Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Flight of Fancy

It's amazing how much work and study going into maintaining the illusion of a mild-mannered alter ego. One must make time, for example, for "hobbies," if only to have something to chat about around the water cooler with "the guys." It's hard to mingle when your genuine interests have nothing to do with sports and the latest episode of "American Idol," but I've found something which both holds my interest and provides for good conversation at the office: Fantasy literature. Now, people may question why a superhero would have an interest in fantasy - aren't we living a fantastic life already? But heroes can learn from good fantasy novels. Chivalry, honor, love of one's fellow man and an endless dedication to fight for that which is right, to the death and beyond - these are all things for which a hero must strive. Alternatively, darker fantasy can provide useful insights into the villainous mind.
Recently, I've stumbled across an author who truly fires the imagination - Brandon Sanderson. Virtue, adventure and humor abound in his works, and I only wish he had more books already written. I was first introduced to his work with Elantris, a novel which simply can't be put down. Among my supergroup, we now refer to "pulling an Elantris," indicating staying up until the wee small hours of the morning finishing something. It's THAT good. The rest of his works are great, too. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a wonderfully humorous book which shows us that evil and secret combinations can be literally anywhere.
He's now working on the final book of the famous "Wheel of Time" series, which is sufficient incentive for me to want to pick up all 10,000+ pages of the series. I'd read the first 7, but found that I didn't like what the characters had become - they no longer represented any sort of heroic ideal for me. Knowing what the conclusion is likely to be like, though, I'll plow through it all again.

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