I just had an interview on my novel and game writing projects published in Liberty Island Magazine. My thanks to Tamara Wilhite for arranging it, and for doing the interview!
Here’s my favorite part from it.
Tamara Wilhite: I’ve heard that fantasy sells much better than science fiction, because it is more accessible – whether or not it is a clear morality play of good versus evil like Harry Potter. Your books are clearly set up as a fight of good versus evil. What do you think this says about society?
Tony Andarian: I hadn’t heard that about fantasy being more accessible than science fiction, but it doesn’t surprise me. While there are exceptions (Game of Thrones comes to mind), I do think that trying to present a clear moral conflict is probably more common in fantasy – and one of the things that does tend to make it more accessible.
What I think that says about society is that people are hungry (and rightly so) for art that portrays a worldview with a clear-cut sense of right and wrong. Intellectual culture for most of my life has been dominated by a relativist philosophy that treated as an axiom that there was no such thing as “absolute truth,” and that moral ideals were somehow naive or unrealistic. Moral cynicism has been an intellectual fashion for decades, and to an extent still is. And as Ayn Rand observed, this often caused art that embraced the value-orientation inherent in moral action to retreat into “popular” art and literature, and to allegedly “less serious” genres. When culture treats heroes and morality as unrealistic, it’s perhaps not surprising that they should show up in fantasy.
As much as people may hunger for clear moral conflict, though, I also think that many of us are losing patience with the parade of false alternatives that we’re often offered for it. That’s why as much as the Sanctum series may look at the outset like a straight-up “good vs. evil,” story, a major theme of it is also about how who the good guys really are doesn’t necessarily jibe with what we’ve been told. Or, as Kosh from Babylon 5 put it: “Understanding is a three-edged sword: your side, their side, and the truth.”An Interview with Author Tony Andarian – Liberty Island Magazine, April 23, 2021