When I was a wee little pansy boy in the swamps of Texas, I would read anything, but my favorite genre was science fiction. The public library in the unimportant burg where I grew up had a smallish s.f. section of about four shelves and although I never set myself the goal of reading all of it, in the end I think I did. Everything from the florid wasteland of Lovecraft to the thinly veiled anticommunist gibberish of the 1950s through the post-apocalyptic grinds that popped up during the Vietnam war. I love Asimov, le Guinn, Clarke, but I was perfectly willing to plow though the tons of mediocre tripe that traveled with them.
Somewhere along the line, I decided I was too sophisticated for scifi and let it slide off my radar. Maybe the level of tripe just overwhelmed me. I returned to it a few years ago and now I’m back to reading almost nothing else. Escapism! Yay!
The biggest change has been around the edges; wild ideas that seeped in from actual science are now a given, things like parallel universes and wormholes allow authors more and more complicated plots, but underneath them all, they’re still mostly cowboys in space. The best, obviously, are the rare birds who rise above that. You know who’s great? China Mieville, even though I don’t know hot to pronounce his last name. His style is grim and dark, but filled with sometimes beautiful writing. He tends to a little to much excrescence, but I’m willing to hold my nose, so to speak, and revel in his mastery.
Also, Lois McMaster Bujold who wrote the Hugo winning Paladin of Souls which is peopled with charming, vivid characters and presents a fully developed world.
Anyway, the point is, I’ve run across a gay men’s science fiction and fantasy book club and I’m joining it. I’m nervous since I don’t really like groups and “gay sci fi” sounds like the members (unlike me) will be something out of a John Waters’ movie, but I’m going anyway. What I’d really like is a Gay Brazilian Porn Stars Who Put Out Sci Fi Club, but I can’t find one. Imagine my disappointment.