Saturday, November 23, 2013

Aliens, Wizards, and Gods, Oh My!

When asked why I write fantasy and science fiction, I'm sometimes at a loss to describe an attribute so core to my creative impulse. Before I started writing fantastical tales, I read them, and before that, I begged older people to read them to me. The first books I remember vividly, were Dr. Seuss's The Lorax and J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. I was about four, at the time, and my mother read to the family every evening.

I loved The Lorax so much, I memorized it. My mom still has a cassette tape recording of me reciting the whole book, before I even knew the alphabet. As goofy as it may sound, reading The Lorax aloud can still make me cry. It's a brilliant plea for environmental responsibility, while also lifting the reader into a different world.

And then there is The Hobbit, still one of my favorite books, partly because the images I formed in my mind, listening to it as a child, were so compelling and marvelous. That book lived and breathed for me, the elves at Rivendell, orcs in the misty mountains, and spiders in Mirkwood. I went on a journey with the dwarves and Bilbo, riveted every step of the way.

Fantasy and science fiction offer vast scope for the imagination. They transport us to other worlds, alternate pasts, potential futures, realms of enchantment and possibility. Frankly, when I pick up a book, to read for enjoyment, I want to be taken somewhere. There's enough "real-world-here-and-now" in my life already. With reading I want a voyage, a discovery, an opening portal.

Not to say that I never read down to earth books. Currently I'm trekking through A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. It is an excellent thought-provoking book, but not exactly enjoyable. For sheer delightful fun, I'd recommend His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik. I just read that, last month, and I was captivated. The characters come fully to life, and the setting is wonderfully detailed and immersive. Redshirts by John Scalzi is another recent find...very entertaining and humorous. If you're someone who is familiar with Star Trek, it's a must read.

If you're curious to see what tales my imagination has whipped up, over the years, visit my website at I have excerpts, trailers, and a monthly free book giveaway.

Diana Green

Worlds of Imagination, Adventure, and Romance



Liz Fountain said...

Like you, Diana, I find myself writing sci fi and fantasy both because I love reading it, and because it provides a vast canvas for exploring human experience. Just finished a rough draft in which the characters get to cross over into death and back, as a way of exploring how we relate to those we've lost.

It's fun, isn't it? Thanks for the recommended reads, too.