Thoughtful Thursday: Giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, American readers! In honor of Ryan, who recently retired from FanLit after eight years of servitude, we’re re-running his Thanksgiving column from two years ago. 

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? Or, feel free to express other literature-related thanks.

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. Bobby V. Berry, Jr. /

    SF&F have taught me that race, sex & religion don’t matter. I treat people as people. Nothing more and nothing less no matter who they are.

  2. John Smith /

    I will thank the author of the “Hell Divers” series, since that is full of excitement and derring-do. I’ll have to read his other series, since I expect they will have more of the same!

  3. Leland Eaves /

    Thank you to the sci fi authors that launched me into a lifetime of a love for books. People like H Beam Piper, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, and so many more.

  4. Noneofyourbusiness /

    SF&F have allowed me to explore worlds and characters that I love.

  5. The Distinguished Professor /

    Science fiction and fantasy have shown me a wide variety of eyes to see through.

  6. Science Fictin teaches that even though we may look different we have even more similarities

  7. Lady Morar /

    SFF is a good way to comment on reality and make people think without appearing heavy-handed.

  8. Paul Connelly /

    I am very thankful for public libraries. That’s where I got my first exposure to fantasy and science fiction as a kid (Eleanor Cameron’s Mushroom Planet books), and where I discovered a lot of other favorite authors (Andre Norton, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, et al) during my growing years. Getting books as gifts and buying them at the local magazine rack helped, but libraries came first.

    Now I’m back in a state with a “borrow from any library” system, and I am renewing my appreciation for public libraries, especially for trying books I would never buy (anything in hardcover only, and authors I’ve never heard of before). If the corporations that are trying to promote ever more draconian “intellectual property” laws had their way, public libraries would not be allowed to exist. Fortunately they have over a century of momentum behind them, and I hope they will outlive me by just as long.

  9. I’ve been reading speculative fiction since I was a child. “Harry Potter” was one of the few pop culture books that made it cool to read fantasy books!

  10. I will always be thankfull for the escaping power of a good story!

  11. Leland Eaves, 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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