My First Foray Into Science Fiction

Iain M. Banks’s latest novel, Matter, the latest Culture novel. It’s pretty impossible to describe, but basically it’s about power and rivalry and kinship, politics, societies so great that they can play with smaller ones to shape the universe they way they want it. Fascinating, beautiful, gripping, well-written, and in a whole universe so complicated and so utterly different from anything you’ve ever imagined, Iain M. Banks is, well, a genius, to have imagined all that. So, none of your scoffing, read it. I wouldn’t class myself as a typical reader of sci-fi – after all, this is ‘my first foray’, as you see, so forget your preconceptions, leave them to one side, and try something new.

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5 Comments

Filed under Books, Life

5 responses to “My First Foray Into Science Fiction

  1. Matter was great, but, weirdly enough, one of his weaker books. Still thoroughly enjoyed it, but be sure to read Consider Phlebas, Against a Dark Background and The Player of Games. Oh who am I kidding? Just read them all…! :-p

    Do be warned, Banks is a real cut above the rest – I enjoy reading Sci-Fi, but almost everything apart from perhaps Peter F. Hamilton seems like trash in comparison. (…and even then, Hamilton’s books are a bit hit and miss / more space opera-y or action-based-but-with-some-cool-sci-fi-concepts)

  2. Jenny

    I shall consider myself warned. What about the other giants of the genre – Asimov or Clarke I’ve heard of, for example. Are they as good in your view? And how much do you know, suddenly you’re my resident sci-fi expert, about older classics like Day of the Triffids or HG Wells – worth a look? xxx

  3. I haven’t read Banks, which I really ought to correct in due course, so I can’t compare, but Asimov and Clarke are two really class acts, so they’re well worth reading. They’re partly extremely beloved because they take the science part of science fiction extremely seriously.

    One of the things I love most about Clarke is that his books tend to contain afterwords with references to scientific articles to vouch for the plausibility of his ideas. One idea, Project Spaceguard from his novel “Rendezvous with Rama” is actually now the name for the effort to watch the skies for objects which might impact the Earth.

    Asimov (at least with some of his books…) likes to take one idea, and tease out the ramifications. For example, “I, Robot” is a collection of short stories, each of which tracks the implications of his three laws of robotics on robot psychology.

  4. “almost everything apart from perhaps Peter F. Hamilton seems like trash in comparison”
    Wow. That’s got to be the most incorrect statment in the history of mankind :-p

    Jenny’s mentioned Asimov, I know, but if you haven’t already then you should read Foundation. It’s anything but trash.

  5. C R M

    …I suggest Dickens.

    Precious little science, but a bloody good read.

    Well, no science. It’s not science fiction.

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