Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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On Being a Reader —

Thanks to Twitter, just found a nice post up at fantasy-fiction on, as you have no doubt gathered, being a Reader — and specifically a reader of SFF. As opposed, primarily, to not being a Reader at all, and doesn’t it shock you to meet someone who claims never to have read a single book that wasn’t assigned in school? I mean, seriously?

Whether reading is just a way of leaving behind the real world or a bone-deep instinct that cannot be quelled, there is something undeniably special about science fiction and fantasy. GRRM has the right of it when he suggests there’s something true and timeless to be found within the genre.

Which of course there is, because all fiction is about people and about the human condition, basically, and so obviously the most secondary of secondary-world settings doesn’t reduce by one iota the truth in a well-told story. So I roll my eyes when a guy I know tries to persuade me that narrative nonfiction is superior because it’s true. True! As if, right? And as if the factual basis of events in the story is anything other than trivial anyway.

Anyway, the post is worth reading if you want to click through.

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2 Comments On Being a Reader —

  1. Craig

    “So I roll my eyes when a guy I know tries to persuade me that narrative nonfiction is superior because it’s true.”

    Speaking as an amateur historian, has he ever read two narratives about the same events?

    If you don’t think about it too closely, you might suppose that at least a nonfiction narrative will stay within the bounds of how human beings actually act, which God knows isn’t true of all fiction. But when you get down to cases, the narrator’s additions and deductions (e.g. about motives) give them plenty of room for accidentally passing into impossibilities — never mind just errors — without realizing it.

  2. Rachel

    “Speaking as an amateur historian, has he ever read two narratives about the same events?”

    Hah hah hah! Yeah, very good point; I’m going to ask him that next time the fiction vs nonfiction debate comes up.

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