National Science Fiction Day - A List
Yesterday, my mom was on the hunt for an Android app that would tell her what unusual (and usually hilarious) holiday each day was. The closest we came was the Hallmark Ultimate Holiday Site (which only has the app for iDevices. MEH!).
Just for $#!+$ and giggles, I checked it out today and discovered that it's National Science Fiction Day. Of course I had to share that and got this in response:
@dananner my Dad taught me the ABC"s of sci-fi: Asimov, Bradbury, Clark :)So ... here's my personal ABC of Sci-fi (and fantasy):
— Daniel (@danniboi07) January 2, 2013
A - Asimov (Happy Birthday, Isaac!) - I still subscribe to Asimov's magazine. You should read I, Robot (short stories COMPLETELY different from the movie), Foundation Series, The Caves of Steel (trilogy) and Nightfall for a taste. He also wrote across genres (my first Asimov book was probably one of his "How Did We Find Out About" books, but I loved his style so much I begged my parents to get more).
B - Bradbury, Butler, Brin (oh my!)-- Like many others, I mourned the passing of Ray Bradbury a few months ago. Too many books to list, but Fahrenheit 451 (which took me forever to get through because I couldn't bear the thought of reading a book about burning books!), The Martian Chronicles, and I Sing the Body Electric! are at the top of my list.
Next favorite is Octavia Butler. WOW! Her books make you think. Try Kindred and the Xenogenesis Trilogy . They will leave a lasting impression on you. Not brain candy.
Want to make me squee like a little girl? Have David Brin walk into the bookstore and come up to my register. True story. While I was working at the Bookstar in La Jolla, Brin walks in, talks to the sci-fi floor manager, I think he might have bought a book but I was too busy fan-girling. I eventually got him checked out without embarrassing both of us too much. Later that semester he was a guest speaker in my (yes!) Science Fiction Literature class. We were reading Earth and he signed my copy. Unfortunately, it's been lost through the moves, but I will never forget that he told me to Decide! in the inscription. I switched my major to English Lit. :)
C - Card (sorry @danniboi07) - I love all things Orson Scott Card. From Ender Wiggin, to Alvin Journeyman, Pastwatch, and now Pathfinder and The Lost Gate series.
D - Douglas Adams! Got your towel? I don't know how many times I have read the Hitchiker's Guide series, but they are always good for a pick me up.
Best editor in sci-fi is Ellen Datlow - I just can't bring myself to read her horror anthologies.
Oh! brain fart. I almost forgot PKD. Phillip K. Dick. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Bladerunner is based on this book), A Scanner Darkly, Adjustment Team, Total Recall, The Minority Report (I read all of these in high school, when all except Bladerunner hadn't yet been adapted). Can you tell that Hollywood really loves PKD?
E - Harlan Ellison - once upon a time I also had a signed copy of his screen play of I, Robot (what could be better, right??) I read (and got to meet) him during that same Sci-Fi Lit class. Mean old bastard.
That year I also started reading Heinlein. I used to read the Lazurus Long stories to my son at bedtime. He was three. Maybe that's why he prefers fantasy over scifi...
F - Raymond E. Feist - I was addicted to the Riftwar Saga, devouring each book as it was released. Same with The Empire Trilogy--which had a strong female lead. I kind of lost it during the Serpentwar Saga though, real life, kids, and no time to read.
G - G.R.R.M - and not because of Game of Thrones. I've actually been reading George R.R. Martin since the early-mid 90's when he was in F&SF or Asimov's (I don't remember off the top of my head, I had subscriptions to both in high school). His short stories and novellas really made an impression on me. His epic novels are another matter altogether!
I can't forget Neil Gaiman. I've read American Gods twice, Anansi Boys, loved Good Omens, Coraline, Stardust, Neverwhere, Odd and the Frost Giants, the list goes on and on, but you get the idea.
H - Joe Haldeman - takes war to another level. If you haven't read The Forever War and Forever Free, put them on your reading list for this year. Also the Carmen Dula stories (Marsbound, Earthbound, Starbound).
I - (have you read any authors that you would recommend?)
J - Robert Jordan - Wheel of Time. Epic, just epic. I tried it, couldn't get into it, but my brother loves his work.
K- Guy Gavriel Kay - absolutely beautiful writing. I recommend Tigana, The Fionavar Tapestry series, and Lions of al-Rassan. If you like a little humor, I recommend James Patrick Kelly - love his Free Reads podcast.
L - Madeline L'Engle - it pleases me more than rum punch that my daughter is now reading the Time Quintet. Some of it is over her head, a perfect excuse for me to re-read the series. My father used to make me give him narrative book reports (to justify him buying me books every time he turned around) and my description of Gaudior had him considering it as a personalized license plate. Meg is still one of my favorite characters of all time, probably because I could relate to her so well. Definitely time for me to re-read the series.
Urula K. Le Guin - The Left Hand of Darkness was a reading assignment in my AP Literature class in high school, but I am so glad that it was. I went on to read the Earthsea trilogy before I was jumped to mysteries for a while.
M - Patricia A. McKillip - I started buying her books just for the covers. But the stories are amazing, beautiful, poetic, and truly transport you into her worlds. Alphabet of Thorn and The Book of Atrix Wolf are two of my favorites. I wish I could the cover art as posters.
N - Andre Norton (RIP) - Grab what you can from her works that have made it into the public domain. I really enjoyed her Time series (Time Traders, The Defiant Agents, Key Out of Time) and the Halfblood Chronicles.
O - George Orwell - 1984 - we're living it. Or getting there.
P - Terry Pratchett - Good Omens with Neil Gaiman of course! But wait, I bet you thought I was going to bring up Discworld. Oddly enough, I've only read one or two books in the series. I just couldn't get into it. For Young Adult readers, I like Tamora Pierce.
Q - W.T. Quick - cyberpunk usually isn't my thing, but this guy gets good reviews. I'll be adding him to my reading list for 2013.
R - Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy and Dragon Star Trilogy are not only some amazing writing, but they introduced me to the art of Michael Whelan. Dragons, bestill my heart.
S - R. A. Salvatore - Drizzt Do'Urden FTW. 'Nuff said.
T - Harry Turtledove - Back to college and that lit class :) The Guns of the South reimagines the South winning the Civil War. If you love history and sci-fi, Turtledove is definitely the author for you. For a quick taste, you can read Lee at the Alamo online.
U - I couldn't think of anyone, but oddly enough, John Updike has written a book loosely themed as science fiction--Toward the End of Time.
V - A. E. van Vogt - I think I've only read short stories from old issues of Asimov and Analog.
W - Margaret Weis (and Tracy Hickman) - Dragons of Autumn anyone? In high school we passed the Dragonlance books around like crack. I still have a special place in my heart for halflings, and Raistlin.
X - anyone?
Y - Jane Yolen - Dragons, dragons, dragons! And dinosaurs (my daughter loved How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?) and girls who can take care of themselves. Girl power, take a lesson from Yolen.
Z - Roger Zelazny - an ex-boyfriend introduced me to Zelazny. Pretty sure I tore through the Amber Chronicles and a few of his stand alone novels. Since it's been about two decades, I should revisit him.
Who did I miss? Who is your favorite SF author?
I've collected all of the books for you here. Feel free to browse (and buy!)