Nathan Bransford captures the importance of stories in our lives:
“Life is too complicated to hold in your head and relationships are too immense and multi-faceted to easily comprehend. So we write and tell stories to make sense of our relationships and existence. A novel can capture more than we can readily contemplate, and an author can, brick by brick, build a world that can illuminate and give meaning to some part of the full tapestry of our lives and relationships. They help us understand things that are too difficult to think about all at once.”
I totally agree.
Not that I think you necessarily sit down as an author and TRY to tell The Truth about the Human Experience. Or if you do try, if that’s your actual aim, I think you’re likely to come across as horribly preachy. But I don’t exactly think it’s an accident when truths (lower case “t”) about the human condition emerge, either, and it adds immeasurably to a story when they do. That’s what Marsden did in his Tomorrow series.
I’m sure the same can be said about every single book that really grabs you, but you know who else comes to my mind here? Lois McMaster Bujold. I’m sure everybody’s familiar with her Vorkosigan books? Right? (If not, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to buy them all ASAP!). Unlike Marsden, she doesn’t signal in any way that Here Comes the Philosophy. But from time to time, she drops a knife-edged truth into the middle of a scene and it just reverberates all the way down your spine.
Kind of mixing metaphors there, but you get what I mean.