March 03, 2010

Finding the Irish in Science Fiction

Dragon Snake by Meilin Wong 

St. Patrick's day is coming up in a couple weeks and I recently joined another challenge, the Ireland Reading Challenge

I had been thinking of reading Dracula and while I was looking up information on Bram Stoker, I discovered he was Irish.  The first novel he wrote is called "Snake's Pass" and is set in Ireland. It about a traveler who arrives in a village that is haunted by the legend based on St. Patrick's battling the king of the snakes.   Sounds too good to pass up.    I joined in the challenge with a commitment to the Kiss The Blarney Stone level which is 6 books.  The challenge includes any books written by Irish authors, set in Ireland, has Irish characters or involves Irish history and can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or children's books and runs through the end of November.
Anyway, it's debatable whether Stoker is considered a horror or science fiction writer, but that would take us into the history of science fiction and mythology and that's a post for another time.  The challenge started me thinking that it would be interesting to read science fiction novels by authors who are either Irish or science fiction books with books set in Ireland.

I started searching the internet and I discovered some interesting sites such as Albedo's - Ireland's magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. (the electronic issue). That was an amusing diversion. 

Hugo Nominee Ian McDonald was born to an Irish mother and Scottish Father and has lived in Belfast since he was five so technically he's Irish.   I'm currently coveting one of his stories so will be adding it to my list to read. 


He has written a couple of older books with an Irish setting which are available in the U.K. such as "Sacrifice of Fools" and "King of Morning, Queen of Day."  Not sure if they are available any more.   There is an interesting list here but the majority of books are fantasy rather than science fiction.  Irish born, James White and his Sector General books, the Sidhe Series by Kenneth FlintMorgan Llywelyn's series of books centered in Ireland,  Irishman Flann O'brien and his Irish tales.

And if you are interesting in reading anything by an Irish author, there is a huge list of authors, the majority I've never heard of here, from Moytura's Irish Book store.   Warning, it will keep you busy a while as you can get lost browsing through their books and find many, many interesting books to add to your wish lists
My challenge to you for the month of March is to read one science fiction or fantasy story by an Irish author or set in Ireland.

Are you in? 


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