Here in the final week of the Summer Reading Challenge, I am reading Master of None, a science fiction novel that my mother loaned me.

You might have noticed, if you see the “currently reading” bit of the page at the place where you read this, that I rarely read science fiction. Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, occasionally Robert Asprin. I have read the classics, of course, Asimov and Heinlein and all. And I read my mothers’ novels. But in general, I don’t read science fiction.

I think, as I read this book, that it is because they are so unpleasant. There is plenty of unpleasant nonfiction around that I feel I have to read for the sake of well-informed citizenship, so I don’t usually read unpleasant fiction. And science fiction tends to be pervasively unpleasant. I read a lot of mystery novels in which someone invariably gets killed, and yet the people and circumstances surrounding that killing are generally pleasant. Gardens, you know, and knitting. Or witty takes on modern corporate life and romance. Architecture, travel, stuff like that.

When was the last time you read a science fiction novel in which there was a charming setting? Happy relationships? People enjoying their work? A little humor?

Well, yes, I’ve read some, too. But it is rare, you must admit. If you’re ordering books based on their advance descriptions, and you look for expressions like “joyous romp” or “hilariously biting satire” then you don’t spend much time in the science fiction section.

Last night, #1 daughter said that she doesn’t read fiction at all. I tried to lend her some Pratchett books, actually, because he came up in the conversation. She reads science and philosophy. Me, too, but I probably read ten to one fiction to nonfiction.

It was wonderful to have her here, and Son-in-law, too. Today we are all going to church. There is going to be a luncheon afterwards, with music. This will include me in a quartet where –exhausted by my work marathon — I was snookered into singing soprano. So I will have family witnessing my screeching. Oh well.

I got to the division on Pipes while we talked. Pictures tomorrow, most likely.