I awoke this morning to the calming sound of a light pattering against the bedroom window. I rose from bed, stretched and yawned, walked to the door and opened it. Little droplets of renewal, small glimmering orbs, each containing a mirrored image of the world around them, cascaded from the heavens and washed across the concrete and grass outside my house.
It was a wonderful way to start the day.
That same article links to this entry posted to John Scalzi’s blog the day before.
I know none of you have asked for my opinion on this topic and, truthfully, many of you probably do not care one way or the other, but here it is anyway:
There are many readers of science fiction/fantasy who will scoff at you if you say you read young adult books. There are many who will try to convince you that it is a foolish waste of time and, in fact, talent to read YA SF over adult SF (their argument is as such: “For every YA SF title written by an author, the literary landscape is denied a full-fledged adult SF title by that same author. Which is BAD.”). There are even those among the world who will say the recent YA movement is killing SF altogether.
These people are wrong.
If not for the YA section of some of my favorite book stores, I’d never have discovered the wonderful world of Garth Nix and his thrilling Abhorsen Trilogy. If not for delving into the YA Fantasy section of your book store, you may miss such great authors such as Lewis Carroll or C.S. Lewis, as some book stores put Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Chronicles Of Narnia in this section. Another great book often hidden away in the YA section is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.
And let’s not forget Harry Potter.
The notion that the world of YA SF/F is somehow damaging the world of adult SF/F is preposterous.
But look at the sales numbers, Mr. Kaas. You’ll find that in today’s market, YA SF/F is outselling adult SF/F two-to-one! You cannot argue with the numbers!
No. No, I cannot argue with the numbers. YA books are making huge numbers out there. But is that not a good thing for SF in the long run? Does that not mean that a fresh crop of unmolded minds, ready to be stretched and prodded and properly flabbergasted by truly smart science fiction is now buying books? Five or ten years from now, will these young adults not be buying adult science fiction?
I would much rather hand my twelve year old a copy of Pretties by Scott Westerfeld than the latest High School Musical book or something else aimed at his age group. True, he’s probably old enough to enjoy something like The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Universe by Douglas Adams, or maybe even The Hobbit by Tolkien, but the great thing about YA SF/F is the accessability of it all. Some great YA writers have the uncanny ability to write deep, prolific stories, that are just complex enough. They’re easy enough to understand, without being dumbed down just because it’s written for a younger audience. Plus a quick reader can probably finish the average YA book in a single afternoon of reading.
In short, I don’t believe that YA SF/F is killing adult SF/F. I don’t believe that for every YA title written by an established writer of adult titles, an adult book of even greater value is lost forever. I also don’t believe that established adult SF authors should lose any of their previously established respectability, simply for writing a YA title.
The next time you’re in the book store, stop by the YA section and take a look around. Read some book jackets, scan some of the covers and see if anything strikes your fancy. You may find some hidden gem you would have normally overlooked.
It seems the late night pre-bed ramble may become a habit, you poor bastards.
It’s supposed to rain tomorrow. Not just rain, but a thunderstorm is reportedly on its way through. I’m sure there are those who will see a thunderstorm in their weather update and groan.
“Ugh, rain.” they’ll say, “Just when the weather was getting nice.”
I’ve never understood the bad wrap that has accompanied rain. The scourge of childhood weekends, the ruiner of trendy hairstyles, the cause of distress to the owner of a recently washed car. All practical problems, all understandable, but they are also each clouds with their own silver lining.
For every wet weekend a child was forced to enjoy indoors, there was the series of puddles said child was then able to splash in on the way to school Monday morning.
For every trendy hairstyle ruined, there was an umbrella salesman able to feed his children.
For every recently washed car doomed to bear unsightly waterspots, a muddy jeep that hadn’t seen a drop of water in weeks got a well deserved shower.
There’s even that children’s rhyme from decades ago:
Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.
Rain, rain, go away.
Come again some other day.
Little Arthur wants to play,
In the meadow by the hay.
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again.
Rain, rain, pour down,
But not a drop on our town.
Rain on the green grass,
and rain on the tree,
And rain on the housetop,
but not on me.
Rain, rain, go away,
Come again on washing day.
Rain, rain, go to Germany,
And remain there permanently.
Rain, rain, go away,
Come on Martha’s wedding day.
Rain is generally seen as a symbol of depression, the poor hapless bastard in question generally seen marred by a small black cloud, constantly pouring droplets of liquid sadness upon his head.
It just doesn’t make sense. Rainy days should be seen as days of cleansing. A chance to wipe the slate clean and start again with the next day’s sunlight. A time when one can step outside and breathe deeply the scent of rebirth.
I’ve always loved rainy days. Even as a child, I’d go for walks in the rain. No umbrella. Just me and the showers. Of course, my mother disagreed with this fascination and I often found myself being dragged back indoors before I could get very far.
But even today, I revel in the chance to take a stroll around the neighborhood while the tiny droplets of renewing glory.
Maybe I saw Singin’ In The Rain too many times as a child.
Charlton Heston has passed away. I’ve just read this. I may not have agreed with his stance on guns, but I certainly respected him as an actor. His presence will be missed.
I’ve been thinking a lot about writing over the last few days. Not just blogging, but writing. The last thing I wrote, this short story entitled The Incident On The Roof Of The Grand Hills Hotel In This Current Year, felt great. It was cathartic, really. It was as though I was getting a fix of an addictive substance I hadn’t had a taste of in quite some time.
I may continue work on any of the number of things with which I currently find myself blocked. Or maybe another short piece will come to me. I’m not sure yet.
Which reminds me, it’s been quite some time since I’ve seen The Agony and the Ecstacy.
It’s late, the words are starting to swirl together into one large messy spiral, and so I believe it’s time for bed.