Sci-fi and death

Some things are just so wonderful that you can’t even believe they’re real. Even in case of a fiction. Well, science fiction or new space opera to be more precise.

I do remember the first sci-fi novel I have read, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis. At that time I was a big fantasy fan and I didn’t care much about other literal genres. But one day (don’t ask me when or I’ll tell you that) my father showed me this book and said: “This is a very fine book and I think you’ll like it.” He was right (I should point out that he prefers the novels which take place in reality and that he’d got this novel when he was in the conscription – a thing very unusual in the communist Czechoslovakia, the communist party gave him a sci-fi novel written by an American author).

Those of you familiar with Mockingbird know it is soft sci-fi, meaning that the technologies are not the most important part of the plot, just the background for the sociology problems. It might have been thanks to this fact that I have started to be interested in sci-fi. In fact, now I spend more time reading sci-fi than fantasy. But that might not mean anything, right?

So, after Mockingbird I discovered other brilliant stories and novels and finally I found THE AUTHOR. You see, everyone has their own favourite author(s). It’s rather important to have someone you can trust (you are used to some style and some characteristic plot and storyline quality) and are able to spend money on his/her work. And if the person lets you down (by drastically changing his/her style or just by writing an utter rubbish), you can get angry, sad and depressed and you can concentrate those feelings, along with all the other negative emotions you have not expressed lately, and shout at his/her books, posters or him/her personally (the last option is not advisable). Of course, it is always better to have more than one favourite author, because you are simply strengthening the chance of not being totally let down. And some of the authors might be already dead which means they are unable to surprise you with some shitty novel.

My favourite writer from the dead category is Philip K. Dick. I am sure you know him, at least for Total Recall, Minority Report or Blade Runner. His style is (or was) brilliant, his visions somehow scary and the plots are almost always a surprise (in the positive meaning of that word).

To find my favourite living writer was not too difficult (and as I already mentioned, it happened in 2004). I simply read one short story in a magazine, found out that the story somehow continues as a novel called The Skinner and that was it. I quickly bought my own paperback copy, read it several times and from that moment I started the most annoying process of an enthusiastic reader – waiting for a new book. When I write new I mean new here, in the Czech Republic, translated. Well, it was not so bad at first, since there are about two novels by Mr. Asher translated into my mother tongue every year but then I got deeper into his world and having discovered how many novel he’s written I started to envy all the English speaking individuals who were able to read them before I could. So I get myself the whole collection of Neal Asher’s books and began to read them in English.

It was the stupidest thing ever. I’m done with all the novels but The Technician and The Departure (and The Gabble) and I am wondering whether Neal would be able to write more quickly if I asked him nicely... At least I don’t have Kindle (which I’d love to posses) so it’s not so easy to read an e-book. But still, Neal Asher knows precisely how to attract the reader’s attention, how to force him to read more, yes, this page will be the last for now, or the other one or let’s have a look at the things that will happen next and try to solve some plot mysteries and... The end. I am now still waiting for his books to be translated into Czech but only because I want to buy them and store them in my bookcase. And I hope Neal Asher will not be dying soon. I cannot imagine how would I solve problem of number one in the dead cathegory. Dick is tough... Ehm...