And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if it’s a bad thing. As if “escapist” fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.
If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldn’t you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with (and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.
As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.
I can’t stop," the shark rasped. "If I stop, I shall sink and die. That’s the way I’m made. I have to keep going always, and even when I get where I’m going, I’ll have to keep on. That’s living.
When I saw ‘Pacific Rim,’ I said, ‘Man, I’ve been three-and-a-half years now doing ‘Gravity,’ and now you’re making me feel that I just did this tiny, tiny indie Sundance film.’
But what I love about ‘Pacific Rim’ is it’s done without any post-modernist, ironic approach. He really loves his characters. He loves his monsters. And at the core of it, what he loves is the characters inside the robots.
“It’s mind-boggling, the movie […] I think it is one of the most beautifully designed, elegant, powerful, sci-fi movies. It has certainly taken what he created in ‘Children of Men’ and pushed it even more.
I can go back to almost 30 years ago, more than 30 years ago, when we met, and we have the exact same relationship. When I see his work, I want to be a better filmmaker, I want to push myself.” [x]
Reader’s Bill of Rights:
1. The right to not read
2. The right to skip pages
3. The right to not finish
4. The right to reread
5. The right to read anything
6. The right to escapism
7. The right to read anywhere
8. The right to browse
9. The right to read out loud
10. The right to not defend your tastes
—Daniel Pennac (via thegirlandherbooks)