The King of Fantasy The King of Fantasy
Photo by Sasha Maslov/The New York Times/East News

The King of Fantasy

The World of Neil Gaiman
Jakub Demiańczuk
time 8 minutes

“There’s no point in triumphing over evil if the evil isn’t scary,” says British author and comic book creator Neil Gaiman. In his opinion, we love horror stories because they constantly remind us that we are alive.

Even as a boy, Neil Gaiman made up stories. He imagined coming home from school to find his parents were gone, or replaced with perfect copies so accurate that little Neil wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from his real parents. He liked the emotions that scary and tense stories evoked in him. Years later, he began to write them himself.

Gods and monsters

His books and comics have sold millions of copies and won countless prizes, and his book signing events are attended by hundreds of readers. One of the questions he hears most often is: “Why tell ghost stories?” He claims it’s a fascination rooted deep in our past. “We have ghost stories from Ancient Egypt, after all, ghost stories in the Bible, classical ghost stories from Rome, along with werewolves, cases of demonic possession and, of course, over and over, witches. We’ve been telling each other tales of otherness, of life beyond the grave, for a long time; stories that prickle the flesh and make the shadows deeper and, most importantly, remind us that we live,” he said


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Fantasy Forests Fantasy Forests

Fantasy Forests

The Primaeval Trees of Popular Culture
Michał Książek

All great artworks—whether cinematic or literary—have their own wild forest. All great cultures communed with nature. Its primitive image lies dormant in the collective memory, instilled in fables and fairy tales. 

Brokilon Forest in The Witcher. The Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter. Mirkwood in The Hobbit—previously known as Greenwood the Great and, after the defeat of Sauron, the Wood of Greenleaves. All these mythical and literary forests share the features of the real primeval, natural forests that we can learn about from forest biology and ecology. The same goes for Pandora’s thickets in the film Avatar, Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven, and the fairy-tale forest of Narnia. The intuitions of talented fantasy and science fiction authors reveal the fundamentals of scientific definitions. They are a lesson in natural history. 

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