Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved reading. It’s a love I’ve never lost. I was a voracious reader, and went from easy chapter books to adult fiction at a pretty young age. My first adult books were military fiction that sat on my dad’s bookshelf. I read a lot of Tom Clancy growing up!
But as I got older and I started to develop my own tastes, I gravitated towards science fiction and fantasy. In particular, I started reading a lot of Battletech novels, and I still own most of the series.
As an adult, I still consider myself a voracious reader. I have less time than I used to, but I still generally read somewhere between sixty and eighty books a year, including a fair number of massive books, (Thanks Neal Stephenson and Brandon Sanderson). Today I read a wide variety of work, and a lot more non-fiction than I used to, but I still always come back to Science Fiction and Fantasy (SFF from here on out)
While all genres are pretty cool, I really do think SFF are the best, and here’s why:
- They make us ask and try to answer big questions. Can Artificial Intelligence be considered human? What will our future look like? All good literature can ask big questions, but I’ve always found some of the most imaginative questions and answers exist in SFF. I love being able to read about these ideas, which always brings me back to the genre.
- World-building. Again, every novel has world building, but the creativity that goes into the world building of a SFF universe is unparalleled. The setting of these books becomes integral to the story, and at least in me, create a sense of awe and wonder. It’s a whole new universe, right at my fingertips.
- They inspire us. There are plenty of tropes in SFF (Farm boy saving the world, anyone?), but they exist because they are so powerful and so inspiring. When I was young I tried to model myself after some of the characters I read about. I think this has even improved in recent years. With the rise of more multi-dimensional characters, like in Game of Thrones, it’s easier than ever to imagine yourself as the hero of your own story.
As I’ve implied, none of these are unique to SFF, but they are stronger in SFF, and the combination of these factors will always keep me coming back.