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Are we no longer willing to go through the Looking Glass?

Illustration for article titled Are we no longer willing to go through the Looking Glass?

Over at Genreville, Rose Fox makes a connection I've never seen anyone make before, which instantly feels to have a lot of truth to it. On the one hand, the whole publishing industry has decided that it will no longer welcome "portal fantasy," like Narnia or Alice in Wonderland — stories where someone goes through a gateway into a magical world. On the other hand, science fiction (and fantasy) dealing with the future has a kind of weariness to it, and a sense that all the futures are things we've seen before or age-old tropes we're revisiting, as Paul Kincaid wrote recently.


Could these two things be connected? At the root of both phenomena appears to be a sense that we no longer want to explore strange new worlds — we already know what we'll find, after all. Instead of strange futures and uncanny fantasy worlds, Fox suggests, we're instead exploring alternate history — in which the past is somehow made new. [Genreville]

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Marshall Ryan Maresca

One of the things that always struck me about Portal Fantasies was the trope usually included Returning Unchanged. Narnia was the big one for that, but others were similar— no time lost, no proof save memories— to outside observers, not only did the heroes not go anywhere, there was no time to go anywhere. I always wanted to play on that trope— someone who KEPT HAVING Portal Adventures, to the point where he's utterly jaded about them. As you would be, were you mentally five hundred years old, yet still were fourteen and in middle school.