Posts tagged ‘fantasy’

July 11, 2012

Speculative Fiction: Literature’s X-Games

The X-Games can be amongst the most exciting sporting events to be found anywhere on the planet.  While I grew up watching baseball and expect to forever count it my favorite sport, I also have a real affinity for watching the extreme sports that make up the X-Games.  I don’t know any technical terms in any of the events, nor do I really care to go into it in such detail, but I do find it quite thrilling to watch the skills of the athletes who participate in the games.  They are strong, they are savvy, and they are serious risk-takers.  The feats they accomplish on bikes, boards, and climbing can be absolutely stunning, even to an eye not trained in the intricacies of the respective events.

The strange thing is, the X-Games are something of a marginalized event in the sporting world.  Worldwide, football/soccer is the main sport to follow.  In the US, there’s the big three of baseball, American football, and basketball.  Other events such as cricket or rugby get a similar following in other parts of the globe.  Tennis, golf, polo, hockey, badminton, lacrosse, water polo… you name it, they all have a more prestigious image than the X-Games.  The extreme sports sit on the edges of respectability.  They are the fringe culture of the sporting world.

For those of us who write in the speculative genres, this might sound familiar.  Science fiction, fantasy, and horror (the mainstays of the speculative field) dwell can be counted the marginalized voices in literature, only occasionally getting a nod of approval from the more mainstream literary giants.  Those of us who write in this field understand what it is like to be on the verge of respectability, yet remain on the outside looking in — just like those athletes who compete in the X-Games each year.

But I would submit that, like the X-Games, the speculative genres are capable of producing spectacular feats.  Pushing boundaries, climbing higher, taking risks… these are all characteristics that writers of fantasy, horror, and sci-fi share with extreme athletes.  Just as they compete in the extreme, we write to the extremes.  And while sometimes we might have terrific falls, we might also just manage a stunning trick from time to time.

So all I can say is, keep watching.  You never know what might be coming next.