We all find our own unique paths into the genres that we love and wind up there for many different reasons. We could have discovered a favourite genre when staying up late one night and found ourselves absorbed in a strange film that we just couldn’t stop watching. Maybe we came to a genre through a relative, mentor, or friend who recommended a book that we just *had* to read. Sometimes the genres we come to love are ones that we disliked so much as children and teenagers because we were forced to read books, watch films, and act out plays that we found boring at the time but grew to love later on in life.
In this series, I want to share with you my journey into my favourite genres. As it’s Science Fiction & Fantasy week on Goodreads, I thought there would be no better way to kick off the series than with one of my all-time favourite genres – Science Fiction!
Like many people that I know, my first ever introduction to science fiction was through the original Star Wars trilogy and I have picture evidence of me as a baby being propped up on my nan’s huge, brown sofa in front of the films next to her husband – the man who kickstarted my obsession with the genre (and Star Wars). This year at Nine Worlds I moderated two panels on Star Wars – one on sacrifice in The Last Jedi and one on Women in Star Wars – and I spoke a little bit about how I came to the fandom and how important it has been in shaping me into the person I am today.
Star Wars Episodes 1-6 didn’t just provide me with my first introduction to science fiction but it also gave me my (literal) first introduction to other things that are very important to me: strong female leaders, women in politics and politics more generally. As a child, I was obsessed with Padme Amidala and looked up to her as a Queen and as a fearless diplomat. I learned most of my basic political knowledge through the films and was inspired to continue learning about politics at college as well as university.
Perhaps surprisingly though, I wasn’t a massive fan of science fiction books as a child. Whenever I saw science fiction books or heard them being talked about they were always the ‘classic’ science fiction books – written by white men in complicated, dry language about white men doing science things. As a teenage girl, I literally couldn’t care less about those books and didn’t come to read any science fiction until much, much later. If I remember correctly, I think the first science fiction books that I ever properly read and that I was interested in was the Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith collection back in 2012. I continued to be obsessed with science fiction films but that interest never translated over into books. In fact, it was until last year (2017) when I fell head over heels for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers that I actually started to read sci-fi books!
I think part my love for the Wayfarers series was because it was the first time in my life that I was finally able to feel part of science fiction. This was a book that had so many diverse characters – both humans and aliens – and was written in such an accessible manner that I felt like I had finally found a home in the genre, a place that spoke to me as a marginalized reader. In science fiction anything is possible and I love watching authors craft these beautiful worlds that can explore so many different issues in so many different ways whilst setting them in fantastic scientific environments. Some elements which I always really enjoy in sci-fi include identity (such as gender identity, race, disability, and sexual orientation), artificial intelligence and sentience, human-alien relations, social inequalities, technological evolution, bioengineering, subversion of classic tropes, and postcolonial narratives.
Although I am still yet to read a lot more sci-fi books, I would still say that sci-fi is my favourite genre without a doubt thanks to all of the brilliant films and games, and now books, that I have met along the way.
I hope that you have all enjoyed reading a little bit about my journey into science fiction, what I love the most about the genre and my favourite books/games/movies.
I would love to hear about your favourite genres too! Feel free to join in and tag me in the post so that I can read your posts too ❤
I’d also love to hear about your science fiction feelings. Is it a genre that you love or one that you really can’t stand? Have you read/watched/played any of my recommendations or are there ones you’d be interested in picking up?