Adventures in Reading

Mercedes Lackey and moral fiction
June 25, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: , , , , ,

There is a Dorothy L. Sayers quote Mercedes Lackey is quite partial to as I have seen it in the author’s note or preface in at least two of her books now. From her most recent book The Snow Queen:

“Dorothy L. Sayers used to say that mystery stories were the only moral fiction of the modern world—because in a mystery, you were guaranteed to see that the bad got punished, the good got rewarded and in the end all was made right.

I’d like to think that fantasy does the same thing. It reminds us that this is how it should be. The good will be rewarded. The bad will be punished. Sins will be forgiven.

And they will live happily ever after.”

Something similar to this also appeared in the first book I read by Lackey The Fairy Godmother, but in that if I recall correctly Lackey was stating this particularly pertaining to women’s attraction to the fantasy genre. And I admit that both times I came across this it became stuck in my gullet and I had to force myself to swallow. From the books I have read of Mercedes Lackey, if they did not have magic and dragons it really would be just another romance novel. (Some with a little more or a little less sex.)

But the idea of moral fiction itself I suppose is what really perturbs me. Morals, good, bad – it’s all very subjective depending on who, where, and when the person deciding what is and isn’t moral belongs to. I also suppose I don’t like the righteousness behind the ideas that the good are vindicated and that the bad are punished. I’m not against happy endings, but I might have to start skipping Lackey’s author’s notes if I continue reading her books!