A Scintillating Scentury Of SciFi And Fantascy!
October 3, 2008
I’m reading my way through the science fiction and fantasy of the twentieth century. Here’s why:
Like you, I have a homemade time machine in my basement. But, to me, time travel is like surfing the Internet. Unless I’m looking for something specific, I tend to wander aimlessly, lost, confused and barred by Niven’s Law* from altering history in any way. Jaunt after pointless jaunt into the past got me wondering about which time was truly the best to visit.
For answers, I decided to hunker down and do a little reading.
Specifically, I have decided to read one work of science fiction published in each year of the twentieth century, beginning with 1900**. The books will be chosen at random and read non-chronologically, their merit carefully considered and then given a grade on a scale relevant to their content.
Some reviews will be pithy and insightful. Others will be uninspired. One will contain the word ‘falanaka’and will leave the reader wondering if it has been used correctly.
With each year of C20 represented by a book, the best book will ergo determine the best year, and I can set the coordinates of my time machine accordingly. And that’s when I’ll live, happy at last.
*During his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actor in 1958’s Separate Tables, actor David Niven wittily surmised that “If the universe of discourse permits the possibility of time travel and changing the past, then no time machine will be invented in that universe.”
**I know, I know. But it seems like a good place to start. A nice, round year.