Monday, January 18, 2010

Scientific summaries

I decided to have a sci-fi month because I felt that I didn't know enough about the genre. I like science fiction and always have, but it suddenly seemed humiliating that I'd never read anything by Arthur C. Clarke, or anything beyond Asimov's short stories, or... the list goes on. Even though I've never been the biggest fan of organized reading, I thought it might be nice to have a designated "month" that was devoted to the genre (or, more accurately, the general sci-fi-ish field).

The official month has definitely passed. I've enjoyed non-sci-fi books in the last couple of weeks and no longer feel the drive to necessarily seek out only genre books. Here's what's cool, though: I've got so much more reading material than I ever expected. At the library the other day, I found myself walking off with almost 100% science fiction books. To the casual observer, I'd appear to be much more devoted to the genre than I really am.

I know a lot of people don't like science fiction. I know there are all sorts of stereotypes when it comes to sci-fi and I know that sci-fi (like all other genres) has its good and its horrendous. But the last month - studying the evolution of the genre, looking at subjects like women in sci-fi, scrolling through dozens of "best of sci-fi" lists - has done more than give me an opportunity and an excuse to read science fiction. It's made me want to read more. It has, ultimately, educated me as I hoped it would. Sure, I didn't make it to everything I wanted to but I've read some pretty awesome books (the winner is probably the excellent "The Day of the Triffids"). And now I know where I'm going to head to next. In the same way that I've been digging myself deeper with classics over the last four years, now I make my way into the sci-fi realms. So sure, Sci-Fi Month is officially over, but who's to say it won't come back soon?

5 comments:

  1. It's wonderful that you're open to reading genres. I know so many people who refuse to try sci fi because it's sci fi. The Day of the Triffids is also one of my faves, a great read for anyone.

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  2. Have you read The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell? Or any of her other work? She was one that got me to think about Sci-fi differently. I read tons of SciFi and Fantasy when I was a young teenager and then all but abandoned the genre as I got older...you remind me to check it out again!

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  3. I also loved The Day of the Triffids. The same author has another very good book called The Crysalids. It can be hard to find but New York Review of Books has a new edition of it out there somewhere.

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  4. I also liked The Sparrow. Some other SF I would recommend for someone who hasn't read much yet is Joan Sloncewski, A Door Into Ocean, Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, and Frederick Pohl's Gateway.

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  5. I am glad you enjoyed your foray into Science Fiction. For the past several years I have followed my natural inclinations and decided to purposely devote the first two months of the year to science fiction reading. I generally read more throughout the year but the biggest concentration has always been at the start of the year. Like you, there were, and still are, several well-known, influential science fiction authors that I have yet to experience. Every year I think I will get to more than I do and every, at year's end, I realize that there are still so many more to experience. Which is a good problem to have, I guess.

    I've heard about The Sparrow a lot, I'm going to have to add that to my list.

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