Note: To see what the 5 Minute Month is all about, click here to read the first post in the series.
So, the wife and I have been watching Game of Thrones of late, after a friend let us borrow the first two seasons. I’ve put off watching the tv shows until I has read far enough ahead in the novels to avoid any overlap, but my wife has been starting over from scratch, so there’s been a good deal of pausing to identify characters and offer carefully redacted opinions on what “might” happen in the next episode.
In many ways, reading the “Song of Fire and Ice” series has ushered me back to my early teens, when I spent a good deal of time reading sci-fi novels. I was just beginning to turn my nose up at “genre” fiction (or at least what I understood genre fiction to be) when the series was first introduced, so while the name George R.R. Martin certainly was recognizable to me at the time, I wasn’t interested. And I’ll confess, after over half-a-decade spent studying Renaissance literature and thought, I half expected the snob police to bust me when I purchased a copy of the first novel, using a gift card my brother- and sister-in-law gave me for Christmas. The fact that I bought it at a large national chain store offered me a measure of comfort — I was less likely to meet one of my theoretically-inclined grad school cohort emerging from the philosophy section of the wonderfully esoteric family-owned bookstore near our campus. The fact that it was an “HBO” copy, with an image of Sean Bean as Ned Stark sitting on the Iron Throne pasted across the cover, made it even worse somehow. Even though a number of my grad school friends had been urging me to pick up the series, and I had finished my degree fairly recently at the time, I felt enormous pressure to dive in to the stack of scholarly books I had recently purchased for work on my academic manuscript project. But it was spring break, and my then-fiancee / now wife was travelling to visit family to make arrangements for “the dress,” everyone else I knew was heading out of town, and I was just getting over an exhausting bout of the flu.
But I dove into the book when I returned home, and immediately was caught up in the story, as millions of others have been. Opening those pages was like a ticket back to my younger, less-jaded self, the one who could get lost in a book for days on end and allowed his imagination to run free, only it was even better, because my 30-something self could appreciate the escapist aspects of reading the novel in ways that my teenage self could not. And even more important, I realized how badly I had missed sci-fi novels. True, in the year-or-so since first picking up that book, I haven’t exactly thrown myself into reading more sci-fi novels, but I’ve begun picking them up again at used book stores and at book sales. And I bought the last two “Fire and Ice” books at the family-owned bookstore near campus, fixing anyone who dared judge me for it with a gaze that would have made Tywinn Lannister himself flinch. OKay, so nobody noticed, but I’m pretty sure it was intimidating.
Is this a good time to add that I’ve started writing sci-fi stories again as well? Would you like to read part of one? It involves a wizard and a dog and an ever-so-brave young scholar who… all right, I’m kidding. (Maybe).
Word count: about 600
Time: Had fun, think it was about 15 minutes