I grew up surrounded by science fiction, the brightly colored spines of my father's extensive novel collection emblazoned with titles like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Rendezvous with Rama, and The Mote in God's Eye. While I never warmed to the "hard" sci-fi that my dad favored (descriptions of the intricate workings of space stations and the barometric pressure of Pluto tend to make my eyes glaze over), I found myself drawn to the darker, more melancholy aspects of the genre, eventually succumbing to the spell of Ray Bradbury's stories and developing a taste for dystopian literature. Without this early immersion in the trappings of sci-fi, I may never have appreciated Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, Michel Faber's Under the Skin, Angela Carter's The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman, or Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. And I might have laughed if someone had told me that ...
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