Sci-fi classics

Written by Benke on the 27th of July 2009 at 16:45

While portable gaming has more and more portable over the years, nothing beats a good book when it comes to portability in my view. No batteries to think of, light may vary, no stylus to keep track of, cartridges to remember, etc. Plus you can still read a book with ice cream on your fingers.

So I thought I'd catch up on some reading this summer. Makes me look a bit more sophisticated than when I doodle on my DS or focus on my PSP, and hopefully it will sharpen my language a bit to your benefit.

I'm a bit of a science fiction (sci-fi from here on) nerd. Not fantasy, just sci-fi. In fact just recently I got a bit shunned in a conversation as I hadn't read the Harry Potter books (though I have seen a few of the movies). There are so many books I would like to have read before I take on seven books a some boy and a school for wizards.

And eventhough I may cause me some social awkwardness (in some circles at least), I'm not budging. Afterall, I refused to see Titantic (and still haven't seen the whole movie) - these mass psychosis phenomenons have no effect on me (unless its Star Wars, of course). So this summer I've been reading up a bit on post-911 America (In the Eagle's shadow), but I have now started a less serious, but perhaps more enlightening reading project. Catching up on sci-fi classics I should have read a long time ago.

First off I read Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. I had only Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep before (the novel that laid the foundation for Blade Runner), but after reading the Man in the High Castle I know I'm going to have to read more of his stories. A very inspired story of an alternative 1962 where Germany and Japan had won the war and America was under foreign rule. Many memorable characters stood out, and the clash of cultures is ever present. The book within the book device and the ending that left me wide awake unable to sleep as I tried to figure out what it really meant. I'm sure there are some fancy answers out there, but to me it was about making you think about the truths you take for granted. A valuable lesson, intentional or not.

The next book I read was Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. I was interested in it from a description I got, however the plot description I heard prior to reading it was incorrect. It had led me to believe there was one big overriding plot, but instead The Martian Chronicles, just gives you a bunch of accounts of what took place as humanity reach its closest neighbour. It was written back in 1950, something that colours every page with the fear of atomic war, the safe family life of suburbia, but it also touches on censorship and big brother. It had me both laughing and thinking, and that's about as good a compliment I can pay any book.

The book left me with a lot of unanswered questions about the Martians and about the fate of Earth. Another classic you should try and seek out if you haven't read it already.

What's next then? Well, I was thinking of picking something else by Dick, maybe a collection of short stories. Then I've been meaning to read The Mars Trilogy, perhaps Solaris or A Clockwork Orange (I enjoyed the movies) or Gateway. There still summer left...