John Christopher 1922-2012

I’ve been on a cross-country road trip for over a month, and traveling even before that. I had planned on remaining silent on this blog until I returned home. I have books to tell you about, but not while I have things to see and places to go.

But I have to take a break from my hiatus to remark on the passing of John Christopher a couple of days ago.

John Christopher was my introduction to science fiction. I read every book of his that the local library would carry. On re-reading the Sword of the Spirits series a couple of years ago, I was amazed by how brutal it was. I didn’t remember that from my youth. If the book banners had ever caught wind of that…

In 7th grade, my English teacher assigned us to write a letter to a favorite author. I wrote something about a trend I thought I saw in his books, though I don’t remember what it was now. Even then I liked pulling stories apart. Of all the people in my class, I was the only person to get a personally written letter back; everyone else got a form letter. He not only wrote the letter, but he actually engaged with my argument, with which he disagreed.

Others came to S.F. through C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia or Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. My introduction was the White Mountains. Unlike other books I loved as an adolescent, I loved Mr. Christopher’s books as much later in life as when I read them the first time.

When my nephews get old enough, I will attempt to lead them astray with books by John Christopher.

The world won’t have John Christopher writing for them anymore, and that’s a pity. But I have his books, so I will not grieve.

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