Monday, January 21, 2013

Today is President Barak Obama's second Inauguration Day. Today is Martin Luther King Day. Today I should be thinking deep thoughts and sharing my insight on the monumental nature of this moment.

But I'll leave that to others. Lots and lots of others.

Today I am thinking about the library I just unloaded from my office closet. Today I am thinking about the boxes and stacks of science fiction and fantasy books I am getting ready to send out into the world.

I moved many boxes of books to this house 10 years ago. Half have moved on. But none that lived in the closet, the ones nearest to my heart, the ones that opened my eyes to worlds and realities I had never considered. Some of those worlds were vast and mind-boggling in their differences, populated by folks just like us. Others were only a hair's-breadth akimbo, and yet that tiny shift caused earthquakes and avalanches in societies so different from ours that they left us forever changed, on guard against any hint of their existence coming to light.

Like "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
Like "Brave New World."

My old, dusty, yellowed and faded babies, you hold many of my lives : "I, Robot," "Catch 22," "Crome Yellow," "Fahrenheit 451, "The Others," "Greener than you Think," "Grass," "A Canticle for Liebowitz," "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Ringworld," "Dune," "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," "A Wrinkle in Time," "Mists of Avalon," "The Handmaid's Tale," "Ender's Game," "Planiverse," "Flowers for Algernon," "Lord of the Rings" (two sets), "Foundation Trilogy," "The Stand," "A Clockwork Orange," "Watership Down," "The Belgariad," "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever," "Wicked," "The Crystal Cave."

And 150 Analog and Science Fiction, Science Fact magazines circa 1988-1993.

There is one shelf full of those I still cannot let go: "Slaughterhouse Five," and all other Kurt Vonnegut works. "The Hitchiker's Guide to the Universe," and all other Douglas Addams works.

To the rest, I let them go with love. It's a little sad to say goodbye, but they haven't been touched in a decade.

It is time for other hands to hold them. It is time they welcomed other eyes, other minds.

So long my friends.

Thanks for all the fish.

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