Thoughtful Thursday: Blank Slate

When my 24 year old son (Nate) was visiting recently, he suggested that we listen to an audiobook together and asked me to introduce him to one of my favorite fantasy series.

I was delighted to do this, of course, and I downloaded my Audible copy of Robin Hobb‘s Assassin’s Apprentice. Within minutes, Nate was hooked. We listened to the first two books together before he had to leave.

He loved FitzChivalry’s story just as much as I did and it was exciting to visit it again through his fresh eyes though, as I told Nate, I wish I didn’t know what was going to happen so I could be just as surprised (and worried, and relieved, and gutted, etc) as he will be.

This reminded me that ten years ago, Ruth asked us:

What series would you like to read again for the first time, if you could have your memory erased so you could discover it all over again?

Ten years ago I answered, “Robin Hobb’s FARSEER saga” and I would answer the same way today. Reading it with my son was almost like starting it over again.

So, as we did back then, I ask you today:

What series or stand-alone SFF book would you undergo a mind wipe for? 

Let us know in the comments and we’ll randomly choose a winner who will pick a book from our stacks.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. I think I’d have to go with LoTR so I could experience for the first time again those moments like the horn of Helm’s Deep, the balrog scene, the appearance of the Riders at Gondor, the fall of the Witch-King, Aragorn coming off the pirate ships, the, damn, now I have to go and reread the trilogy again . . .

    Though Hobb would have to be in my top five or so. Along with Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series.

    Funny though, because while it’d be great to experience them the first time again, there is the fact that I experience longer reactions (if not as intense) on the rereads. Like I’m already goosed up for pages in anticipation of Aragorn showing up at Pellenor, and I’m already choking up at (well, I won’t say) in Hobb well in advance, or I’m already crying at (well, I won’t say) way before the last page of The High King. So there are those benefits . . .

  2. Noneofyourbusiness /

    “Animorphs” by K.A. Applegate. Definitely worth discovering all over again. The first-person narration from a different character each book was great and there were lots of different perspectives with the animal morphs and their senses; being in other shoes encourages empathy, which is a big part of why it’s essential to read books from an early age onwards. Also many different alien species, and all of them genuinely alien and not humanoids with funny foreheads.

    The psychological effects of teenagers having to wage a guerilla war against an entrenched invasion of body snatches were portrayed realistically, but the series wasn’t without adventure or humor (especially from Marco) either.

  3. Mary Henaghen /

    Seanan Mcguires October Daye series. It is a please to reread, but not know the outcomes and having the edge of your chair energy to see how things are resolved would be awsome.

    • Mary, what a great choice! I’m reading the new October Daye book,
      A Killing Frost, right now, and it’s as good as all the others. But now that I’ve read the reveal at the end, it will never be new again, and that’s a shame!

  4. The Distinguished Professor /

    Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials”, of course.

  5. Jillian E Williams /

    Definitely the hunger games. It’s a classic and it got me back into reading, but I pretty much have it memorized now so it’s less engaging than it once was.

  6. Lady Morar /

    Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy is one of the most engrossing and hilarious series ever (though not exactly a comedy), especially the djinni’s footnotes throughout the books, and every member of my family had a great time reading it.

  7. Jana Nyman /

    Hrmmm….I can’t say there are many SFF books I’d want to undergo a mind-wipe for, since — as Bill points out — sometimes knowing what’s going to happen provides new insight into what you’re reading (what comes to my mind is N.K. Jemisin’s BROKEN EARTH trilogy).

    Now, if you asked what SFF video game I’d want a mind-wipe for, so that I could experience the plot twists all over again, that’s a pretty long list!

    • Jana, you have to give me some ideas for games to play as a complete newbie. Role playing, not first person shooter, not much in the way of combat. I still have the one that caused so much fuss 30 years ago — the island, lots of puzzles, you know which one I mean (I can’t remember the title right now), but haven’t played it — should I start there?

      Oh, and I don’t have a very fancy computer or a joystick, so if that makes a difference….

  8. The Elric books!

  9. I’m split between “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman, and “Vita Nostra” by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko.

  10. The first one that pops to my mind is ASoIaF, but it’s not complete. Although it has a lot of surprises, so a re-read will never be the same.

    So I’ll go with Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy.
    Say one thing for Joe, say he knows how to write grimdark.

    • Noneofyourbusiness /

      Actually, I’m planning to do a re-read of the books so far but only the Jon and Daenerys chapters, to emphasize the parallels.

  11. John Smith /

    Hmm–How about Lemony Snicket’s “A Series Of Unfortunate Events”?, and the world would promise to never inform me of the existence of the mediocre movie or the mediocre TV series. There were some things I liked at first about the TV series, but it became completely leaden and irritating after a while and with the last episodes I just fast-forwarded through it and thought, “Make it go away, make it go away!”

    My favorite thing in the whole series of books was the idea of making small babies go to work in lumber mills.

    The book series never came to a really satisfying conclusion, I think, but I did like the humor.

  12. I’d second HIS DARK MATERIALS. And maybe Ann Leckie’s ANICLLARY series (that’s not the official series title.)

  13. I’d love to reread Robert Jackson Bennett’s DIVINE CITIES trilogy again, though the way my brain tends to purge things I’ve read at an unholy rate, all I really need to do is wait about 10 years and it’ll be like reading them fresh and new.

    And I’m thinking it’d be fun to read the VORDKOSIGAN books again for the first time.

  14. Sethia /

    This one was hard for me, so I chose two. The adult in me picks The Wheel of Time series, and my inner child picks Harry Potter.

  15. Yagiz,if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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