Friday, August 21, 2009

Science Fiction Friday: Series Re-boot

Now that I am hoping to blog more often I would like to resurrect or re-boot an older blog series: Science Fiction Fridays. I don't promise to write something every Friday, but I will try (and some will be updated re-posts).

Science Fiction vs. Sci-Fi: So, what is the difference between Science Fiction and Sci-Fi? (I'm basically using a distinction my cousin, Kevin Reed, proposed to me.)

Science Fiction: A form of social critique or investigation set in the future (distant or near), or set in the present amid highly anomalous circumstances. Science Fiction is what you see in Cyber-Punk books, the Dune series, and Philip K. Dick (and the movies based on his stories).

Basically, science fiction offers a utopian/distopian vision of the future as a critique of the present, and therefore is not supportive of the status quo (I also also Fantasy but that was going to make my series name too long, and I don't read/view as much of it).

Sci-Fi: Roughly state, Sci-Fi is strictly entertainment of the futuristic type (somewhere in space) or concerning dangerous scientific research (think Mutant X or X-Men), and it is not different than the status quo. Just about everything is Sci-Fi now on film and the tv; there are few view science fiction movies or tv show which actually critique rather than support the current system of thought.

So, basically, I want to commit to a regular reading of the difference between Science Fiction and Sci-Fi, in literature and film. Through this series I'll engage in ideological and theological critiques of the consumer american lifestyle in which I live and minister.

I have recently just finished The Sparrow, A Canticle for Liebowitz, and a border book, Foucault's Pendulum, all of which will receive some reflection, as well as some recent films.

But to get started, and to add to my reading/viewing list, what are your favorite science fiction books or movies? And why?


  1. These films/television series come to mind:
    Children of Men
    Blade Runner
    Minority Report
    Battlestar Galactica (the modern series)

    I thought that District9 had some great Science Fiction elements.

    These books come to mind:
    Any Science Fiction by Ursula LeGuin
    The Foundation Series
    Ender's Game (and subsequent books)
    the Dune Trilogy
    Brave New World

  2. I'm a big fan of Canticle for Leitbowitz and The Sparrow.

  3. hey Jen, nice to hear from you.

    and Mark, yeah, those are some of my top books. The foundation series was foundational (couldn't help it...:-)) to my science fiction development. I'll have to check out Ursula LeGuin.

  4. Does Wrinkle in Time or Wind in the Door count, by Medeleine L'Engle? Or Peralandra by C.S. Lewis?

    Another of my favorites is Flatland by Edwin A Abbott.

    I wasn't too fond of Foundation. But I liked a bunch of the robot stories of Asimov. And I think it would be wrong to ignore H.G. Wells, Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs.

  5. Thanks Maria,

    I'm never heard of Abbot or Buroughs. I'll have to look them up.

    and yes, Wells and Verne are in there too (but I haven't read them recently).

    And can't forget George Orwell and Huxley.