Science fiction and fantasy grew me up. I suppose I could have been raised by another genre, but I was a boy in the Sixties and the choices were limited. Horror was associated with comic books. Western novels were fading. War stories languished in a gulf between the memory of WWII and a future terrorism. Romance was the governess of girls, not boys, and literature was what they made you read in school.
So, for a book-reading boy, science fiction and fantasy was it, and I’m grateful for that, because I think it gave me something the others couldn’t – a sense of awe.
I read, and Ray Bradbury took me up to the Martian mountaintop and showed me a desperate, dry expanse. I read, and Arthur C. Clarke sent the millennia scuttling like a slinky down the stairs. I read, and Ursula K. Le Guin and Cordwainer Smith grabbed me by my skinny shoulders and shook me, asking, “Who do you think you are?” Could I ever recover from that?
And it didn’t end with childhood. The old authors remained to be reread, and William Gibson, China Mieville, Jo Walton, were waiting and writing. Their books kept at me, challenging me, amazing me, chivying me away from complacency. I grew up learning to analyze because I was confronted by the alien on page after page. I questioned the easy racism of my youth because some of my heroes didn’t look like me. I distrusted power and valued humanity in all its odd glory because, in the void, only the one would save you. A world view based on wonder. It made for a nice set of ethics.
(I’m glad zombie novels weren’t popular in my youth, or I might have developed a protein-based morality.)
At some point in our lives, we all want the walls to explode, to disintegrate and let a bright light and a cold wind come rushing in. Drugs, booze, and chasing danger will do that – until their walls close in. Birth, death, and love will also serve, if you can separate them from the dross of everyday life. Religion works for some. But for my money, paid cheerfully at White Dwarf Books in Vancouver when possible and to the big chains when necessary, science fiction and fantasy are the best and craftiest transmitters of awe.
City of Demons by Kevin Harkness
Genre: young adult fantasy fiction
About City of Demons :
Demons are invading the Midlands for the first time in centuries.Source: Info in the About City of Demons was from the media kit provided by the promotions agency.
The farmers have no defences against the murderous creatures. Swords in the hands of ordinary soliders have no effect against demons, for the ability to resist a demon's power - a projection of paralyzing fear - cannot be taught.
Garet's life is forever changed the night his midlands family is attacked. Demonstrating a rare talent for resisting demon fear, Garet is taken to the city of Shirath to become a Demonbane: one who can withstand the demons' psychic assault, trained in combat, and learned in demon lore.
But the ancient city isn't a safe haven, it's a death trap. While opposing political forces vie for the throne, a new demon terrorizes the citizens. To save Shirath, Garet must find friends and allies quickly, because the biggest threat to the city isn't the demons, but the people living within the city's walls.
About Kevin Harkness:
Kevin Harkness is a Vancouver, British Columbia writer who writes in various genres but loves science fiction and fantasy best. Tyche Books will publish his first novel, a YA fantasy titled City of Demons, in July of 2012.Kevin's Link(s):
Kevin has just finished a third career as a high-school teacher. His first two careers: industrial 911 operator and late-blooming university student, were nowhere near as dangerous and exciting as teaching Grade 10s the mysteries of grammar and the joys of To Kill a Mockingbird. He also taught Mandarin Chinese – but that’s another story. Outside of family and friends, he has three passions: a guitar he can’t really play, martial arts of any kind from karate to fencing, and reading really good stories. In this fourth career, as a writer, he attempts young adult fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.