Space opera


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.


5 responses »

  1. You’re bringing back fond memories. I haven’t read it in years and might hate it now, but when I was twelve, Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy was more than a new world – it was a whole new universe. And then Asimov, Bradbury, Cordwainer Smith, Clarke, James Schmitz…. Really, I haven’t entirely come up for air since (and a large fraction of their collected works is just a few steps* away as I type)! But I’ll have to search out Reynolds – SF is like music; I still love the Beatles and Stones and Springsteen, but discovering something new keeps the pleasure alive!

    * Sixteen steps – I went down to make sure there was a “t” in Schmitz. Occasionally I come across a description of an early SF book as “hard to find”; my usual, silly, automatic first reaction is “Oh, nonsense, it’s right down in the basement!”

  2. I’ve been finding more and more SciFi books in my kindle library. Many .99 self published. Never been to much into SF before, but am enjoying the change from ‘who done its’. Still haven’t read any classics yet.

    • I’m a bit old-fashioned – I have my Kindle for travelling, but tend to acquire old (i.e. free) books to read on it. If I’m shelling out actual money, I like the heft of a textblock in my hand. As for SF classics – some of them aren’t really classic, when you get down to it, they just came sooner – but the real classics are ABSOLUTELY classic and always will be, so I hope you find those and enjoy them!

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