Posts tagged ray bradbury
Mars and Science Fiction
There is something about mars that catches the attention of science fiction writers. Perhaps it is because in so many ways it is like earth. Pictures from the surface of the planet almost feel like pictures of a desert on earth. Because of this nearly every genre of science fiction from short stories to video games and comic books has used Mars as a setting or had characters from mars. Some of the most famous uses of Mars are in classic science fiction. There are a few reasons for this. Telescope technology had allowed us to begin to glimpses the planet but not enough to know what it was really like. This type of ambiguity is the heart of science fiction. Perhaps the most famous of these books is "The Martian Chronicles" by Ray Bradbury. This series of short stories tells the story of men coming to mars, meeting Martians, building a civilization and eventually leaving mars. But it is only the tip of the iceburg. Heinlein wrote "Stranger in a Strange Land" about a man raised by Martians returning to earth and Isaac Asimov wrote "The Martian Way". In fact nearly every great science fiction writer of that Era had at least one story with Martians. Once television and movies appeared there were even more stories. Invasions from mars were almost common in stories like War of the Worlds but eventually as we grew to understand the planet a little better it became about exploration, though these stories often didn't work out well, or seeing mars as a new frontier almost always exploited by corporations like in "Total Recall" which mixed ancient mars technology, paranoia and an evil corporation all together into one story. Comic books had their own share of mars stories and characters. Perhaps the most famous of those was the Martian Manhunter. This character has become a major character and one that came about in large part because of the fascination of mars in the popular culture. In more recent years video games have also began to use mars as a setting. Often using the same ideas in the other genres. "Red Faction: Guerilla" have you on a mars that has began to be terraformed fighting for Mars freedom. This is reminiscent of the battles for mars in both Total Recall and Babylon 5, including the use of ancient Martian technology. No matter what media science fiction comes in it remains fascinated by the planet mars and if we are perseverant and willing to take a few risks perhaps someday we can fulfill some of the dreams of these science fiction authors. We can walk and even live on the surface of mars and I believe we will because we are a species who has constantly conquered new environments and we aren't likely to stop now. mars, 2580 by ~shardanas on deviantART
Read More
Examining the top science fiction books 6-10
Yesterday I looked at the top five books of the top 100 science fiction books. Today I'm going to finish off the top ten. 6. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein If I were making this list Starship Troopers and thing would have switched places. (Starship troopers is 12) but it is still an interesting book. This is the story of a human who was raised on Mars by martians and his return to Earth as a young adult. There are 2 versions of this book. The orginial was cut by about 25% removing parts that were considered controversial, the full version was released in 1991. I don't know which of these I read as I didn't know there were two when I read it but it seemed plenty long. 7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury The first thing I noticed the first time I picked up this book is how small it is. Mind you I had been reading the wheel of time series so anything seemed small but compared to modern science fiction it's short. Short isn't a bad thing, this is a well written novel with a central idea that is fully explored. A longer story wouldn't have added anything. This is the story of a fireman, which is someone who burns books. Fahrenheit 451 is the tempiture that books burn. Bradbury says that this is not a book about censorship but instead about how Television destroys interest in literature. 8. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke It's hard to think about this without thinking of the movie. The problem is that I don't really care all that much for the movie 2001. This is a case where the movie wasn't made from the book, instead the book and movie were made together and the book came out after the movie. As science fiction set in the near future(technically the past now) it is a book that is interesting to read for the advances that they predicted and how close they were in many ways. I think that the book holds up better because it's not reliant on effects but simple imagination. There are several more books in this series now. 9. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov It is appropriate that Isaac Asimov be the only writer with 2 books on the top ten list as he is one of the most prolific authors in history. This book is a collection of short stories about robots. There are a few reoccuring characters but they are largely stories that play on the three laws of robots. Although the best Asimov short stories aren't about robots these are still all good stories and a great place to start reading classic science fiction. I will avoid the movie I, Robot except to say that I would like to see a movie based on one of the stories from this book at some point in the future. 10. Neuromancer by William Gibson I haven't read this book mostly because I don't like to buy books new and it hasn't been in my local used bookstore when I have been. That said I've heard enough about this book I feel like i've read it. This is considered the origin of the cyberpunk subgenre. This genre is about high tech computer societies with criminals and hackers. This story is about a computer hacker in a japanise city who was given a drug that made it impossible for him to use a brain-computer interface and is searching for a cure. I can't comment on the quality of the book directly, but if you like cyberpunk this is said to be the best. Along with the first five books this would certainly give you a great overview of science fiction. You can see from this list how varied the genre is. Sadly it is number 26 before we get to Ursula K Le Guin the first woman on the list and I'm not even very fond of the left hand of darkness and the most recently published of these books was Ender's Game in 1985 but those are both largely because it takes time for books to become popular enough to reach the heights of the genre.
Read More