A tribute to the authors who have influenced my life, and a rebuttal to the claim that fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi are useless, foolish, a waste of time. Many of these are direct quotes from the books or paraphrases of those quotes. There are more authors and more lessons from the ones here that I could have included, but here’s a sampling …
Jane Austen taught me that the man who points out your weaknesses is the one who loves you best and that a healthy marriage must have respect from both parties.
John Bunyan taught me that the lions are chained.
Orson Scott Card taught me to remember always where my enemy’s gate is. He taught me that that true warriors mourn for the enemy, that real heroes treasure people and family above all else.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky taught me that no man is above the law but also that redemption is always possible.
Alexander Dumas taught me the destruction revenge and pride bring. He taught me that only when we have felt what it is to die can we appreciate the enjoyments of life.
F. Scott Fitzgerald taught me the danger of living for a dream alone.
Nathaniel Hawthorne taught me to be brave and show the world my worst.
Victor Hugo taught me the power of mercy and that a real man admits the truth no matter the cost, carries a bucket of water for a little girl, and buys her a doll.
Henry James taught me to make my life a work of art.
Harper Lee taught me that crying at the evil in the world is a thing we should never outgrow.
C. S. Lewis taught me that He is not a tame lion, that we cannot become new till the old skin is torn off, that the end is really just beginning of a story in which each chapter is better than the last. He taught me that we are called to the mountain and that before His face, all questions die away. He taught me that always one must throw oneself into the wave.
George Orwell taught me that on our own we will never defeat evil or be able to stand against our fears. He taught me that immorality cannot defy immorality.
Andrew Peterson taught me to protect. He taught me that the world is swollen with magic—in music and water and even bumblebees.
Brandon Sanderson taught me that in the end, all men die. How we lived will be far more important to the Almighty than what we accomplished. He taught me that living is harder than dying, and our duty is to live. He taught me that strength does not make one capable of rule, but of service. He taught me to trust, no matter that cost.
Anne Elisabeth Stengl taught me to believe in hopeless love—real love that means sacrifices and hurts and all the thousand shocks of life but also beauty, true beauty. She taught me that the Path only appears once you surrender. She taught me that the enemy’s name is Beloved, that I should never forget what the dragon was meant to be.
J. R. R. Tolkien taught me to use the time given me wisely. He taught me that in the end the Shadow is only a small and passing thing, with light and high beauty forever beyond its reach. He taught me not fear when I go on a path appointed, not to say the day is done or bid the stars farewell. He taught me that no theme can be played that does not have it source in Him.