I’m a science fiction fan. I have been since primary school. As a kid I used to almost exclusively read science fiction. These days I read of mix of things — but, no matter how far my literary interests may wander, I still find myself being drawn back to science fiction.
The book that started it all for me, in primary school, was The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron. (I wrote about it earlier this year for Michael Pryor’s blog — see post.) And in my teen years, it was John Christopher’s trilogy The Tripods that was my most re-read favourite (see “Tripods Rule!“). These days, I would still probably list that trilogy as my all-time favourite literary SF. In terms of visual SF it is, of course, Doctor Who.
I started off with Michael Pryor. Although he is probably best known for his steampunkish alternative history series The Laws of Magic, he also writes science fiction. In fact, his latest book is science fiction. 10 Futures is a book of linked short stories, exploring ten different possible futures in which the only constant is friendship. But what is Michael’s favourite science fiction book?
My favourite Science Fiction book is Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. It’s audacious (recast The Canterbury Tales in an SF mode? Why not?), scary (the Shrike monster haunted my dreams for months after I first read this book), philosophical (not just one, but half a dozen of the Big Questions are tackled in this book), pacey (the chase and battle scenes are first class), moving (heartbreak, romance, parent/child loss, this book can make you cry), and written with a supple, dancing prose that sings with every sentence. Great book.
Next up we have Simon Haynes. Simon is well-known to SF fans as the author of the Hal Spacejock series. More recently, he has ventured into science fiction for younger readers with his Hal Junior series. There are three books in this series so far: The Secret Signal, The Missing Case and The Gyris Mission. I am reliably informed that he is working on the fourth at the moment. Here are Simon’s thoughts on his favourite SF…
Choosing a favourite SF novel is all but impossible, so I’m going to cheat and nominate my fave SF novel from my childhood years. William F. Temple was a British SF novelist who once shared an apartment with Arthur C. Clarke. He wrote a number of novels for adults, but it’s his series for teenagers, written in the mid-50’s, which really captured my imagination. The first in the series was Martin Magnus: Planet Rover, featuring a crusty troubleshooter aged in his 30’s, who hated authority and bureaucracy, yet was smart enough and skilled enough to get away with being abrasive to just about everyone. However, he also had a big heart and would go to the ends of the Solar System to help someone he genuinely liked. The technology in the books has dated, of course, but the stories are still inventive and great fun.
Finally, I asked Paul Collins, author of dozens of books, including the science fiction series, The Maximus Black Files. In his enthusiasm for the genre, however, Paul was unable to contain himself to one paragraph. So he gets his very own guest post. 🙂 Come back tomorrow to find out what his favourite science fiction book is.
Catch ya later, George
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