Sunday, September 7, 2014

Better Living Through Science Fiction: Reading list

In November I'll be speaking at MacTech Conference and delivering my most ambitious talk yet: Better Living Through Science Fiction.

So, in an effort to make sure folks don't wind up entirely lost I figured I may as well share my resource list in case folks want to do homework, but really, is reading or watching science fiction homework?

The List:

  • Star Trek
    • The Original Series and The Next Generation materials only—no need to deep dive if you can name at least three alien species or bridge officers from either series.
  • Star Wars
    • Films IV-VI materials only
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
    • Discussed materials contained in the first book and film adaptations
  • Aliens
    • If you have somehow made it this long without watching the second movie in the Alien franchise you owe it to yourself to watch it
  • The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
    • In a rush? The graphic novels provide enough background to cover the koans I'll be pulling out
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
    • HHGG and Life, The Universe, and Everything
  • The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
    • Red Mars will be sufficient for the koans, but the series deserves to be read in its entirety.
  • Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
    • This is the hardest item to find on the list as it is only sold in dead tree media form. Fun fact: it was the basis for the "fake" film in Argo.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
    • Because I can't give a talk about science fiction without mentioning the mother of feminist SF, and because I couldn't stretch the definition of SF far enough to include the Earthsea books
  • The Belonging Kind by William Gibson
    • Mulling over including this one, so it is tentatively on the list. Also, it is one of my all time most favorite short stories from Burning Chrome which is wonderful collection in and of itself.

Note: Beyond the A list series I'm not 100% certain everything on this list will appear in my final talk. Please don't be disappointed if things don't make the cut.

Also note: I'm taking liberties with the term "Science Fiction" and letting it overlap a bit with Fantasy, because otherwise Space Opera doesn't really fit in.

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