books · genre · reading · science fiction · what if

A Step Out of my Comfort Zone – My Discovery of Science Fiction

It started in grade 9 English when I read The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.  What should have been an epic entry into the world of Science Fiction turned sour very fast.  The book was confusing and choppy and at the time, my English teacher was having some issues or at least we think she was.  Perhaps if I had some better guidance I would have embraced Bradbury and his attempt to write in the short story genre (more on short stories in a later blog post).

Fast forward a few decades and I have learned to like and even enjoy the genre.  Why wouldn’t I as a self-professed lover of Star Trek, Star Wars and Firefly?  As I delved deeper into the genre at the behest of my husband, I learned to appreciate the genre for its unique qualities.  As Joyce Saricks says, “Even the biggest science nerd in the world appreciates a good story, and the SF novels that tell good stories are the ones we need to know to share, especially with readers who might not consider themselves fans of the genre.”  And she should know as the Queen of genre writing.

My first real attempt at enjoying the genre came as I read The Unit by Swedish author Ninni Holmqvist.  I was skeptical but intrigued.  As I read further into the book I started to see the appeal of this multi-faceted genre.  My conscience was rattled.  My ethical radar shot up as the story unfolded.  I started to think that this could happen to us!  After reading the novel I thought about it for days.  That is one thing I really appreciate about the SF genre is the WHAT IF? questions that stew in your brain long after the book is closed.

From that time I have read other SF books including most recently A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle which I would have loved as a 10-13 year child.  The genre is valuable for so many reasons and I often found that my students would gravitate to this genre reading such titles as:  1984, Ender’s Game, Frankenstein, Dune, I Robot, and The War of the Worlds.  

As for Mr. Bradbury, I rediscovered his writing through the highly original Fahrenheit 451 which offered me a good look into the dangers of censorship and defiance.  Book burning!  Oh the horror!!  I’m not done with this genre yet.