Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A New Experience

I love it when I have a new experience reading. It doesn't happen that often to me. Most books bring some kind of new experience, but I mean a totally different way of reading, if that makes sense. I recently finished the first book in the science fiction series, Dune. I'll just say that if you resist reading science fiction (or fantasy, for that matter) for whatever reason ("I don't like reading about things that can't actually happen.") then you are missing SO much. Give it a try. And frankly, Dune is widely considered to be one of the best sci-fi novels so if you're looking to get your feet wet in the genre, it's not a bad place to start.

Anyway...my new experience. I love reading about fantastical things. I love being immersed in a world that is not my own whether it be another time, another place, or even a particular slice of history. When you read a book like that - especially a work of fantasy or science fiction - the author has to introduce you to that world in some way. In Harry Potter and the Scorcerer's Stone we learn about the parallel wizarding world at the same time Harry does. A brilliant way to lead the reader (and the main character) into this new realm. In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien does a similar thing. The reader briefly learns of the Shire and then follows Frodo as he sees and learns about Middle Earth.

And then there's Frank Herbert and Dune. Herbert plops you down right smack in the middle of Caladan (and then Dune) and immerses you in the world with no previous background knowledge. You learn the language and ways of the world simply be being in it and continuing to read, much like going to Spain to immerse yourself in the language as a means of learning Spanish and the Spanish culture. Somewhere along the way you find yourself (through context clues, etc.) understanding the vernacular better and better. As a reader I did learn things about the planet Dune through the expereinces of the main character, but what was new and different (and something I never forgot) was how I was introduced to it.

1 comment:

Mary said...

I will admit I am a hesitant one, never really got into fantasy. But you make it sound appealing. So, perhaps, I will have to pick up the Dune you speak of so highly!