Tuesday, 1 November 2016

My Introduction to the Sci-Fi Month (2016)

Hello everyone! I know that I've been neglecting this blog as of late - and I am genuinely really sorry about that! - but I'll be making up for that a bit as I'll be taking part in the Sci-Fi Month this November :) To any regular readers who might not know what this is, it's basically a month long blog event to celebrate all things science fiction. The event's been around since 2013 and is co-hosted by Rinn from RinnReads and Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow. Taking part in this event was one of my major reading aims for 2016 and I've been really looking forward to it!

About Me
So... my name is Hannah, I'm 28 years old and I'm from the city of Birmingham in the UK. I've lived here for all of my life apart from when I spent three years in Manchester where I was completing my degree in English Literature and Linguistics. I've also been an avid reader for pretty much all of my life and I mainly talk about books on this site as I am always happy to talk about the books that I love and to recommend them to people :) I write book reviews of my own on here and I also occasionally take part in the Top Ten Tuesday event (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) and the Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts event (hosted by Christine over at the Bookishly Boisterous). My favourite genre to read is probably fantasy but I do try to keep the genres that I read relatively varied. When it comes to the science fiction genre I'm really more of a sci-fi viewer than I am a reader but I have been making more of an effort in reading sci-fi books over the past couple of years. And apart from reading, my other main interests in life include travel (I'm actually going away to New York during the middle of this month!), baking, the theatre, and watching great films and TV.

What I Love About Sci-Fi
Science-fiction is a wonderful genre! For me the very best sci-fi tales have an epic scope and are exciting and emotional character-focused stories with fascinating and imaginative ideas and worlds :) I'm really not into the hard sci-fi spectrum of the genre where there's a very heavy emphasis on all of the mechanics and scientific accuracy but I love the space opera, time travel, dystopian, sci-fi mystery, and comic sci-fi subgenres.
(c) National Geographic

My Introduction to Sci-Fi *gushing alert!*
I've been a Sci-Fi fan for 15 years now - ever since my Dad bought me a VHS boxset (hey, remember those?!) of the original Star Wars trilogy when I was 12 years old. I then sat down and saw Star Wars: A New Hope for the first time and was completely spellbound by it. ANH wasn't actually my first Star Wars film as I'd already been exposed to The Phantom Menace about a year or two before but that film had done absolutely nothing for me. After seeing ANH I then went on to watch The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi over the next couple of days and I became, well, obsessed :D Along with the Harry Potter series, Star Wars was a major part of my adolescence and is hugely precious to me. I'm still not a fan of any of the prequels and, to be honest, I have very little patience with the argument that the prequels have all of the same virtues and flaws as the other Star Wars films and that anyone who doesn't like them is merely blinded by nostalgia. It's not that I have a problem with people liking the prequels(!) but since I'm still fairly young and my first Star Wars film was actually The Phantom Menace that argument can hardly be true in my case and I find it really quite insulting. But as for the other four Star Wars films? I adore them. I love that the films aren't at all hard sci-fi and are very much sci-fi fairy tales. I love that they're full of adventure and excitement. I love their wonderful characters. I love how funny the films are and I find them very emotional and powerful. I love the romance. I love John Williams' stunning music for the films. I love the films' aesthetic. I love how ripe with mythological roots and symbolism the films are and their mystical/spiritual elements. I love the famous twist ending in ESB which is arguably the greatest movie twist of all time. And I love that the films all have themes that fascinate me and are close to my heart: compassion, family, friendship, hope, redemption, rebellion, faith, fate, courage, love...

It's obviously a hugely exciting time to be a Star Wars fan right now and I'm extremely excited for what's in store. I'm so happy that these stories that were so important to me in my past are continuing to be a huge part of my present and future :')

My Favourite Sci-Fi Stories are...: 

Books: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher and The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Films: Star Wars, Super 8, The Prestige, Inception, Midnight Special, The Matrix, Edge of Tomorrow, Minority Report, The Hunger Games, Jurassic Park, Galaxy Quest, the Star Trek reboot films and Danny Boyle's Frankenstein (a filmed stage production).

TV Shows: Doctor Who, Firefly, Futurama and Stranger Things.

My Plans for the Sci-Fi Month:

Reading and reviewing Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness - This is a YA dystopian series made up of three novels and three short stories. I've already read the first novel (The Knife of Never Letting Go) in this series and my review of it should hopefully go up by the end of this week. There were two reasons why I chose to read this series for the SF month: 1) because I read Ness's fantasy novel A Monster Calls earlier in the year and I was absolutely floored by it, and 2) because these books are getting made into films that will star Daisy Ridley (who I ❤ ) and will be directed by Doug Liman, the director of Edge of Tomorrow (such an underrated Sci-Fi film!)

Reading and reviewing Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Another dystopian story but a standalone novel for adults this time. This book only entered my radar when I found out from an article that Steven Spielberg was about to direct a film adaptation of it and that the film would star Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, and Ben Mendelsohn. That and the fact that the book was described as being like "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets The Matrix" immediately piqued my interest! Oh, and since then the film has actually been shot in my hometown! They filmed portions of the film in Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter (which are old industrial areas) not too long ago.

Possible Further Reading: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (a time travel novel), Legion by Brandon Sanderson (a Sci-Fi mystery novella), and Bloodline by Claudia Gray (an official Star Wars tie-in novel) .

Some Questions that You May Want to Answer:
  • Are you taking part in this year's event? If so, is this your first time or have you been taking part for a while now?
  • Would you class yourself as a huge Sci-Fi fan in general or are there only a few stories from the genre that you love?
  • Do you like any of my favourite Sci-Fi books/films/tv shows as well? What are your personal favourite Sci-Fi stories? Please feel free to recommend me any Sci-Fi stories that you think I might like based on my favourites by the way as I'd really appreciate it!


Anonymous said...

Welcome to Sci Fi month! I love that Star Wars A New Hope was your main step into SciFi. I love that movie too...well I love all Star Wars, but nothing beats the classics! Looking forward to all youe SciFi posts over the month!

Hannah said...

Exploringallgenres - Thank you so much! And the same to you as well, looking forward to all of your posts! :)

Rinn said...

Thanks for taking part, Hannah! :D

You've chosen some excellent SF to read for the month. Patrick Ness' books made me cry like a baby. I actually met him in 2013 and told him that, and he said 'Good.' - haha! :D

Ready Player One is SO GOOD, but packed full of 80s references, so I can see why it might not work for all. Hope you love it though, it's one of those books that is just pure fun.

samara said...

Love this!! So many of the same favorites - and I'm actually in the middle of Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy right now! :)

I've probably said this before, but I'd HIGHLY recommend Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy! Someone has very accurately described it as what would happen if someone survived the Hunger Games and their reward was the world of Game of Thrones. In space. The characters and themes are brilliant, giving it a very special place in my sci-fi canon.

Greg said...

Great intro post! I agree w/ your preferred genres- I'm not a fan of hard sci fi so much either, but space opera, dystopian, time travel, etc- yup. :) Well said about Star Wars- I won't get into the prequel debate here ha ha except to say I agree. There's something about the original films, I like the idea of The Force as this mystical element and the Dagobah scenes I think reinforced that so much. And the music... unmatched. I am really hoping Rogue One can capture even a little of that spark.

As for your questions, this will be my third year doing this. And I guess my favorite kind of SF are Star Wars like tales and exploration i like the idea of an interstellar civ with murky border regions and being able to go explore 'em. Something we'll never get to do but it would be fun!

Louise // Exploring by Starlight said...

Ready Player One is ab incredible book! I'm reading Armada by the same author at the minute and I'm hoping that it has a sort of similar vibe. Dystopian is probably more my things than space opera, but I haven't seen the original Star Wars trilogy yet. I've seen the prequels but I've forgotten nearly everything that happened in them.

Anonymous said...

Both Chaos walking trilogy and Ready Player one are my favorites. Would love to read what you thought of them. I love most of your sci-fi favorites.

Anonymous said...

Answering your questions - I am taking part in this year's event. This is my first time and I am really excited. I am a huge sci-fi fan and love sci-fi books, movies and TV shows.

Hannah said...

Rinn - You're welcome! And thank you for hosting! :)

Wow, that's so awesome that you actually got to meet him! And I love his response to you :D He is a funny guy. I've been keeping tabs on his Twitter and Instagram for a while now.

Yeah, I've heard that about the 80s references in 'Ready Player One'. I've not been put off by that although I don't expect I'll catch every single reference.

Samara - D'awww! Thank you! :) And I hope you'll like HGTTG. It's been many years since I last read it but I have fond memories of that one.

Yes, you have mentioned 'Red Rising' to me before but I really don't mind you talking about how good it is again! For a long time I was actually planning on reading that series for this event but then when the Chaos Walking movie with Daisy Ridley got announced I, well, I got a little sidetracked, lol. But I'm definitely planning on getting round to that series next year!

Hannah said...

Greg - Oh, thank you so much! And yes, one of the big reasons why ESB is my favourite SW film is because I love Luke's scenes with Yoda on Dagobah so much, for exactly the reason you pointed out :) And I really like your idea of an 'Interstellar' civ!

Louise - Hi! I hope that 'Armada' completely lives up to your expectations. I haven't heard too much about that one so I'm looking forward to reading what you'll have to say about it. And I really hope that you'll love the original Star Wars trilogy when you eventually get round to it :)

Bookish Muggle - Hi and thank you so much! And thanks for commenting. I'm glad to know that we both love most of the same SF stories :)

Lauren Stoolfire said...

I'm taking part in Sci-Fi Month, too. It'll be my first time - I decided I absolutely needed to after seeing it around the blogosphere last year.

I hope you love the rest of the Chaos Walking series as it's one of my favorites. I also recently read Ready Player One and it was completely awesome.

You have really good taste when it comes to books, movies, and tv! The Prestige is one of my favorite movies!

Katie Edwards said...

Hi Hannah, thanks for stopping by my blog! Nowadays I tend towards Star Trek than Star Wars, although it's really not an "either/or" thing and I love the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. I didn't hate the prequels but I kind of consider them optional extras and haven't bothered rewatching them since Revenge of the Sith. I seem to recall my first introduction to the series was when I was about 11 or 12. My grandparents brought them over when they came to stay and we watched them over a couple of evenings (there were only 3 back then.) I completely did not see the big twists coming at all, and experiencing that is one of the great film memories.

See you around the place!

Lianne @ eclectictales.com said...

Great intro post! Looking forward to reading your posts for this event--Hehe, your post actually reminded me that they are making that Ready Player One movie (I keep forgetting; hard to keep track of all of these adaptations coming out these days!). Ooh, I hope you enjoy Legion! Keep meaning to pick up the sequel but haven't quite gotten around to it yet...

The question was prompted by the SciFi Month twitter handle the other day but I totally forgot The Matrix! Love that movie too, it was so cool xD

Have you read John Scalzi's Redshirts? I think you'll enjoy it as you like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the Star Trek reboots (you'll get the redshirts reference) :)

Heather Duff said...

I love that you have The Eyre Affair, it is a great series (that I need to finish), plus you have so much other good stuff on this list including Firefly which I love.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, you were totally right we have loads in common! Enjoy Ready Player One it is a great read!!

Hannah said...

Lauren - Hi! It was the same for me as well: I saw it on a friend's blog last year and I was really tempted to sign up then but then decided to leave it for a year so I could prepare more.

And oh thank you, that's QUITE the compliment! :) I'm really glad to speak to another person who loves 'The Prestige' as well! That's another SF movie that I think gets overlooked a bit.

Katie - You're welcome! And oh yes, that classic "Star Wars vs Star Trek" argument, lol. I was reluctant to watch 'Star Trek' for YEARS because of that. I only watched the first reboot film because there was a lot of hype about it at the time and because Zachary Quinto was in it (I was a big fan of his from watching 'Heroes'). And I ended up loving it! :)

Aw! Your first experience of 'Star Wars' sounds so lovely! That's some excellent grandparenting going on there! :D And yes I think "optional extras" for the prequels is exactly right.

Glad to speak to another fellow Star Wars/Star Trek fan and I look forward to seeing you around the blogosphere as well :)

Hannah said...

Lianne - Thank you so much! *fist bump*

I'm pretty sure that I will be reading 'Legion' for this event now. As it's a novella I'm thinking of squeezing it in between 'Chaos Walking' and 'Ready Player One'. In fact I might even read it in between Books 2 and 3 of 'Chaos Walking' now as that's such an intense series that I'm thinking of taking a quick breather!

Yes, 'The Matrix' is a ridiculously cool movie :D I remember it being all the rage in my secondary school when it first came out!

No, I haven't read 'Redshirts' although I have heard of it. I'm not as familiar with 'Star Trek' as I'd like to be but, yeah, I think I would get the references from watching 'Galaxy Quest' and the reboots. Thanks for reminding me of it again :)

Heather - Yes, I loved 'The Eyre Affair!' I've got to be honest though, I didn't love the second book in the series :( I found that one a lot weaker than the first although that could have been just because the novelty had worn off a bit for me.

Thank you so much! I'm looking forward to seeing you around!