Resurgence of Imagination

My response to Matt Cardin’s response to Damien G. Walter’s response about Arthur Machen:

Beyond just horror, all works of imagination have had an upsurge of popularity: movies, graphic novels; and, within fiction, speculative fiction in general. 

In movies, this can partly be explained by increasingly better special effects and graphic novels have been piggybacking on the superhero movie boom.  In general, I think movies have made accessible realms of imagination that were outside of the norm in the past.  I think the popularity of fantasy fiction is directly linked to the changes in movie-making.  Even someone like Machen probably wasn’t all that popular in the past except amongst the literati.

There are a couple of other reasons that imagination has been let loose. 

First, many of the censorship laws applied to the movie and comic book industries stifled creativity for many decades… or at least forced creativity outside of the mainstream and into the black market.  Comic books such as the Watchmen were direct commentary on this dark period of the American imagination.

Second, I think that imaginative and speculative art in all its forms captures the public attention during times of social upheaval and stress.  The American public has been under great stress this past decade, and it seems the fear-mongering has hit a high point recently.  People want to escape reality and also imagine new possibilities

And my response to Matt Cardin’s interview with Stephen Jones:

This shows a contrasting view to that of your blog post about Arthur Machen.

I generally disagree with the negative view here.  If I remember correctly, more books are being published in larger numbers than ever before in history.  I was peruzing Amazon the other day.  There were tons of books on a wide variety of intellectual topics and there was no lack of such books having been printed in recent years. 

With e-book readers, this book boom will only boom even further.  With an e-book, a person can easily carry around all of the volumes of the massive Oxford dictionary (which in physical form take up an entire bookshelf).  I think, in particular, small presses are going to get an increase of sales as e-book readers become more popular.  Books that have been out of print for decades will soon be available to anyone in the world at cheap costs.

Also, the internet helps the average writer.  The internet makes it easier for writers to interact with other writers and interact with their readers.  And the internet makes it easier for a writer just starting out to get their name and work out there by joining forums and starting their own website.  The internet has introduced me to many new writers including those in the genres of horror and weird fiction.

However, it’s possible my view of reality is too rosy.  I live in a liberal college town (Iowa City) which has the oldest writers workshop and supposedly has the highest per capita in the US of the well educated.  I’m surrounded by bookstores and book-lovers.

7 thoughts on “Resurgence of Imagination

  1. How is it that you can keep so young? For me, it’s my principle ‘Forever young’ but many don’t. They start saying ‘maturity’ and don’t engage in what they used to. You talk of the socially ‘juvenile’ stuff without qualm. Do u fear the ill will?

    Maybe it’s p-types, idealists generally don’t grow old.

    You have a predilection for concessions, I like it. It’s honest and humble.

    • I really appreciate your thoughts… and I really mean that.

      But I must admit that, despite my overly serious mood at the moment, I laugh at your comments. How do I stay so young? Or is it juvenile? I think I may fall into the Peter Pan syndrome on occasion… I’m an intellectual version of Peter Pan… or, as a 1990s commercial says, “I don’t want to grow up. I’m a Toys R Us kid… I don’t want to grow up because if I did I couldn’t be a Toys R Us kid.”

      It’s all about being a p-type. Ill will? I’d have to have an acutal conception of the future to have any fear of ill will. Oh God, don’t remind me of the future. I suppose it catches up with the best of us.

      Concessions, honesty, humility… please remind me of all of this on my deathbed. 🙂

      I sometimes feel lost in my own world… which I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing. How is the world for you? I truly hope the best for everyone everywhere.

      • Actually, I was just thinking of my unfair position of being an American. I’m able to let my juvenility loose because of America’s wealth. I live the good life even as a working class person in the US. My juvenility is a priviliege, but I would like to think it serves some purpose or even inspires someone somewhere out in the world.

        For all those who aspire to my juvenlie attitude, I hope you can attain it as well. The world would be a better place where the unwanted and the unaccepted also had a place. Rebel against those forces that hold you down, that tell you what you should be… if at all possible… or else just hunker down and pray for better times.

  2. Well, I am supposed to be Christian but the Orient…you know. The Tao is really getting into me so though people moan around me, I stay cool with hakuna matata.

    Youth is good.

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