This is an older article, published on the Kirkus Reviews website in Spring 2011, but it still holds up and is very relevant to anyone who is interested in science fiction, be they long-time readers or just starting out. It is written by John DeNardo of SF Signal.
In this six-part guide, DeNardo asks the question, “what is science fiction” and then takes us through the genres, samples, the different awards offered up each year, and a list of ten books that are perfect for beginning readers. I’m ashamed to say that in the list of ten books, I’ve only read two of them and have pledged to read the rest of the list. He suggests using award lists such as the Hugo awards and the Nebulas to find other gems. I tried this by reading a book from the Hugo list and that was also one of his genre samples and it didn’t quite work out for me. I picked “A Canticle for Liebowitz” by Walter M. Miller, Jr. Uh, unless you grew up Catholic, you might have a problem with this one. But, that doesn’t mean that the whole list is bad. It just means that it was probably not for my tastes.
John DeNardo also includes a very good list of magazines and e-zines that publish short stories. It’s a great place to find some great reads if you’re short on time. Last but not least, is a list of books that show the changes in science fiction history. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (yep, more sci-fi than you think) to Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, you can see how the writing and the technology changes.
- What You Need To Know
- 10 Accessible Science Fiction Books
- Award Winners
- Short Stories
- A Sampling of Genres
- A Reading Trip Through The History of Science Fiction
All in all, a great series and I highly recommend it to everyone. Have you got a book to add to the list? One that you think shouldn’t be on there? Let me know, and be sure and drop DeNardo a line also!