When I listed my resolutions, I forgot one. This year, I’m going to read some science fiction. In the past, that one might have said ‘get a root canal’ for all the enthusiasm I’d have felt for it, but I’m giving it an honest try since science fiction is inextricably linked with fantasy, the genre I write in.
Michael is a huge science fiction fan. While we were dating, he recommended that I read a novel by William Gibson, who I’m told is a giant in the Science fiction genre. It is a testimony to my forgiving heart that I married Michael in spite of that recommendation. If I were asked to list everything I dislike in a novel, I could simply offer up that book. I would rather read the ingredients lists of household cleansers, but that’s just me. I recognize that all things have merit to someone,. I recognize too that it has been unfair of me to judge an entire genre by my experience with one book, so I am on a quest to find a science fiction book that I enjoy.
Since then, Michael and I have talked at length about what exactly science fiction is. He argues, somewhat convincingly, that all the YA distopian series that are so popular right now are science fiction because science is what created the societies. Take The Hunger Games for example, Michael argues that science is the weapon held by those in power that creates life as it is for the people living in the districts. That’s true, but I’m not sure that the science plays a big enough role in the story to make it the platform on which the entire story is built. Michael counters my point by saying that the arena where the actual games are played is a product of science. Again, this is true, but it still seems more like an element of setting than an overarching genre label. Michael’s point is that I am already reading and enjoying science fiction, but that I refuse to call it that. I countered that argument by blowing a raspberry at him because I’m mature like that, and because I spend much of my time in the company of a two year old. Feel free to weigh in in the comments, but I suggest you only do so if you’re safely out of raspberry range.
I’ve decided to start with female writers of science fiction. I turned to some trusted reader friends, and below are their suggestions for authors who won’t make me want to stick my head in the oven.
- Elizabeth Moon
- Lois McMaster Bujold
- CL Moore
- Ursula K. LeGuin
- Sherri Tepper
- Octavia Butler
- Linnea Sinclair
- Tanith Lee