With the summer vacation approaching fast, many of us are starting to look forward to lovely relaxing time that summer is – no homework, no having to wake up early to make it to that 8 a.m. class – in other words, pure bliss. And although many of us will be picking up summer jobs or internships during the summer before coming back to SU (or heading into the real world or to grad school), we will all have free time to spend as we please.
My personal recommendation is to find a good science fiction book and read it from cover to cover. Why? Reading has so many good things to offer us. It can give us new things to think about, open up new worlds for us to explore, and best of all, give us a thrilling mental ride that (in my opinion) can easily surpass other media such as film. Novels can give us a much more elaborate and fascinating plot than movies.
Why sci-fi, specifically? Science fiction is a great genre because it combines the best of several worlds – it has the wondrous, fantastical fictional and novel elements of a fantasy novel while usually keeping the story credible within the bounds of our universe (often set in the future). It is also captivating and mentally stimulating like many historical fiction novels. That being said, sci-fi is also a vastly diverse field of literature – titles which you will recognize and quite possibly have read include Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and Ender’s Game. Although you may not have enjoyed these books specifically, chances are you can find a sci-fi book to fit you (as there are roughly a dozen sub-genres of sci-fi as listed by Wikipedia, ranging from military to cyberpunk to space westerns).
My favorite sub-genre of sci-fi is military sci-fi. The Honor Harrington series (which is a New York Times bestselling series), by David Weber, exemplifies so much of what I love about sci-fi. Weber has created a complex, detailed, futuristic and credible universe set approximately 2000 years in the future. It has intricate political structures (based with recognizable parallels to established political systems here on Earth – as a political science major I just love this stuff) as well as an interesting and unique military system which lends itself very well to a captivating plot. Weber also includes what every good book needs – consistent, realistic, and likable characters who can drive the plot forward. With 15 excellent novels (11 in the main military series, and two 2-novel sub-series, one in the spy/action sci-fi category and the other coming closest to space opera) set in the “Honorverse” and more coming, Weber has created a universe that stretches the imagination while keeping one captivated throughout.
So, whether it be one of Weber’s novels, or another sci-fi novel, or any novel at all – try and take some time this summer to read a good book, out in the sun, inside with the A/C on full blast, wherever you feel like it. I promise, you won’t regret doing so.