Sunday, October 09, 2011

Five works of science fiction to hook new readers

Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards.

In an interview with Alec Ash at The Browser, he named five books sure to get new readers hooked, including:
The Martian Chronicles
by Ray Bradbury

Moving onto Ray Bradbury and The Martian Chronicles.

Ray Bradbury also fits naturally into the early magazine days. The short story was and remains his natural length. It’s a shame that Fahrenheit 451 is his most-read book (schoolteachers love its tale of rescuing books from the flames) as it is far from Bradbury’s best work. In fact, the stories I love best are those collected in Dandelion Wine.

Bradbury’s love was science fiction, but not because of technology. When he went to space in The Martian Chronicles, it was already well-known that Mars was nearly or completely lifeless. It didn’t matter. He was writing about the Mars of the dreams of children growing up in the 1930s, the Mars that Edgar Rice Burroughs had written about. Bradbury’s martian stories are infused with tragedy, lost dreams, ancient glories and hope resurgent.

And the way he writes! This is language that is meant, like ancient Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse, to be read aloud. It contains its own music. It is music. When my future wife had a procedure done that required her to have her eyes covered for a time, I came over and read to her a couple of stories from I Sing the Body Electric – a marvellous collection – and that was when I realised that Bradbury’s work is crippled when you read it silently. Your lips have to form the language, you have to let his words flow out of you.
Read about another of Card's recommended books.

The Martian Chronicles is one of Kim Stanley Robinson's ten favorite Mars novels.

--Marshal Zeringue