The Wonders of Sci-Fi
Science fiction provides us with some of the most interesting settings and memorable characters in media. Star Wars sets the stage for sci-fi movies with incredible drama, exciting action, and thought-provoking ideas. Star Trek captures the feeling of humanity’s desire to explore. Recent adaptations like Elysium and Ex Machina raise questions about the not-so-far future on how technology and morality interact.
Science fiction tantalizes the mind in ways that other settings cannot, and offers interesting visions of what our future holds. Movies are only part of what the genre has to offer. Here are three classic sci-fi books that you need to read.
Science fiction isn’t an easy sell to publishers, and author Frank Herbert probably learned this fact the hard way in 1963. His story Dune received over twenty rejections by major publishing houses. It took a company that typically sold auto-repair manuals to finally give Herbert a chance.
Dune follows one of many space-faring noble houses that are part of a feudal system in our far future. The noble House Atreides receives rights from the emperor of the galaxy to take over the government of Planet Arrakis. Arrakis is an extremely valuable planet due to the “spice” resource that drives the galaxy’s economy, and other nobles compete for ownership of the planet as a result. Betrayal, deception, and murder are abounding on Arrakis. Plotting by a rival house consequently leaves House Atreides in pieces. The heir of the house, young Paul Atreides, therefore sets out on a quest for justice against the house that murdered his father and conspired to destroy his family.
Dune is one of the most famous series in the Sci-Fi canon with over twenty novels and several books. Herbert masterfully weaves tales of treachery, trials, and triumphs into a one-of-a-kind setting. Dune raises questions about our station as human beings with significant allegories and symbolic representations. Thoughtful commentary on issues like human emotions and evolution, the trappings of power and religion provoke critical thought. The story of Paul Atreides details conflicts, revenge, and destiny that identifies with readers in some way. Dune never loses readers in the details despite many moving parts, and drives major plot lines to a satisfying conclusion.
Herbert’s use of technobabble and his very specific attention to detail can certainly be intimidating. Nevertheless, Dune’s groundbreaking content should make it a worthwhile investment.
Written in 1953 by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 is set in a bleak future where owning books is a criminal act and punished severely. “Firemen” burn books and cause fires in a parody of their real life equivalent. With flamethrowers in hand and robotic hounds to tranquilize dissenters, they destroy people and property to uphold the law of the government. The story follows a fireman named Guy Montag, who comes across a book and questions the state of society because of its content.
Fahrenheit 451’s commentary on the preservation of knowledge, and totalitarian government is especially relevant in the modern era. Bradbury captures the essence of defiance and the hidden horrors of indifference. Fahrenheit 451’s suggestion that people could be inundated and appeased so easily by a government is frightening, and all too applicable at times in our own lives. Fahrenheit 451 hides a wealth of experiences behind the cover, and reads itself when it comes to accessibility.
The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft isn’t a single novel, but a collection of stories written by horror fiction author H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft’s fame comes from his “weird” eldritch horrors and the creeping fear his style instills.
The collection holds all fifty-eight of his major works. This includes a novel, four novellas, and fifty-three short stories. Tales like The Dunwich Horror and At the Mountains of Madness are noteworthy examples of his expertise. Typical Lovecraftian themes explore the whims of fate, forbidden knowledge, and threats against humanity.
Lovecraft’s fiction focuses less on typical sci-fi topics, but his stories create emotional responses that you cannot find elsewhere. A good horror movie scares you, but Lovecraft’s fiction holds you hostage with creeping dread and then binds you in the abyss. Spend some time with Lovecraft’s literature, and enjoy a horror experience like no other.
This is just a small sample of what the science fiction genre offers to readers. Thousands of galaxies and settings wait to be explored by inquisitive readers. Enjoy the wonders and terrors of sci-fi in equal measure. Boldly go from one page to the next.