Tuesday, May 13, 2014

SciFi & Beyond!

Honestly, it was fantasy novels that I devoured as a kid. I didn't always like the real world so much, so taking refuge among albino sorcerers, wayward talking cats, and elder gods was vital then and still has impact today. Since then, I've taken many English classes, have taught English, and have read a lot of writing which eschews the realms of the weird and unreal. But science-fiction, fantasy, and the weird are incredibly important. These genres often allow our culture to have a dialogue around things that otherwise may go ignored or are felt in the culture but have yet to be defined.

Early (first-wave) Gothic literature was a direct reflection of those in positions of power (read land-owners / nobility) nervous about losing their place in the social structure. Thus we have stories like Walpole's Castle of Otranto re-affirming, through haunted armor, ghostly wails, etc., the rightful heir to some property and sticking it to the upstart usurper. Today we have television shows like Supernatural, which after a few seasons devolved into various powerful, and often times corporate, camps vying for power through deception, intimidation, resource-control, genetic tinkering, and sometimes force--sound familiar?

That said, there are a lot of poorly written, but very popular, scifi, fantasy, and slipstream books out there just as there are a lot of well-written, but sometimes less known, books of the same genres. As a librarian directly involved in collection development, sometimes this can be a challenge--what to purchase for a collection and how to recommend it? Luckily, an intrepid few, myself included, have started a blog, SciFi & Beyond, which provides reviews and essays on science-fiction, horror, fantasy, and the weird. It's a fun work-in-progress and is a great place to visit in the internets if you are looking for some great reviews and insights. 

Take a look here, and let us know what you think! 

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