Some people spend time at the gym, others spend time down the local club. I like to spend my leisure hours with my nose in a book. Preferably one that takes me to ‘a galaxy far, far away’. It’s a long time passion that’s paid off in many surprising ways!
Firstly, you can’t read SFF and not have an ability to think creatively. Let’s face it, you regularly escape from the assumptions that everyone else never notices, and immerse yourself in a different world with it’s own rules. So all things become relative, and you develop the really handy ability to suspend those assumptions to think differently. It helps, when you’re trying to solve problems that just don’t seem to respond to the standard solutions everyone else has tried.
Secondly, your values are more independent than most. Sure, you may have got the same cultural training as the rest through school, taught to believe that we all aspire to the same things, and there are certain institutional ways to pursue those things, but then you also regularly visit places where those aspirations become meaningless, where the relationships between beings (not even necessarily human) are the core of the experiences you have, and where cultural norms are totally different. So, you get that perspective that let’s you choose what’s really important to YOU, as opposed to blindly following the programming.
Thirdly, you’re bound to be more tolerant and inclusive of people that are different to you. I’ve never met a racist or intolerant SFF fan yet. They may be out there, but I’d tend to think they might not enjoy reading about us dealing with other races, cultures or even species. I may be wrong on this – if you know anyone who proves me wrong, let me know, but I suspect the two don’t go hand in hand.
Finally, if you’re doing it right, you’re more laid back and relaxed than most. Lets face it, while many people seek escapism in TV dramas, soaps, movies or reading action/thrillers, you’re escaped to a different dimension, planet or species! That’s gotta be way more cool and fun, hence, more relaxing!
That’s just my thoughts. Can you think of anything I’ve left out???