When we put together the fantasist anthology, Bibliotheca Fantastica, we asked ourselves, “What’s so magical about books, anyway?” David Sklar, Gord Sellar, Michael J. DeLuca, A.C. Wise, Garry Kilworth, S.J. Hirons, Ray Vukcevich, Tina Connolly, and Andrew S. Fuller, answered that question for us, over at The Qwillery:
Books are time travel. They’re telepathy. They’re the seance, the ansible, the summoning ritual, the oracle, the visionary dream. Reading makes another person’s ideas our own, for better or worse, as different, far away or long ago as that other person might be. The connection isn’t perfect–what magic is? But what’s lost in the translation from one mind to the page and back into another’s leaves room for the creativity that makes the next book possible, and the next. If only we could read them all. – Michael J. DeLuca, author of “Other Palimpsests”
My favorite and most heartbreaking dreams are the ones where I’m in a library or old junk shop and I stumble on a book by a beloved author that I didn’t know existed. I know where this comes from–when I was little I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. I thought there was only one book, but then in my Scholastic flyer from school I boggled as I saw an advertisement for #2. In our local bookstore sometime later I found 3, and eventually all the L. Frank Baum ones through 14. Several years later I was in the Topeka library and the same thrilling shock ran through me as I found the ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Each of these moments is incised in my memory. The books themselves were magical, but the unexpected discovery that you could, in fact, go back to Oz (or Narnia, or Green Gables, or or or) was always the real magic. – Tina Connolly, author of “Paperheart”
We are matter that looks at and thinks about the universe and then tells stories. How that all works and why we should make up stories are deep mysteries, but that’s what we do, and while it might not really be magic, it is wonderful. As we change in the coming ages, if we survive, the way we tell those stories might change, too. When we augment those most complicated of things, our brains, new art forms will probably arise. At some deep level, though, I think it will still be narrative, because that’s who we are. We struggle to make sense of things and then we say stuff. Some of the most interesting things we say are collected in objects called “books.” – Ray Vukcevich, author of “The Go-Between”
Read the rest here.