At last: I’ve got an author index of my science fiction reviews here at The Finch and Pea. If you compulsively read vintage science fiction like me (my interests mostly fall in the ~1945 to 1986 range), then you may just find something to your liking here.
Why vintage science fiction? It is a literature that has a lot to say about our culture’s relationship with science and technology, one that has developed some striking metaphors for science and nature.
Over the last few years I’ve managed roughly 30 reviews, fewer than I’d hoped, but not too shabby. Up next is a series on Big Dumb Object science fiction, already begun with Rendezvous with Rama. Coming up soon will be a discussion of Niven’s Ringworld, Varley’s Titan, Bob Shaw’s Orbitsville, Greg Bear’s Eon, and finally, once I finish working my way through the Polish original, Lem’s Solaris.
What’s so interesting about big dumb objects, or macrostructures? A Big Dumb Object is a metaphor for the vast, unexplored spaces and aspects of the natural universe. It’s a way of dramatizing two particular features of the natural world we tend to take for granted: its vast scales and its mysteriousness. Lately, I’ve been thinking about DNA as a Big Dumb Object, a macrostructure within a nano-world. Like many Big Dumb Objects, or like an unseen planet detected only by its gravitational effects, DNA’s influence was noticed millennia before its physical structure was known. Stay tuned.