This month see the start of a new feature, on Book Blurb, focusing in on my fellow SFF book bloggers. Not just a spotlight on their blogs, and the genres they read and review, but the people themselves. I’ve put together 10 basic questions for the series. But, of course, as one wise man pointed out, to help introduce this new feature, I should start by introducing myself to you all. So, here goes nothing.
Welcome to the very first In The Spotlight Q&A featuring yours truly, Alex the Martian. Erstwhile scribbler, resident of Mars, and chronicler of future histories and resurgent reader of SFF fiction. Well, at least part of that last sentence is true. I leave it to your imagination to decide which bit was a slight fabrication of, eh, my imagination…
I first started reading as a 4-5 year old, with one of the most original fantasies ever written: ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll. Which, of course, when I was old enough, soon became Alex’s adventures in wonderland. This is, I suppose, also where I first fell in love with reading fantasy, and then, later on, writing it. Though it’s true, the writing came a lot later; when I was 14 or 15.
As someone brought up in a military family, I got to travel, a lot. I got to see some amazing countries that, to my young mind, where not that far removed from Alice’s adventures. Which was all just more fuel for my very active imagination.
I use to read every fantasy and sci-fi book I could lay my hands on for a long time, and then, somehow, I found myself working in publishing and, promptly stopped. There was a huge portion of time where I lost faith in my favourite genre. Those giant doorstop books that had nothing new to say, bored me. Yes, I know. What an admission, right?
It’s only these last several years hat I’ve been drawn back into speculative fiction, as it has become, encompassing so many, many sub-genres, that it became hard to ignore. All these new authors looking to tell their stories differently. And, thanks to those who went before them, and TV shows like Star Trek and movies like Star Wars, I think writers found their own way of telling their stories. And, by doing so, rekindled my love for what is, as far as I’m concerned, the only genre that matters.
Whether it’s epic fantasy like S.A. Chakraborty brought us, with her DAEVABAD series. To reinvigorated space opera from the ever imaginative Gareth L. Powell, with his EMBERS OF WAR trilogy, and his steampunk cross-over ACK-ACK MACAQUE series. To Karen Osborne’s up-coming SF epic, ARCHITECTS OF MEMORY, and Megan E. O’Keefe’s VELOCITY WEAPON, to Wayne Santos’s THE CHIMERA CODE in which the author has thrown magic into a SF novel, and given it a cyberpunk vibe.
So many tried and tested tropes, twisted, melded and utterly ignored, in favour of getting back to telling compelling stories, with characters we can all get behind. And who doesn’t want that?
My top 5 SFF authors:
- Frank Herbert
- Ursula K. Le Guin
- S. A. Chakraborty
- Gareth L. Powell
- C. J. Cherryh
My favourite SF novel: SERPENT’S REACH by C.J. Cherryh tied with DUNE by Frank Herbert
My favourite fantasy novel: THE CITY OF BRASS / THE KINGDOM OF COPPER by S. A. Chakraborty
And it was the discovery of a whole tribe of people out there, reading and reviewing books from every genre—getting me all excited about reading again—that got me into book blogging and reviewing. My wanting to share my love for the books that moved me and yes, letting readers know about those that—for me at least—fell short. I think it’s the infectious enthusiasm from this group that’s so compelling, and I am humbled to be a part of that.
Thanks for reading this meandering intro post, and I hope you’ll stop by to read my Q&A with my first Book Blogger, coming soon!