Having belatedly admitted to myself (and the wider world, or at least the three people who read this blog) that I really am a sci-fi fan, I’ve gone completely the other way the last couple of weeks. I’ve actually skim-read (too dense a tome to read properly, and too much like the hated English Literature of schooldays) a history of science fiction to try and broaden my background by seeking out some classics I’ve overlooked.
Now, my views on the so-called classics that are prescribed from above by dry scholars are not usually charitable (see any and all of my earlier comments on Shakespeare and Dickens), and I did end up wondering why on earth I’d take the word of anyone who could bring themselves to write a 15-page chapter on some sub-genre of a sub-genre, complete with three pages of notes and bibliography. However, for the sake of widening my experience, and remembering that I can toss the book aside after a few pages if I hate it, I’ve gathered the first few together, some by authors I’ve heard of but never got round to, and some by authors that are new to me. I may not enjoy them all, but at least I’ll have an informed opinion instead of saying ‘oh I never liked the sound of that’ (not that anyone’s that likely to ask me. I was going to say since when do people stop you and ask for a book opinion, but I went on a course at work a few weeks ago, and five minutes after I’d first met someone, they were asking me for fantasy novel recommendations. Bizarre). And I got to go to a suburban branch-library I’d never been to before; luckily for my groaning shopping bag I was on my lunchbreak so I stuck to the books on my list to keep it quick.