I’d like to talk about portal fantasies. Or rather, I’d like you to talk about them.
By that term, I mean the stories where people from this world go into another, more fantastical world. Narnia, for example. Once upon a time, these seem to have been more popular; now, not so much. And if I had to guess, I’d say that’s at least in part because of the way a lot of them were transparent wish-fulfillment: Protagonist (who is an emotional stand-in for the author, though only in egregious cases a Mary Sue) goes to Magical Land where things are more colorful and interesting than in the real world. And maybe they stay there, maybe they don’t.
Talk to me about the portal fantasies you’ve read. Which ones stick in your mind? What was your response to them, both as a kid and now? Which ones did the wish-fulfillment thing extra transparently, and how so?
(Yes, I actually have a special interest in the bad examples of this genre. In fact, if you approach this entire question as an academic curiosity of the structural sort paired with a authorly eye toward writing a deconstruction — not a parody — of the tropes, you’ll be on the right track.)
Portal fantasies. Talk to me about ’em. Good, bad, ugly, laughably naive. What’s your take?