January 19th, 2005
very interesting actual survey (ie. not blog-meme crap) about sci-fi readers. really made me think.
2. Current Age
3. Country or Countries in which you spent your first eighteen years. (give breakdown if appropriate)
4. Mother tongue.
5. Sex at birth
6. Sex now.
- Male (yes please?)
- Sexually straight, socially deviant/queer
8. When did you start reading science fiction?
- As soon as I could read multi-sylabic words. I cut my eyeteeth on sci-fi/fantasy, and read The Lord of the Rings before I was 10.
9. Did you read sf written specifically for children? (ie. age 0-16yrs)
- some, sure. I found a few old Tom Swift books from decades ago which were geared towards younger readers, but I pretty much read anything I could get my hands on (which tended to be my parent's books).
10. Name up to five authors of sf for children you liked.
- Honestly I know very few, and don't make much diferentiation between "adult" and "children's" sci-fi. Here are a few guesses: J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit), Ursula K. LeGuin (Wizard of Earthsea).
11. Name up to five authors of sf for children you did not like.
- Anything preachy, patronizing, or obviously dumbed down for kids. I'd have hated the Lemony Snicket books for instance, always defining any large words that are in there. I don't remember the author's names, because I simply avoided those books.
12. Name up to five authors of sf for children with the same nationality as the country in which you experienced the bulk of your reading childhood.
- Most of them I'd assume. (How Americentric of me.)
13. If you started reading sf meant for the adult audience before the age of 16, who were your favourite sf writers at that time? (Name up to five).
- David Brin (Uplift Trilogy), Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, William Gibson, Larry Niven
14. List up to five qualities that you think you looked for in science fiction when you read it as a child (under 13).
- Interesting ideas and concepts, cool technology, unusual aliens. I was a geek from an early age.
15. List up to five qualities that you think you looked for in science fiction when you read it as a teenager (13 and over).
- The same, but that's when I started to get into Heinlein, and the more... how to phrase this... "social" aspects of science fiction, the interplay of cultures, etc.
16. List up to five qualities that you look for in science fiction now.
- Good writing and inovative ideas. Eg: Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, China Mieville
17. Do you define yourself as a genre reader?
- Sort of, although not strictly. I detest "Fantasy" (Robert Jordan and company), and crappy sci-fi (defined by the predominance of alien sex and such), and tend to lean towards Hard Sci-fi, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, and related sub-genres.
18. What proportion of your reading as a teenager was outside of the genre?
- Not including reading for school, probably %10 or less.
19. What proportion of your reading as a teenager was non-fiction? (what subjects or genres?)
- Very little, and when it was it tended to be practical things. "The American Boy's Handy Book" was a favorite of mine. Also National Geographics and similar magazines/books. I've read very few non-fiction novels, even to this day.
20. How much of your reading outside of the genre was set by others? (and who were they?).
- Most of it. School reading assignments, and stuff my parents suggested to "try to get me out of my sci-fi rut."
21. Did science fiction influence your political views? In what ways? What books were most important to you?
- Probably. I'm very common-sense, and see all aspects of an issue. As a result I have a lot of trouble choosing sides in political arguments. I think that sci-fi helped me to broaden my viewpoint, and instilled in me the idea that you need to account for other viewpoints. Many sci-fi storylines revolve around cultural misunderstandings that could easily be resolved by the people involved stepping back and looking at the big picture.
Books: Dune, Ender's Game, Foundation (series), Schizmatrix Plus, Stranger in a Strange Land.
22. Did science fiction influence your religious views? In what ways? What books were most important to you?
- I was an atheist before I read Sci-Fi, and still am, so not really. I did find the religious aspects of Stranger in a Strange Land very interesting, and I'm fascinated by religion in general as I don't really inately understand the mindset involved.
23. Taking no more than 100 words, describe briefly how you chose books between the ages of 13 and 18, and how those books were acquired (ie libraries, friends, second hand books, new books).
- Mostly going through my parents' collection. They were avid sci-fi readers until their 40's and had amassed a nice collection. I got newer stuff from the library. I didn't have friends who read sci-fi until high-school and/or college, and didn't have money to buy my own until late high-school / college.
Questions are here, e-mail to sfquestions(at)gmail.com