By Bernard Wilkerson
An alien commute vanishes from its touchdown spot outdoor the United Nations.
Minutes later communications satellites plummet from the sky throughout earth. Nuclear warheads release. The human weapons—targeted at different humans—bring at the anticipated devastation, yet nobody anticipated the firepower the alien Hrwang might harness.
Within hours the earth adjustments ceaselessly.
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Extra info for Defeat (Earth, Book 1)
More commonly, however, the quest fantasy works by familiarization (Scholes 84), creating a world through the layering of detail, and making that detail comprehensible. Given the need for comprehensibility, the only way to continually create the sense of wonder needed by the portal and quest fantasy is to embroider continually, to prevent the accretion of comfort. When taken to excess we see the likes of the Harry Potter novels in which almost all of the imaginative material is in the world-building (the adventures themselves are game sequences and rather derivative)—or, as Colin Manlove has pointed out, the work of Lord Dunsany, of whose descriptive passages he writes, “Dunsany knows he is into a good thing here .
22 Rhetorics of Fantasy This sense is increased by his focus on his own reactions: “The mere words, however, woke in me feelings which to describe was, from their strangeness, impossible” (18). Elsewhere in the novel, when the focus becomes exploration, the role of emotion is diminished; here, however, the emphasis is on regaining control of the present world. The fantastic is signaled by a loss of that control rather than, as in the classic portal fantasy and in later sections of the text, the movement through the fantastic.
Later books with the same structure include Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Thendara House (1983), Sheri S. Tepper’s Marianne sequence (1985–89), and Jeﬀ Noon’s Vurt (1993), where escape through the portal is the ultimate end of the novel, and the result disappointing. 7 In any event, the very presence of maps at the front of many fantasies implies that the destination and its meaning are known. Similarly, many of the diﬀerences between the structures laid down by Bunyan and those created in the shared world of the quest fantasy are due to a reworking of expectations and codings to produce a moral rhetoric and moral geography more acceptable to modern tastes.