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That Science Fiction Thread.
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:46 am    Post subject: That Science Fiction Thread. Reply with quote

Some of you read science fiction. So, I'm curious. What novels, short stories, and writers do you like, and why?
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Jeni Nielsen



Joined: 27 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am and have always been a devoted Phillip K. Dick fan. Ever since I read my father's old copy of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" I was hooked. I really like his paranoid view of the universe. I couldn't quite get my brain around VALIS, which seemed to be more crazy than his usual work, but two of my favorite books of his are "The Man in the High Castle" and "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch." There's a horor element to his work that is just amazing. He's also one SF author who can write characters that actually have substance.

My one beef with canon SF authors like Asimov is that his characters blow. He's too concerned with plot. Dick is different in my mind. Maybe it was his paranoia that allowed him to create characters that live and breathe.

I also recomend his short stories including Minority Report.
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Elmo



Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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Location: Plato's Cave Weapon of Choice: Sarcasm

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't read much of other peoples SciFi for the reasons given by our glorious moderator up there ^^ characters often seem to suffer due to the space given over to plot and background, this is understandable because in SciFi you frequently have to set out the inner workings of an entirely new world structure. I find some of the bigger names like Phillip K. Dick, Athur C. Clark or Greg Bear(of 'EON' fame) are enjoyable if you have the patience to stick it out through one of their hefty tomes. If they've won the nebula award at some point that's usually a good sign. Still love the first 'Dune' book though. :)

Aside from that something short with a strong central premise that you can breeze through in under an hour(fast reader Razz) is nice to give you something to think about e.g.

'This is the way the world ends' - James Morrow, in which a single man is put on trial for failing to stop a nuclear war.

Of Men & Monsters - William Tenn, humans live in the walls of giant alien invaders homes like mice.. Shocked

Fury - Henry Kutner, some people have a normal lifespan some are immortal, suprisingly entertaining.

Battle Royale - Takami Koshun, near-future Japan where the government's concerns about juvenile delinquency and the youth's violent lack of discipline have led the way for extreme measures: the methodical extermination of teenage children by forcing them to fight to the death, Vereh fun.


has anyone read any Kurt Vonnegut? Dust cover quotes frequently make comparisons to him, but I've never even heard of him elsewhere.. Confused
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shadowferret



Joined: 12 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do like Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury a lot, especially I, Robot an Fahrenheit 451.
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
has anyone read any Kurt Vonnegut? Dust cover quotes frequently make comparisons to him, but I've never even heard of him elsewhere..


I think you'd like the early stuff. Cat's Cradle and The Sirens of Titan are really good. Slaugherhouse-Five is interesting. And Mother Night, while it's not science fiction, is really quite disturbing.

I like Morrow, Tenn, and Kuttner. Takami's Battle Royale is a neat little bit of dystopian pop.

I enjoy Philip K. Dick's stuff, too. Some of the stuff seems dated or structurally flawed, and some of the books feel pretty thin, but I love The Man in the High Castle, Dr. Bloodmoney, A Scanner Darkly, UBIK, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Ditto the nutty Gnosticism of the VALIS books. I think "Faith of our Fathers" is my favorite of his shorter works.

Arthur C. Clarke- Let us count the ways that Childhood's End and "The Nine Billion Names of God" rock.

I like Asimov's Robot and Foundation books. Some of his earlier stories, too. "Nightfall."

Same with Bradbury. The Illustrated Man is probably my favorite book by him. Great stories in that collection. I dig The Martian Chronicles, too.

Kind of surprising that no one's mentioned Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz...

I think I preferred Bear's Blood Music, Queen of Angels, and Slant to Eon...

I like the way the later books in the Dune series dismantle the whole Messianic wish-fulfillment thing. The opening of Dune Messiah- the conversation/ "Death Cell Interview" between the Fremen priest and the Ixian historian- is pretty relevant to the world we inhabit. Some of Herbert's other stuff is interesting, too.

I'll mention some of my all-time favorites at some later moment. For now, I'll leave you with one name: Theodore Sturgeon. If you haven't read The Dreaming Jewels and More Than Human, you really ought to do so. (The latter book makes an interesting companion to Clarke's Childhood's End, as both were published around the same time and deal with evolutionary leaps.)
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi


Last edited by AlphonseVanWorden on Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to discuss Stanislaw Lem, the Polish writer, at some point. I know I've recommended his work to some folks from this forum, but he deserves a special mention on this thread.

Lem died Monday. His death is quite a loss to the science fiction community.

Octavia Butler died recently, now Stanislaw Lem is dead. Two of my favorite genre writers have died within about a month's time.

I suppose the greatest tributes I can pay to these two fine authors is to recommend their works and to mention that their deaths sadden me.

R.I.P., Octavia and Stanislaw. You enriched my existence by existing and writing.
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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Maltese Kentaiba



Joined: 28 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John Christopher; the tripods trilogy, the lotus caves. I haven't read them in a few years but they were really good when i read them.
Steve Perry is one of my favorite authors, I've got some Star Wars books and a few Predator novels stashed on ye ole book shelf.
I hate the all school reads for almost the same reason I enjoy Sci-fi, nothing is quite as deep as a good science fiction. The novels we're supposed to read outside of Treasure Island and Hound of the Baskervilles are horrid. I don't think i've ever actually finished one that i didn't want to read. Tangerine, I almost burnt my copy after we finished.
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maltese Kentaiba wrote:
John Christopher; the tripods trilogy, the lotus caves. I haven't read them in a few years but they were really good when i read them.
Steve Perry is one of my favorite authors, I've got some Star Wars books and a few Predator novels stashed on ye ole book shelf.
I hate the all school reads for almost the same reason I enjoy Sci-fi, nothing is quite as deep as a good science fiction. The novels we're supposed to read outside of Treasure Island and Hound of the Baskervilles are horrid. I don't think i've ever actually finished one that i didn't want to read. Tangerine, I almost burnt my copy after we finished.


Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle... I still have a soft spot for those guys.

If you liked the Holmes piece, you might want to find copies of Doyle's Professor Challenger stories and his novel The Maracot Deep. Often neglected but great stuff that influenced the development of early science fiction, particularly the "lost world" subgenre (which in turn influenced the "interplanetary adventure" story). Doyle's "scientific romances" make interesting companions to the works of Verne, Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs (especially the Pellucidar, Venus, and John Carter of Mars series), and A. Merritt's novels and stories.

Then there's Leigh Brackett and C.L. Moore...
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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Spica



Joined: 25 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't get to read as much as I used to, or rather I read a whole lot more, but it's all text books. I've always liked dystopian novels such as 1984 and, my personal favorite, Brave New World. I liked William Gibson's Neuromancer a lot, but I didn't like the voodoo themes in Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.
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AlphonseVanWorden



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I liked William Gibson's Neuromancer a lot, but I didn't like the voodoo themes in Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.


I liked the voodoo stuff, mostly because of how it functioned in the narratives. Voodoo's one of the few truly syncretic belief systems in the States, so it sort of made sense in context.

I saw a voodoo altar once that included images of Darth Vader, Bart Simpson, and Madonna. Really cool idea, incorporating those archetypes/pop images into one's religious system...

I kind of preferred Greg Bear's use of voodoo concepts in Queen of Angels to Gibson's use of similar material.

Quote:
I've always liked dystopian novels such as 1984 and, my personal favorite, Brave New World.


Yeah, I like both those books a lot. You ever read Yevgeny Zamyatin's We? It's a pretty cool book, first published in an English translation in 1924. On one level, the novel's a satire on socialist utopian fiction (in fact, it was banned for a long time in the Soviet Union), and it's a fine dystopian tale in its own right. It influenced both Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World.

Quote:
I don't get to read as much as I used to, or rather I read a whole lot more, but it's all text books.


I remember what that was like. Of course, I was a literature major with political science and philosophy as my minors, so I got to re-read and read some pretty fun stuff. (Then again, I have some odd notions about fun.)

Still, I suppose that no matter how much you read, there's always so much more you want to read... if you enjoy reading, I mean. :lol:

Some scientific textbooks make for interesting reading...
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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GhostLine



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 633
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elmo wrote:
Still love the first 'Dune' book though. Smile

i love dune. my favorite part was when paul undergoes the test with his hand in the box...gom jibbar?

Elmo wrote:
Battle Royale
changed my life. i've been wanting to write a screenplay largely influenced, but i'm having a hard time with the pace...so i've resorted to a novel...on hiatus. i've also been wanting to film a u.s remake of the film closer to the heart of the book, concerning the power of music in revolution--i know the perfect place to film it!!!!

Spica wrote:
William Gibson's Neuromancer
my first Gibson read way back in the day...

as for SF/ fantasy i'm currently enjoying the third Vampire Hunter D volume by Hideyuki Kikuchi. Also the third volume of R.E. Howard's CONAN collection by Del Rey books--this guy was brilliant!! And he did it all before he offed himself at the age of 30!
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base of the pillar



Joined: 23 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dune was one of the greatest books I've read. I can honestly say that it had a massive impact on my life and how I view the world. I would recommend that anyone who likes to think when they read a book check this one out.
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AlphonseVanWorden



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
as for SF/ fantasy i'm currently enjoying the third Vampire Hunter D volume by Hideyuki Kikuchi. Also the third volume of R.E. Howard's CONAN collection by Del Rey books--this guy was brilliant!! And he did it all before he offed himself at the age of 30!


I think the Vampire Hunter D books are all kinds of fun.

And Howard...

Okay, we're talking fantasy/swords-and-sorcery for a moment (even though the prolific Howard wrote a couple of science fiction pieces). There were a lot of similarities between science fiction and fantasy in their earliest stages of development and the fandoms continue to overlap at times, so I think it's entirely okay to discuss fantasy. I really don't mind the digression or shift from science fiction to fantasy... as you're about to find out.

I deeply loved Howard's stuff when I was younger. The Conan tales are so much cooler than the Hollywood films suggest, and the Solomon Kane stories truly rocked my world.

If you like Howard's stuff, you might want to check out The Black Stranger and Other American Tales, published by Bison/University of Nebraska Press. It includes a lost Conan tale and several "weird" pieces, including "Pigeons from Hell" and "Black Canaan"-- all with corrected and restored texts. (The same publishers have done two volumes of Howard's Western stories, a collection of pieces set during the Crusades, and a good selection of his Depression-era boxing adventures.)

And Howard's Black Vulmea pirate stories... Forget Jack "Pirates of a Theme Park Ride" Sparrow. Vulmea would drink him under the table... then throw the body overboard, after slitting Jack's throat. :lol:

We might as well mention Lovecraft and Smith. Howard, Lovecraft, and Smith published in Weird Tales back in the 1920s and 1930s. The three men corresponded with each other, as I'm sure you know. And you might want to check out the sadly neglected Seabury Quinn, another Weird Tales author who was their contemporary... His occult mystery stories about Jules de Grandin are pretty rockin' in their own right.

If you like Howard, let me strongly recommend Clark Ashton Smith's work (his style might take some getting used to), Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser tales, and Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories.

And check out some C.L. Moore, especially her Jirel of Joiry fantasy tales and Northwest Smith science fiction yarns. If you enjoy Howard, you'll probably like Moore. She was another contemporary and correspondent of Howard's, and she married Henry Kuttner-- Elmo mentioned Kuttner...

Northwest Smith would probably appeal to fans of Trigun or Firefly...
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Such is the soul in the body: this world is like her little turf of grass, and the heaven o'er our heads, like her looking-glass, only gives us a miserable knowledge of the small compass of our prison. - Bosola, in John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi
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GhostLine



Joined: 19 Dec 2005
Posts: 633
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, reading Howard does invite you to venture into all the other Weird Tales authors. The funny thing is, it was all dime-store pulp in its day, but I find that the talent are masters in their field. on the other hand, i don't think i'm ready to delve into all that material; i think my interests are way too diverse. i often leave barnes & noble emptyhanded because i just saw too many things i liked...that and the fact the Newtype and Juxtapose are insistant on being bagged issues. I'll put out for a good dose of pop surrealism, but I won't pay that much for an anime mag, which 75% of the programming advetised I can't even frickin' watch!
but i digress...
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Neuromancer



Joined: 14 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try Richard K. Morgan sometime. His Takeshi Kovacs series of books are similar, somewhat, to GitS.
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