Brought up on Heinlein, Andre Norton, Hugh Walters, Patrick Moore, imbibing classic Asimov, Bradbury, more Heinlein, Russell, Clarke, Blish (and on) through my teens, I still get terrible cravings for real solid SF – new stuff which I haven’t read already. But when I go to my bookshop the supposedly SF shelves are all vampires and fantasy. Where did science fiction go? A few days back there were some plausible items on the shelf, and I took a risk:
SF was often best in short story format, so I chose this in preference to a novel. On the whole I’ve been quite pleased. Characterisation was never the strong point of this genre, and isn’t here, but there are some interesting ideas emerging from that fine old SF proposition, ‘What if we invented …’ There was enough new stuff to hold my attention, though it wasn’t always completely original. In fact at one point I detected a distinct whiff of ‘Biggles Flies to the Ringworld’, a scenario so outré that it was almost worth the price of the book on its own. (But then I remembered – W.E. Johns did write junior SF, so not that outré after all.)
Anyway, I can stop craving now.