This project of reading the Sci Fi classics has been very enjoyable and helpful. Got 39 of the 116 stories and novels read so far. Right now, I’m in the middle of four novels at once – Slan, The First Men in the Moon, Skylark of Space, and Dune – where I pick up whichever strikes my fancy at the moment. With any luck, should be done with all four in the next few days. 58 is half-way through! Considering that there are still a lot of shorter works in there left to read, I’ll be there in no time! Woohoo!
Couple things have struck me so far:
- This is pure fun. I needed some pure fun in my life.
- I can see now, if I didn’t already, that it would be hard to come up with something truly original to hang a story on. Minor stuff, sure, but not Mad Scientist, Creature turns on Creator, Alien Invaders, Intelligences Beyond Human Comprehension, Misunderstood and Persecuted Geniuses, Psychohistory – that sort of thing.
- I’ve thought how cool it would be to create some sort of diagram of the Great Ideas of Science Fiction, and map out who came up with it, how subsequent great works pick it up and modify it, and what the state of that idea is today. Shelly did both Mad Scientist and Creature Turns on Creator, and you can trace it all the way to Blackie and Skynet. Verne does Billionaire Genius Recluse, which is Batman and dozens of other stories. It’d be cool to take a wall in my house, draw vertical lines for time, and then map out who, when and what, and then show descent through a sort of horizontal family tree…
- While I (still! alas!) have made almost no progress on the couple things I’m writing, the gears are turning: reading these books provides all kinds of guidance and inspiration. I love the way the characters and political environment are set up in Slan, for example – the first part of my Moldering Epic ™ has, in the basic layout, something of the same dynamic as Slan’s opening. Cool to see how somebody who knows what they’re doing handles it.
Still have a few things left to do at my late sister’s house before we can hand it off to the realtor. But at least the reading has been fun lately!