Since I have a healthy interest in science fiction it is not surprising that as a kid I wondered what it would be like to be an astronaut. Just imagine getting up into space and seeing the universe from there. Wow, it would be incredible. I still dream about being able to fly around in a spaceship that can travel at multiple times the speed of light, visiting other planets and systems. My love of science fiction is still strong, and I have blogged previously about the science fiction programs I like to watch. I also love to read science fiction – particularly books by Iain Banks and Peter Hamilton. Those guys are just so good at enveloping the reading in a totally new universe – to the point where you can escape this world for hours and live life on a different planet through the eyes of amazing characters.
Anyway, today Joe Rogan tweeted a link to an advertisement from NASA for applicants for their 2012 astronaut selection program. Imagine getting accepted for something like that! Wow, if only I was 20 years younger…. or maybe 25 years…. ha.
I was looking for a link to Iain Banks and found one – you can see more about him at his website here. His novels about the culture are just incredible. The good thing about the Culture series is that although the stories are all set in the same universe, they are independent. That is, each book is about a different individual in the Culture. So you don’t need to read them in the order they were written.
That is not the case with Peter Hamilton – his books are incredibly detailed, long (and satisfying) adventures, and usually are written in 3 volumes, which should be read in order. The guy must have an amazing brain to keep all the threads together. You can find his website here.
Peter and Iain write a style called “Space Opera”, which wikipedia defines as ” a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic, often melodramatic adventure, set mainly or entirely in outer space, generally involving conflict between opponents possessing advanced technologies and abilities.” I love being drawn in and “drowned” in these alternate universes, and can stay there for hours and hours. More than once I have read a book through until 4am and then felt absolutely terrible as my alarm went off at 6am to go to work!
Looking up the websites for these two guys suddenly had me remembering other great science fiction writers and books, such as the incredible Dune series. I have read all of those books – and also really enjoy them. And then I stumbled upon Dan Simmons, and his Hyperion Cantos series. Ahhh – it was so long ago that I read those books, however I must admit that if I have a favorite then that is it. If I recommend one science fiction series to read then it would be that one by Dan. It really was incredible. Dan wrote that, I think, more than 20 years ago and it is still incredible to me now. I only wished that Dan still wrote incredible science fiction, but alas he has moved into writing in other areas which really don’t meet my taste as much. I must also throw a quick word in for Orson Scott Card – also a fantastic writer.
Well, this blog has whetted my appetite for some more science fiction. I am currently reading Vernor Vinge.