I read a lot of science fiction when I was younger. In truth, I read little else. Stories set in the world I recognised around me seemed too mundane; I wanted imagination-stretching, mind-bending tales of adventure in the made-up realm.
So I grew up on Heinlein, Farmer, Asimov, Le Guin, Ellison, Pohl…the list goes on.
Later, I fell out of the SF habit. Did it get dull, or did I? I don’t know. I still dipped in occasionally, but I mainly moved on to crime fiction, non-fiction, the occasional ghost story.
Recently, I have come back to SF. I was led by my writing – after years of ghost stories and horror fiction, I found myself writing SF. Not very well, but I found myself enjoying it. I also soon realised that a lot of things I was thinking about had already been written, earlier and better by other writers. The SF world had moved on since I drifted away from it.
I didn’t entirely abandon the field: I find I have read 10 of the Hugo-winning novels since 1986. But I have read 17 of the winners from the 20 years before that.
So, I’m setting out to explore the treasures that I have largely missed in the past nearly two decades while my attention has been elsewhere. I apologise for being so behind the game, but as penance I’ll write about the books as I catch up with them.
Let me know of the books you think I really must not miss, and I’ll try to read them.