It’s SF not Sci-Fi

If you are now looking at this blog, that probably means you like to read…a lot. Or maybe you just like reading Sound Bender — that’s cool, too. But what you probably all really like is science fiction. Me too. And since Sound Bender 2 isn’t coming out for a few months, I’m going to share some great science fiction books that you can sink your teeth into…until the wait for Sound Bender 2 is finally over!

First things first, never call science fiction “sci-fi.” If you have to abbreviate science fiction, do it as “SF” or “sf” but never, never use “sci-fi.” I’m serious.

So I’ve been reading science fiction for like 17 years (I’m 32), and I read a lot. And let me tell you, I haven’t even read a fraction of all the good science fiction books out there. Science fiction is literally a never-ending genre — there’s always something new and totally unexpected to be found. And here’s why.

In America, between the 1930s and the 1970s or so, there were, at any given time, at least half a dozen high quality science fiction magazines (like the ones in the picture above.) These magazines came out every month or every other month, and each edition was packed with novels, short novels, serials, and tons of shorter stories. If you were a SF fan back then, every month was like taking a grand tour on the universe! Almost all of the “classic SF”  books were first published in in those magazines, before they became “classic books.” Magazines like “Fantasy and Science Fiction,” “Galaxy,” “Astounding,” “Analog,” and on and on and on.

Sadly, there aren’t as many magazines still operating.

But here’s a few authors and classic titles to get you started. If you read Sound Bender by yourself, you’ll have no problem with most of these.  (A note about reading old science fiction: most science fiction novels take place in an imagined future.  Don’t worry if an author’s predictions aren’t true — like if he/she populates the moon with little moon rabbits — just enjoy the ride.  A lot of science fiction from the 1950s even had people on space ships smoking like chimneys!)

AUTHOR: Isaac Asimov — He’s the dude with the muttonchops at the top.  He’s one of the deans of science fiction.  He’s not the best writer, but he was incredibly smart and inventive.  The guy was a fast writer too — he wrote something like 400 books.  His name might sound scary and intimidating, but he was a nice guy and his books are easy-to-read.  I promise you’ll tear through them in a day and a half.

Asimov is probably best known for his Foundation Trilogy.  And that would be a great place to start.  They’re all about an amazing empire that stretches across an entire galaxy, and what happens when one man, who knows how to predict the future using math, believes that the empire will soon fall.  There’s nothing like this trilogy.  Fast and more addictive than angry birds, you won’t put it down.

Another book Asimov is known for is I, Robot.  There was that Will Smith movie a few years ago with the same name, and though the movie claimed to be based on the book, it wasn’t.  This actually isn’t a normal novel, but is a collection of lots of different stories about, what else, ROBOTS!

I can recommend almost anything by Asimov.  They’re all fun.

Author: Arthur C. Clarke — Arthur Clarke is another dean of science fiction.  He actually came up with the idea of using satellites for communications!  His writing can be sort of dry, but no one has better ideas than him.

A very good book to start with by him is Childhood’s End.  It’s about these aliens that land on Earth just as the people of Earth are getting ready to send their first ship into space.  The aliens claim they are there to help the people of earth, but to what end…?  You’ll tear through this.

Other good books by Arthur Clarke are: A Fall of Moon Dust & one of my favorites, Rendezvous with Rama.

AUTHOR: Robert A. Heinlein — With Clarke and Asimov, Heinlein is the third SF writer known as the Big 3.  Unlike Clarke and Asimov, Heinlein was known as a really mean and nasty person.  His favorite pastimes were drinking, smoking and shooting guns — and not in that order.  He was a bit of a wild man, but wrote a few pretty books.

You can’t go wrong with any of these books:  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, Red Planet, Rocket Ship Galileo, Have Spacesuit — Will Travel, and a ton more.

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Okay, I’d hoped to keep listing stuff, but I’m exhausted after writing this.  Check back in a few days when I’ll list MY PERSONAL favorite science fiction books and authors, that anyone who read Sound Bender, can read and enjoy.

Also, Jon Scieszka’s fantastic website, GUYSREAD.COM, has tons more SF recommendations.  (plus, Sound Bender was their March “Book of the Month.”)

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

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