The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Last Novel That Changed Your Life

I remember reading books that changed my life when I was younger.   And while I've read MANY books that expanded my thinking, in terms of fiction none have really altered my perspective since my early 20's.  Nonfiction, sure.  But the last book that popped me open was a pulp SF novel called "The God Machine" by Martin Caiden ("The Six Million Dollar Man.")   In this book, a supercomputer takes over the world, and figures it can't be beaten, because the only route in to its innards is protected by a lethal radiation belt.    The book's hero is defeated and stymied until an old poker player beats his pants off, saying that the kid is an excellent technical player, but hasn't learned an important axiom: in order to win everything, you have to be willing to lose everything.  That, more specifically, a man totally willing to die can accomplish anything.  I wrestled with that one for some time, and came to the conclusion that I shouldn't aspire to anything that I wasn't willing to die for.   Changed my life, and it was the last fiction book to do so.  I was wondering...what was the last FICTION book that taught you about the world, or yourself, in a powerful way...and how old were you when you read it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The last fiction book which taught me about the world or myself in a powerful way: The Perfect Thief, by Ronald Jay Bass. I read it because of Daniel Keys Moran using it and referencing it in his Continuing Time series. It forced me to deal with my responses to reality and to recognize when I was attempting to deny reality. It was the kind of knowledge that can't be unlearned, no matter how hard I've tried. I was in my early thirties.