My foray into Sci-fi

I’ve enjoyed watching sci-fi for quite a while, but I only recently started reading it. My literary tastes have tended towards the classics/literary fiction/fantasy side of things, so I wasn’t quite sure where to start with science fiction. I’ve delved in somewhat haphazardly, reading some books that are classics of the sci-fi genre, others that are new releases, some that are very serious and ideas focused, others that are laugh-out-loud funny. Here are a few of the books that have stood out to me in my foray into the genre.

The Martian – by Andy Weir

the martian.jpg

There aren’t many books that have made me laugh as much as this one did. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like it should be a funny book: astronaut gets left on Mars and must survive, alone on the planet, until he can be rescued. But Mark Watney, the main character, has a hilariously upbeat sense of humor, and it’s his voice that carries the novel — which is written mostly in the form of his daily journal entries. If you’re already familiar with the movie, but haven’t read the book yet — get your hands on the book. It’s even more suspenseful and an even better story than the movie.

The Martian Chronicles – by Ray Bradbury

martian chronicles

This set of short stories, written in the 1940s, imagines a series of attempted colonizations of Mars. The beauty of the writing left me stunned. The characters are deftly drawn, and Bradbury uses Mars as a backdrop for commenting perceptively on the nature of humanity. This book makes for an interesting pairing with The Martian, particularly because it was written so long ago. The fact that so little was known about Mars when Bradbury wrote this book gave him a freedom to imagine landscapes and worlds on Mars that are no longer available to us today. I found it intriguing to read such very different books, both set on the same planet.

The Left Hand of Darkness – by Ursula K. Le Guin

left hand of darkness.jpg

I’d already read and enjoyed a number of Ursula K. Le Guin’s fantasy novels, so I decided to give her sci-fi novels a try. I was not disappointed. In this book, she presents us with a heady, complex world — a stunningly depicted arctic planet, peopled by a race of androgynous beings who can become either male or female when they “go into heat.” Written in the 1970s, this book spends perhaps more time digging into the social implications of such a world than the same book would if it had been written more recently. But it’s an engaging read — beautifully written, and leaving the reader with many ideas to ponder.

Shards of Honor – by Lois McMaster Bujold

shards of honor

As was the case with Ursula K. Le Guin, I was first introduced to Lois McMaster Bujold’s writing through her fantasy novels. I’d been impressed by The Curse of Chalion, and I’d heard that Ms. Bujold was even better known for her Vorkosigan sci-fi series. I launched into the series and have been thoroughly enjoying it. Her characters are well drawn and intriguing. The political intrigue and battle sequences are suspenseful and not over-done. In exploring a genre that tends to be very male in its focus, I’m appreciating the female authors who have made their way in this genre and created some novels that have more depth of character than many of the sci-fi books written by male authors that I’ve read.

2001: a Space Odyssey – by Arthur C. Clarke

2001.jpg

I’d seen the movie that’s based on this book and found it intriguing, but… odd. There were certainly parts of the movie that I thought were amazing — who can forget the monkeys learning to make tools as Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra booms in the background or the smoothly creepy voice of Hal saying “Good morning, Dave.” Yet I found the movie somewhat disconnected and unexplained. Well, I’m here to tell you that the book explains a lot. I understood the movie (and the story as a whole) so much better after reading the book. The book has a lush, epic feel to it. It’s truly incredible to think that it was written before the lunar landing, yet portrays the vastness of space and the smallness of humanity in comparison in a way that’s unparalleled in my experience.

I’m still new to this genre, and would love your recommendations! What science fiction books do you love?

 

 

6 thoughts on “My foray into Sci-fi

  1. Suzanne

    I like sci-fi (well, some of it), but I haven’t read any of these! A bunch are on my to-read list though, I hope to get around to them. For classic sci-fi, I would recommend Isaac Asimov (I loved the Foundation series in middle school). Otherwise, I also recommend Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah :)

    Oh wow, where do I even start?! 😇 I would recommend ANYTHING by Timothy Zahn, especially Angelmass and The Icarus Hunt (<- my first I read of his, I've probably read it 5-6 times total). The Conqueror's trilogy is also excellent.

    I second Ender's Game, one of the (probably) top 10 all time best sci fi books ever. I never did read the ones that come after it about Ender, but Card more recently wrote some novels about another character in the story, Bean, which are set on earth and are FASCINATING. Lots of political intrigue.

    These aren't official canon anymore (insert ugly sobbing) but Michael A Stackpole and Aaron Allston wrote an AMAZING series about X-wing pilots in the Star Wars universe. My other favorites are Zahn's Star Wars books, the Bounty Hunter Wars by K W Jeter (set during and after movies 5 and 6, and revealing more about Boba Fett), and……. No, wait, everything else on my shelf is either ANOTHER Zahn book, or fantasy. Maybe I haven't read as much sci fi as I thought 😇

    I should also mention David Weber's Honor Harrington series, military sci fi drama, which both my sisters have read multiple times (I never had a chance before deep motherhood was upon me and I gave up fiction for a while, because I have NO self control and starting a book means I'm on vacation until it's done).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. colorfulbookreviews

    Ender’s Game and the sequel Speaker for the Dead are must-reads. A newer book called Ready Player One is very good. If you are okay with swearing and some “boy humor”, John Scalzi is amazing. His Old Man’s War series and the stand-alone The Android’s Dream are my personal favorites. Asimov is a classic but his books vary widely, if you don’t like the first one you read, try some of his later works because his style definitely changes over his prolific output.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s