Searching For the Essence of Sci-fi

Good novels - science fiction or otherwise - are diamonds in the rough, if you ask this picky reader.  I really dig on Niven's Ringworld (and the whole of "Known Space," really).  Books like "Flowers for Algernon" or "I, Robot" will always hold my attention; I just wish I didn't have such a hard time finding these gems on my own.

It always seems to take a recommendation (or extreme force of duress - like Saturday, library's-still-open-I-guess boredom) for me to pick up that book with the wildly colorful, strangely designed cover complete with 28 point, bold, double-outline, #ff0000 over #000000, IMPACT title.  I miss the quiet stoicism (read: poor-dom boredom) of my youth where I could just pick up anything on the shelf and find therein merit and substance of some sort.  These days, unless I own it, one of my friends owns it, or it comes with twelve fully five-star raving "Real Name Verified" reviews on Amazon; I tend to avoid it with precision.  Y'know, like signing up for a ****** band's mailing list just so you know where NOT to be.

Why is it that Sci-Fi does it for me more than, say, Tom Clancy novels?  Well, I would have to say that it's the innovation and creativity most often evinced by authors of those pearls of future wisdom.  Yes, even the heavy-handed, overtly moral-grinding ones.  With today's technology, it seems that sci-fi is increasingly the exclusive purview of cable television and Hollyweird studios; consequently, that soulful storytelling side of this waning art of post-temporal tracery is increasingly trudging into triteness.  That's when they're not busy retooling things that were just fine the way they were (Battlestar Galactica being a possible exception to that rule).

Firefly (and Serenity, naturally) was fantastic, realized, even if only for such a brief time.  What we need is more fare of that sort - lovingly made by someone with not so much agenda as they've desire to make something special:  authors and other creators who can see that glimmering strand of Fate hanging just forward from our grasping human hands... and just behind the pentadactyl claw of something we'd see as wholly "unnatural."

I want to see a place of infinite blackness from which escapes a single transmission imploring visitors to stay far away for fear of their very existence (which of course they won't).  I need a story where my protagonist's grandchildren are long dead by the time the series is finished.  Anytime you can mate-up the heroic deeds of Sir Nigel and The White Company with galactic space opera (without it sounding like Little Miss Skywalker's Grand Day Out In Cloud City - part twelve:  The Newest Returning Hope of Striking Back), you can sell me another copy every time I lend out the last one you sold me.

All in all, I'll take sci-fi any way I can get it; paper *or* plastic; however, the advantage of the literary medium remains the same:  one story with a multitude of imaginative realizations.
NotWilliamShatner NotWilliamShatner
26-30, M
2 Responses Oct 6, 2006

I really enjoyed firefly and was pretty pissed about why it was axed.

I'm trying to recall the name of the huge novel available on project Guttenberg by Charles Stross. I downloaded the e-book and read it on my palm pilot...a great read if you get the chance, spans generations, clones, downloaded I said, a great read.