What got me thinking about this topic? Talking to teen readers I’ve met at libraries, Science Fiction/fantasy conventions, book festivals and similar events, places where you’d think reading would be popular. Not always.
It started a while back with conversations similar to this:
Me: “Do you like fantasy?”
Teen: Shrugs. “I liked the Lord of the Rings movies. Did you see them?”
Me: “Yes, They were pretty neat.” Smiling, I continue. “I’m an author, so I have to ask, did you read the trilogy?”
Teen: With a shake of the head, frowns. “I tried reading the first book. I couldn’t get into it. I don’t like reading fantasy.”
Me: Have you seen The Hobbit movies?
Teen: Nods yes.
Me: You might try that book. You’ll probably consider it more readable. Faster and more fun.
To tell the truth, I’ve read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There were parts that were difficult to get through. They were written for another time, possibly a different audience.
The conversation continues:
Me: “What do you think of science fiction?”
Teen: A small grin. “I like Battlestar Galactica.”
Me: “The new one, right? Not the one from the 70s.”
Teen: “Yeah, but I don’t like reading science fiction either.”
Me: “Maybe fantasy and science fiction aren’t for you. Or maybe you’ve tried the wrong books?”
Sure, fantasy has elves and orcs, dragons and wizards. But fantasy also has vampires and fairies…and superheroes and ghosts, and more. My novels? They have earth wizards battling panzers, and Stukas engaged in aerial combat with fire breathing dragons. (Yes, I’m sort of a World War II history buff.)
Science fiction? It’s as varied as fantasy, if not more. It has space ships and wormholes, aliens and androids, time travel and pandemic viral diseases, dinosaurs and, well, the sky…or the edge of the galaxy is the limit. My Sci Fi novels? They have brass knuckles and shotguns mixed with magnetic pulse pistols and taskforce sized space battles, alien species like the Umbelgarri, Chicher, Crax and Mawks and the V’gun, and sometimes an average guy with a little .22 rifle trying to fend some of them off.
Are you interested in reading but not sure about Fantasy and Sci Fi? Like any other novel, they can have humor and romance, mystery and revenge, horror, hate and redemption, heroines, heroes and villains, average guys and gals, treachery and…well, you name it, even talking frog princes.
For me, my first serious dip into Sci Fi was in grade school and Jr. High, where I read “A Pail of Air” by Fritz Leiber and “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury. Through them my mind began asking questions, about the survival of humanity, and the consequences of traveling back in time.
Then, I read The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Some might say it’s sort of like ‘Lord of the Rings light.’ That opened the door to Lord Foul’s Bane and the rest of the Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever books by Stephen R. Donaldson.
Those titles just rang for me. Does that mean they’re right for you? Maybe. And maybe not. Just like The Lord of the Rings trilogy…they’re good books, ones that have withstood the test of time, but aren’t for everyone.
Teen: Holds up a copy of Flank Hawk. “So what movie is this book like?”
Me: “It’s like Lord of the Rings meets Gettysburg, meets Saving Private Ryan.”
Teen: Points to a copy of Relic Tech. “And this one?”
Me: “Babylon 5 meets Starship Troopers, meets The Rockford Files.” I smile. “You might have to look a few of those shows up. They’re good…almost as good as my novel.”
My advice? Don’t automatically turn away from fantasy and science fiction. Take a look at the cover, and read the back of the book, and maybe a few pages. Look up reviews if you’re so inclined. With the vast variety of stories fantasy and Sci Fi encompass, there’s certain to be something in there for you, something to challenge you…capture your imagination like nothing ever has before.
My other bit of advice, maybe a bit self-serving? Try my new release, Thunder Wells. Remember me mentioning that guy facing down alien beasts with a little .22 rifle? If you like it, then consider my other books, before they become movies…umm, right.
Rock House and Cavern are his co-authored action adventure novellas (with David Wood), and Genre Shotgun is his short story collection, that includes SF, mystery, horror/suspense and inspirational tales.
His post-apocalyptic fantasy series, First Civilization’s Legacy, includes Flank Hawk, Blood Sword and Soul Forge.
Terry’s newest series (Fantasy/LitRPG) Monsters, Maces and Magic includes Outpost, with Betrayal slated for release in April of 2018. He is currently working on Relic Shield, the third novel in the Crax War Chronicles.
To contact Terry or to learn more about his writing endeavors, visit his website at www.ervin-author.com and his blog, Up Around the Corner.