Why do we read fiction anyway?

Why do we read fiction, anyway? Not to be impressed by somebody’s dazzling language–or at least I hope that’s not our reason. I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not “true” because we’re hungry for another kind of truth: the mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about ourself.

—Orson Scott Card, in the new introduction to his classic science fiction novel, Ender’s Game.


  1. It is so true.
    Reading fiction is all about the search for truth, of something to empathize with, and sometimes about becoming part of an alternate reality.

  2. hmm i agree with that, its always has the possibility of being ourself. And I guess that’s why though I’m starting to divert myself a little bit to try to read some non-fictions and biography, I’m still sticking to read those fictions.
    But the most important thing is that we all love imaginations.


  3. I’m going with the human truth in every fiction.

    the part of yourself you walk through that door with, making anything we write…well, we come back to the “everything I write is about You”

    beauty lives there. It’s a damn good reason to wake up every morning and discover some basic human truth to all of it.

    and at the end of the day; it’s just a bit less lonely.

  4. One cannot distinguish the truth in fiction from the poetry of the style; they are two aspects of the same lure. The best anglers tell the truth with style: dulce et utile.

  5. I went to this because I thought it was interesting, though, I have to say, I’m wary of the not-so-subtle knock he makes against style.

    I think we as literary writers lost our when we became obsessed with style over story and ideas. Card, who wrote this novel in the 80s, and this intro in the early 90s, was on to something, well ahead of the flourishing of the ‘literary thriller’ genre that occurred in the mid-90s. When literary writers envied genre writers their audiences and sales.

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