What books do you like to read?

I will read almost any book, but my first love was science fiction because in July 1969 the entire world came to a stop as Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the Apollo Lunar Module and became the first man to walk on the moon.  As a young boy this was an event powerful enough to change my life.  It captured my imagination like nothing before or after.  We were told this was the first step in a journey that would see us building colonies on the moon and on mars as a precursor to a rapid expansion into the universe.

I devoured books on space travel and alien encounters in preparation for a mass exodus into the unknown.  My generation would live adventure-filled lives greater than any in the known history of the world, or so we were told.  But our government quickly forgot the promise of space, and in time my childhood whimsies of space flight were tempered by reality, and those dreams were passed to a different generation of dreamers leaving me with only a glimmer of hope and a memory of unlimited potential.

Now, of course, I realize those fantasies will never come true.  I will never touch the moon.  I will never land on Mars.  I will never travel to an alien planet.  If fact, it is unlikely that I will ever do anything that will set me apart from the billions of other humans on Earth.  The best I can hope for is to be a good parent to my children and a good husband to my wife and that will have to suffice.

As adults we live our life according to responsibilities and obligations.  My grand dreams have contracted and in my life I have only experienced a handful of events so powerful they effected a positive life change.  I have witnessed beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  I have been moved by an unusual movie or exceptional book, and I have experienced the love of a good woman and held my newborn children in my arms.

These are incomparable experiences, but at night when I drift off to sleep I still remember those dreams of youth where unexplored planets wait at the far reaches of the universe and those fantasies never quite disappear.  Reading fiction is a way of giving substance to those lost dreams and acknowledging that although they will never approach reality they will never be forgotten.  In books I can live events where I become more than is possible in this life and I can touch the moon and be the first to step on an alien planet at the far reaches of the universe.

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