Nice post! I’d really like to see more on how fiction might publicize an idea and influence people—specially young ones.
And that’s why I couldn’t stop thinking about Terry Pratchett while I was reading this post; and I’m often surprised that this is not a such a salient common reference in this community. When I started reading HPMOR, I thought “Yudkowsky is doing to Rowling what Pratchett did to Tolkien etc.”—and of course, Yudkowsky wrote some sort of elegy in the HPMOR blog on the day Pratchett died.You see, I can’t avoid thinking I got here because, as a teenager, I wanted to read about comic fantasy, and then… I got “empathically entangled” with some characters which became role models like Dangerous Beans, Brutha, Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, even Death (at least in Hogfather). I think this might happen for some people (find some role model infiction), but not for everyone, of course.