It’s true most Fantasy readers read Fantasy for escapism.
I did and still do. That doesn’t mean Fantasy or other speculative fiction books don’t teach us lessons.
We can learn about human nature in any genre.
Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet made me question and eventually come to realize all people have intrinsic worth.
The Chronicles of Narnia has helped me and thousands of others explore our faith on a deeper level by pondering the nature of God (with talking horses and badass archer-queens for seasoning).
Ursula K. Le Guin’s complex and highly moral writing has lately led me to question the nature of old age. Is it truly a bad thing? As a Christian, I believe death is just a transformation into another existence, but old age?
The best time to change people’s minds is when they aren’t expecting it.
Books that directly address issues are needed, no doubt. But there are other times when the people who really need to hear a message won’t hear it unless it’s piggybacking on something else.
As a kid, I would never have read a book about racism. But I did read a book about magic ninjas, and the characters who had to struggle with racism got me thinking. Nor would I have read about the effects of imperialism, but the Tyrants and Kings trilogy wrapped the whole topic in the shiny bow of a sorcerous adventure.
Fantasy books have led me to more realizations than “real world” books ever did.
Escapism doesn’t mean it’s mindless. That’s something even Fantasy writers don’t seem to understand.
Fantasy and other speculative fiction books have the power to change hearts and minds while being entertaining and exciting as (I believe) no other genre can.
That’s their true magic.