Author Archives: Hugh Todd

Young Adult

Hugh Todd

I was once a young adult.

I remember being in 5th grade and having finished the 8th grade reading textbook (after having plowed through the others) in the first few weeks of school. By the time I got to 7th grade, I had read lots of different things, but had no particular favorites, until a friend lent me “A Spell for Chameleon” by Piers Anthony. This began my life-long love affair with fantasy and science fiction.

At the time, Piers Anthony’s series of Xanth novels was not classified “Young Adult” as there was no such category. In fact, I rather think that many libraries or bookstores workers thought that all of science fiction or fantasy (not the ones with sex, of course!) were for young adults. But, maybe I’m just reading my own geeky disaffected youth into that. Either way, a number of books that were favorites, for whatever reason, in my youth, I would now classify as Young Adult. They captured my interest, my imagination and drove me to look for more of the same.

Looking back, I find that some of them don’t hold up quite as well to my current tastes. Sometimes the characters are a bit simplistic. For example, I remember the moment when I read a Piers Anthony novel, maybe somewhere around my 30th and realized that every single hero of his, male or female, human or otherwise, solved problems in the same manner. Sometimes the plots were a little too melodramatic, or details seemed to come from the writer’s unconscious unedited (and not in the good way). For example, I collected most of Michael Moorcock’s works, fascinated with his endless creativity. I still feel that some of his works are meaningful, but many of them feel like they have lots of style and not much substance. That being said, they got me started reading and the fact that I prefer something different now is predicated on the fact that I read those novels (and enjoyed them) way back when. There is something to be said for the “At least they are reading something…” statement.

I don’t know whether many of the books I read as a “young adult” would be classified in that category today, but my tastes have definitely changed; I like to think they’ve evolved. Now I look for works that are original, have good worldbuilding and interesting characters, but also have layers that get me to think and feel beyond the trappings of the plot and the world the author created. I’ve been reading a fair amount of young adult novels over the last four or five years and I’ve come to the conclusion that, like other genres, there are a whole lot of average, well crafted works with only a few standout excellent ones. To that end, here is a list of some that I like, some that I love and some that are amazing in any genre. I’m sure there are more out there that I haven’t read yet! Feel free to add or disagree with my list in the comments.

Amazing

Classic

Best of the Rest 

  • Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
  • Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • Pathfinder and Mithermage Series by Orson Scott Card

First Post!

Hugh Todd

Well, here we are (not again). While I have a fair amount of experience in a lot of different areas, blogging is not one of them. For those of you that read a number of blogs, and have probably been doing so for years (as I have) this will probably be a less awesome process of me figuring out what I like to write about, what people might be interested in hearing about and whether this experiment will work out for either of us. But let’s take that plunge together!

When this hits my front page, I should also have an about page, in case you don’t know me (pretty doubtful for a while, my guess). But, here’s an update on where I am and what I’m doing. I live in Orange County, where I’ve lived for the past eleven years, or so. I’m currently a writer and its my intention to make a living writing novels. I’ve sold a few short stories, one of which can be found here. I’m on the verge (August?) of starting to try and sell my first novel, Changewinter. I also have a good beginning on my second novel (unconnected to the first), tentatively titled (wow, that’s a lot of ‘T’s!) Jack’s Fist.

So far, these few things have kept me fairly busy. And hopefully, this new blog will bump that up a bit. Also, in a few weeks, I’m off to a vacation in the Galapagos, a place I never imagined (before a few months ago) that I would ever go. Four years ago, I never would have guessed I would be trying to start a career as a novelist. I guess that just goes to show you… something.

Maybe, I’ll end this first post with a bit of advice. It’s good to have a plan: a plan for what you want to do next in your life or your career. It’s good to extend that plan out as far as five or even ten years. Spend some time thinking about what you might be doing then, what it might be like to live then. But, don’t get married to that plan. I can almost guarantee something odd (good, bad, different) will come up between now and the fruition of that plan that will dramatically change your direction. I’m a big proponent of change. It keeps you thinking, feeling and moving. In my humble opinion, if you’ve reached the total and complete fruition of that five year plan, you are probably doing something wrong.

Hopefully future posts won’t be so philosophy heavy!