To me, SF is more than just entertainment. It is a passion, but also a means of expression, to expose touchy subjects and lead the reader to think things over. And please let me point out that whenever I use these abbreviations - SF or sci-fi - in my eyes they contain the whole of fantasy literature, including science-fiction, fantasy, heroic fantasy, horror, faery tales, etc... I am undeniably against all kind of division and labelling.
This being said, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about sci-fi. First off, I have always had this theory that science fiction is nothing but History. Let me explain. Take robots for instance. Their real life creator one day admitted that he had been inspired by Asimov's books. Same thing goes for the Internet - the Net or Network - which had been thought of by genre writers before it even was invented. Not to mention stellar travel, which was seriously laughed at until man first walked on the Moon. All this to say, simply, that in a century, perhaps, men will discover old crumbling SF books and think of them as scientific works or History school books. Interesting, isn't it ?
Other thought : the future of SF lies in the mixing of genres. The more time goes, the more I am convinced about this. If we go on dividing SF into different subgenres, it will only do it more harm. We must instead find a middle ground, attain equilibrium, and mix all these elements to finally obtain new and original material of a higher quality. All you need to do is take a look behind and give me a list of the last real big masterpieces published. The only one I can safely submit for the 90s is Dan Simmons' Hyperion. Some would call this hard science. Right, but this magnificent novel also contains elements of fantasy and mythology and, by some regards, could also be considered a modern faery tale. No secret there...
Here is a very brief and unfinished list of some of my favorite writers and books. These are not ordered according to my tastes, but rather in alphabetical order (I am a very methodical man ;-) :
|ASIMOV Isaac||Foundation (6 novels)|
|HERBERT Frank||Dune (the first book only)|
|McCAFFREY Anne||Dragonriders of Pern (a dozen books)|
|POWERS Tim||The Anubis Gates|
|SIMMONS Dan||Hyperion (3 novels)|
|TOLKIEN J. R. R.||Lord of the Rings (3 novels)|
|WILLIAMS Tad||Sorrow, Memory & Thorn (4 novels)|
|WOLFE Gene||New Sun of Urth (6 novels)|
|ZELAZNY Roger||The Princes of Amber (10 novels)|
|ZELAZNY Roger||Creatures of light and darkness|
Other favorites :
Piers ANTHONY, Fredric BROWN, Steven BRUST, Pierre PELOT (a French writer), Clifford D. SIMAK, A. E. VAN VOGT, Stefan WUL (another French writer) and many more...