One of science fiction’s quirks is that it’s more encompassing than specified genres like mystery so not as clearly defined. That’s one reason why I like it, but also think it’s detrimental and confusing for some. It seems that what turns a lot of people off from the genre is the stigma that it’s all aliens, robots, outer space, scientific terminology, and Star Wars, but it’s so much more than that. In brief, it’s a vast literature of ideas and infinite possibilities that may include the past or future, a completely different timeline, utopias or dystopias, science and technology like time travel, or an invasion of body snatchers. There’s something for everyone, from alternate histories to classics like Frankenstein and H.G. Wells to contemporary literature like the Handmaid’s Tale and then some. I love the genre because of its wide study, commentary, and exploration of humanity and technology. From cyberpunks to super-humans and beyond, it spans tastes and is limited only by the imagination.
I decided to start a science fiction reading challenge for several reasons. Firstly, I acquired a few books and a pile of recommended reading at last year’s WorldCon and thought others might be interested in an open read along. Secondly, to scrape off some of the stigma mentioned above. Thirdly, people who generally don’t read sci-fi frequently ask where to start. Fourthly, although I enjoy reading fantasy I feel its growing popularity has pushed sci-fi to the sidelines. Lastly, I’ve discovered that challenges not only stimulate conversation among bibliophiles, but they’re fun as well. Anyway…
1. Read 4 or 8 science fiction books (or audio books). Some suggestions are below.
2. The challenge runs from August 28, 2010 to August 8, 2011. You may join at any time.
3. Sign up using Mr. Linky below (please link directly to your post). If you don’t have a blog, just enter your name and leave the URL blank.
4. Each time you read a book, please link to your reviews. If you don’t do reviews, no biggie.
5. Overlaps with other challenges are fine.
6. Have fun.
Since it won’t display here, the list of participants is here.
A few icons available for use:
A compilation of possibilities:
- Isaac Asimov: I, Robot
- Philip K. Dick
- William Gibson: Neuromancer (Sprawl trilogy)
- Robert Heinlein: early works, Stranger in a Strange Land
- Ursula Le Guin: the Lathe of Heaven or the Left Hand of Darkness
- Judith Merril
- George Orwell: Animal Farm or Nineteen-Eighty Four
- Theodore Sturgeon
- Jack Vance
- H.G. Wells
- Sylvie Bérard
- Steven Boyett: Ariel
- Samuel “Chip” Delany
- Nancy Kress
- Georges Panchard: Forteresse
- Ann McCaffrey
- Colin Robertson: Alan Steel trilogy
- Michael Swanwick: the Iron Dragon’s Daughter
- Élisabeth Vonarburg
- Tesseracts Q (Anthology)
More resources and reading:
- SF award nominees: Hugo, Nebula, Aurora, and Boréal
- Canadian SF Works database
- Gaylactic Spectrum Awards
- the Guardian‘s SF/F list
- Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Anthology begun in 1939
- Science Fiction Hall of Fame
- viaLibri– consortium of booksellers, good for rare books
- X Minus One– online radio with readings and transcriptions