Reading Short Fiction: One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock by Neil Gaiman
I started reading Heinlein the summer before high school, and in one collection there was an article about Russia. This turned out to be the perfect conversation opener when I found myself on a long bus ride home from some field trip freshman year, sitting next to a beautiful Russian foreign exchange student. Turns out she was also a fan of Heinlein and we talked for what seemed like an eternity. Attempting to retell “By His Bootstraps” from memory that evening is probably why that story sticks so strongly into my mind. It strikes me after the fact that we might have had chemistry. That shared bond over science fiction might have led to … something. But I went to that place my mind goes when I get absorbed in what I’m reading.
That’s what I flashed back to when I started reading One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock by Neil Gaiman in Heliotrope, Issue 5. I got my first collection of Elric last week, and thus far I’ve only read Alan Moore’s foreword, so I debated a bit about reading this story. Gaiman references much more than Moorcock, though. This story is a delightful exploration of why we read (and write), where what we read takes us, how we come to believe what we believe, and how it’s all connected. I don’t think I’ll ever get transported into the worlds of the books I read quite like I did when I was younger. I think too much, analyze, and wonder what it all means. Hmmm.