I’ve been thinking that there’s an ongoing debate that reasonable, ethical people can have, and have long been having, in and out of fandom: what is fiction *for*? There are three major types of responses: one is the Platonic, or sociocultural/ethical view of fiction, exemplified by Plato’s objection to poetry on the basis of its didactic weakness. The two other responses are more modern, and center around the desire for self-expression, as well as something one can summarize as the ‘avant-garde’ impulse. For Plato, poetry deals in mimesis (or the mere imitation of reality), so it cannot be seen as educational (as a source of falsehood), as well as being morally dangerous. The ‘pleasure’ motive of poetry was also logically inferior to the ‘truth’ motive of philosophy, besides poetry promoting (morally) undesirable passions. This argument was always a doozie. Nobody– but nobody– was okay with passion run amok, and this was before the concept of sin entered into the equation. Unsurprisingly, the Christian thinkers in medieval Europe were always very fond of Plato.