I’ve been meaning to read a book by Jim Hines for about nine months now, ever since I saw him competing with John Scalzi in a fantasy cover pose-off for charity (not his first time doing such a thing, but the first I’d been aware of it via Scalzi’s Whatever). Since then, he seems to be everywhere, defending the rights of women to be geeks, defending the rights of geeks to like whatever they want to like, and defending his own right to say and do whatever he wants in support of these things. All the stories I’ve heard about him have been delightful, and when it comes right down to it, nothing makes me want to read more than liking the person behind the story.
I’ve discovered that when I know a little more about an author, when I’ve heard about his or her life, I’m inclined to like the book just that much more. It’s especially important now that the internet is a thing; when I was a kid, I probably read and enjoyed books by all sorts of simply terrible people, and I never had a clue. That was fine. I didn’t have immediate access to blog posts, tweets, or Wikipedia pages for essentially every author I read, and maybe it was better that way.
Who am I kidding? Of course it was better. I read so much more before the internet and all of its distractions! I didn’t know terrible things about writers whose books I love! I didn’t have deep existential debates over nearly as many authors because I was too busy stuffing myself with delicious stories!
And yet, the internet has its uses, doesn’t it? For example, through this blog, I’ve been able to at least tangentially connect with almost 9000 people who love books with a passion kindred to my own. I also hear about and buy books with an abandon that borders on disturbing. Thank God for ebooks, which I basically treat as another limb, and for sites that recommend people like Hines – authors perfectly suited to my taste because, well, the internet is equipped to do such a thing.
Alright, so the internet is brilliant, and it also drives me crazy, so I guess that makes me…normal? I get distracted by it, but then it leads me to a sweet, funny, wonderful urban fantasy like Libriomancer and I get all excited all over again. I like that with a couple clicks, I can find out what conventions Hines goes to, or that the first few chapters of the sequel to Libriomancer is available for free on his website. It makes me happy to know I bought a book in support of a nice guy who tries to make a difference in his community of fans, and I think it’s great the internet is a powerful tool for him to speak out when things happen in that community that upset him.
I don’t know how great an effect such knowledge had on me when it comes to enjoying his novel. I already love the genre he writes in, and I’ve always had a soft spot for funny, bumbling protagonists, so if I had come across this book in a store, I’m sure I would have bought it and enjoyed his work because he tells a good story in a way I like to hear it told. It doesn’t hurt though, that in this case, the internet played the part of an excellent librarian, or a friend with complimentary reading taste. I don’t get recs from either type of person very often anymore, so the ability to discover new authors hinges, more than I’d ideally like, on this massive web of information.
If you find yourself craving more about Jim C Hines work, check out his site (and its free samples) here.