Me and Science Fiction: My History With the Genre

Standard

What better way to really start this series than to talk about my history with science fiction.

Again this was one of the topics I covered in video, but I’ll be going over it again and in more depth.

The first science fiction thing I can remember being interested in was Star Wars. I saw it at the cinema, one of the first times I actually went to one, back in 1997 when the remastered edition was released. I loved it straight away, I mean what 9 year old kid doesn’t love a movie with space battles and lightsabers in it? That started a love of Star Wars in me, I was very eager to watch the other two and saw them when they were on TV and then I looked forward with eager anticipation to Episode I. Oh dear.

Having had my interested in space based stories kindled I feel I was very lucky growing up in the UK when I did as there was a lot of sci-fi on TV. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s BBC2 would show a different Star Trek series on different weekdays. Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine (which was my favourite) so that was awesome AND it also showed Farscape. That series was good and did not go on for nearly long enough. Then on Sundays Channel 4 had Stargate SG-1 on and then later Andromeda and Enterprise. So all in all there was a lot of stuff I was interested in on TV, far more than there is nowadays. These series helped shape my interests but also chimed with who I am as a person, shows with a philosophical edge with great characters mixed with humour oh and of course space battles. Can’t forget those!

With books I think the first science fiction ones I ever read were the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Not a bad place to start really. After that my focus was more on fantasy. The Harry Potter books came out pretty much when my age matched Harry’s in the books, and then the Lord of the Rings films came out and I binged on the books along with the Hobbit and Silmarillion and I turned into a bit of Tolkien nerd. The screen name I use when gaming, Cemendur, is taken from one of the Kings of Gondor. A bit later I got into the Discworld books and A Song of Ice and Fire for a brief while. More about books later.

Around the time I went to college science fiction mostly dried up on British TV, at least normal TV we didn’t have cable or satellite TV when I was growing up and this was the time before freeview. I spent a lot of time on the internet and playing computer games in my later teenage years and it wasn’t until I was almost 20 that I started watching sci-fi series again. I’d been trying to write a book for a while and I went into an odd phase around this time in my life. I kept on absorbing/ripping off ideas from things I watched and read so I foolishly swore off science fiction for a while. Bit of a mistake. But this only lasted for a few years, thankfully.

Through the internet I’d heard of these two series that every raved about but which had only been shown on Sky in the UK. Battlestar Galactica and Firefly. I ordered the miniseries of BSG and that was that. I loved it, watched the rest of it, ordering the series DVD whenever they became available and keeping up to date with the show via streaming sites on the internet. It may have gone a bit weird towards the end and some of the story arcs got some odd resolutions but it was still a great shown. Seasons 1 to early season 3 are just amazing. I also bought and watched Firefly (screw you Fox for only one series) and then got Serenity as well.

As I started to get serious about writing over a year ago I decided I needed to read more science fiction books. I’d read a few more since the Foundation trilogy, it wasn’t completely fantasy dominated. There were a few Star Wars expanded universe novels and some Star Wars ones as well. The best ones I read were a few Kurt Vonnegut novels. Luckily my parents had a great collection of them and I read Slaughter House 5 and the Sirens of Titan. But still not that many compared to the sheer amount of Harry Potter and Discworld books I read. Getting more serious with the writing I needed to simply read more in all genres, but in particular sci fi.

This led me to read over the past year Consider Phlebas and The Player of Games by Iain M Banks, Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, and Ringworld by Larry Niven. My thoughts on these books will be in their own separate entry in this series as they cover the part of science fiction I am writing in, space opera.

Hopefully you after reading all that you have a better idea of the kinds of books, films and TV series that have shaped my love of science fiction, but also show that it has very much been a love from outside the fandom. I’ve never really been a big part of any fan community or been a part of science fiction fandom as a whole. It is something I love, truly and absolutely. I’ve never considered writing in any other genre. But I think it is a slightly different way into writing about it than others who have been a part of the core fandom.

I hope this has been informative and most importantly interesting. Thank you for reading.