Tuesday, February 4

Fragments from October's notebook.

I sat down a few days ago and tried to write a piece of Science Fiction, with an idea and in a mode I was thinking of as a commentary on a particular subgenre. I managed to go on for a few pages, setting up a character with a history and a girl problem, ending civilization - the usual stuff. It was total crap.

I got to thinking about it later on, while reading a critical essay, and realized that in fact I had just been hamfistedly mimicking a bunch of tropes from that particular subgenre’s foundational books.

And this got me around to thinking: I am really glad there are people out there who can actually write Science Fiction, and I don’t read nearly enough of the stuff these days. The other thing that got me thinking this was the essay at hand, a blog post by Jo Walton. I’m reading the collection of them, What makes this book so great?, and after a few entries have already bought a couple of books.

Long-term readers (what the hell are you still coming here for, anyway? What is this, 2003?) will know that I really dig Walton’s writing. It suddenly seems like there must be a lot of other voices in the SF&F world I’ve been missing out on since I lost the habit of reading fiction. It’s been a dozen years, and I never read as widely as I should have in the first place. Who am I missing?