We talked about science fiction at Science Cafe NH in Concord last night. Because I moderate, wandering around with a microphone so that ConcordTV can capture the audio from audience questions (note: audio is a pain in the neck), I don’t take notes, so I can’t write up what happened. ConcordTV will have it online in a week or so, linked from the SCNH page.

There were a lot of suggested readings of recent SF tossed around – so many that they were hard to remember. I asked the three panelists to send a few suggestions for the blog, and here they are:

Lawrence Beemer, UNH lecturer in English who teaches a class in science fiction (he joked that the class works because of J.K. Rowling – virtually all students were drawn into SF/fantasy through “Harry Potter”):

  • “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson
  • Anne Leckie Ancillary trilogy
  • Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy

Aidan Sonia-Bolduc, library page in Concord and Hookset public libraries:

  • “The People’s Future of the United States of America” (a short fiction anthology)
  • The Wayfinders series by Becky Chambers, starting with “The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet”
  • “The Three-Body Problem” by Cixin Liu 
  • Sci-fi-ish fantasy reads that came up: “The Fifth Season”; The Mistborn series and anything else by Brandon Sanderson

George Schaller, biology professor at Dartmouth College and writer/reviewer of science fiction:

  • “2312” by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • “Borne” by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Slightly older but genuine modern classics: “Neuromancer” by William Gibson (from 1984; one of the most influential books of modern SF – we would not have the Matrix movies without Gibson’s template); “The Book of the New Sun” by Gene Wolfe (from 1980-83; a four-volume novel about a far-future Earth that begins with “The Shadow of the Torturer)

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