help but reverberate around the reader’s awareness of their own reality, even if in a confusing and unclear way.
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