As we learned in last week’s Booking Through Thursday, today is Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers day.
When I was fifteen, I had trouble finding new books to read. I was too old for YA fiction, or so I thought, but my introduction into adult fiction had mostly consisted of the romance novels my mom liked and the classics I read in school. The book fairs and book orders had long ended in school and I wasn’t sure where to look to expand my reading tastes. The kid who sat next to me in Russian class was always reading, though. So one day, when he had a big fat fantasy novel in his hand, I asked him about it. He was reading one of the books in the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. He told me about it and I thought it sounded awesome, like the books I used to love as a kid but better. The next time I went to the mall with my parents, I sought out the fantasy shelf and found The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. I stood there and opened it up.
Almost immediately, I was sucked in to the book. I forgot that I was in a bookstore. I forgot that I could be in people’s way. I wanted to know who these characters were and what happened to them. I inhaled that series. I somehow got my parents to buy me the first nine and I read them all in record time. My TBR pile was small back then and right next to my bed; I have a vivid mental image of several of these huge tomes sitting next to me, waiting for me to read them. It was wonderful and epic fantasy has been one of my favorite genres since then.
I have fallen in love with plenty of other genres since then and even returned to reading romance novels. These days it seems that I even like science fiction. Fantasy, though, edged me into a wider world, with huge stories, deep characters, and fascinating new worlds. Around the same time I discovered Japanese RPGs with their own gigantic worlds and complex characters. It was like my world was exploding. It takes an investment of time to read these books, but I’ve found it to be so worth it. As Nymeth so eloquently stated in her post on fantasy today, just because it’s set in another world doesn’t mean it can’t teach us something about ourselves.