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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:19 pm 
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[I split this off from the 2001 thread in the Cottage - VtF]

Crucifer wrote:
I think that's what I really meant when I said 'visionary', Vison. Looking at contemporaneous sci-fi, it was as much fantasy as it was sci-fi. There was as much of the mythical and legendary in it as of the scientific. Clarke's science fiction, however, was about scientific theory. Obviously, Bowman and Poole are embarking on an epic quest, but it is a quest for knowledge and enlightenment. The grounds for everything that happens in his work is science, and that was unique for the time.


I don't recall that scifi in the 50's was "fantasy", myself. It was generally "hard science" stuff, and very male-oriented, full of guns and rocket ships with pointy ends, etc.

The fantasy and mythical stuff crept in later, I don't really know when. It ruined scifi as far as I was concerned. I couldn't read it, not having been weaned on Pohl and Asimov and Clarke, etc. Ray Bradbury was always a hop out of kin, so to speak, he writes very beautifully. His stories are scifi in one sense but not in all senses, they are "fantasies" in one way as well, but never of the idiotic kind.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:21 pm 
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A lot of science fiction of that era is fantasy only in retrospect: a habitable Venus and Mars with native intelligent life, etc. At the time it was, if not absolutely scientific, at least plausible.

Definitely male-oriented, definitely "hard." What survives to this time from the 1940s and 50s is the best of what was often a pretty bad lot. It wasn't until the 1960s that literary value started to weigh as much as "sense of wonder" with a significant number of readers and writers, and I think that shifted the balance; it wasn't enough to be a scientist or engineer to write an SF story and sell it to a magazine; you also had to be able to rub two sentences together.

But there were plenty of contemporaries of Clarke who wrote "hard" SF. They just aren't all remembered as well. He certainly wasn't unique.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:40 pm 
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Fair enough! I wasn't around then, so I can only do my best with what modern editions I can afford. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:14 pm 
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As opposed to those of us who cut our teeth on Leigh Brackett and C. L. Moore and Andre Norton.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:16 pm 
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Wasn't that pulpy "Attack of the giant space lizard of death!!" type stuff in sci-fi pretty much from the get go?

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:18 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Wasn't that pulpy "Attack of the giant space lizard of death!!" type stuff in sci-fi pretty much from the get go?


Not so much in books, as far as I can recall. Movies, yes. But I saw very few scifi movies in my youth.

Leigh Brackett. A blast from teh past!!! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:29 pm 
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Yep.

Covers of SF magazines were gorgeously pulpy, and so was a lot of the stuff inside; but more rockets and aliens, fewer giant lizards eating the high school.

Most of that was actually before my time, or vison's. SF's id phase. Around 1950 it got all self-conscious. :P

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:44 pm 
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Image

Neat. 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:56 pm 
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I don't think I've ever read that Leigh Brackett novelette, but I've always loved the title.

ETA: Wait, I do have it, in the anthology More Women of Wonder, edited by Pamela Sargent. Which I bought in 1976, so I can't remember the story.

Leigh Brackett, like the other two I listed a couple of posts ago, was a female pioneer of SF writing, back when it was coldly and unapologetically a man's game.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:36 am 
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Andre Norton. I knew her housekeeper. Virtually. Strange, the whole thing. I loved some of Norton's books. "Forerunner Foray" is one of my absolute favourites. And, of course, the Witch World Saga.

That wonderful cover art posted by yovargas was probably misleading as far as the story goes. Guys would buy the magazine with a cover pic like that, and never notice that the story didn't even have a woman in it. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:34 pm 
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A really intricate illustration called "The History of Science Fiction"
http://scimaps.org/submissions/7-digita ... 024_LG.jpg


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:44 pm 
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Mr. Prim sent me this yesterday. I haven't had time to do more than scan it yet. But I love the Miriam Allen de Ford quote at the bottom:

Quote:
Science fiction deals with improbable possibilities, fantasy with plausible impossibilities.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:18 pm 
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Buy me a 40 inch monitor and I might try making sense of that pic. :P

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:53 pm 
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A 40-incher might be almost big enough.

I have a 27-inch monitor and the full-sized JPEG nearly fills it. But I still have to zoom in to read it all.

It's actually a fun reader's tool: find the title of an SF work you like, and the titles in the immediate vicinity will probably also be of books you'll like.

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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 10, 2011 12:23 am 
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Neat picture! :D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:11 am 
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I couldn't find Hidden Worlds so it is useless to me. Image

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:47 am 
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I CALL SHENANIGANS!

How do Andromeda and Earth Final Conflict make the TV list when Firefly doesn't?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:44 pm 
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yov, :P

Alatar, I hadn't gotten to the TV part yet, but Firefly is a serious omission.

Unless the artist is one of the people who consider it fantasy. Its cosmology is more than a little on the improbable side.

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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 10, 2011 8:39 pm 
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There's a roleplaying game for Firefly that explains the background conceits they never really went into. It makes more sense than I thought: a huge, spread out multiple star system with a buttload of planets and satellites, most of which are at least partially terraformed and some of which seem to have artificially enhanced gravity. The ships have the ability to temporarily reduce their inertia using technology related to said gravity control (the "Firefly" drive).

I guess Whedon thought all that was easier to swallow than FTL. Who knows? He may be right.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:55 pm 
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It's all handwaving in any case. I'm suspicious of the stability of planetary orbits in multiple-star systems, but if there's some alien technology involved or if the whole thing is an artificial construct or artifact, then I can buy it.

At least with FTL there's only one camel to swallow.

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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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