Because #scifi books are f9cking awesome

I grew up in a military household with a father who was a Type A fanatical, old school, career Navy officer who chain smoked, drank Coors light, and devoured books by the dozen. My father was constantly reading – at the dinner table, in the bathroom, in bed, at his desk when he wasn’t popping a vein as a brown shoe maintenance officer. I grew up thinking smoking and reading at the table was normal. Suddenly, my older brother (by two years) started reading. On the bus, on the way home, and stayed up all night to finish a book while we were in high school.  The Stainless Steel Rat and Harry Harrison was a household name. Bill the Galatic Hero with two left arms and Jim Digriz, the Rat thief were my brother’s heroes.  I grew up with science fiction and fantasy all around me, but I started with Stephen King at 14.  I skimmed ‘Dune’ but wouldn’t read it again until I was almost 35. Scifi wasn’t my thing, not for a long time. It sure as shit is now.

 

If you don’t read science fiction, you’re really doing your brain a disservice. There’s a lot to be said for contemporary fiction, romance, gritty thrillers, and supernatural beings. I enjoy a good mystery or thriller, but throw in a little futuristic components, and I’m your fangirl.

 

13 Crimes of Science Fiction – quite possibly my most favorite book in the world. You’d be very lucky to find a copy online these days, so you’re better off trying old book stores. 13 stories, each a specific type of mystery.  Hard-boiled detective story (The Detweiler Boy by Tom Reamy). The Psychic Detective (The Ipswich Phial by Randall Garrett).  And my personal favorite – The Locked Room (ARM by Larry Niven). Those are just a few stories in the collection, but the entire book is worth the read.  Hell, I’m going to read this book again when I finish this post.

 

Death’s Head (series) – This is a fucked up series.  And I mean that in the best way possible. I picked it up at my father’s house a couple years back and he immediately said, “Oh those are fucked up. You’ll like them.” That’s the type of relationship I have with my dad. Anyway…Sven Tveskoeg is a violent Legionnaire soldier who is recruited into the Death’s Head. He is physically superior and built to survive.  Period. You want to talk about ultra-violent? This 3-book series gives new meaning. I fucking loved it. David Gunn writes with disconnected exactness that cuts anything representing romance, passion, or anything against the Emperor like a knife. It’s like getting shived and then thanking Gunn for the pain.

 

Altered Carbon: A Takeshi Kovacs Novel – by Richard K. Morgan. He goes by Kovac and he wears a sleeve. Your conscious, intelligence, memories – the very thing that is YOU can be downloaded into another body.  You can live forever, if you’re rich enough. Kovacs is not rich, but an ex convoy reawakened as hired help, offered the chance to live again if he helps a rich man figure out who killed him. The universe alone is enough to make me drool. This is what makes an interesting science fiction story. When enough thought is given to the presentation of a world that could very well be just beyond our reach. Another detective mystery with interesting twists and turns – so worth reading, in my opinion.

 

My father used to say he was born 200 years too early. He would watch science fiction movies of heralded futures longingly, wishing he could see what his great great great grandchild might see. A kid from Philadelphia who was given his first science fiction book by a caring teacher in the 9th grade that put him on a path that forced him out of the ghetto and into the military with a stellar career in avionics. Designing electrical plans that made it onto jet fighters. I saw the wonderment in my father’s eyes when he talked about his books and I’d always bug him for something to read when I’d get home.

 

“Can I get it back when you’re done though, Roz?”

 

I had to buy him another copy of ’13 Crimes of Science Fiction’. I’m nothing if not appreciative. ;)

 

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