Science Fiction

Well, I have to admit, I am a big fan of Science Fiction. To be a bit clear: that of the printed and visual variety. Many people are fans of strictly the movie and TV aspect but I do prefer a bit of the curl up and read type. Every year I make an effort to get to the World Science Fiction Convention. If anything, it gives me the chance to get out and see a bit more of the world. My first convention was in Canada at Conadian (held in Winnipeg) in 1994.

Conventions

I think I must first explain a bit about conventions. Many people see conventions as a bunch of lunatics dressed up in outfits and walking around and being generally goofy. Well, that DOES happen, however by and large, most people are pretty normal and are very serious about the Science Fiction field. It is not unusual to hear discussions from astronauts, scientists and well known authors at conventions in addition to watching various movies and television shows. Conventions are generally quite good, the World Science Fiction conventions specifically tend to offer a wide variety of things to see and do (in addition to GREAT parties most nights).

Many times I suggest conventions to those not even interested in Science Fiction specifically since their tends to be such a variety of things to do.

Literature

Many people seem to hesitate to use the term “literature” when describing Science Fiction but I would not. Science Fiction is a relatively new form of literature perhaps only about 150 years old (though this can be argued depending on how far you stretch the definition). Though fairly young it has matured a lot over the years beginning with what could be called Fantasy-Science Fiction where the current elements of Fantasy blended with what we would now call Science Fiction (H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Buroughs), then “Classical Science Fiction” which was essentially the Science Fiction Epic (Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert), then various other aspects have come in recent years including Cyber Punk and “Television Sci-Fi” (William Gibson, Allan Dean Foster). Though this is a broad generalization these are general terms to describe the progression of the literature.

On my recommended list, for people new to the genre:

  • Dune by Frank Herbert - A classic of “Classical Science Fiction”. The movie is a COMPLETELY separate entity. This series of books really gets heavy towards the end, I would recommend sticking to the first 3 or 4 instead. A prequel set of novels has been released, authored by the author's son, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson.
  • Eon by Greg Bear - A variation on the theme by Author C. Clarke in Rendezvous with Rama but it seems to be a bit more interesting…
  • The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov - A classic of “Classical Science Fiction”. Even the new trilogy being worked on by Greg Bear, Gregory Benford and David Brin continues in the same vein and is very well worked out
  • The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (and, to a lesser extent, the sequels) - Hilarious Sci Fi (even good for those not fans of the genre) with a lightening fast pace. VERY British humour. A nice light read.

For perhaps more experienced readers:

  • Neuromancer by William Gibson - A strange book at times difficult to read but harolded as being the precurser to the Cyberbunk genre

See my Science Fiction Book Reviews for more information.

Television

In recent years the offering on television has certainly gotten better though I would seriously recommend:

  • Babylon 5 - Regrettably no longer being made (and the follow-up series “Crusade” by the same producer never aired beyond a few episodes) but most likely one of the true Science Fiction epics on television. It is really a long story so it is best to start from the very beginning - jumping in in the middle is VERY confusing.
  • Red Dwarf (BBC) - Hilarious Science Fiction that seemed to have trouble in the 6th and 7th seasons but the latest (8th) season seems to have made a tremendous “digression” to the exuberance of the first few seasons. See it.

Though, obviously, there are the various Star Treks, the above offer a bit more in terms of variety and innovation.

Further Information

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