Perhaps there are tests to complete and qualifications to earn before you can call yourself a fantasy fiction writer. I felt compelled to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I loathed the details of physical battles, but I appreciated the trials and tribulations of a hero’s journey.
I also felt it was imperative I read Ender’s Game.
Did I knot my hands into a tense ball as I read? Yes.
Did I want to cry when Ender cried? Yes.
Did I feel repulsed, disgusted, and close to vomiting? Yes.
But I cheered him on all the same.
I don’t guess the end of a book or series because I love being surprised. I don’t have any patience – I usually refuse to read a book in a series until all the books have been published (which is why Game of Thrones is killing me! *Shakes fist at George R. R. Martin*). I devoured Ender’s Game in two days. Orson Scott Card surprised me at every twist and turn. It was wonderful.
Since reading great fantasy fiction is a prerequisite for writing it, I’m sure Orson Scott Card read J. R. R. Tolkien and others read Card’s masterpieces. One parallel I found overwhelming was the one between Ender’s Game and The Hunger Games.
The faces of children recognizable in the vicious wolves? A school that spins like the arena in the 75th Hunger Games? Power in the hands of a group that can manipulate the rules? An innately good protagonist who doesn’t realize his actions can cause immediate chaos and death?
Now I can’t stop calling my cat a “bugger.” He’s not amused.