When I was about 12 years old, I was inducted into the First Presbyterian Church.  As part of the process, a Church elder took me out to eat and to have a conversation with me about joining the Church.  I ate very little–I was a very skinny kid–and so the elder offered to take me to the adjacent Wal-Mart and buy me a book, if I liked.

Oh, did I like.

There was one novel in particular I had had my eye on–but hadn’t saved up enough allowance yet.  It was called The First Book of Swords, by a man named Fred Saberhagen.  It had been on the shelves for a while, and I was afraid it was going to rotate out-of-stock (no such thing as internet shopping in 1983).  The Elder actually called my mother to get permission to buy me the book (had to use a pay phone, in fact; this was long before cellular telephones), and she gave it–although she later accused me of somehow strong-arming the fifty-something year old man into buying it for me.  Did I mention that I was twelve?

At any rate, I finally got the book.  It was not the first novel I had read–that honor belongs to Star Wars, A New Hope, when I was six (so unlike what the franchise later became), followed soon thereafter by The Andromeda Strain by the inimitable Michael Crichton.  This novel, however, (and the trilogy which spawned from it) was what cemented me into the fantasy genre.  An absolutely brilliant story of gods and demons, magic swords and heroes, forgotten technology, families, loss, and change.  I read that series many times, eventually tracking the preceeding series (The Empire of the East)–but not before devouring the Wrinkle in Time series, the Dark is Rising series, and every other fantasy book I could get my hands on.  Science fiction, at the time, was pretty much limited to Star Trek–which meant that it was always preachy.  But fantasy?  Fantasy was all imagination!

I have little time for reading per se, these days, but I do have regular long drives.  Thanks to the invention of the digital audiobook, I have yet again worked my way through The Empire of the East and the Book of Swords trilogies.  I am even beginning Saberhagen’s concluding work, the Book of Lost Swords series, which I had not previously read.  I find that I like them no less for being a bit dated–after all, so am I.

Published by Little-Known Blogger

I spent the first years of my life in a trailer park outside of a tiny town in rural Missouri. I grew up to be a long-haired, gun-hating, military-hating, Presbyterian super-liberal. Well, perhaps the “growing up” happened later. While in high school, I was on the cross-country and wrestling teams, and actually won my weight-class in a State powerlifting competition. I went on to attend college on a Bright Flight scholarship, where I promptly became an atheist. I trained for a few years in Shotokan karate and Cheng-system taijiquan before training in my first real martial art, Hwarang-Do, under the late Franklin Fowlkes (later the Founder and Grandmaster of the Five Elements Martial Arts System). I married an older Taiwanese woman my junior year, got divorced in short order, and dropped out of college. After completing my AA in Psychology, I decided I needed a complete change of scenery and joined the U.S. Marine Corps (having early been assured that there was no way that a skinny liberal like me would ever survive Boot Camp). Contrary to what the Hipster Zombies will tell you, this did not “brainwash me into being a Conservative”. Instead, it made me a very unhappy, short-haired liberal, surrounded by guns and the military. However, I spent my whole contract (after schools) on the island of Okinawa, where I was exposed to points of view not dominated by the American liberal media. During this time, I taught ESL classes as a side-job, trained under some of the highest-ranking masters of karate on Okinawa, and discovered the practice of Buddhism. I also spent some time in Korea, where I got to train in hapkido. It was during this period that I came gradually to realize how stupid and evil American liberalism actually is. This was partly due to my Military Police command sending me to Small Arms Instructor school, which gave me more exposure to guns than I could ever have imagined—thus negating my idiotic liberal distaste for them. After the active-duty portion of my Marine Corps contract was over, I worked several jobs, from security contracts to operating a forklift in a warehouse. In 2002, however, when the invasion of Iraq was getting under way, I signed up with the Missouri Army National Guard, and have remained with them since, continuing as a Military Policeman. I am also full-time corrections officer, a member of the Anglican Church, and at one time was an Instructor Candidate in Dekiti-Tirsia Serradas Kali (until my instructor moved away). My hobbies (beyond blogging) include strength training, shooting sports, martial arts, creating digital art, and being a huge science and science-fiction geek.

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