why speculative fiction?

On a big Killers kick over here, SAM'S TOWN best, though their new album admittedly rocks. SAM'S TOWN appeals because by setting all the songs in the same fictional setting, they take on a fresh sensibility.

Besides, Brandon's hot.

There are folks who just don't buy into speculative fiction. Shocking. Most of my readers, I'm guessing (you're a quiet bunch, especially the bots) are way into spec fic. But why? What's the appeal?

For me it started out as pure escape. I was a geek as a kid. I don't mean I was just into geeky stuff. I mean I was the kid with NO friends in 7th grade. Not one. Lunch by myself. Talking to no one all day. Tormented by LISA, that bitch. Wrote my first book that summer. Huh. But anyway, SF/F was the way out. Not kids books. All of them but Alec in THE BLACK STALLION had friends, and hell, he even had Shêtân. A lot of kids fic just reminded me how alone I was. I think I most identified with Eustace in VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, actually. I had four cousins who I went to stay with summers, all who seemed to have their own things going, something well outside my perception.

So journeys to Middle Earth, the STAR WARS universes, or Narnia moved beyond entertainment into sustenance. These were places requiring recognizable muddling through, except I had friends with me, Alec and Lucy and Aragorn and Legolas and Ponyboy, cuz I was reading THE OUTSIDERS along about then, too, probably for the fiftieth time. Actually started reading it in fourth grade, when we met the author at school. She inspired my best friend to write, who in turn inspired me.

I think in a way it's still escape for me, though I'm more widely read. (Right now, Joe Finder's VANISHED, among others.) But if I reach for comfort reading (some people it's food, for me it's books) it's speculative fiction. I'm sure there's more to it than before. I'm still a geek, but I've got friends, damn it.

So why? Why speculative fiction?

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