Age, and book choices


Well-Known Member
Nov 20, 2016
Northampton UK
Something I've noticed recently in a number of threads has me intrigued.

There seems to be a lot of love for "classic" science fiction and works by older authors, quite a bit less for more recent releases (unless my memory is leading me astray). This might be true for fantasy too, or not, I don't read regularly enough to be sure of how old or new a book might be.

So is that down to age or preference, or something else ?

While I've gone back and acquired a lot of older books I missed out on at the time, I've not read many of them yet, and find myself more and more enjoying books published within the last ten years (a number of them as they are released) but apart from one or two others I feel like here I might be quite unusual in that respect and wondered 1) if that was true, and 2) if it was, why that might be - especially as lots of you are writing and releasing books of your own.
I read the classic stuff when I was a teenager. When it was fresh and new. ( not the Jules Verne obvs) I am just older than some here. Practically approaching middle age in fact.
I too have read most of the classic SF books. There's very few of them that I keep for re-read nowadays.
There's a lot of new good stuff getting published and I'm more into that.
My father and older brothers are also science fiction fans, so I was introduced to the genre by way of classics. At various points in my life I feel compelled to go back and read the classics I missed, or to concentrate on finding newer, fresher stuff. Currently trending toward the newer end of things.
I just think you get more exposure to the newer stuff. Most of my purchases tend to be recommendations from other Chrons members, so unless you actually go out of your way to source classic SF you’ll buy newer stuff. That said, I feel like I read more classics as a younger reader.

One of my reading goals this year was to read more classic SF and I’m currently reading Flowers for Algernon. I might follow up a JG Ballard novel as I’ve been reading about his work on another thread.
My SFF reading is almost entirely pre 1975, (or authors first published pre 1975), but that's because there's so much good stuff that I either haven't read or have forgotten. I only started reading SFF seriously again @10 years ago: previous to that I just re-read certain old favourites.
More or less the same as @Hugh - I know of much more classic stuff than modern and there is still quite a bit of that classic stuff that I have not read. I also re-read some of that classic stuff that I own.

I don't really follow the latest book news so miss out on what's good in the modern stuff. Plus, when I do get to hear of something, there tends to be less information/reviews than the classic stuff - for obvious reasons.

I don't think I've bought any new scifi for a good 15 years. Fantasy, ditto (unless you count the Rivers of London).
I thought I was pretty even handed with my sci fi choices, however, when I look at my most recent reading it all tends to be pre-2000 except for a few authors I really like. I have downloaded a few e-books from unknown authors for me and I have yet to find one that has held me to the very end.
I do read some new stuff, Ive encounter more the a few really good modern writers But, overall I tend to prefer the older stuff. You just can't beat a classic. :cool:
Mostly new here. I have no real desire to read many of the older authors (Bradbury though - I mean to read more of his short stories) since I prefer stories more reflective of our times, not mired in the old style sf demograph.
I read almost exclusively the "newer" stuff. But since I've been reading S.F. for around 60 years, I also read a lot of the 60's and onward classics. On rare occasions I go back and read something I "loved" before. Usually I discover that with my wider knowledge and experience it does not glow so much as before. --- I think we might talk about classics more on these boards because you can be sure that the vast majority of readers have read Dune, or Gateway or the Foundation Trilogy etc. and only a few of us will have read something which has come out in the last few years. But if you follow the "What we are reading monthly threads" this months: you will find that most of the books we are reading are more modern than classic.
Looking over the past 10 years, it's about 60/40, old to new. A lot of my choices are based less on author than on premise. If the premise interests me, I'll try a new author. For instance, I just started Mexican Gothic, a novel first released this year by an author I haven't read before, Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Randy M.

Similar threads