In March, we introduced a new service: the Reading Doctor. Read more about Dr Louise here. And do feel free to request further prescriptions, as needed!
Prescription #15: something for teenage readers to reconnect with stories
My teenage son (17) used to read a lot of fantasy novels (Pullman, Le Guin, Tolkein, etc) but has lately given up the habit of reading every evening in favour of his phone and gaming! Can you suggest any novels that might entice him back?
Many video games are actually influenced by novels their players have never read, and this list is made up of books which have either inspired games, or feature gaming or game-like aspects.
In the genre of science fantasy is Gideon the Ninth, by New Zealander Tamsyn Muir, is set in a galactic empire in which nine planets vie for supremacy: featuring plenty of fighting, gore, skeletons, witty banter and lesbian necromancers, there’s something for everyone.
Gaming, coding, and the technological world all feature in Pip Adam’s new book, Nothing to See, an unusual and interesting novel in which a woman suddenly and inexplicably becomes two people.
Using narrative theory to draw parallels between the way in which books and games tell stories, Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea is also a fast-paced quest.
An epic fantasy series might tempt him back to the genre, and the one which begins with The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, is epic in every way, set in a medieval magical world inhabited by wizards and heroes.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is set in the Metaverse – the immersive VR world of the internet – in which you can be anyone and anything: but beware of the “infopocalypse”.
Blood, Sweat and Pixels is a book about the stories behind how games are made by Jason Schreier.
Neal Schusterman writes books for YA readers which speak directly to the issues of the world they’ve inherited. Water zombies stalk the cities of California when climate change means the state runs Dry. In a critique of capitalism and its values, disaffected teens are given up by their parents to shadowy corporations and harvested for their organs in the Unwind series. And the Scythe series explores the nature of humanity and mortality in a world in which AI has eliminated death.
Now a classic is the 1984 cyberpunk novel by William Gibson, Neuromancer, which predicted our obsession with the internet and introduced us to the Matrix.