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Thread: Classic Science Fiction Discussion and Recommendations

  1. #61
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    And then, of course, there is the first science fiction story of them all:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=OdC...page&q&f=false

    I confess I have never read it.

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    My modest contribution is Alastair Reynolds. He is one of my favourites. - His best to me are Chasm City, The Prefect & Terminal World. Apparently House of Suns is great also. He has a few short stories compilations as well.

    Glad to see Richard Matheson mentioned, I love I Am Legend, and I thought the ending in the book was just beautiful - and I just knew no one would have the balls to recreate the same story in Hollywood.

    Also if anyone is interested in the "last person on earth" style of book here are 2 that I think are golden Earth Abides by George R Stewart (1949) & The Purple Cloud by M P Shiel (1901).

    Now I must go back through this thread and note all the great books I've either never heard of or forgotten that they are on my "to read" list. Great source of excellent SF reading here.

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    John Varley. The Titan trilogy and pretty much any novel from the Eight Worlds setting, especially "Steel Beach".

    Pretty much anything by R.A.Heinlein, Alfred Bester, Clifford Simak.

    Robert Sheckley - especially short stories.

    Keith Laumer; the Retief short stories are best, but "Dinosaur Beach" isn't shabby.

    Vernor Vinge, especially "Deepness in the Sky".

    Fritz Leiber. Check out "A Pail of Air".

    Virtually anything by Philip Jose Farmer is guaranteed to blow one's mind, especially his lesser-known things (i.e. not Dayworld or Riverworld). Try "Barnstormer in Oz" or "Jesus on Mars".

    George Martin's "Dying of the Light", "Sandkings" and "Stone City". (I.e. the stuff from before he switched to fantasy.)

    Anything by Stanislaw Lem, though I am told not all English translations do him justice.

    Larry Niven. Enough said, though I especially recommend "A Mote in the God's Eye".

    Samuel Delany's glorious "Nova" and "Babel 17". Can't praise them enough, especially "Nova".

    C.J.Cherryh's "Chanur" series. A novel and a long novel split in three wholly based on difficulties of translation and interspecies relationships psychology. Much better (and shorter) than her later "Foreigner" saga.

    Lois M. Bujold's Vorkosigan series. You'd think space opera couldn't be crossed with soap opera, but...

    James Tiptree Jr.

    Zelazny's "Creatures of Light and Darkness", though good luck finding that one.

    Last edited by arenhaus; November 22nd, 2011 at 10:59 AM.
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    some HPL read aloud..

    http://librivox.org/collected-public...h-p-lovecraft/

    and an awesome science fiction short. its like a fucking richard matheson story, featuring skittles.



    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; November 23rd, 2011 at 08:29 AM.
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    I really want to read more SF, so this is a great thread. But one of my favorites (which I guess has been mentioned before) is David Brin. Both Uplift sagas are great (esp. Uplift War and Brightness Reef) Glory Season (for some funky genderbending feminism sf) and Kiln People (A comedy for a change, and has an interesting concept too.)

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    Tim Powers

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    Zelazneys short stories are great, there are a couple of collections that have some of my favorites in them

    Unicorn Variations is one My name is Legion is another.

    Neal Stephenson Cryptonomicon

    Joe Haldeman All My Sins Remembered

    Alan Steele Coyote trilogy Vernor Vinge Peace War and Marooned in Real Time

    Octavia Butler Dawn

    George RR Martin Sandkings This story scared me so much when I read it I couldn't sleep for two days

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Joe Haldeman All My Sins Remembered
    Yes. One of those one-night reads, I didn't think much of this book as I was reading it, but for some reason I was crying at the end of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Lois M. Bujold's Vorkosigan series. You'd think space opera couldn't be crossed with soap opera, but...
    These are good too.

    Last edited by Stacybean; November 23rd, 2011 at 06:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post

    Stapledon. The creator of modern SF, and one of its most innovative thinkers. Makes the Time Machine seem small and limited by comparison. Epic doesnt begin to discribe Starmaker.
    Dude...you crack me up - what a great thread! I'm 1/3 the way through Starmaker right now...for the second time. Dry as all get out of course...and couldn't get through Last and First Men this time around. I didn't know this but Stapledon was a major influence on AC Clarke...one of my faves for sure.

    Will read rest of thread and add two cents...

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    Agree with sentiments on Clarke...but his short stories are all about ideas...I love "The Nine Billion Names of God"...amongst others.

    Greg Bear was mentioned..."Blood Music"...outstanding...scary...and so potentially real.

    How come "Neuromancer" hasn't been mentioned yet?

    And yes...love AE van Vogt.

    "Memories" by Mike McQuay is brilliant time travel stuff...as is "Lincoln's Dreams" by Connie Willis.

    Opps...some of that isn't necessarily "classic"...please don't ban me!?

    I have a real weakness for E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman and Skylark series. Epic cosmic space opera stuff that must be read with a light humor.

    And here's one no one knows...and not many have liked, "Moderan" by David R. Bunch...very bizarre, nihilistic yet poetic strangeness...

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    AC Clark The Star makes me cry when I read it.
    Did anyone mention Bradbury? The martian Chroncles and all the others are so good hard to call them SF

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    It occurs to me now that the book version of Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" was actually pretty neat, and vastly better than the visually spectacular but intellectually watered down film version of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post

    How come "Neuromancer" hasn't been mentioned yet?
    I did read the first book years ago, i liked it as i remember but i stopped reading the second book (count zero) mid way.
    I just can't stand William Gibson's writing style.

    Here are some of my first SF book, probably named in this thread a couple times already.

    Robert A. Heinlein is great, loved Stranger in a Strange Land.

    Isaac Asimov the complete foundation series. Enjoyed em all.

    Orson Scott Card's Enders game is just awesome, loved the first book but stopped mids the 4th.

    Larry Nivens Ringworld is awesome too, loved the first book and enjoyed the second but got really
    bored with book 3 as it didn't really feel like a SF story anymore.

    Strata by Terry Pratchett was my first of his books, i loved it. (its ScienceFiction, not connected to
    the disk world (did later read all the discworld books as well, love em all)

    I did read lots of Battle tech books when i was a kid as well, we did play battle tech back then.
    I am also a huge Gundam (favs are Z, ZZ, war in the pocket) and Macross fan, love gall force,
    venus wars, Madox 01, GITS and so on...

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    I'm also very fond of the Lensmen books and Pratchett's Sci-Fi (Dark Side of the Sun and Strata) are *my* favourites of his works, barring Good Omens. The Discworld eventually tired me out.

    Gerrold's War against the Cthorr is good biological alien invasion Sci-Fi, creepy as all get out. Super plausible, compared to space ships coming out of the skies. He'll probably never finish the series though. I believe he wrote The Trouble with Tribbles for Star Trek but wanted it to be way darker, hence his books.

    How about Sci-Fi comics? I was just thinking the last day about Moebius' stuff, how other visions of the future from the last few decades looks awfully dated, but his stuff still looks like the future. Anyone got any recs? I've aways loved Moebius and American Flagg by Howard Chaykin.... the Alien tie-in and spin-off books have some gems. Any others?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Agree with sentiments on Clarke...but his short stories are all about ideas...I love "The Nine Billion Names of God"...amongst others.

    Greg Bear was mentioned..."Blood Music"...outstanding...scary...and so potentially real.

    How come "Neuromancer" hasn't been mentioned yet?


    "Memories" by Mike McQuay is brilliant time travel stuff...as is "Lincoln's Dreams" by Connie Willis.

    Opps...some of that isn't necessarily "classic"...please don't ban me!?

    I have a real weakness for E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman and Skylark series. Epic cosmic space opera stuff that must be read with a light humor.

    And here's one no one knows...and not many have liked, "Moderan" by David R. Bunch...very bizarre, nihilistic yet poetic strangeness...
    Some kickass choices. I love Connie Willis; To Say Nothing of the Dog is hilarious, exciting and really well written, a definite classic in my book.

    I had real trouble with Gibson; I found his work seemed extremely dated.
    I did like Difference Engine quite a bit though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blogmatix View Post
    It occurs to me now that the book version of Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" was actually pretty neat, and vastly better than the visually spectacular but intellectually watered down film version of it.
    Yeah! I remember buying it from the national history museum in London when I was 10 and not really understanding it. I loved the chaos stuff though, seemed to make a lot of sense.
    Then the movie came out and blew my fucking head off.

    I thought The Road was very good, read it in a day.

    Damn Ive got a serious list of stuff to read now..

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    Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegurt

    Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

    Ender's Game (most of the series, at least the first ones) by Orson Scott Card

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy? It's about a post apocalypse, there's a lot of debate whether or not it's 'sci fi'

    Anything I picked up from Isaac Asimov and Madeleine L'Engle was good.

    I like some sci-fi animations. Tayo no Kiba Dougram and Galaxy Express 999 are nice shows, if you can handle their typical old fashioned children's show feel to it.

    Then there's District 9.

    Then there's Making Mr. Right. I saw it as a really small child. I recall it being about astronauts who create a humanoid robot who was supposed to be sent into space. The robot is completely human looking and ends up staying on Earth because he falls in love with a girl and decides that he wants to live among people as a regular human receiving love instead of fame?
    There's a part where someone tells the robot, "They'll envy you" and the robot was like, "I don't want envy. I want love"

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    China Mieville is pretty good - Perdido Street Station is an incredible piece of work. The writing is really addictive, descriptions of locations make you feel like you are there with the characters. Decent mix of fantasy and sf. There's also The Scar and The City and the City.
    Also I guess Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness would be horror/sf. I think I've read that about 5 times. I just love the slow build up of suspense and terror.
    I know PKD has been mentioned, and I agree about his cramming of ideas, I would recommend The Penultimate Truth as a pretty good story.

    I got into SF through my grandparents. When I was little they'd show me movies like The Time Machine, War of the Worlds, Journey to the Center of the Earth & 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. I loved them so much, I knew I'd eventually have to read the books. Just amazing.

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    Oh, and yes.. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

    The ugly little boy by Isaac Asimov (the movie too, it is only 30 minutes long)

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    DM if you loved flowers for Algernon, check this out. chapter1 is preamble but 2 and 3 are really cool.

    http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/under.htm

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    one of my favourite tunes of last year, monkey noises and cheesy saxamaphone included, and as a bonus it comes packaged with this lovely sci fi movie video... part Akira, part More Than Human, part The Chrysalids it looks like what all these lame kids-with-powers TV shows ought to be like and arent.

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    Among the latest books I was reading there was "Accelerando" by Charles Stross. I bought it beacause lately I got interested in the whole transhumanism idea in science-fiction and "Accelerendo" exploited that a lot. Very imaginative but the most hardcore science fiction book I've ever read. I didn't have enough knowledge to understand some parts especially those about future economy. At the same time I like it in books that I can rediscover some things as I read it again.

    One of the other authors which also my last big discovery was China Mieville. I really enjoyed reading his books "Perdido Street Station" (which is not exactly sci-fi but more of a scifi-fantasy mix) but also "The city & the city"

    When it comes to complete classics. I'm from Poland so as a sci-fi fan I couldn't miss reading Stanislaw Lem books. The best ones to me were - "Eden", "Solaris", "Futorological Congress", "The Invincible", "Memoirs Found in a Bathtub", "Return from the stars".

    Other Polish author that in my personal science fiction favourites would be Jacek Dukaj. Especially his book that would be translated to english as "Perfect Imperfection". It's as hardcore vision as "Accelerando", similar level of technology post-singularity future but very different at the same time. Unfortunately it wasn't translated into english yet. Here's the link to short synopsis of the whole idea and the story if somebody's interested -> http://www.terminally-incoherent.com...by-jacek-dukaj

    From world's popular sci-fi classics I enjoyed:

    "Hothouse" by Brian W. Aldiss - very old sci fi but I think timeless beacause it was't about techology but ecological niches. I liked the descriptions of the world. Very visual. It could be made into movie, I think.

    "Dune" by Frank Herbert - I don't even need to explain this is book

    "Make room! Make room!" by Harry Harrison about consequences of population growth in society. I also enjoyed his less serious but nonetheless fun "Stainless Steel Rat" series.

    All od Philip K. Dick are worth reading though so far I managed to put my hand on "Ubik", "Martian Time-Slip" and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?".

    "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card was good but it didn't really stuck in my memory as other sci-fi classics. I might go back to it again sometime.

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    Hothouse, Dune, Solaris, PKD, the adventures of Slippery Jim D'Griz.. ugh happy times
    I remember seeing this in a bookstore window in Hay on Wye while on scout camp when I was about 13 and knowing I had to own it. I was disappointed it didnt feature a giant metal man, but it was the first proper SF book I read and it made me go buy Dune immediately..




    Accelerando! I loved parts 2 and 3 of Accelerando. I keep meanig to do a pic of the negotiation with the scumbag aliens from The Router in the formal gardens of Versailles...
    I strongly advise you buy and download the sort-of sequel Glasshouse right now, I thought it was a much more mature novel than any of his other stuff.
    Singularity Sky was a lot of fun, Iron Sunrise was rubbish, and I enjoy the audiobooks of his Laundry stories whilst working, theyre light and fun but smart enough to keep you interested.

    However, the best, darkest Stross stories are Missile Gap and A Colder War.
    They scared the shit out of me...

    http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/stories/colderwar.htm
    http://subterraneanpress.com/index.p...harles-stross/

    Also, I keep banging on about this guy but if you like Frank Herbert and S Lem, you HAVE to read Cordwainer Smith. Have to. No two ways about it, you have to. Its my duty as an SF nerd to inform you of this fact.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rediscovery-.../dp/1857988191
    http://www.baenebooks.com/chapters/1...520953___3.htm

    On my desk waiting to be opened are Perdido Street Station, because a critical mas of people have now said its very good and I want a taste, and Chaga by Ian McDonald. I cant wait to destroy both of them along with half an ounce and some Talasker.

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    Thanks for the sugestions and links Velocity Kendall.
    I added those authors to my long reading list . I was planning to read Glasshouse beacause the synopsis sounds interesting and also it was translated into polish language. It will wait for a while though till I buy it.

    I haven't heard of Cordwainer Smith. Here he's only available to read in some sci-fi antologies. Maybe I'll find it somewhere or just order original versions.

    "Perdido Street Station" is widely mentioned tough I would say it's more like steampunk meets fantasy world. It was stuck in my memory mostly beacause of very rich descriptions of the world. Very fresh and very imaginative.

    Right now I have big pile waiting in queue to read. Just finished "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" by Philip Jose Farmer. I'm always curious about afterworld visions tough it didn't entirely fit my tastes. Now started "Altered Carbon" by Richard Morgan which is something good for now as I want to stay for a while with something lighter. The book doesn't revolutionize sci-fi but has few nice ideas. I mostly want nice characters and plot out of it.
    Other books which are waiting on the shelf are "Permutation city" by Greg Egan which had pretty good reviews and the other one is "Queen City Jazz" by Kathleen Ann Goonan. That's unkown to me though. I bought it mostly beacause it's vision of world dominated by nanotechnology and it's interesting topic to me

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    Altered Carbon was fun but didnt rock my world. Permutation City was slightly hard work but chock full of fascinating ideas.
    I really liked Dayworld by PHF when I was younger, again I bought it for the cool cover art and stayed for the neat story.

    Someone said Perdido Street was a bit like The Bridge by Ian Banks, which I liked, and Tim Powers, whos stuff I love, so Ill get stuck in an report back.

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  40. #87
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    Does anyone here like the movie The Thing?
    I sure do, and wasnt impressed with the dull sequel-by-numbers from last year at all

    Heres a retelling of the events of the 1982 classic from the point of view of the alien, which I think nicely expands the world of the story..

    http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/watts_01_10/

    and a news story that reminded me of it

    "Two die in fire at Brazil's Antarctic research station"

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17168526

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    I really liked Dark Light Years by Brian Aldiss, sort of a PK Dick or Kurt Vonnegut feel to it's very dark and misanthropic yet hilarious story.

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    RIP Harry Harrison, who has died, aged 87.

    Author of the very, very funny Stainless Steel Rat and Bill the Galactic Hero series, and the very very unfunny Make Room Make Room (source material for Soylent Green) Harrisons books were staples of my reading as a kid and I love them more now. Check them out if you haven't, you'll really like them I promise!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    RIP Harry Harrison, who has died, aged 87.

    Author of the very, very funny Stainless Steel Rat and Bill the Galactic Hero series, and the very very unfunny Make Room Make Room (source material for Soylent Green) Harrisons books were staples of my reading as a kid and I love them more now. Check them out if you haven't, you'll really like them I promise!
    R.I.P. . Deathworld trilogy good. Homeworld/Wheelworld/Starworld trilogy bad. I mean he wrote some real slogs. but some books i loved as a kid as well, Stainless steel rat included.

    Picked up some Zelany recently. Creatures of Light and Darkness is nice and dreamlike, and Damnation Alley is some great summer reading if you want to read about a bad ass biker dude road tripping across post-apocalyptic USA.

    Reading now Dark is the Sun by jose farmer. Kind of fun ideas and it's cool how they're discovering and old civilization whose technology was insanely superior to anything we know today. But this author's longer stories kind of start to annoy me with their "and then this happened. And then this happened. and then this happened." kind of style of storytelling.

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