This is something I realize by degrees and then forget about. The idea that I’m just a few Philip K. Dick* novels short of total mastery of all alien planets and potential futures is alluring. I spent a couple years in high school reading Dune and Sirens of Titan** and William Gibson and… mostly fantasy, actually, which, I think my refusal to care much about the boundaries between the two, much less the distinction between hard and soft sci fi and the semantic battle between “sci fi” and “science fiction,” which may or may not exist only on the internet, is indicative of the ridiculousness of my aspirations to thorough familiarity with the genre… but these books and Star Trek and Farscape*** have taken up enough of my time, and been notable enough to the people around me, that I start to feel the tug of obligation towards the supposed canon and the Important books. I haven’t read any Arthur C. Clarke novels, for example, though he’s responsible for one of my favorite quotations. (Ah, I didn’t know it was a “law”. Number three.) And this is how I end up carrying around a copy of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy.
This post was born in my head when I decided I had no desire to read 800 pages of mostly dialogue like
Hokum! Royal Governors, Kings–what’s the difference? The Empire is always shot through with a certain amount of politics and with different men pulling this way and that. Governors have rebelled, and, for that matter, Emperors have been deposed, or assassinated before this. But what has that to do with the Empire itself? (pg. 42, the first one I opened to)
and wondered why I’d bought the book in the first place, but just now, leafing through it, I was not unintrigued. I’m putting it in the bag of books to sell, before I become attached to the idea of wading through what appears to be a lot of unfun for the sake of knowing what happens, again.
*I highly recommend Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
**I highly recommend Sirens of Titan.
***I highly recommend Farscape.