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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:37 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
My personal fav (though I don't know if I'd recommend it to the uninitiated) is Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles". Bradbury is a wonderful writer, IMO. :)


I would. I'd recommend The Martian Chronicles to anyone who would listen.
( :hug: for liking that book. :P )


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:04 pm 
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The Martian Chronicles for ABSOLUTE sure. Bradbury is an elegant, poetic writer.

Andre Norton was a great writer, too. Not all her books are great, but the Witchworld series was good, for starters. I like her books in part because many of her protagonists are women, which made her writing quite unusual.

One of my alltime faves, which I have mentioned maybe a thousand times, is "Dragon's Egg" by Robert Forward. There are no dragons in it, it has nothing whatsoever to do with any cheesy dragon-type fantasy.

But speaking of dragons, the Dragons of Pern series can't be beat. Anne McAffrey. I think she wimped out at the end, but most of them are lovely.

I've been reading sci-fi for over 50 years, imagine. The first sci-fi I read was Edgar Rice Burrough's "Princess of Mars".

Not fond of much of what is written nowadays. Spider Robinson is highly regarded, though. Or was.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:15 pm 
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Vison, if you liked Forward, have you tried any Hal Clement? Mission of Gravity is probably his best-known book, and I like it a lot. (I liked the Forward, too—I love kewl ideas, even though I don't write that kind of book.)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:21 pm 
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No, I haven't read any books by that author.

I haven't read much sci-fi for the last few years, having got fed up with trying to find something in bookshelves seemingly overladen with "Tolkien-type" fantasy or the kind of "stuff" written for adolescent boys by people like Raymond E. Feist, etc.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 5:35 pm 
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Clement wrote mostly in the 1950s and '60s—he was an old-school Grand Master who helped invent hard SF. I think you'd like him. Libraries ought to have his books.

I have to agree about Feist, and about a lot of series SF. And about fantasy—my agent said the money is in fantasy these days, and did I like it? (leading up to, would I write it?), and I had to tell him that I love Tolkien but rarely find any newer fantasy that I like at all.

As for the adolescent boys—someone famously said, "The Golden Age of science fiction is twelve." That's always going to be a big part of the market and there will always be a lot of books written for it. But at least since the 1960s, plenty of SF has been written for adults. It's just hard to spot. Mass market paperbacks all have the same kind of bright, literal covers, whether what's inside is adolescent wish fulfillment or a sensitive literary SF novel.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:02 pm 
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I have never read a lot of Sci-Fi - neither of fantasy, in fact, execept Tolkien... but I wonder why none of you recommends Philip K. Dick - as a none reader he's one of the few I know and about whom I would be curious.

Any experience?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:16 pm 
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His The Man in the High Castle is a classic, and a lot of his books and stories have been made into films such as BLADE RUNNER and TOTAL RECALL. I'd put him in the literary SF category. I didn't list him because I have a hard time finishing his books, other than the one I mentioned. It's been a while since I tried, so I can't really tell you what my problem is. :scratch:

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:38 pm 
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Philip K. Dick is one of my favorites, too, mainly because there's usually a social message of some sort involved. Many of his stories are set post-WWIII. The time when he was writing (50s and early 60s) the nuclear threat was foremost in everyone's minds. And he writes a lot of man v. machine as well.


I have to say, though, that he is one writer whose work has been improved by the screenplay. Both Blade Runner and Total Recall managed to incorporate Dick's world view into greatly enlarged plots and the screenplays were more satisfying, imo, than the original stories. I was not so fond of Minority Report - thought the original story was better - but generally I'm not fond of Spielberg's sappy endings.

I don't know if any of his other stories have been made into movies ... oh wait - there was one other recently ... with Uma Thurman - it crashed at the box office and I can't remember the title now. The one where the guy has his memory erased after doing a job for the government, but leaves clues for himself to recover his memory afterwards ... the short story was really good, a real cliff-hanger. Didn't see the movie.

Jn

eta: "Paycheck." (What did we do before there was imdb?)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:09 pm 
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not something I would recommend
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Ewww. I recently re-watched Blade Runner to make sure that I really did hate it as much as I thought I did, and I was right. That is, imo, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Ugh. Totally can't understand why that one is so highly acclaimed aside from some decent art design here and there.

(Paycheck was really awful too, but a more mundane, everyday sort of awful.)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:48 pm 
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You didn't like Blade Runner? :shock:

Well, that's it, yovargas. :(

I hardly love you at all any more. :x

Well . . . . . I guess I still love you. ;)

But you chipped my heart a little. :(

One of the Harrison Ford movies that shows Harrison Ford at his best. Sadly, Mr. Ford has slipped few cogs lately. Or so it would appear. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:24 am 
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Ewww. I recently re-watched Blade Runner to make sure that I really did hate it as much as I thought I did, and I was right. That is, imo, one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Ugh.


:shock:

*note to self: cut yov out of will.*

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Ever mindful of the maxim that brevity is the soul of wit, axordil sums up the Sil:


"Too many Fingolfins, not enough Sams."

Yes.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:25 am 
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Someone mentioned Fantasy...

Feist began well with Magician, and to some extent with the "Empire" trilogy but then drifted into the usual schtick. The Serpentwar saga was dreadful. I'm enjoying the Fionavar Tapestry at the moment, but I don't expect to fall in love with it. The last Fantasy novels that I ranked highly were Robin Hobbs trilogies, the "Assassins" trilogy and the "Liveship Traders" trilogy. "Tawny Man" trilogy is next on my list, followed by "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell".

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:55 am 
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<burns yov in effigy>

I'm reading Jonathan Strange right now and enjoying it. Fantasy doesn't usually grab me, but this did.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:12 am 
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not something I would recommend
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I was in Sassy's will? :shock:

:P

Not to derail the thread but I'd dearly like to know what people love so much about that movie cuz I find it borderline unwatchable.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:38 am 
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In my head I don't classify Norrell and Strange as fantasy though; more like magical unrealism. :D ;)

Blade runner was a great movie right up to the end - the last scene had me thinking I must have got off on the wrong platform and really, really disappointed me because I was so INTO it up to that point.

Speaking of recommendations...

My son, aged 8 (please don't groan! yes, I do manage to sneak the topic of my kids into just about every conversation) has just this week made the big leap from reading little books to reading, like, novels. He's a terrific reader with quite the vocabulary (it's all the Charlie Browns he's read ;) I worship Charles Shultz) but those bigger books were just too looooong for him up to now.

Well, anyway, his selections at the library on Tuesday were all fantasy/science fiction (not surprising; he has my genes :D ) and he has devoured all three books he borrowed (and today is only Thursday! :shock: He came home from school yesterday, threw down his bag, picked up a book and lay on his bed engrossed right til dinner - he didn't even ask if he could go on the computer! :shock: :shock: )

Do I have a point or am I going to enthuse about my boy the whole post? Yes, I have a point. Can anyone recommend SF (or fantasy, for that matter) for his age? I'd like to strike while the iron's hot and I don't want him to run into stuff that's too advanced for him and lose interest, nor do I want him to get lost in the pulp fiction (like all those Dragonlance books :help: which are okay, I guess, but I wouldn't want him to define the genre by those)

So, um, yes. Recommendations for beginning readers. I hope it's not considered too tangential to this discussion.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:12 am 
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yov, I was planning to leave you my entire Judy Garland collection :P

Now then: Blade Runner is SF film noir. It's a very dark film with some interesting moral issues on what it means to be human. Who shows the greater humanity ... the humans or the replicants? One could argue that the replicants do. Think of Roy (Rutger Hauer) saving Decker's life and as he dies, poignantly saying ... "All those moments... will be lost... in time... like... tears in rain. Time... to die."

Also, the cinematography and visual effects are superb. It is well acted, well directed and, imo, very compelling cinema.

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Ever mindful of the maxim that brevity is the soul of wit, axordil sums up the Sil:


"Too many Fingolfins, not enough Sams."

Yes.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:15 am 
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Imp wrote:
So, um, yes. Recommendations for beginning readers.


John Bellairs, THE FACE IN THE FROST
Andre Norton, JUDGEMENT ON JANUS and THE STARS ARE OURS!
Ursula LeGuin, the Earthsea trilogy (first three—Tehanu and later are really for adults)
*Robert Heinlein, STAR BEAST and RED PLANET and THE ROLLING STONES and SPACE CADET and HAVE SPACESUIT, WILL TRAVEL
*Madeleine L'Engle, A WRINKLE IN TIME
*John Christopher, the White Mountains trilogy (THE WHITE MOUNTAINS, THE CITY OF GOLD AND LEAD, THE POOL OF FIRE)

The ones with asterisks are ones I read with pleasure at 8 or so, or that I think are better for earlier readers. I think they're all good and would offer some challenge.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:10 am 
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:) Thank you. Am printing out the list to take with us on our next library visit.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:13 am 
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Lots of good recommendations here. I'm going to repeat some of them and add a few of my own. I recall a time when I rather looked down on SF because the few books I had read were so dreadfully written. But it's like any genre - there's good and there's bad. And the great thing about SF is, it's stories in a pretty pure form. Heroes, action, plot. I have an insatiable appetite for stories. :)

Ursula LeGuin
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Dispossessed
The Lathe of Heaven
(a short novel, but so brilliantly imagined)

Isaac Asimov
Any of the Foundation books

Lois McMaster Bujold
agree with Prim here - she's wonderful. All of the Miles Vorkosigan books are worth reading. Some titles:
Cordelia's Honor
The Warrior's Apprentice
Brothers in Arms
Mirror Dance
Memory
Komarr
A Civil Campaign


Stanislaw Lem
Solaris

Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game (he's written a ton of books but this is the "don't miss" title)

William Gibson
Neuromancer
Count Zero
Mona Lisa Overdrive


Bruce Sterling
Heavy Weather
Islands in the Net


Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash

Sherri S Tepper
Grass
The Gate to Women's Country


CJ Cherryh
Cyteen
Downbelow Station
Rimrunners


Joan D Vinge
Psion
Cat's Paw


Connie Willis
The Doomsday Book
The Bellwether


Well, that's enough to be going on with. I love the atmosphere Philip K Dick can create, but I think he has problems with plot - and I consider plot essential to this genre.

Edit - got a title wrong.


Last edited by Ethel on Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:50 am 
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And of course Frank Herbert's Dune series.

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