When I was about three or four, my mom got a bleed in her brain stem. She had to have brain surgery, and she almost didn’t make it. Even after the surgery, there were months of recovery and doctor’s appointments. She was there for us four kids as much as she could be, but when she couldn’t, my oldest brother was a big source of friendship and comfort.
I learned so much from him, but here I’m focusing on the love of words and story. He taught me about Star Wars, about the Force, the Jedi. We even watched the almost-forgotten George Lucas classic, Willow. Multiple times. He would read me The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and probably more that I don’t even remember. Stories, for both of us, have been a large part of our lives.
My mom, thankfully, got better. My brother went off to college and started his life. We grew apart in some ways, only because of distance and the fact that we saw each other less. But over recent years we have reconnected over our love of science fiction books.
It started with him telling me about Leviathan Wakes, the first book of epic sci-fi series The Expanse by James S.A. Corey. I’m still working my way through the series, though he’s read all of them. And some more than once.
From there, even though we’re states apart, we just started sharing book recommendations and talking about books. It all clicked how much we were reconnecting over books when he sent me this in the mail:
The ethereal blue fox plays a central role in the phenomenal Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer. Now, my brother is not a big fan of this book. But he knew how much the book meant to me on an emotional level. So he got a block of shiny blue plastic and made a blue fox with an at-home 3D printer. It is one of the most meaningful and thoughtful gifts that I’ve ever received.
For me, and many others, books don’t take us away from our lives or relationships. They enhance them, bringing a deeper sense of wonder and understanding to the world around us. And it is that wonder and understanding, brought about for us by means of science fiction, that has reconnected my brother and I, strengthening our relationship. The power of fiction to directly impact our lives for good never ceases to amaze me.