Blurry edges

What defines “fantasy” for you? Many of us think of things that are “not real” — from fire-breathing dragons to vampires.

But there are very fuzzy edges on such a definition. There ARE people who drink blood, you know. (It’s often considered either a medical condition, a psychological issue, or a fetish. And, um, I was going to provide some web links, but I think I’ll spare you.) There are also people who think ghosts and some paranormal abilities are perfectly real. Time travel is real at the quantum particle level; maybe we just haven’t worked out the technology for the macro level yet. And a number of fantasies revolve around dreams, dream control, or dream abilities such as communicating, “for real,” with someone else through a dream. Dreams are one of the least understood workings of our brains, so there’s very little to argue that such fantasies aren’t perfectly possible.

Maybe this is part of the reason the term “paranormal” has become so popular lately; it seems to imply more leeway for what is or is not real or normal. And of course, as with airships or nanotechnology or cell phones,  today’s fantasy is tomorrow’s reality.

What do you think? And what “fantasy” stuff do you hope is currently in the blur and that tomorrow’s technology will give us?

— Joni, who lives for that blurred zone

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Blurry edges

  1. Thanks for the great way of viewing fantasy from a realistic perspective. Maybe it’s only fantasy because it hasn’t yet become mundane. Long live the fringe. As far as hopeful fantasies come true: I wouldn’t mind having the Enterprise computer so I can order a bowl of steaming chocolate pudding to appear out of thin air.

    • Parker Peevyhouse

      Maybe it’s only fantasy because it hasn’t yet become mundane.

      A good point. Last century’s fantasy is today’s science.

  2. One of the first fantasies I fell in love with as a kid was Black and Blue Magic, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. To this day, when I see a pearlescent liquid such as shampoo, I wish I could rub it on my shoulders and grow wings. Alas, I have not heard of any serious medical/scientific research being done on this issue.

  3. I strongly believe the blurry edges resolve themselves over time and a lot of things that are in the realm of legitimate speculation at one point eventually come into the realm of possible (e.g. the submarines in “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”) or impossible (e.g. a society of technologically advanced Martians in “War of the Worlds”). Either one might still make for a great story, but when Tom Clancy’s writing on submarines is shelved with realistic fiction and anything published today with little green men sailing down the canals of Mars should be considered fantasy.

    For me, paranormal falls into the “not real and not even close” category. Much as I enjoy a good vampire story (the non-twinkling kind who go for the jugular), I don’t keep a garlic necklace under my bed (anymore).

    Blurry lines today might involve things like the Fermi paradox that literally have cosmologists stumped. Are there other intelligent civilizations in our galaxy? Could we communicate with them? Could we visit them or could they visit us? Maybe!

  4. Ah, the Fermi paradox… that might make for an interesting post to tell us more about, Greg! But the thing that I think is actually most paradoxical about it is that we’d have the arrogance to think that if there are intelligent folks out there besides us we’d even recognize them as life, let alone expect them to put the same kind of junk into space that we do.

    We barely recognize the intelligences, communication methods, etc. of other species on our own dang planet. Some can predict earthquakes — and, apparently, World Cup matches — better than we do, and that’s just one tiny example!

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