Funny how the science fiction writers of my youth are now classified as literary. I’m talking Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. LeGuin, Margaret Atwood and Madeline L’Engle. I love science fiction, particularly when authors choose to use creative strokes to illustrate a lesson in society or human behavior. I do believe that Kurt’s Harrison Bergeron is the best short story ever written. When Ursula showed up in town to read from her new poetry (!) book, I brought my daughter along in the hopes that some of Ursula’s powerful thinking would magically rub off on us. I named by first car “Ananda” based on a note that Madeline L’Engle scrawled in my copy of A Wind in the Door at a reading.
There came a point, however, when the genre exploded in a great and terrible way. Writers pumped out books faster than boobie-ful space explorer covers could be painted. Plot lines featured more violence and war than thoughtful exploration of society through artful prose. I thought to myself, these books are not for me. I lost interest in the genre and no longer visited that section of the bookstore.
How grateful I am that Hugh Howey came along. I first heard about Hugh through self-publishing world. He wrote and published his own books and they were wildly successful. This garnered some attention. I knew more about Hugh and his publishing process than I did about his actual books. One Friday evening, I decided I better read one and see what all the fuss was about. I downloaded Wool, the first book in his Silo Series and and stayed up until I finished it. I immediately bought the next, then the next. I spent my entire weekend sitting on the couch reading his books. These were days well-spent.
Reading Hugh’s books taught me that there are still authors with interesting things to say publishing in the scifi genre. When Kindle released it’s “unlimited” program, I decided to browse the best sellers in the dystopian section to see if there was something that caught my attention. I discovered Marcus Sakey‘s Brilliance series. The same thing happened. I read the first one in one sitting, read the next one the following day. How horrified I was to learn that the next book in the series won’t be available for months. For the first time in a long time, I am anxiously awaiting the publication of a science fiction novel.