Friday, December 03, 2010

Making December Science Fiction And Fantasy History Month

"My dear friends, I am calling on you to help me start a movement. This December, let us take another step in further promoting one of our great loves---Science Fiction and Fantasy. Let us declare December to be SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY HISTORY MONTH.

What? Why does it have to be promoted? you ask. Aren't we inundated with it? Isn't there more genre in film and on television than ever? Isn't the fiction market dominated by genre?

Perhaps, but as lovers of the genre, we owe it to ourselves to promote quality work and to invite the young into our fold ,giving them a perspective and understanding of the traditions and tropes of our literary world. Consider the political and cultural influence of science fiction and fantasy, and how it has helped us vent our angst, voice our identity, and celebrate our optimism."

(from The House of Sternberg, via The Blog That Time Forgot )

Apparently inspired by the "Twilight invented werewolves" uproar* some time ago, author and blogger Stewart Sternberg has started a movement "to promote the work of the past which we feels best represents that which made science fiction and fantasy such an important part of our culture and identity." Well, being somewhat interested in those topics, how could I stay away?

Therefore, I spent a little time digging through my entirely-too-huge "books to read" pile, and came up with three titles I think qualify as culturally significant: Frank Herbert's Dune; Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, and Jules Verne's The Hunt for the Meteor. I have never read any of these before (though I did see the Will Smith movie of the same title, and am familiar with some of Verne's more popular works), and will be putting down my thoughts on each one as I get through them, hopefully by the end of the month. I'm open to suggestions as to which to do first, though I'm leaning towards one candidate in particular. Either way, it should be fun.

*Short version: a historically ignorant Twilight fan accused Universal Pictures of, firstly, plagiarizing from Stephanie Meyer by putting werewolves in The Wolf Man, and, secondly, disrespectfully making the werewolf the villain. The Internet's reaction was somewhat indignant.

1 comment:

Wynn said...

I feel you should know what this post has precipitated.

Despite my already lengthy “what-to-read” list (Item 1: 170 unread books on my shelves. Item 2: 62 unread books on that silly BBC survey list that may be worthwhile. Item 3: everything written in my book journal that was not included in 1 and 2), I was inclined to follow your lead and read I, Robot and Hunt for the Meteor (having already read and loved Dune).

Therefore, I Googled I, Robot. Then, happening to mention to Paul that I’d begun this project, I was asked “How many Hugo winners have you read?"

Google google google, Wiki Wiki.

12 novels and one novella out of 1000+ novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, and retroactively-awarded works, it would seem. Couple this with the fact that Asimov himself wrote a goodly number of books, and boom, there’s my reading list for the next 40 years…by which point there would be about 200 more in each category…

Let the Melcatting begin.