"My point, aside from remarking that both Tolkien and Le Guin are arguing that escape means hope, and hope is one of the great virtues of fantasy, is what Tolkien says at the end of the passage: they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. Because I think that’s exactly it. The denigration of “escapism” comes from an implicit belief that it is brave and necessary and heroic to face “reality,” where “reality” is grim and dark and nihilistic (“solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” as that tremendous pessimist Thomas Hobbes puts it), and that if you turn away from that “reality,” you are a deserter and therefore a coward."
Katherine Addision (aka. Sarah Monette) on “Of Better Worlds and Worlds Gone Wrong (via adribbleofink)
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“And that, I think, is where hope comes in. If we understand “escapism” as the Escape of the Prisoner rather than the Flight of the Deserter, then surely what motivates it, more than anything else, is hope. The hope that the prison is not eternal. The hope of communicating with other prisoners. The hope that if you keep chipping away at the bars long enough, one of them will fall out. And I refuse utterly to classify that hope as weak or foolish.”