My journey with sci-fi literature so far Options
#1 Posted : 11/3/2020 11:01:14 AM

Suffer; Survive; Evolve; Repeat

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Last visit: 22-Feb-2021
Location: The dark chrysalis of matter

The past 12 months have been probably the most interesting period of my life so far. The main reason for that is me going back into reading sci-fi. I had read a few books in this genre throughout the years, but I've never really found it engaging enough simply because science, technology, and exploring the Universe were not among my interests or passions back then. And then one day my dear brother recommended to me the Three-Body Problem trilogy, formerly known as "Remembrance of Earth's Past". I don't know why, but something in me clicked open when I read this trilogy. The floodgates of my curiosity opened up and I haven't stopped reading sci-fi since.

Following this absolutely stunning trilogy with its grand and very probable scenario for the future of humanity, I was recommended two book series by The Traveler (I will forever be grateful to you for these recommendations, bud!) The first one was Revelation Space, by renowned British hard sci-fi and space opera novelist Alastair Reynolds.

Plowing through the four main books in a little over 2 months, I was lost for words at the sheer scale of imagination embedded in this rich universe full of genetically and technologically augmented humans split into factions, exotic alien technology, and an alien enemy so well designed it sets your mind reeling away. The vast scale of time and space whereupon this breathtaking journey unfolds is nothing short of amazing.

When I finished the last book of the four, I knew I had to keep going, so I read a bunch of other Reynolds novels and short stories taking place in the same universe, involving the same characters, and more or less developing the same plotline. Those included (in chronological order):

• The Great Wall of Mars
• Glacial
• A Spy In Europa
• Weather
• Galactic North
• Aurora Rising (later renamed to "The Prefect"Pleased
• Elysium Fire (sequel to The Prefect)
• Diamond Dogs
• Grafenwalder's Bestiary
• Turquoise Days
• Nightingale
• Galactic North

There is something incredibly rewarding diving in such an immersive, deep, complex, and rich universe, populated with such a diverse roster of characters that you hate, fall in love with, relate to, and sympathize with. You feel so invested in the whole thing. This is the sign of a true master of the story. One that knows how to draw you in and keep you in until the end.
There are at least 4-5 more books from Reynolds I plan to read in the future, but I had to step off his work for a little bit, so I moved on to the next highly recommended work on my list - the Hyperion Cantos series by Dan Simmons.

Dubbed by many "the greatest sci-fi work of all time", I had enormous expectations opening the first page. Well, suffice it to say that no amount of expectation could have prepared me for the phenomenal piece of literature the Hyperion Cantos are.

Simmons is one of those very few authors in the world that write in several different genres and win awards and recognition in all of them. An elementary school teacher with incredible writing talent.
While Reynolds maintains a delicate balance of enormous-scale space opera and intricate, personal drama and relationship, Simmons seems to put more emphasis on the personal and emotional aspects of an individual's life while still maintaining the backdrop of vast stretches of space and wondrous technological advancements. Simmons builds characters in such a masterful way that you can't help but resonate with all of them. All in all, the Hyperion Cantos absolutely deserves to be counted among the greatest works of science fiction in the history of the genre.

Those past 12 months solidified in me the desire to write sci-fi more than ever. I always had a knack for writing, and having iconic masterpieces like those books to look up to, and to gain inspiration from, is sort of like the last piece of the puzzle fitting in its place for me. It may take me years and years to even come up with an idea good enough to put into a novel, but good things can take time.

There is one tragic aspect of reading science fiction, however. You dive into these fantastic worlds where humanity has progressed far and has spread all around the galaxy, conquering new worlds and inventing amazing technology. You've got alien species interacting with us through the incomprehensible mediums of the quantum plain. You've got black-hole creating technology that harnesses their energy. You've got Kardashev type III civilizations creating literal Gods that rule over entire spans of the observable Universe. You've got Utopia in every sense of the word.

And after months and months spent in these magical realms of infinite possibility, you put the book down, look around, and realize you will most likely never live to see this happen. You realize the sad reality of our species. You realize we haven't progressed much from being chimpanzees on the branches of trees, fighting for land and food. You realize the tragic irony of human creativity being expressed not in the real world, but in the fantasy worlds of books, games, movies, and imagination as a whole. Will we ever live up to the dreams of any of those authors? Will we rise up and really conquer the universe one day? Or will we drive ourselves into the ground, extinguishing the last flame of human potential?
Break free from the chains of your beliefs. It is only then that you may find a moment of blissful stillness amidst the raging storm. Stay awhile and listen. The winds of truth shall fill your sails, and the oceans of hidden and long forgotten knowledge, ancient as the cosmos itself, will be yours to explore.
O, supreme beings of the higher realms, allow me to venture into your dimensions. I come with love and with harmony. I bring no hatred and carry no malevolence in my soul. I come to learn and to grow. Show me your world and gift me some of your knowledge. Ask me, and I shall answer with honesty; hug me, and I shall hug you back; advise me, and I shall follow your wisdom. Heal me from my fear and give me insight. There is little I can offer back but my love and trust. O, supreme beings of the higher realms... I am yours.

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