This week’s question from Debbie: One of my favorite sci-fi authors (Sharon Lee) has declared June 23rd Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers Day. What might you do on the 23rd to celebrate? Do you even read fantasy/sci-fi? Why? Why not?
I think that everybody has read at least one sci-fi and fantasy book once in their lifetime, sometimes not even knowing that they did. Look back into your childhood reads and the familiar stories of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan would count as fantasy works. As for sci-fi, well, that may be a little hard to think of haha.
I definitely read fantasy. I read sci-fi too but I’m more into the realm of the magical and mystical than the technical and industrial (although there are many books that wonderfully combine the two).
Among my favorite fantasy writers are *drumroll please!* Neil Gaiman (Stardust, The Graveyard Book, Coraline), Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, The Magicians of Caprona), J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series), David and Leigh Eddings (The Belgariad, The Mallorean, The Elenium), Jostein Gaarder (The Solitaire Mystery, Sophie’s World) and even Isabel Allende (City of the Beasts, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon, The Forest of the Pygmies).
I suppose my sci-fi readings belong mostly to the manga and comic book section. Somehow, I never really enjoyed reading those kinds of stories but if its accompanied by illustrations, I’m more liable to read it. One of my favorite manga is Moto Hagio’s They Were Eleven. My favorite mangaka Rumiko Takahashi also delves into the world of sci-fi and fantasy with many of her works.
And that has yet to include the paranormal and sci-fi themed works that the other authors I read write. Nora Roberts for one, and Sherrilyn Kenyon.
– Do you read graphic novels/comics? Why do/don’t you enjoy them? – How would you describe the difference between “graphic novel” and “comic”? Is there a difference at all? – Say you have a friend who’s never encountered graphic novels. Recommend some titles you consider landmark/”canonical”.
The term graphic novel was introduced to me in a quite different way as opposed to the regular readers of western comics, though the idea is practically the same. My introduction was through Japanese comics, as a compilation of a series of issues then released as one volume.
I learned later that some western graphic novels were like that, while most were created for specific graphic novel release.
Obviously, that meant that I do read graphic novels, however, not very often. It’s a bit expensive for my taste and there are but a few ones that I truly like (unless it’s a manga from a favorite artist).
I don’t read much of graphic novels from American artists. As I mentioned in a comment to this (this part is a follow-up), art plays a huge part for me and I am not really attracted to much of the art styles of most American and European graphic novels. I love the Japanese styles, so I tend to gravitate towards that. I did, however, and still do, read comics from Marvel and DC, or other American/European artists. Oh, and it may surprise you to know that there are plenty of graphic novels that are under a Western label, but their artists are located here in the Philippines. You’ll find a few of them at the bottom of this post.
Difference? Nowadays I really don’t bother with the semantics, though die-hards could probably give you an idea of what makes one apart from the other. Initially though, comics are mostly light and fun reading, whereas graphic novels can carry a more mature theme like an actual novel that has only words in it.
As for recommendations, I guess the first one that’ll pop off my head is the Sandman series. Next to that would be Batman Hush, then the ever popular Neil Gaiman prose with illustrations by Charles Vess, Stardust. For Japanese comics, those who like the macabre should check out Rumiko Takahashi’s Mermaid’s Saga.
A few of the Japanese comics, or manga, that I currently have. The rest are in stashed in my grandparents’ house. I also have a Batman graphic novel done by a Japanese artist, Kia Asamiya.
Edit/Postscripts: Going around a few blogs today on this topic, I am ashamed to say that I absolutely forgot about The Adventures of Tintin! My uncle used to collect them when he was kid and since our ages aren’t too far apart, I borrowed and read them too. Hergé’s works (including that of Jo and Zette’s) are among my favorites.
A box set of Tintin at a local bookstore. If it weren’t so pricey I’d buy it.
Also, just to clarify some things, comics and graphic novels aren’t a genre, but rather a format of entertainment, if you will, like television or radio or books are. If you try reading some comics (I say comics in general, not just graphic novels), you’ll find that there’s a type of story for everyone who likes a particular genre in other media. The Japanese comic or manga industry by itself has a thousand titles ranging from occult, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, action and even game/gambling related stories. If you’d like to try your hand on some manga, you can try your local library (lucky) or check out online sources like OneManga.