Sunday, February 10, 2013

A sci-fi read-along

If there's one genre other than the classics that I'd like to read more of, that would be science fiction. I love science fiction, with its world building, space travel, alternative histories, and other speculative elements. I have a special preference for sci-fi published in the early to mid 1900s though.

Last year, I read Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Frank Herbert. And I decided to continue on this year with reading "classic sci-fi." These are the authors whose works continue to influence the present crop of writers, sci-fi or otherwise.

So this year, the book club voted to have a science fiction read-along, a few weeks after the close of the read-along for Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. The first challenge? Selecting the books. In the end, I consulted with a friend and we came up with 4 titles.

I've read all 4.
So April will be a month of rereading for me.
Initially, we were thinking of reading the entire Dune or the Foundation series. But I think that it might better to read sci-fi novels from different subgenres. Hence, the 4 titles, while all of them are undoubtedly sci-fi, are somewhat different from one another.

The first time I read Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea was when I was 13. I remember being really enthralled by the adventure story. I'm looking forward to rereading it this April, the sci-fi read-along month. I miss Captain Nemo and I've forgetten how it felt to step aboard the Nautilus.

Of course, Isaac Asimov's Foundation is a must. And there has to be an apocalyptic sci-fi novel too. So we've included Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Interestingly, these 2 novels were published in 1951. And I think they were well ahead of their time.

We must have cyberpunk, and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is considered a seminal work in this subgenre. It's a very groundbreaking novel. For one, Ernest Cline, the author of that popular Ready Player One, considers Stephenson's novel a huge influence on his work.

So there they are, the 4 sci-fi novels. We could've chosen more books from other subgenres. But there's always the burnout factor. We wouldn't want the participants to feel stressed or think that the read-along would be too much work. At the end of the day, what counts is that we have fun reading these sci-fi novels together.

I'll post the link to the online discussions soon, in case you want to join us in April.


Stepford Mum said...

Which Arthur C. Clarke books would you recommend, Peter?

I wish there was a John Wyndham in that sci-fi lineup. He's my fave sic-fi author, since before I even knew it was its own genre!

Peter S. said...

Hello, Stepford Mum!

I highly, highly recommend Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also, Rendezvous with Rama.

Oh, right! John Wyndham! Maybe we can squeeze him in if we have some time.

Overthinker Palaboy said...

Fahrenheit 451!!!!!! *habol ng hininga*
magreread din ako niyan pag natapos ko na tong libro na hawak ko ngayon.

Peter S. said...

Ang ganda lang talaga ano?

Anonymous said...

Sci-fi is not my cup of coffee/tea, but I do enjoy reading them. However, I wouldn't go out of my way for them. Readalongs would be helpful, but I haven't read along with anyone for maybe 6 months.

Peter S. said...

Yup, not only are read-alongs helpful; they can be really fun, no?