Wednesday, August 30, 2006

[assignment: Brief History of My Experience With Science Fiction and Fantasy, or, Would You Like To Know More? completed well ahead of schedule]

As I look back on my academic misadventures, I realize that I have the dubious distinction of being sent to the principal's office in elementary, middle, and even high school for thought crimes.

Well, not exactly thought crimes. They weren't even my thoughts. They were other people's thoughts and I just found them to be much more interesting and informative than the majority of the subjects my teachers prattled on about.

I would consistently get in trouble for reading in class. Much of what I read was science fiction, fantasy, mythology, and a brief flurry of "young adult" pulp thriller type novels (i.e., Christopher Pike.) I wasn't much of a discriminate reader; I didn't even think to look for specific authors. A sticker on the spine of a little rocketship circling a planet was enough to get my attention.

Still, a few novels stood out. Dune, Dragonlance (Dragons of [season]'s [time of day]), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Lord of the Rings (although I admit skipping the poetry the first time), The Chronicles of Narnia, Slaughterhouse 5, and a lot of Ray Bradbury.

Today, I am enamored of China Mieville (who I believe is the exception to Dr. Cook's rule against mixing fantasy and science fiction), the graphic novel Transmetropolitan, the cancelled but still alive in our hearts animated series Futurama, and I just finished Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and it was even better than Diamond Age.

I've attended a few Comic-Cons in San Diego and spoken (albeit briefly) to Greg Keyes, Ray Bradbury, David X. Cohen.

Our culture is living science fiction. I often go to to see which fantastic ideas have become reality while I slept. Science fiction, and writers who choose to convery how technology can be catalyst and crucible of the human condition, may prove to be the next great force that shapes American culture.

Well, besides the internet, I mean.