March 14, 2013

Speculative Fiction....more than the undead.

It can be easy to dismiss speculative fiction as purely asteroids and "zombie lit" and while there is an element of that (and that is OK and very enjoyable!), there is oh so much more.

Speculative fiction encompasses not just the bio-engineering fuelled post apocalyptic nightmare that is found in Justin Cronin's The Passage but also the laugh out laugh universe of Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Asimov's robot riddled futures.

As a genre it is one I have returned to many times. In early high school while other young teenage girls were enjoying the Sweet Valley High Series (Bubblegum pulp) I was enamoured with Kelleher's Taronga, a post apocalyptic adventure set in Sydney's Zoo where the main character can communicate telepathically (thankyou to my high school English teacher for that one).

Later high school, saw my introduction to The Handmaids Tale, Atwoods exploration of female subjagation at the hands of a theocracy. Not only did it set of the biggest exam hissyfit in my academic life (I walked out as I hadn't prepared properly and didn't understand the question), it asked a 16 year old to examine doctorine, equal rights and the wisdom of using butter as moisturiser.

Over the ensuing decades (of which there have been a couple), I have enjoyed so many different sc-fi, paranormal, alternate history (some of the many genre's that seem to fit within this one) that it hard not to list them all. Sara Douglass and her twists on Greek mythology and time travel (The Troy Game) kept me thrilled right to the last page. Suzanne Collins Hunger Games made me cry (and quite possibly neglect my children "Shhhh, mummy's reading") and the Time Traveller's Wife was simply one of the best pieces of writing I have come across (just don't get me started on the movie).

Too many people presume that these books aren't literary, or are just for children. Other's think they should "grown up and read a proper book". I support wide reading.  I support reading outside your comfort zone. i also support reading whatever you like, and with so many different themes in speculative fiction, there is alot to like.

So give me vampires, zombies, robots and cyborgs, take me to worlds where war never happens or is never ending and let me indulge in my fantasies of what the world would be like if time travel was possible.
And don't ever tell me (or your kids, spouse or next door neighbour) , that what I read isn't educational, interesting or literary.

(Oh, and if you do enjoy "zombie lit" check out our blog supporting the Narella Zombie Apocalypse.! )

Narellan Zombie Apocalypse  - April 13 2013

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