What is the first thing you think when you hear the word “Science Fiction.” If you are anything like me, your first two words will be “alien” and “spaceship”. That’s a fairly adequate assumption. After all, between Star Wars and Star Trek alone you have a huge amount of social impact.
If you this is what you think of when you hear “Science Fiction” you will probably already have a mental picture of what is going to happen during the course of the book. There will be blasters. Lasers will be fired at some point, probably green or blue and someone will set their Phasers to “stun”. Someone is going to get shot out an airlock into space. Eventually, some ship is going to try to blow up a planet. Warp speed, cryo-sleep, and artificial gravity will all play a role. In the end, the ship's shields will be blasted below 50% capacity as alarms blare and vaguely military-like people (mostly human with a few aliens in the mix) scream long words at each other and face off against a particularly ugly alien with a commanding, fantasy name. Does this sound familiar?
Of course, Science Fiction is a vast category and it’s not hard to find a book that doesn’t use these conventions. However, when they do, It’s always good to see it done well.
I had no interest in Ender’s Game at first. I picked it up because a lot of my readers compared my Science Fiction trilogy to it. I had seen the movie with my husband early in our relationship and neither of us liked it much. I figured that the effect of the book would be ruined because I already knew the end. When I got the book for Christmas I picked it up with some hesitancy but was very quickly sucked in.
Ender’s Game is the quintessential Sci-Fi in so many ways. There are aliens, space ships, space military. Most of the expected tropes play out on the page, but they are so well done that you hardly notice them. The focus of the book is on the characters and it very carefully walks you through the careful logic of the main character.
You wouldn’t expect a book about a twelve-year-old military genius to read as believable, but the detail of the world and the way the narrative delves into Ender’s thoughts makes the premise feel entirely real.
It’s funny how people can bring an all new flavor to something that feels so worn out and overdone. Card’s skill as an author allowed him to take a handful of simple ideas and execute a story that has captured the imagination of so many. It inspired me to rethink the ways I do the “mundane” and “simple” tasks in my life. I might do dishes every day of my life, and keep the same simple schedule with the two-year-old I nanny, but just because something is common doesn’t mean it can’t bring joy to my life. Hidden in these simple moments are wonderful treasures if I just keep myself present for them
What are some books you’ve read that make cliches interesting again? Leave a comment to let me know.