Originally published October 26, 2013
Annah, by Clay Gilbert. Available in Kindle and soon to be on market in paperback.
Joining the introductory Blog Tour for Annah’s release. Book one of the Children of Evohe. Annah’s Exile and Children of Evohe to follow.
When I was in college I had an English Literature term paper assignment that did not come with a list of books. We were to pick an author or two and compose our term paper based on what we thought their book or books did to add to our literary treasure and what we thought the author or authors contributed to cultural discourse. We did have to have the authors and titles approved. Imagine my professor’s shock when I informed her that I wished to do my paper on Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke.
Pulp fiction! Aliens and impossible space travel? You think THAT has literary value? Well, actually, I do. After much discussion I was informed that my project was approved but that I was taking a great risk. The paper counted for a large portion of the grade. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I stuck to my quest. And here is why.
Whatever the political or religious leanings were or are of some of our greatest science fiction writers, there is one thing the truly successful ones have in common. They are able to take our human foibles, the things that we are not particularly proud of and tend to hide, and transplant them into a place, a time, a “world” that allows us to exam the consequences. We can do this examination without getting defensive, and without the built-in prejudices that we no longer notice because they are so woven into the fabric of our everyday lives.
In the stories that Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke crafted during their careers, they explored the meaning and the destiny of many cultural issues. Heinlein’s, Revolt in 2100 (Originally titled, If This Goes On) was about what would happen if our republic became a theocracy. Clarke investigated what it would mean to the human race to actually become something more than what we are, to find those powers we keep seeking. In Childhood’s End he takes threads from many of our legends and ancient sacred texts and weaves them into a “coming of age” for the human race. Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy was a deep exploration of cultural modeling, done on a grand scale. In these stories we find the freedom to explore those things most sensitive because other people, other beings are experiencing them. A good writer does it well enough that after the book is closed, those thoughts linger. We begin to look around us and to think, what do we really want our world to look like? Is the health and welfare of every being on this planet, human or not, really my responsibility? And if it is, what do I do about it?
My friend, Clay Gilbert, is such a writer. I have spent many a stolen moment browsing through his blog where his main character, Annah, lives. It is there that she tells the legends of her people. She speaks of the traditions of healing, for self and race, and of hope that somehow those of us who share the miracle of life, will find a way of mutual understanding and growth. I believe that Annah’s tale, currently expected to be a trilogy, will be a classic in the science fiction and fantasy genre. It will call like a siren and take us to a place where we see clearly and return with a vision of our own.
Oh, by the way, I was given a B+ by a professor that rarely gave As at all.