Addicted to Sci-Fi

In addition to my blog bender, I’m on a bit of sci-fi bender of late. I’ve always liked sci-fi. For the longest time Star Wars was my favorite movie and it was only dethroned by another sci-fi flick (Serenity). But I’m a casual sci-fi fan. While I’ve watched Star Trek, I’m hardly a Trekkie. And my reading list of sci-fi is fairly short. Until this weekend I had never read Orson Scott Card, and I’ve read nothing but short stories by some of the masters like Isaac Asimov.

But I do enjoy the genre. Specifically, I love space stories (Star Wars, Serenity, etc.) and post-apocalyptic fiction (Mad Max: The Road Warrior). I find something tremendously captivating about these stories, both the realism of a future in space and the harsh reality of a world gone wrong in a post-apocalyptic era. I can’t put my finger on it, but I love those stories.

So during my trip I dove in and picked up the recent Pulitzer prize-winning The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s a bit surprising to see a post-apocalyptic novel win a Pulitzer, and even more surprising to see Oprah give it her stamp of approval. I picked it up at the airport in Minneapolis and finished it in less than a day. I also picked up Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game while hanging out at Downtown Disney trying to kill an afternoon. After a late night of reading I finished that one before even leaving Los Angeles.

Two sci-fi books in a weekend, and I feel like I’m just whetting my appetite. I’m not sure if this means my next novel is going to be sci-fi (a grand departure, for sure), of if I’m just exploring something for fun.

2 thoughts on “Addicted to Sci-Fi”

  1. Long time Sci-Fi fan here, though I haven’t read hardly any since I started Seminary 4.5 years ago!

    Issac Asimov’s “Foundation” Trilogy is a must read, if nothing else to understand who influenced all the others, and who set the standard for the genre. Asimov’s work is still brilliant in spite of its age.

    I found Stephen R. Donaldson’s “Gap into Conflict” series very engaging as well, though far more adult that Asimov’s tales.

    While not really Sci-Fi in focus, Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” is an interesting read compared to a Christian world view (which the author does not share).

    The “Dune” series by Frank Herbert is interesting (far better than the movie) but is not one I would cut my teeth on.

    What I discovered over the years was that I tried to avoid the stories that were more fantasy orientated (ala Lord of the Rings) and stick to Sci-Fi. As I aged, I discovered the treasures I missed in Tolkien and others in that category. Especially Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” and Donaldson’s “Thomas Covenant Chronicles”.

    Amazon has a lot of good references to these and many other great authors. I learned that it can become an expensive hobby, as I read fairly quickly. I also learned it can be a time consuming hobby, so I had to learn moderation so I didn’t steal time from the important things in life. A little escape is nice, but it can’t steal from being Christ to the world!

  2. I wouldn’t really recommend the Foundation trilogy. I know it’s a big work in sci-fi (I heard Orson Scott Card sound its praises like it was Shakespeare when I heard him talk at Barnes and Noble in college), but I just couldn’t get into it: the overall idea was really interesting, but I just stopped halfway through the second book. Because of his setup, you drop a character or group of characters you get attached to every 50 pages or so, and have to get involved with a new group.

    This, combined with his wooden style (and some characters) made it hard for me to connect with the book after awhile: it’s asking a lot for me to have to reconnect that many times, and especially with some characters you don’t like (and losing some you did like). But that’s just me, of course, you might like it.

    Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead are quite good, but I think Card went off track with the other books in the Ender universe. I haven’t read much Philip K. Dick, but reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was a fun counterpoint to Blade Runner. They’re different and similar, and the book is strong with some things while the movie is stronger in others.

    As far as fantasy goes… there is a lot of good and bad. I’d recommend Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series as well, and Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series and Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy on the YA side. Enjoy and pass on those that you like as well!

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