Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I’ve Noticed: My introduction to ‘70s SF was pretty awesome

So for the last few years I’ve been working my way slowly but surely (and sometimes a little surly) through the book Science Fiction: The 100 best novels an English Language Selection, 1949 and 1984, edited by David Pringle. Right now I’ve read the first 63 in order (from George Orwell’s 1984 (1949) to Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero (1970) and 68 overall. With Tau Zero I have finally left the ‘60s and moved into the Science Fiction of the 1970s, which for me was the decade of some of the more influential SF films (Star Wars) books (Rendezvous with Rama) and television (Mork and Mindy) of my childhood.

Ahead of me I have 24 ‘70s-era science fiction novels, (excluding The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, which I read a few years back) and event though I’m not familiar with all of the titles or authors, this list has treated me pretty well so far, giving me a number of books that happily sit in both my top ten list of Science Fiction novels and even one that sits in my top ten favourite books list (Flowers for Algernon).

My first entry into ‘70s science fiction from the list was Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero, which focuses on a colonizing ship (crew of 50) travelling to a nearby star system in an attempt to see if the planet will work as an Earth Colony. The book is great, I don’t want to wreck it with any spoilers – simply find this book and read it.

I know that for my BFF Mike the ‘70s were not his favourite era in SF (he was reading his way through the Hugo Awards), but I’m hopeful that I’m going to be hitting a lot of good stuff.
BTW, if anyone out there has read any of my next five books: Downward to the Erath (Robert Silverberg), The Year of the Quiet Sun (Wilson Tucker), 334 (Thomas M. Disch), The Fifth Head of Ceberus (Gene Wolfe), The Dancers at the End of Time (Michael Moorcock) or Crash (J.G. Ballard) be sure to let me know what you thought.

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