Perfect Blue
Kona Macphee
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Commentary: Influenza

I was a great reader as a child. While I'd like to pretend that I immersed myself in nothing but the most edifying classic poetry and literary greats, in fact I was a huge fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy. In particular, I fondly recall cutting my teeth on a bunch of dog-eared paperbacks, full of classic 30s-60s SF short stories, that I found lurking at the bottom of a bookshelf.

Although my taste has refined somewhat - I don't think I could get through some of the over-written sagas I ploughed through as a youngster! - I still love the best stuff; it was a wonderful pleasure, just a little while ago, to read Ursula le Guin's classic Earthsea trilogy out loud to the kids.

SF gets a bad rap because of the popular perception that it's all long-winded space opera full of interminable starship battles and cardboard-cutout characters. Some of it is that - because, for better or worse, it sells - but the best SF has always utterly transcended "genre" constraints. It's simply excellently-written, deeply evocative, sparklingly imaginative fiction that just happens to have a broader-than-usual set of backdrops to choose from.

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