I remember when every SF book I read the story was new. And now….

I’ve read a lot of science fiction in my lifetime.  Maybe I’ve read too much.

It seems I’ve reached a point of diminishing returns.  The science fiction field isn’t that large. You can pretty much exhaust it if you read voraciously.  Then you move on to the magazines, but after a while you realize you’re reading the same story over and over, so you put them aside, too.

Then you reach a point where you pick up a new novel, try it out, discover it doesn’t hold up to the wealth of fiction already packed and chambered in your fevered little brain.  You feel disappointed.  Like there’s nothing out there worth reading at all.

I’ve read a lot of fiction. There’s damn little genre fiction I haven’t read.  Let me rephrase that: There’s damn little important genre fiction I haven’t read. No sense wasting time with writers who are trying to reinvent the wheel.

So lately I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction, almost exclusively, along with rereads of novels I liked as a kid or a young adult in a desperate attempt to recapture that early sensawunda.  It never happens, though.  Okay, rarely.  But the emotions aren’t as strong as they once were. That’s to be expected from comfort reading.

And, please, don’t come to me with the “science fiction is twelve” argument because I know crap when I see it, whether I was twelve or an ancient Mr. Grumpy.

I guess that’s all part of growing up but I’m kind of bummed about it.

4 Replies to “I remember when every SF book I read the story was new. And now….”

  1. Of course, it’s been said that there are only seven truly original themes, and that we are all only trying invent a variation on each. Perhaps the same argument can be applied to music. What matters is … well, what matters – how it relates to your life; in SF transposing current concerns into a future context, or some kind of allegory.

    But the notion of what’s “important” – surely that can only ever be subjective, even if most people agree. I mean a speculative novel about the earth facing imminent destruction might not matter to someone with a terminal illness (unless perhaps it dealt with the philosophical side of an after-life or non-existence). So we can only give our subjective take and hope it has popular relevance.

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