As a self proclaimed science fiction fan I have surprising difficulty answering the question ‘What is your favourite Sci-Fi?’
Realistically I position myself as a fair-weather fan. I like science fiction and fantasy, but I can’t lay claim to having just one favourite book or film or TV show. My preferences seem to be fluid, and often depend on the context of when I’m being asked. So, perhaps, it’s more accurate to say that I am a fan of consuming [the] genre as a whole.
Part of my difficulty in answering the question is that I over think it.
For me I see the ‘What is your favourite ?’ as part of a social dance where people can position you as more or less knowledgeable than them. This is a bleed over from my academic interests into fan studies and popular cultural capital (Fiske) / distinction (Bourdieu).
My other difficulties are:
- what do you mean by Science fiction?
- What medium are you referring to?
- How do I want to present myself with my answer?
- What if my favourite is a niche text and you’ve never heard of it?
- Do I have to explain why I like it?
All this combines to a point where when someone innocently asks me ‘What is your favourite sci-fi?’ my mind goes blank and I randomly declare that the first thing I can think of.
So, having being contemplating this for a few months I have come up with a list of my go-to ‘favourites’ that may or may not actually be my favourites, but are the first things that come to mind and titles that I would most likely recommend to other people.
Judge them as you will.
Disney’s The Black Hole (1979) – Vincent and Bob.
The Ice Pirates (1984) reason – SPACE PIRATES!
Star Wars – Episode 7 (2015)
Jurassic Park (1993) –
District 9 (2009)
The Fifth Element (1997
Krull (1983) reason – Nostalgia!
Alien Nation (1988)
Space: Above and Beyond (1995) reason – I’ve a love of space based war narratives BSG, Starship Troopers, The Last Starfighter, Battle Beyond the Stars, Star Wars.
Prey (1998) reason – short lived but memorable use of ‘next stage in human evolution’ trope
Star Trek: TNG (1987 – 1994)
Earth: Final Conflict (1997)
Almost Human (2013)
Space Precinct (1994)
The Killjoys (2015 – )
The Expanse (2015 – )
SeaQuest DSV (1993 – 1996)
Lexx (1997) reason– It’s bizarre and perverse yet I always found it strangely watchable.
Gundam Wing (1997)
Dominion Tank Police (1988)
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Metropolis (2001) reason – lovely reimagining of the idea of ‘Maria’.
The Diamond Age- Neal Stephenson
The Coming Race – Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton (He of the ‘It was a dark and stormy night…’ fame)
E Pluribus Unicorn – Theodore Sturgeon
Tinker – Wen Spencer
Deathstalker series – Simon R Green
Burning Chrome – William Gibson
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Bill the Galactic Hero – Harry Harrison
My love of cartoons and the influence they’ve had on me is something for another post.