Brenda Cooper

Two things that make SF stories well-loved….

SF Signal runs a mind meld periodically where they gather a  bunch of us sf writers and ask us a question (which I usually find on Twitter.  This week, they included me a two-part post about favorite short stories.  I thought I’d talk about two of them a little bit more here.

One is the most commonly listed story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” by Ursula LeGuin.  I think part of the allure of this story is that it did such a good job of illustrating one of SF’s strengths –  poking fun at humans.   The story has it’s own wikipedia entry.  There are countless web articles about it. If you haven’t read it, go find a copy!

The second story is “The Days of Soloman Gursky,” by Ian McDonald.  I am the only writer who listed this story in the mind meld.  I read it in the sixteenth edition of the  “Year’s Best” collections that Gardener Dozois edits, and it absolutely blew me away.  I felt like the story had expanded my mind.  Which, by the way, is the main reason I read science fiction.  To be come bigger, to be infused with awe.  Based on the choices of other writers, this same spark of new, vast ideas intrigued them.

A side note is that both of these stories are, I believe, conversations with other literary works.

Although I have a lot of other favorites, I picked these two because our most enduring stories are either about us (1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Stranger in a Strange Land) or full of the possibilities inherent in this wonderful universe we are such a small part of (Rendezvous with Rama, Ringworld, A Fire on the Deep).

Drop by and look at the mind meld and let them know your favorite stories in comments, or leave me a note about what else makes sf stories great.

2 Responses so far

  1. 1. Johann Mitchell

    I, too love stories that expand my horizons.

    But another thing I love in stories, whether short or long, is humor. Because of this, I loved several collections of stories: “Don’t Forget Your Space Suit, Dear,” and all of the “Chicks in Chainmail” series of books.

    Because I’m a woman, I hope the “Chicks” series helps broaden some other people’s perspectives, but I also enjoy the humor in most of them.

  2. 2. brenda

    Thanks Johann. I do like humor, too. I guess I often go outside of the genre to get it (like Janet Evanovitch, who is a hoot), but the Hitchhiker’s Guide was pure sfnal humor at its best.