While I have read and enjoy a number of different types of science fiction, my favorites typically relate to space in some way. My love of sci-fi started as a child and continues to this day. Science fiction spurs my imagination, makes me dream of an amazing possible future, and lets me escape to amazing places with countless characters and races, human and otherwise. Most of my experience with sci-fi has been limited to movies/TV and books, with limited video game play here and there (oddly, I have not played any of the big name massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as Star Wars: Battlefront, EVE Online, and No Man’s Sky). It’ll be interesting to see where virtual reality will take us, given works such as Tad Williams’ Otherworld trilogy and Ernest Kline’s Ready Player One.
Movies and Television
My love of science fiction started at an early age. A couple of my favorite films of all time were released in the late 1970s: Star Wars, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I was privileged to see these movies in the theater as a kid. Both of these movies had profound impacts on me.
We actually went to see Star Wars in the theater twice in 1977 – we never saw a film more than once in the theater! Since then I have seen every Star Wars film in the theater and own every movie, having seen all of them many, many times – particularly Episodes IV-VI. The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V) is probably my favorite.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind was purely spellbinding for me, even as a pre-teen. The concept of intelligent extraterrestrial lifeforms visiting the Earth and seeking a peaceful relationship with us humans was like nothing I had ever seen. The end scene where the alien creatures flock around Roy Neary and choose him to journey with them was pure magic. This film sparked awe and wonder in me like few films ever have. Close Encounters remains one of my favorite movies.
Later on I also fell in love with the Alien franchise. The first movie, Alien, is definitely my favorite, but the second, Aliens, is excellent as well. Of course I own all six of the alien movies as well. These aliens are the complete opposite of those in Close Encounters; however, the nasty, relentless, terrifying aliens do add an interesting twist and plenty of entertainment. What really draws me into the Alien series is not so much the aliens, but the spaceships and the things humans are doing in space (like mining and terraforming), as well as the strength of certain characters – primarily Ellen Ripley.
A number of sci-fi TV shows in my childhood years made an impression as well – such shows as Space 1999 and Lost In Space. In college and soon after, I also watched a lot of Star Trek – primarily The Next Generation, Seep Space Nine, and Voyager. Subsequently, The X Files became once of my favorite TV series ever. And then there was Firefly, which is pure genius.
Of course there are many other science fiction films and television shows that I have enjoyed as well, but those are the heavy-hitters.
I am a fairly avid reader, and have been since I was a young child. Books have always captivated me. I could read for hours on end, becoming utterly immersed in the imaginary worlds created by the authors. When I read fiction, sci-fi tends to be my book genre of choice.
Consistent with the discussion above, I have read quite a few Star Wars books, starting with the first Star Wars expanded universe novel: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, by Alan Dean Foster, which I bought and read when it was initially released in 1978. In fact, I read it several times.
I’ve read quite a bit of science fiction literature by a wide range of authors. As with the movies, my preferred stories tend to relate to space in some way. I enjoy both newer science fiction works (e.g., the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson; The Last Dance, by Martin L. Shoemaker), as well as those of earlier generations (e.g. Out of the Silent Planet and the Space trilogy, by C. S. Lewis; the John Carter/Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs), despite the fact that many of the premises have since been proven false – such as intelligent civilizations on Mars.