Happy Science Fiction Day!

January 2 is Science Fiction Day in honor of Isaac Asimov’s birthday. Confession: I’ve never read anything by Isaac Asimov. But I still couldn’t let this day pass without at least a brief mention of it on my blog. I wrote a short piece about it for NMG.com, and it was hard for me to keep the article from ballooning into a treatise about why EVERYONE should check out sci-fi. But actually, I understand if it’s not your thing. When I was younger, it wasn’t my thing, either; I liked fantasy, but I thought sci-fi was just a bunch of techno-talk. Then I discovered post-apocalyptic fiction, and another sci-fi fanatic was born.

If you’d like to celebrate the day with a Lacey-approved sci-fi novel, here’s a list of my favorites, in no particular order:

  1. The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld (Pretties is my favorite, but read them all)
  2. The Time Quintent by Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time is my fave)
  3. The Ender Series by Orson Scott Card (Speaker for the Dead is my fave, but I haven’t read them all yet)
  4. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel
  5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  6. Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  7. Jack the Bodiless by Julian May
  8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  9. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
  10. The Family Tree by Sheri S. Tepper

You may be surprised not to see any of the “classics” on my list (1984, Farenheit 451, Brave New World, etc.). Although I’ve read many of them, none of them “did” much for me except make me feel well-read. I was always irritated that the authors could imagine vastly different societies, but couldn’t stretch their imagination past traditional gender roles.

I would have very much liked to spend today reading and watching sci-fi, but, alas, a life in which a significant portion of my time is not taken up by earning a living is speculative fiction indeed.


6 Responses to Happy Science Fiction Day!

  1. Jenna says:

    It’s weird to think of those “classics” you listed as Sci-Fi, because they are such staples in literature. But I guess they are Sci-Fi, aren’t they? I’d never really thought about it, especially because at all of the bookstores I’ve worked in, those titles are shelved in the Fiction section. I guess that’s what becomes of all “classics” – they are weeded out of genre sub-sections and put into the fiction section so they can be all literary and important.

    I’m also surprised that you didn’t list the His Dark Materials trilogy on your recommendation list. So I was inspired to put together a mini-list of my own, which includes said trilogy, “Good Omens” by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the “Y: The Last Man” series by Brian K. Vaughan, and to borrow from your list, “The Family Tree” by Sheri S. Tepper.

  2. Lacey says:

    The Hist Dark Materials trilogy *almost* made the list, but I wasn’t sure if it was sci-fi enough; it’s one of those borderline ones that feels more like fantasy even though the concepts are more sci-fi-ish. But later that night I remembered “Into the Forest” by Jean Hegland and wished I had put THAT on, so this is definitely an incomplete list. I’m glad that it inspired you to make your own list; I was hoping I’d get some list addendums in the comments. 🙂

  3. Jenna says:

    I also wondered why “Into the Forest” hadn’t made your list. I just figured you’d read so much, it was hard to make the final cut. :p I remember loving “Z for Zachariah” by Robert C. O’Brien (which has a similar concept) when I was a pre-teen, but I don’t know if I’d love it as much anymore.

  4. Good list! You’ve reminded me that I should be reading more science fiction.

    And honestly, I’d say you’re not missing much for not having read any Asimov. It may be heresy to say so, but I’ve just never found anything of his to be all that compelling.

    • I’m sort of relieved to hear that Asimov isn’t much to miss — there’s so many books out there that I want to read that it helps me narrow the field a bit when someone “unrecommends” something. 😉

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