The Lord of the Rings. The Malazan Book of the Fallen. The Discworld. These are just a few of the stories and worlds which have left me awestruck. But what is it that they all have in common? The answer came to me whilst reading Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories. Tolkien said in the essay, “…for there is no true end to any fairy-tale”. Reworked, the best stories never end.
At any point in time, I can re-enter Hogwarts. Today or tomorrow or in a year I can visit Darujhistan. Whenever I need it, the Galactic Empire is there for me. The best stories never end because they exist outside of the time-space continuum. As Chuck Tingle likes to say, they occupy a different timeline. It feels like they continue on while the covers of the book are closed and we’re not reading.
To me, that is the true power of creativity, of art, of imagination and of storytelling—to make something unreal, real.