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Escapist fiction is fiction which provides a psychological escape from thoughts of everyday life by immersing the reader in exotic situations or activities.
The term is not used favorably, though the condemnation contained in it may be slight. Those who defend works described as escapist from the charge either assert that they are not escapist—such as, a science fiction novel's satiric aspects address real life—or defend the notion of "escape" as such, not "escapism"—as in J. R. R. Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" and C. S. Lewis's quotation, in his "On Science fiction" of Tolkien's question of who would be most hostile to the idea of escape, and his answer: jailers.
Genres which can include elements of escapist fiction include:
- Bodice rippers / Romance novels
- Detective novels
- Fantasy fiction
- Horror fiction
- Pulp fiction
- Science fiction
- Spy novels
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