Fond memory brings the light of other days around me...

Books have life spans, even as we do. Their characters resonate through the years even as we hope to do. And a passing memory can make something we read decades ago spring to life again. In that way, it can be said that fiction both comes to life and achieves immortality - or at least for so long as anyone alive remembers them.

Did Prince Hamlet ever live? Maybe in real life. But the man we remember is made of words, like so many that have enriched our lives. From Mother Goose to Ali Baba to Scarlet O'Hara, literary characters people our memories as much as our dearest friends and relatives do. We forget that they are made of ink and never breathed real air.

They became real because the writer who created them believed in them and convinced us to do the same.

And so when a book goes out of print, out of discussion, and out of mind... it can be said to have died. And be sure, if the author still lives, those departed characters are mourned.

I remember all the valiant men and women I created and sigh for them when they are gone from view. I comfort myself by thinking that as in life, being gone from sight may not mean being lost forever.

Once any idea is given to the collective consciousness, does it ever really disappear?

I like to imagine some day....

...A few hundred years from now.

When space tourists rent remote cabins by the remaining lakes on Earth. One day, in that someday, someone from Alpha Centura colony will be bored on a long rainy evening. She'll pace around the cabin, thinking this ancient rural solitude thing is vastly over-rated. She'll be about to activate the chip in her brain that links her to all the media in the Universe again. Then she'll remember how much money she and her othersex clone paid for this vacation. So she'll decide to weather it. She'll wander over to the antique bookcase by the obsolete hearth, pick up a dusty forgotten paper book, and grimace at the smell of mildew. (Mold will survive the ages, believe me). For want of something better to do, she'll sit down and flip the book open.

....and discover Gideon. Or Lucas. Or Gilly. Or any one of my long forgotten children. And she'll keep reading.

And I will be smiling, wherever I am sleeping.

*...speaking of the deceased. Have I ever killed off any of my heroes?



But only after he had a long and happy life. I did it because I didn't want to got back to that story again. Can you remember who he was?

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