Where do I start reading science fiction?

A weighty cannon. (Yes, I know it’s spelled differently…)

Science fiction has a history stretching back at least as far as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and arguably much further. Thousands upon thousands of books and stories. As a new reader, where does one start?

Well, the best and shortest answer I can give you is, anywhere you damn well please.

Yes, there’s a weighty ‘canon’ of classic science fiction stories, but you shouldn’t feel intimidated by it. Many of science fiction’s classic texts still hold up. They’re considered classics for a reason. But they often reflect the concerns and literary styles of their time. Discovering and reading them will enrich your appreciation of the genre as a whole, but don’t feel you have to start with them.

Instead, pick a book that appeals to you. If you enjoy it, check out similar books by other authors. They might eventually lead you back to the classics, or not. It doesn’t matter; you’re reading for your own pleasure and there won’t be a test. Let your taste and enjoyment guide you, and you’ll find you’ve embarked on a lifelong journey of discovery and delight.

EDIT: Those of you looking for a place to start can find some suggestions on my earlier blog post: 40 Recommended SF&F Books

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Author: Gareth L Powell


2 thoughts on “Where do I start reading science fiction?”

  1. I was hoping for a least a few pointers to start me off 🙂 If you were founding a year-long course on science fiction what would your reading list for your students look like?

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