Monday, November 16, 2009

Reading Science Fiction has changed my wardrobe slightly

I recently read a Sci Fi book called House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds. I hadn't read Sci Fi since I was a teenager but I've wanted to branch out in my reading and a young lad in my writing class earlier this year was an aficionado. Plus, I have a library card. It's a failsafe doorway to varied, no cost reading.

Reynolds is no simnple fantasist, creating a Harry Potter like world that relies on nothing more than imagination and memories of fairytales gone. He has a Ph. D in astronomy and spent years working as an astrophysicist.

See this is what I like about my blog. I can remind myself that I got through this BIG book - 473 pages - because, as complicated and 'sciency' as it was, it had a good story at its heart, full of adventure and romance, just based six million years after man first walked the earth. That's all!

Anyhoo, he is apparently famous for his space operas. Now I had to look these up straight away. Wiki says: "Space opera is a subgenre of speculative fiction or science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing powerful (and sometimes quite fanciful) technologies and abilities. Perhaps the most significant trait of space opera is that settings, characters, battles, powers, and themes tend to be very large-scale." So now we know that.

I don't see myself reading a whole heap of this but I was intrigued to know more about some of the things in Reynolds' bio. One for instance, was his position as a 'Gollancz' bestseller. I looked up Gollancz and discovered it's a publishing company, part of Orion Books. It publishes a range of popular and critically acclaimed authors, including Alastair Reynolds, as well as a number of Terry Pratchett titles. Its Science Fiction and Fantasy Masterworks series, reissuing the great novels in the two genres, have been widely acclaimed. Since 2005, Gollancz has also published Manga. See, now if I ever decide to write a SF book, I know which company to approach.

There's also the matter of his Arthur C. Clarke Award. Apparently this is the most prestigious award for science fiction in Britain. Clarke wrote 100 books and more than 1,000 short stories and essays over 60 years. Among his best-selling novels are Childhood's End, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rendezvous with Rama and Fountains of Paradise.

One of his short stories ('Dial F for Frankenstein', 1964) inspired British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee to invent the World Wide Web in 1989. Another short story ('The Sentinel', 1948) was expanded to make the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-wrote with director Stanley Kubrick. They shared an Oscar nomination for the best screenplay in 1969.

See ... I learn something every day ... when I blog.


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Mrs Underhill said...

All I can read is computer babble. Is this something wierd?

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