I know I'm not alone in finding that rather than inspiring me, catastrophes seem to paralyse my creativity. Many people were inspired by COVID-19 to write poetry, essays, diaries and more, whereas I struggled even to find a tweet on the subject. Now, just as the worst of the disruption caused by the pandemic appears to be over, another catastrophe has emerged, with bombardment, death and grief, and I find myself without words adequate to the situation. Writing fiction feels too trivial. What is particularly awful about war is that the pain it inflicts is all manmade and unnecessary.
The reality of it is so appalling, it seems strange that warfare and battles appear so often in fiction, particularly in the fantasy genre. Maybe readers and authors are searching for a way to make sense of it, and this is more easily done in an imagined world far removed from our own. It's usually clear who the 'bad' guys and 'good' guys are, and however uneven the struggle, the 'good' guys usually win, although victory is never total, even when the enemy is utterly vanquished; too much is lost–loved ones killed or maimed, homes and cities destroyed, ways of life changed irrevocably. The fighting may cease, but peace remains elusive. J. R. R. Tolkien showed the true cost at the end of The Lord of the Rings. (Anyone who doesn't know what happened, look away now.) The elves are diminished and Frodo is so traumatised that he has to leave the Shire he set out to save, and go into the West.
Although battles occur in The Exiles of Ondd, I hope I never give the impression that violence and war are ever glorious or without cost. Would-be dictators/emperors could do worse than read Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias. Maybe fantasy fiction is not trivial, after all, but a necessity in these troubling times.
Stay safe.