I used to read a lot of science fiction. I have read and enjoyed the work of the classic writers of the field, Larry Niven, Robert Heinlein, etc. But many of my favorite SF writers are ones that are more obscure.
One of my all-time favorite SF writers is Stanisław Lem. Lem wrote delightful books that enthralled me. He wrote very intelligent, clever stories filled with a love of language, logic, puzzles and whimsy. The Cyberiad is a wonderful book, telling the stories of two friendly rival inventor robots, who travel the universe getting into all sorts of odd and unlikely adventures. The Cyberiad is appropriate for all ages, but Lem wrote novels for adults as well. He has been poorly served by movies, at least in America. Solaris, starring George Clooney, was based on his book, but don't let that prejudice you against him. The book has little resemblance to the movie. The Congress, starring Robin Wright, is loosely based on Lem's The Futurological Congress. I'm sure the resemblance of the two will be tenuous.
Another of my favorite obscure SF authors is Lucius Shepard. Shepard is well-regarded, having won many awards in the field. He writes in an extremely dense, rich, flowing, prose style that I find quite beautiful to read. The strength and beauty of his sentences is breathtaking. His stories are brutal and gripping, often set in very dangerous locations, depicting the underclass of the world. His muscular, powerful prose takes you on unflinching tours of the unglamorous lives of the underprivileged, and he concocts fantastic scenarios of first-rate imagining. His best-known series is probably the Dragon Griaule series, a series of stories concerning a mile-long, 750-foot-high dragon, paralyzed from an ancient battle. I find his writing endlessly compelling.
It seems I have gone on too long. That's what happens when you get me going on some of my favorite subjects. I have many more writers I planned to talk about. I'll have to save them for future blogs. Here's this week's fun cartoon. ☺
Perfection may not be attainable in this life, but that's no reason not to strive for it.
- Scott McCloud