I was up this morning at 4 am reading research about public internet access in developing countries. I am very interested in how more public access to the internet could be provided to the rural areas and particularly to those who are the poorest individuals in developing countries. When I dream, I dream big. This stuff seems to my mind problems to be solved. Not insurmountable. A thorough examination of such issues as a lack of infrastructure, political instability, illiteracy, etc. seems to me to be a way to devise a plan and boldly act. Nothing of great measure is done without risk and those things that are most meaningful are done for others.
Currently, I am going through my bookshelves and pruning books off my shelf to offer on paperbackswap.com. I seem to have an insatiable need to read and have new materials in front of me. I have promised myself that in ten minutes I will stop procrastinating and begin studying for the mathematics section of the GRE.
Maybe because the morning was filled with big thoughts and the next few hours will be filled with rigorous thought, I need to think fun thoughts because I have been thinking about fantasy novels. I really like reading fantasy at times. Not because it is lofty and intellectual– although it can be, but more because it is just fun. In one of the Dresden novels by Jim Butcher a group of purple monkeys who throw flaming poo form together and become a Monkeytron. In Kim Harrison’s novels the pizza parlors are owned by vampires because humanity was almost wiped out by a virus generated from genetically modified tomatoes. I love these off the wall bits that make me smile. Sometimes fantasy novels can consider and make real that wonderful place between reality and the non-real without becoming sentimental or too filled with wishful thinking. Charles deLint sometimes does a beautiful job of going into that in-between place and making it real. Robert Holdstock is another author who springs to mind who has this same ability. Mythago Wood and The Bone Forest are beautifully written books that hit the psyche very deeply and remain in memory long after they have been put down.
I will be asking people over the next few days why they read fantasy and what their favorite fantasy novels are and why these are favorites.
Why do you read fantasy novels?