Letter to the Author

I am a great and loyal fan of many writers: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce, Jacqueline Carey, Kate Elliot, Libba Bray, Sarah Dessen… the list goes on and on. These are authors who are living and writing and creating today. These are authors whose books I can look forward to, whose careers I can actively follow (what with the wonders of the online community these days). I treat these people with as much reverence as I treat my favorite bands – more so, perhaps, because their fame is often less materially rewarding and their renown is limited to the community who enjoy their particular genre; meaning my respect for them and awe of them grows because of the difficulties they face in pursuing their chosen careers.

I’ve met Neil Gaiman. He was a darling, and managed not to seem the least bit bored during the two signings of his in which I participated. He is an incredible public speaker. He is extremely popular, though, and I have never felt the urge to write to him. So, also, with many other of the authors I love.

I wrote to Jacqueline Carey though. I wrote of my passion for her books and my admiration for both her literary style and her imagination, for her beautifully-wrought characters and her intricate plots. She wrote back. She really did. It was a while after I had written, but she did write back.

Which is why, I suppose, I’ve been struggling for days with trying to find the perfect wording for a second letter – this time to Tamora Pierce. I grew up on her books – I own every single one of them, and there are many, believe me. The smell of the pages of those well-thumbed novels of hers bring back memories from countless instances, and I’ve read and reread her books endlessly. I hope that once I find the words to write to her properly, she’ll respond. I shouldn’t expect it, but I can’t help but hope.

It’s overwhelming, sometimes, to love and admire people with such creative minds and incredible determination. But it’s often inspiring too.

“I’m a genre too, you know,” squeaked the little book sadly.

So sue me. I like reading books that are written well but that are also readable. Books that I can enjoy reading without having to strain my brain enough that reading three pages makes me exhausted for the whole day. I like reading books with a good story- something exciting, interesting, philosophical and enthralling by turns.

You know what books fall under those catagories quite often? Fantasy books, sci-fi books. I wish people would stop looking down on books of those genres. Have you read Orson-Scott Card? Neil Gaiman? Terry Pratchett and China Meville? If you haven’t then how the hell can you make a polite but mocking face when you look at the book I’m reading?!

I loved Jane Eyre, I loved Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed A Clockwork Orange immensely. But those classics are still not as enjoyable, fun orĀ  wonderful to me as books such as American Gods or Un-Lun-Dun or Ender’s Game.

So please, World-At-Large, stop looking at fantasy and sci-fi as non-genres.