There have always been people who refuse to read/watch anything speculative because it isn’t “realistic” but some forget that almost all media has some fiction involved. Reality TV is often scripted, and even if it isn’t, it’s cut down so it fits the time slot. The news is always biased one way or another. History is written by the victors. People want a story, not realism, even people who think they want something “realistic.”
Fiction, no matter the genre, is unrealistic. Realistic stories are hardly ever that interesting. That’s why most movies are not completely loyal to the original source material, and in many cases, there’s a good chance the source material isn’t 100% accurate to begin with. Even memoirs are edited to make a readable story. After all, who wants to read about all the boring parts?
Does this mean consuming stories is a waste of time? Of course not. Stories, not matter how crazy, almost always have an element of truth to them. Characters are written by people, so they’ll have something human to them, even if they’re fluffy and have two sets of arms.
Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed. ~ G. K. Chesterton
Fantasy and sci-fi have another added layer of fiction to teach their lessons. Even the Bible used stories that were fantasy to teach lessons, such as the tree parable in Judges 9. The nice thing about sci-fi/fantasy stories is that they can tell a story and avoid any pre-conceived notions the reader may have gotten. For example, in the thriller, Kenan, the author uses a made-up terrorist organization and a few made-up country alliances. This made the story much more enjoyable since the reader doesn’t already have a view of the terrorist organization. If the author had used a real organization, one reader may have had a family killed by the organization, but another might have family members sympathetic to the organization. By telling a story that’s not set in the real world, the reader comes in with a clean slate which increases enjoyment and allows the reader a closer connection with the characters. Another advantage of speculative fiction is that it’s less likely to give a reader false notions of the real world. Historical fiction, especially if it uses real people, could leave the reader believing something false about people who actually existed. Stories involving real-world politics can be even worse.
In the end, stories, even fantasy and sci-fi, teaches. Jesus knew this when he told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Stories portray scenarios that bring real world situations to light, forcing the reader to ask, “what would I do?” Many of the good stories are allegories for real world issues. Some show how different people can come together, that just because people disagree doesn’t make one evil, and more importantly, to always stand for what’s right. They teach that evil can be overcome, no matter how dark things get. These stories give hope in a world that sometimes seems hopeless.