Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty,
but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”

~Vincent Van Gogh

Hear, hear. And this quote explains why I was a willing victim of TV shows like Dr. Who, Star Trek, Blake's Seven, Star Trek: TNG and Voyager. They were utterly irresistible to me, couldn't fail. I started reading science fiction at about age 14, read everything the library had and bought a few books with my meagre pocket money. Favourite authors were H.G. Wells, Clifford D. Simak, A.E. Van Vogt, Damon Knight, Edmund Cooper. In the late sixties Anne McCaffrey sprang upon the scene and I devoured Restoree, Decision at Doona, The Ship Who Sang and the first Pern novel, Dragonflight.

And then... well I just I sort of gave up on science fiction! Preoccupied with raising kids, I read historical romances instead. I almost feel embarrassed to admit it. And when I did return to speculative fiction I turned to fantasy and horror - Victorian ghost stories - not science fiction. In truth, I didn't really return until about 6 or 7 seven years ago when someone recommended Grass by Sheri Tepper. I read it, was knocked out, and wondered why on earth I'd not kept up with my sci-fi habit.

Several years ago I started to do Carl's Sci-Fi Experience and, *at long last*, properly rediscovered my taste for sci-fi and the joys of space opera, although I don't remember ever calling it that in my teens. I didn't do the challenge last year and sorely missed it, so this year I'm very definitely going to do it. Excited? Me? Oh yes.

The artwork here is by Stephan Martiniere... Carl always finds the most fantastic artists for his challenges/experiences. The sign-up post is here.

Carl is inviting readers to:

a) Continue their love affair with science fiction
b) Return to science fiction after an absence, or
c) Experience for the first time just how exhilarating science fiction can be.

The Experience begins on the 1st. December 2013 and ends on the 31st, January 2014. There are no set numbers of books to read, no pressure, you just get to read what you like, be it one book or twenty: it's up to you.

I have a few books I would like to read but am not sure yet how many I will get to. Three or four would be nice but we'll see. These are a few of them:

Helliconia Spring by Brian Aldiss
Consider Phlebus by Iain M. Banks
Sailing to Byzantium by Robert Silverberg
Doors of his Face, Lamps of his Mouth by Roger Zelazny
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
Dawn by Octavia Butler
Darkship Thieves by Sarah A. Hoyt
The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold

And of course, there are others, lots of them. So we'll see how it goes. But one thing I will say, I really do plan to read my own books!



Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous said...

I love your history with Sci's so interesting people's different reading experiences! I hope you get to enjoy lots of good ones on your list this year.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

Thank you for taking me on a trip down memory lane - I loved those TV shows. But I didn't start reading science fiction until I was married (in my twenties) when my husband introduced them to me and we both read the Dune books and Arthur C Clarke, etc.

Then like you I stopped and yes, historical fiction took over, but unlike you I've never really got back into science fiction, although The Midwich Cuckoos is next up on my reading list. So, maybe I'll do Carl's Sc-fi Experience too, because there are a few sc-fi books left from the old days that I never read, still sitting in a box in the loft - they could come down when we get the Xmas decorations down!

Cath said...

Cheryl: I agree, it is fascinating reading people's different reading experiences. Thank you, I hope to have fun. I'll check your post out properly later, I only had a quick look yesterday.

Margaret: The TV show that I 'should' cite as having the biggest impact was Star Trek, after all I loved it in most of its incarnations. But if I think about it properly I'd have to be honest amd say it was actually Blake's Seven that had the biggest impact at the time. I literally adored it.

Funnily enough my husband turned out to be a huge sci-fi fan too. I'd had no idea when I started going out with him. He then worked his way through all my books so I wasn't completely sure whether it was me or the books he was most interested in. LOL!

I think it must be something about young wives/mums with our sudden interest in historical fiction. I wonder what...

Ah yes, The Midwich Cuckoos. I remember devouring John Wyndham's books very clearly. I should have mentioned him in my post. My favourite was The Chrysalids, closely followed by The Kraken Wakes.

I hope you decide to do the experience. It's a nice easy one and doubling up is fine I think. One of the books on my list, Consider Phlebus, will do for 3 challenges for instance... the sci-fi one, mount tbr and Scottish authors. Works for me. :-)

kamo said...

Sounds similar to my experience with SF. I remember liking it long before I realised there was a term for it; it was just 'cool stuff'.

I'll be doing Carl's Experience for the second time this year, having learned the importance of pacing myself last time. It turns out you can have too much of a good thing. Who knew?

Though on separate, personal note, I'm planning a Culture re-read next year, so if you fancy comparing notes on Consider Phlebus come January that'd be pretty cool. Enjoy the Experience though, however you tackle it!

Cath said...

Kamo: LOL. Yes, overload on certain genres *is* possible I've found.

I'll be reading Consider Phlebus in January, my first book by Iain M. Banks, and it will also do for my Scottish authors challenge. I don't know anything about this 'Culture' series so I'm *very* keen to try it, I gather it's excellent? I'll check in with you to see how you're doing too.

DesLily said...

oh my lol.. she's off and running again!!!! lol....... have fun with the new challenge! I know you really like to read sci fi so this is a no brainer for you!
love you sis

Carl V. Anderson said...

Great list of potential reads! I'd like to get to the Banks book sometime soon myself, it is far past time for me to be giving him a try.

And hey, I don't consider you (or me) a victim of those shows...we are the blessed because we have such fun shows as part of our science fiction heritage!!! :)

Thanks for joining in. Sorry you missed last year, hope this year more than makes up for it.

Cath said...

Hi Pat! Yep, off and running (yeah right...) again. Yep, I adore sci-fi so you're right, this is such a no-brainer. And Carl does the best challenges of course.

Carl: A lot of people cite the Banks' Culture series as being one of the best in sci-fi so it's high time I read it.

'Blessed' is correct. Even to the point where I feel sorry for those who have never had shows like Star Trek, Dr. Who and so on in their lives. These shows have guided my life in a strange way... I feel I am what I am because of them.

My pleasure. As I said on your blog, I have already started, and now nearly finished, my first book. Blown away by this book and will try to do a coherant review soon.

Kailana said...

Yay!! I was just telling Lorrie last night that I wish there was a new Star Trek show on television. :)

Cath said...

Kailana: Oh yes, wouldn't it be great?

Susan said...

I just saw a Star Trek puzzle - original Star Trek - and I so want it! lol that and Dr Who is as close as I'm getting to science fiction these days, despite my joining this challenge (unofficially, since I ended up not posting for most of the last 6 weeks). I wish I were in the reading mood for it....I'm having so much fun watching you read it, and getting some good titles too for when I do pick it up again!

Cath said...

Susan: I'm having a ball with this challenge and have so many books I want to read. This year I plan to carry on reading sci-fi through the year. At the moment I'm reading an excellent crime book, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie. But I plan to return to sci-fi after all my Christmas visitors go home.