05 January 2010

The Paranormal is not a Shortcut to Numinous Experience

Because I haven't been posting about the tie in between numinous encounters and urban fantasy doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it.

I don't want to use numinous as interchangeable with supernatural. A numinous experience is literally awesome. Beyond curiosity, it offers a genuine challenge and opportunity to self-assess, change and grow.

Recently on the web I've been reading comments from reviewers and romance readers that they are "paranormaled out". On one level, this is simply overdosing on one sub-genre and wanting a change. But on another level, I can't help but wonder if the original startlement of paranormal novels gave us as readers a sense of encountering the other--a numinous experience--and as paranormals have settled in as a recognised subgenre, that elusive shock and awe has faded. Vampires and werewolves have been normalised and can't give us that frisson of otherness--and we crave that frisson.

Perhaps encountering the numinous is a psychic need, one which good storytelling (like all the arts) ought to provide an opportunity for. A huge challenge for writers.

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