Thursday, June 27, 2024

Final thoughts from the First Contact project

Or, how we agreed to give ourselves extra homework for a month

There's a risk, for people new to speculative fiction, to stay stuck in the big classics. I've seen it manifest especially among literary types, who at a minimum have heard of Verne and Orwell and Tolkien and Asimov and Dick and Le Guin. The risk consists in becoming satisfied with the classics and therefore exploring no further. I don't warn against this scenario out of a wish to police people's joy; what I wish is to share the very best that our field has to offer, and we're fortunate to live at a time when the very best that we have is not the classics. There's no need to advise newcomers to read I, Robot when there's Murderbot.

I came up with the First Contact project to avert the opposite risk in myself. I'm reasonably familiar with what's going on right now, but I'm very behind in my knowledge of genre classics. And just as one must guard against irrational predilection for the past, one must also notice when the present is given undue weight. If I seriously intend to recommend Murderbot over I, Robot, the intellectually honest course of action is to know I, Robot and to know why I'm declaring it skippable. It's not enough to marvel at the quality of our current Rainbow Age on its own merits; I also need to understand how it improves upon bygone Gold and Silver. My love for The Expanse grows even stronger when I realize how much it's not like Flash Gordon.

Each of us at Nerds of a Feather had specific personal reasons to select the classics we've discussed over these recent weeks. Some of us went into it in the spirit of correcting a personal oversight; some of us wanted to give a new subgenre a long overdue try; some of us decided to heed the popular acclaim for a certain title; some of us stumbled upon something completely new and jumped by instinct. There were many possible posts there simply wasn't enough opportunity to write; in my case, I would have liked to sit and watch a lot more B monster movies. But I'm very satisfied with the list that resulted. I give thanks to my fellow reviewers for their curiosity and their openness to this little experiment. These are the works we've made First Contact with:







Flash Gordon




Porco Rosso

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Terminator


Video games:

Mass Effect Andromeda

POSTED BY: Arturo Serrano, multiclass Trekkie/Whovian/Moonie/Miraculer, accumulating experience points for still more obsessions.