Thoughtful Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday. There are no gifts. Instead, we set time aside for family, friends, and good food. And we are invited to consider those things we are grateful for, a reminder to keep things in perspective.

Well, one thing I’m grateful for is science fiction and fantasy stories. They were the first books that appealed to me when I was a young reader. Though I’ve met readers who dismiss these genres, I would like to think SFF can inspire us to be better people and to live more fully realized lives.

These novels often follow heroes who stand up for others. I’m especially grateful for those who stand up to injustice, bigotry, and bullying, even if it might cost them in the short term. Of all these characters, the best might be Harry Potter, who stands up for himself and his friends and who endures the taunts of bullies. In an interview, J.K. Rowling once stated that these books are intended as a “prolonged argument for tolerance, a prolonged plea for an end to bigotry.”

What lessons has SFF offered that you are grateful for?

One random commenter will choose a book from our stacks.


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RYAN SKARDAL, on our staff from September 2010 to November 2018, is an English teacher who reads widely but always makes time for SFF.

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  1. I’m grateful that lots of SFF offers a model of people working together, putting aside differences, even if only temporarily, to solve a common problem. Recently the movie ARRIVAL was one example of that. I’m also grateful for the “sense of wonder” thing.

  2. I’ve learned that many different sociocultural arrangements are possible and workable. I think maybe I became an anthropologist because of SFF. I wanted more and different worlds to explore. The lesson is that there isn’t just one way to do things. Oh, and what Marion said.

  3. So many things from SF.
    Sense of wonder.
    Mad beautiful ideas.
    Encouraging me to think and learn to use a library.
    A community patient enough to let me grow into myself.
    Authors like Charles Stross, Alastair Reynolds, Hannu Rajaniemi, David Drake, Graydon Saunders, Max Gladstone, NK Jemisin and more authors than I can think of.

  4. I’m grateful that most modern SFF authors create multi-faceted characters who are not pure good nor pure evil. This, in turn, teaches us not to be too quick to judge people and to try to understand them.

  5. Sandy Giden /

    I’ve always liked the fact that people in SFF books often manage to get along and work with people from other races and civilizations.

  6. RedEyedGhost /

    I’m thankful for the endless sense of wonder that SFF provides.

  7. Gosh. All of the above. Not to mention that by showing us realities in which people of all shapes, sizes, religions etc. CAN work together, in fact that it is such a non-issue is freeing. Especially these days.

    And of course as mentioned above, showing how those that are different give us new perspectives in understanding ourselves and in understanding how we are viewed by others.

    But I think best of all is giving us a safe space to escape to. A place that may not be better or even safe for the characters, but can take our minds off of whatever is going on in our own lives.

  8. Margo, 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!

  9. Thank you! I’m off to check the stacks. Brb :)

  10. I’m on a Max Gladstone binge right now so maybe Four Roads Cross if it’s still there. Will send address privately.

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