'Doomed' to Dislike Sci-Fi, Fantasy

News Sentinel, December 11, 2016 | Go to article overview

'Doomed' to Dislike Sci-Fi, Fantasy


Though I like to think I'm a well-rounded reader, I'm not. Voracious reader, yes. But not well-rounded.

I had to face this fact when I tried, I really tried, to read the prized new collected novellas of Ursula K. La Guin, "The Found and the Lost," just out from Simon & Schuster.

Le Guin is a favorite poet of mine, but this is a book of her science fiction, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot get into that genre. Science fiction and fantasy leave me cold: Plots seem convoluted and contrived, characters never evolve into someone, or something, I care about.

This is not the writers' problem, it's mine.

"The Found and the Lost" won Le Guin the National Book Foundation's medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Her science fiction earns praises from prestigious critics who describe it as "magical," "luminous," "eloquent," her characters as "complex and haunting," plotlines "always provocative."

What is the matter with me? As a reader, and it hurts to say this, I find it flat and boring.

Of course she's written other things: 21 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, 12 books for children and six volumes of poetry. She is indeed, at 87, a giant of American literature.

The closest I ever came to enjoying fantasy was the Harry Potter series, but even then I lasted only through two of the series, then wigged out. "Game of Thrones," the TV show everyone talked about? …

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