Hello book lovers and before you get those pitchforks out, let me start by saying: I know this post already sounds awful.
Like many of my fellow book nerds, I started reading a young age and got hooked into certain genres where I comfortably stayed. I have occasionally tried out new types of books, enjoyed them or not, and decided to start reading or not read those again. When I was a teenager I never would’ve dreamed of enjoying regency romance novels, and as a kid if it didn’t have dragons in it I was rarely interested. But as you can probably tell from my blog, I read a lot of books that do have romance and don’t always have dragons.
But science fiction is a world I’ve never been comfortable in.
Not just books, either. Some of my earliest formative memories of science fiction involve my (boy) cousins insisting on always playing games with light sabers and Star Wars toys that I didn’t understand the rules of, and sometimes getting rougher than I was prepared for. I’ll admit, I was prejudiced against Star Wars as a franchise because of that, though I did eventually break down and actually watch the movies. They were decently entertaining, and I understand why they hold a special place in many hearts, but they simply don’t do it for me.
Space is interesting, but for me it hasn’t held a lot of appeal beyond basic facts. I like look at stars and that’s about as much as I care about space. Magic systems, deep water exploration, fantasy, vampires, those are things that are always a ticket to entertainment for me. That being said, I have enjoyed the occasional foray into science fiction. Ilona Andrews writes a great series in which the vampires and werewolves are actually alien species from other planets!
I think my hesitation with science fiction comes from how I’ve been exposed to it. Like with Star Wars, inherently tied up with being hit with plastic light sabers as a kid, a lot of my science fiction exposure has been unwilling, abrupt, and male centric. I’ve been told I have to read books written by male authors, see movies produced with the male gaze in mind, and engage in fandoms that either don’t want women at all or want us to look and act a very specific way. The fans of science fiction in the bookish community are actually interesting people with informed opinions, unique insight, and enthusiastic suggestions. But before the bookish community, all the fan spaces I encountered of science fiction were slightly terrifying.
I’ve started to consider reading a bit more science fiction thanks to the bookish community. I see recommendations of books by women, queer people, and BIPOC that contain interesting interpretations of the genre and are eye opening instead of strict and rigid. As I add a handful of science fiction adjacent books to my TBR, I feel more drawn to the stories rather than the immersive fan culture of these books, and I’m hopeful that I’ll actually enjoy the content.
So if you’re at all like me, or were, and have some recommendations for science fiction that actually reads well, please leave them in the comments!