Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why we Love the Supernatural

Contemporary literature and Paranormal, or Fantasy novels often look at many of the same themes; the difference between the two being whether a story contains or lacks a supernatural element. So, I thought I’d look at what makes books that include otherworldly elements so popular.

Reasons we read supernatural stories:

Sean McGrath
Escape Reality: The thing that makes paranormal or fantasy novels so interesting is that they’re extra ordinary – a step outside of the normal. In a fantasy novel you have the ability to see things that aren’t possible in real life. Imaginations can run wild in a paranormal or fantasy novel. There are endless possibilities: A world without boundaries. In our everyday lives we deal with structure and rules. Fantasy novels break out of the routine to give us surprises and spontaneity.

Belief in the Extraordinary: Many of us like to think that there’s a bit of fantasy that exists in our own world. Whether it be that you believe in ghosts, or magic, miracles, or even just intuition, paranormal books help us to believe that maybe just a little piece of them really is real. We all want to believe in something, and fantasy books help up to keep hope alive that maybe there’s a little bit of magic in our own world.

Value the Ordinary: Seeing characters deal with life or death issues puts our own problems in their place. If so and so can save the world, well then I can pass my history exam on Friday. We like to read about epic quests and heroes battling immeasurable odds, because when they come out on top it makes us feel like we can conquer anything.

Symbolic Monsters: Real life problems can be symbolized by fantasy monsters. Stephen King once said, “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” We all have our own inner demons that we battle with every day. We can relate with the monsters in supernatural stories because sometimes they are the personification of the things we feel inside.

Kick ass Action: There’s nothing that can amp up a fight scene better than having characters with super powers. Fantasy stories not only have characters whose strength and agility can exceed that of the typical human, but they might also have magical powers, or an ability to heal themselves. Supernatural stories have the ability to have some truly epic action.

There are many sub-genres of the supernatural, including Fantasy which includes stories about mythical lands and creatures and epic quests, Paranormal which includes stories about things such as ghosts or vampires, and Science fiction which may deal with outer space or experiments gone wrong. But, what they all have in common is that they are more than just make-believe. They represent our inner demons, display the extent of our imaginations, and provide an escape from the monotony of our lives. For those reasons stories of the supernatural are important, and that’s why we love them.

If you liked this post check out “Why we Love Vampires

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