Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Booking Through . . . um . . . Tuesday?

No more apologies about being late for Booking Through Thursday. Enough. Done. Finito.

Here's the prompt:

Sharon Lee, a sci fi author, has declared June 23rd Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers Day. As she puts it:

So! In my Official Capacity as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, I hereby proclaim June 23 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day! A day of celebration and wonder! A day for all of us readers of science fiction and fantasy to reach out and say thank you to our favorite writers. A day, perhaps, to blog about our favorite sf/f writers. A day to reflect upon how written science fiction and fantasy has changed your life.

So … what might you do on the 23rd to celebrate? Do you even read fantasy/sci-fi? Why? Why not?

This one's pretty easy. I would say my sci fi/fantasy taste runs not broad but deep.

In the fantasy department, I've read Tolkein's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings about 15 times. After that, I figured no other fantasy literature could compare. However, I wasn't sure what the definition of "fantasy" was. A little research revealed that it involves magic, wizards, quests, and the rest of the stuff you'd expect. Based on that definition, the Odyssey counts. And Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. And Watership Down (even though the main characters are rabbits, the plot is all questy and heroic when you get down to it). I number those among my favorites, having read and enjoyed them multiple times each.

(I can't resist saying here, if you're interested in Tolkein's masterwork, here's a fresh list of reasons to appreciate or re-appreciate him. I think Tolkein's professorial knowledge of ancient cultures and languages gives his work incredible depth and resonance, even when he isn't explicitly including that background in his writing. His languages are actually working languages. His mythology is a whole system. And as Hemingway said, sometimes what you leave out of the story is just as important as what you put in. The fact that it's there seems very obvious to me, and I like it. Okay, lecture over.)

Science fiction is definitely a weak area in my reading experience. I'm still making my way through the obvious classics, with Fahrenheit 451 and Stranger in a Strange Land still on my TBR list. But I really enjoyed 1984, and This Perfect Day, and the sci fi section (not to mention all the other sections) of Cloud Atlas, so at least I'm working on it.

4 comments:

  1. I never like the term "fantasy" literature, but I can deal with "quest" literature for some reason. Go figure.

    LOTR has been on my TBR shelf forever. I read the Hobbit, but never got through the trilogy. I now have all three on audio and plan to get to them this summer. You make a good case for doing so.

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  2. I never thought about it that way, but you're right. "Fantasy" doesn't sound like much, but "quest" has gravitas.

    As for LOTR, I'm eager to hear what you think, when you finally get there.

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  3. I'm an avid SF/F reader who has yet to read Tolkien. He's been on my list for a long time, but other stuff always seems to interfere.

    Stranger in a Strange Land is also on my List.It's been years, but I remember Watership Down and Fahrenheit 451 being fantastic reads.

    Here were my three cents.

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  4. I typically read all genres except fantasy and science fiction. Oh, I dip my toes in it once in a while but rarely. I'm not sure why. I feel a little guilty about it because I feel it's important to read all types of writing, but I struggle with enjoying science fiction.

    Does Harry Potter count? I read those to my daughter at night for months and really enjoyed them, mostly because we were reading them together.

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