Out of this World at the British Library

The British Library will be hosting an exhibition this summer on the history of science fiction. The show runs from Fri 20 May to Sun 25 September.

The initial schedule of events has been posted – more will be added. Note that most require an admission fee. There are some very good looking events on the agenda. In particular, note that the author, Audrey Niffenegger, of this month’s book-for-discussion, The Time Traveler’s Wife, will be talking on Friday, 10 June, with Stephen Baxter about time travel. Her latest book, The Night Bookmobile, was recently published, but it is still her first which clearly dominates what she is associated with.

May: The Time-Traveler’s Wife

It is still 2003, and will be for another month yet, with a trio of books published in that year making it onto our collective list of the best science fiction novels by women published in the last decade.

The second book of 2003 is Audrey Niffennegger’s The Time-Traveler’s Wife. Astonishingly, given how much attention it has received, I have neither read the book nor seen the movie, so this really will be a first reading of it for me.

It was Niffennegger’s first novel. Although it is now what she is best known for, she has spent most of her career as a professional artist (see, for example, some of her prints) and writes of the novel,

She originally imagined making it as a graphic novel, but eventually realized that it is very difficult to represent sudden time shifts with still images.

Sometimes, a novel really is the right medium.

Strikingly, the title was not altered (to “traveller”) for British audiences.

I will be leading the discussion of The Time-Traveler’s Wife later this month. I hope you will join me in reading and discussing it.

Natural History: Recap

April’s book, Natural History, by Justina Robson, was the third in the chronological series of best science fiction novels written by women in the previous decade which we are reading here at Torque Control over the course of 2011. Published in 2003, it is the first of three books we will be reading from that year alone – clearly a significant one. Whether it was significant because it really was a bumper year for good science fiction, or because it takes seven years to truly judge, digest, and yet still remember a book, I leave to your judgement.

In my posts on the book, I focused on the parts which interested me the most: the fascinating Forged hybrid people, created, categorized, literally enmeshed in the debate over whether or not form dictates function; the alien technology which sparks off the storyline among the Forged and Unevolved; and the impression that ultimately, for all the things I like about it, I like this book better as a thought experiment than I do as a novel per se. And I really do like and admire it in that capacity.

Thank you to all who joined in reading or re-reading this book.

Discussion: Part 1 (Cladistics); Part 2 (Space and Stuff); and Part 3 (Conceptual Resolution)
Chris Moriarty at SFness