Missing the Details – Going on Automatic

I’ve noticed something when I’ve been in a place so many times I couldn’t count how often I’d been there.  I go on automatic.

As I was making my way home tonight, I looked around at things, but didn’t really notice them.  It’s as if my body was looking, but my mind wasn’t seeing.  My mind know where everything is, so completely missed the details of what’s there.

When I commute using the same route all the time, I just don’t notice much. My body is automatically taking me to my destination, looking around, but my mind is thinking about other things.

When I came to Japan, I didn’t have this kind of feeling. I looked at everything and I saw everything. I took in all the details like I was looking at something for the first time. Well, I was looking at everything for the first time. Everything was so different. It was fascinating, and I wanted to learn about every single building and place I was walking past.  But over time, as I walked that same way over and over again, it’s as if a fog was separating my vision from my consciousness.  My body was seeing, but to my thoughts, everything was in a fog.

Of course, this isn’t a permanent problem. I can stop that from happening by forcing myself to observe. When I do that, I tend to relax more and it stimulates my mind. I think a writer needs to do that. Clear the fog in the mind and start concentrating on what’s around.

Gateway Novels

The first fantasy novel I read was The Hobbit. I loved it. The first science fiction novel I read was Jurassic Park, which I also really enjoyed.  I was already a sci-fi fan, though, having watched a lot of Star Trek and Transformers when I was a kid.

Those books got me interested, but I never really focused on reading novels much at that time. However, when I was in university, I started reading a couple of different series.  One was Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series and Terry Brooks’ Shannara series. Those are what really hooked me onto sci-fi and fantasy novels.

What books would you recommend as gateway novels into speculative fiction? Any suggestions for science fiction, fantasy, horror, dystopia, or post-apocalyptic novels? Let’s get a list going. Leave your suggestions in the comments, and invite your friends or anyone else to give their thoughts, too.