It is obvious to me that this idyllic period of Science Fiction “history” is told largely from an American, white, male perspective. It might be an important part of a historical narrative, but it is not the whole narrative. Surely, it can’t be. If we choose to brand only those works “masterful” and “classic” and “essential”, what are we saying?But also whether being ignorant of (large parts of) it means you are in some ways not a part of fandom:
What about a bit more of personal context: I am Brazilian. MY history is that I’ve had little to no access to those “masterworks” of science fiction. Am I a lesser Science Fiction fan if I have not read Heinlein or many other “classic” authors?
Am I a lesser reviewer because of that? I am filled with angst at the thought that what I write here means nothing at all because I have not been a part of fandom for long and I have not read a lot of “classics”. Does that make my opinions and thoughts on new books or my involvement in fandom any lesser?Which also leads into the question of how it is that certain writers are not part of this canon, of who chooses SF classics, as S. L. Huang put it:
I don’t understand how we can have a genre where “You haven’t read HEINLEIN (/Asimov/Clarke/Bradbury/Dick/etc.)??” are common and accepted refrains, and “You haven’t read BUTLER??” is almost unheard. Why aren’t we saying it? Why isn’t Octavia Butler considered “required reading” of the classics in order to consider oneself a True SF Fan? Why don’t people feel left out and incomplete if they haven’t read her?As the Booksmugglers are part of Hodderscape Review Project they would've reviewed The Moon is a Harsh Mistress anyway, but now it also provided a handy litmus test:
In many ways it was impossible for me to approach this book without certain things weighing on me. Two specially: 1) because I am not well-read when it comes to the usually accepted Science Fiction “canon”, I might not be able to actually tell by simply reading this book, what is supposed to be Heinlein’s influence in the field. 2) I will always approach any book from a perspective that attempts to examine topics that are important to me as a reader and as a reviewer but which might be ultimately unrelated to what makes the book “important.”
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