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.

6 comments:

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?

angus25 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?