My fellow humanoids (and other fun forms),
You may or may not be aware of the great and terrible power that Science Fiction has! But, yes! it is indeed hugely responsible for shaping public opinion as it shows us wacky and terrifying possible futures, unknown galaxies, and realistic, thought-provoking depictions of human behaviour. From the father of Science Fiction H. G. Wells, to the GOAT Ursula K Le Guin, to the critically acclaimed, award winning Adrian Tchaikovsky SF isn’t slowing down! So without further adieu here is a SF author highlight of these three trend setters…
Once dubbed “the Shakespeare of Science Fiction”, H. G. Wells is more often regarded as “the father of Science Fiction” being a prominent figure during the Golden Age of SF. Traditionally, SF writers during the Golden Age were also members of the scientific community, meaning the stories were heavily based on science itself. Wells was one of the earliest English writer-scientists. He specialised in Biology which is evident in his works The Stolen Bacillus (1895), The Island of Dr Moreau (1896) and The War of the Worlds (1898). Wells was also a socialist and highly regarded as a futurist for his predictions of air craft, satellite television, missiles, space travel, and even the World Wide Web. Wells so often influenced readers, such as the likes of Winston Churchill, that his novel The Rights of Man (1940) even laid groundwork for the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It is fair to say that, though Wells saw his works as Gothic Romances commenting on society and where it was potentially headed, his ideas and visions of the future helped shape much of the technological advances during the 20th Century. Thank you Father SF! H.G. Wells’ had an uncanny ability to see into the “deep future” which gave his stories a timeless authority and position in the Science Fiction genre that still holds up today.
Considered widely in the Sci-Fi reading community as a Science Fiction GOAT (greatest of all time), Ursula K Le Guin was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and Nebula Award for best novel. She later went on to win EIGHT Hugo Awards and SIX Nebula Awards (four of which were for best novel and is currently more than any other writer). A pioneer in the Feminist Science Fiction genre, her critically acclaimed novel The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) has been called ‘a landmark exploration of gender’. The Left Hand of Darkness is such a widely read novel that it is even used today to aid in understanding androgynous and gendered issues we still face in 2021. Le Guin is credited for her character’s moral development, as well as her recurring development of alternative social and political systems that address the flaws and possibilities for improvement on our own systems. An incredible influence in the speculative fiction genre, it is argued that Le Guin broadened the genre so much as to bring it into mainstream recognition. Considerably less influential in regards to scientific progress than Wells, Le Guin’s influence lies in the emotional and psychological criticisms of society. She has had tremendous impact on authors such as Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Vonda Macintyre and Salman Rushdie.
Adrian Tchaikovsky is a more recent SF writer who is making a big splash in the narrative world. His novel Children of Time (2015) won the 30th Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2016 and has since gone on to win the British Fantasy Award in 2017 for Best Fantasy Novel for The Tiger and the Wolf (2016) and the BSFA Award for Best Novel for Children of Ruin (2019) in its year of publication. Tchaikovsky’s take on SF is unique in its blending of genres, ideals and concept of human experiences. Author James Lovegrove has described Tchaikovsky’s novel, Children of Time as “superior stuff, tackling big themes – gods, messiahs, artificial intelligence, alienness – with brio”. Getting published was no easy feat, as it took him 15 years to publish his first book Empire in Black and Gold (2008) and hasn’t stopped since. If you ask me, my prediction is that Tchaikovsky will be read for decades to come, following in the footsteps of Wells and Le Guin, and we’ll likely be seeing some movies inspired by his work in the near future. Oh boy I hope they make Cage of Souls (2019) into a miniseries!
I hope this inspires you to read more science fiction or explore more from these three SF authors. SF can be anything you want! You just have to find the right kind for you. But I promise it’s or there waiting for you to discovery it. So get like the USS Enterprise and boldly go where you haven’t before!
If you would like to see some more author highlights, or want me to cover anyone in particular, let me know!
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