Most of us always remember the books that shaped us in our youth.
For me, THE WHITE MOUNTAINS by John Christopher will always occupy a sacred place in my heart. Along with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter books, this series is what introduced me to science fiction.
I can still remember getting assigned to read it in the fifth grade, and thinking what a strange and scary and wonderful book it was. I’d never seen the White Mountains in person, but for years they lived in my mind. Of course, I devoured the rest of the trilogy as well as the prequel (WHEN THE TRIPODS CAME).
Though some have been critical of the books recently (especially in this Slate article, in which the author bemoans the lack of strong female characters), I still think they are worthwhile books. And like a lot of things that were written in a different time, they suffer from the shortsightedness of their era. Few women were writing science fiction back then (or at least, few were being published).
Remember folks, it wasn’t all that long ago that a young woman named Joanne Rowling (no middle name) was told that nobody would want to read a fantasy book about a boy wizard if they knew that it was written by a woman. Hence, the moniker J.K. Rowling was born.
We have come a long way since then though.
Thankfully, fabulous women are diving into this genre and upending it and transforming it. And as I work on my science fiction trilogy, I am grateful for the strides that they’ve made, but also to those writers who came before us.
But even in the midst of my sadness, I’m reminded about the great thing about authors: after they die, their work lives on.