Twenty years ago, Lois McMaster Bujold, one of the few women at the time writing science fiction, was already a rising star. Her novel, Barrayar, won the Hugo and Locus awards and was nominated for the Nebula that year. Barrayar begins a saga that spans light years and generations of the Vorkasigan family. It’s one of my favorite science fiction epics of all time.
I have discovered a new, growing genre. It started to get momentum in the 1980s and early 1990s. Now, it is one of the fastest developing genres today. It is called Steampunk.
Steampunk is a sub-genre to fantasy and sci-fi. Steampunk has a setting that includes steam-powered machines in alternative historical times of the Victorian Era or United States Wild West. Sometimes, they take place in post-apocalyptic times.
By now, dear reader, you are likely aware that I am a science fiction obsessive. While I enjoy all types of SF, perhaps my favorite type of SF story is the space opera. No, we're not talking about Italians singing in outer space. Broadly defined, space opera is an epic SF adventure set in space. While remaining popular with the public at large, space opera has seen its star rise, fall, and rise again in the world of serious SF.
I am well aware that most of you (myself included) are champing at the bit while waiting for this weekend's release of The Hunger Games. I expect that The Hunger Games (and the sequels) will go down in history as one of the great SF/fantasy film franchises of all time: up there with the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter films. But for me, the SF cinema event of 2012 will be the June 8th release of Ridley Scott's Prometheus.
The nominees for the 2012 Hugo Awards for science fiction and fantasy were announced recently, and I was pleased, nay elated, to find John Scalzi’s Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue nominated for Best Short Story. Why the outburst of glee? Because SF and fantasy writers often take themselves and the genres just a little too seriously.
Hey Science-Fiction Fans, Don't Forget the Teen Aisle
If you’re like me and you love science fiction, some of the best is currently being written for the young adult market. In fact, there seems to be more creativity taking place there. From humanity being upgraded by computer in Human.4 by Mike Lancaster or being grown in gardens in The Gardener by S. A. Bodeen, there seems to be no end to the imaginative worlds writers are offering to our teens. And leading the way is Neal Shusterman.