As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m part of a small group of authors performing various stealth missions under the sobriquet of Novelocity. Each week we kick around a different topic, and various members share their thoughts.
Today’s topic is our favorite books from college.
Here’s how I answered:
My undergrad years were a mess. It took me six years. Along the way I dropped out of university, lost my scholarship, worked on a loading dock, went back to a different school, changed my major three times, and eventually petitioned the university to let me design my own.
I tell you all of this because it provides the background for the book that kept me whole during that time, Roger Zelazny’s Doorways in the Sand. It’s the story of Fred Cassidy, a young man whose uncle wills a healthy stipend to his nephew until he completes an undergraduate degree. Fred chooses never to graduate! As the novel begins he’s been in school more than a decade, always changing majors one class short of a degree. He’s outlasted multiple academic advisors and authored academic papers worthy of dissertations! Fred Cassidy is the perpetual student, and he gets caught up in adventures far beyond his dreams. Friends and strangers try to kill him. Aliens disguised as animals pursue him. A missing artifact on loan from a museum on another planet sends him secret messages. If that’s not enough for you, Fred has every cell in his body rotated into its mirror opposite, which in turn changes the flavor of everything he eats and almost guarantees that he’ll be dying of malnutrition because he can no longer process right-handed proteins.
Through it all, Fred draws on insights and experiences that you’d expect from someone who has nearly completed every major at a modern university. Read this book, you come away with that same feeling. It’s empowering, creating a sense of control at a time in a young adult’s life when everything seems to be chaos.
I reread this book every semester during exam week. It put everything in perspective for me.
If you’d like to see how others in our little group responded, just head on over to Novelocity.