Monday, July 24, 2006

escapist reading

(Wow, I'm still a blog of note, huh? I wonder how long this hullabaloo will last. My big announcement is just going to wait until after I stop seeing my name on the blogger main page. Somehow, it's less appealing to make it when I've got over 10,000 visitors in a week compared to my normal 500 or so.)

It seems like "His Dark Materials" took an early and sustained lead in the polls. So I went out and bought the first two books in the trilogy at my locally-owned used bookstore. (They were out of the third volume.)

It's funny to be embarking on another young adult sci-fi/fantasy book series. As a kid, I loved Madeleine L'Engle books (although I remember thinking that some of her stuff was rather strange), and the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper (which I reread and enjoyed a couple of years ago.) As an adult, I've adored Tolkien's Ring trilogy and the Harry Potter books.

But I never embraced the adult sci-fi/fantasy genre. In middle school and high school as some of my friends moved into that realm, I turned to 20th century classics, particularly those with a utopia/dystopia theme (1984, brave new world...). Just looking at the covers of the sci-fi/fantasy paper backs (with alien creatures that looked like giant ants, etc.) was enough to convince me that I didn't want to read them. The fantasy readers that I knew were also some of the social outcasts in our school and reading the books seemed to be synomous with playing D&D to all hours of the night. Though I had a few good friends (my best friend) who fit into that mold, I stayed on the outside of it. I've also not gone out of my way to see sci-fi/fantasy movies.

So I don't know whether I will like these books you've picked for me. It seems like a large number of perfectly reasonable and normal adults are fans of the genre, and especially of the books. Maybe it's time for me to banish the stereotype of pallid role-playing teenagers for once and for all and embrace my inner escapist. I'll let you know how it goes.

12 comments:

Black Roses said...

I read your most recent post, in which you stated that you loved utopia/dystopia novels, along the lines of 1984 and Brave New World. You wouldn't happen to have any more titles in the genre, would you? It is my absolute favorite, but it is difficult to find quality novels in the genre. If you can help me, thanks...

skookumchick said...

I missed your poll, but I devoured the first two books of His Dark Materials, and enjoyed the third even though I felt it was more disconnected. I probably read it too fast, and missed some stuff. Mr. Skookumchick even enjoyed the series. Hope you like it...

To black roses: have you read Ursula K. LeGuin's The Dispossessed? I'm also a fan of anything written by Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and much of LeGuin's stuff too. For (slightly disturbing and rather separatist but still engaging) ecofeminist stuff, try Sherri Tepper.

Queen of Sheba said...

Glad to hear of somebody else reading those--they're quite good!

peaceblog said...

7/24/06

Very Good blog=congradulations on the success and fame.

Anyone who reads this please email "blogher" and tell them that their email keeps telling "Peacenowst" that they have emailed a password to their website; but that it doesn't show in email.
Thanks
Peaceblog

Scotty said...

By the way, as a science freak myself I think you might enjoy this video I found on Veoh. http://www.veoh.com/videoDetails.html?v=e27841

Reincarnate Fred said...

His Dark Materials really is a good series. It doesn't at all harken back to pallid-faced D&D players, at least to me. They kind of degenerate, though. The first is a lot better than the last.

MissPrism said...

Black Roses, have you read "We" by Yevgeny Zamyatin? It's an early dystopia novel, and very interesting - particularly if you're a fan of 1984, as some themes in "We" are referred to in 1984.

sheepish said...

Wow, those are some nasty stereotypes.

I am amused that you cite two science fiction novels as novels that you prefer to read instead of science fiction/fantasy.

Paul said...

You need to read something by Guy Gavriel Kay. I recommend Tigana, and but most of his fans would probably recommend The Lion Of Al Rassan. The latter is being made into a movie.

Kelly Moore said...

Hello: blog of note. I am a new blog, and still searching for my voice, so to speak. Congrats. on your prestigous publication. I was attracted to your blog (of note) because rumor has it men dominate the sciences in academia, etc., and your blog name interested me (as does the blog).

SarahBeth said...

I am glad to read that I am not the only reader who did not dive headlong into Heinlein at an impressionable age. After 1984 and Fahrenheit (sp?) 451, I fell in love with the genre, but was very much not a boy, or into D&D or reading comic books. I have only recently decided to protest my historically limiting sense of propriety and it's fun! Kind of would have liked to not have those stereotypes at such a young age - they stick around for far too long, I think.
I'll have to jot down some of those reading suggestions - they sound like too much fun.

Aarwenn said...

I thought I was the only person who loved "The Dark is Rising" series by Susan Cooper. I still read it all the time.

-An engineer and a woman.