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Author Topic: Sci-fi books  (Read 16029 times)
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Andrew McIntosh
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2011, 02:08:41 PM »

I am a big fan of Asimov and Heinlein...

Did you ever read Heinlein's Time Enough For Love? I had a lot of difficulty with that book, never really got into it, but I was quite young when I tackled it and a bit of a lazy reader. A bit of opinion on it would be good if you have. Science fiction incest seems interesting.
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Ganesha23
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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2011, 03:41:34 PM »

Philip K. Dick rulez and so does J.G. Ballard. Get Ballard's Complete Short Stories vol 1 & 2 if you find them somewhere.

Dan Simmons' Hyperion is a classic that must be mentioned. Fall Of Hyperion was decent but I haven't dared to check out his other books yet. You can't go wrong with Alastair Reynolds or Iain M. Banks, either.

Hal Duncan's Vellum was a disappointment. Will check out Ink at some point sooner or later.

More fantasy (or "new weird" or something) than scifi, but Jeff VanderMeer is brilliant.
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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2011, 04:36:55 PM »

Yep Pekka! The short stories are definitely a MUST HAVE, so are his essays. Back in the 90's I had a quick contact with him and sent him a bunch of vhs stuffed with the most obscoure real-death footage you could find at the time.
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ARKHE
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2011, 06:35:55 PM »

I think the separation between the "subgenres" hard / soft SF and space opera can be quite misleading... Alastair Reynolds for example is very heavy on the _science_, though he twists and bends what is (today considered) scientific truth into very visionary and mind-boggling settings (he's an astronomer so he knows what he's talking about). Very dark as well, nearly Lovecraftean in terms of massively enormous dark entities looming in deep space created by transgalactic pre-human races able to bend time and space how they want etc. A lot of darkness & pain. Placing Reynolds next to Star Wars is down-right insulting.

I think Samuel R. Delany and Gene Wolfe would attract several of you here. Both more on the theoretical & literate side of SF (next to, for example, Ballard). Writers that "transcends" the "stigma" of belonging to a genre, so to speak. Hovering on and across the borders between SF and fantasy, using a lot of sociology, semantics, race & gender issues (Delany is gay and black), mythology/eschatology, anthropology, etc etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_R_Delany
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_wolfe

I'll probably write more later...
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Gape Arson
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« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2011, 07:14:42 AM »

I completely forgot to include Lovecraft... not necessarily science fiction, but some of his work counts.
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2011, 09:54:59 AM »

I think the separation between the "subgenres" hard / soft SF and space opera can be quite misleading...

of course, but it gives some idea about overall topics. One could take example of Harry Harrison, which I mentioned before. His Make Room! Make Room! is very good, and influential book, full of visions pretty accurately observing massive overpopulation and the pro-life attitudes even when everything basically fails. But, when you mention Harry Harrison, I guess, many would rather associate him with The stainless steel rat -series or Bill the galactic hero -series. I read couple first parts of the rat, yet I just couldn't get into his humor sci-fi at all. In Finland, those series stand as major part of his translations on relatively big Like publishing, and are published during 90's and 2000's.


I don't think Lovecraft would really fit under sci-fi topic, yet probably deserve topic of his own? His work deals things from very different perspective than majority of sci-fi. I do have either all, or pretty much all of Lovecraft that has been translated into Finnish. Some of these books, due small printruns, are becoming quite expensive. Not just regular paperback prices. I do think that translations of some of these aren't on the level they should be, so if one can keep up with english language, reading them as original text might be preferred. I was more into horror books as teenager, but nowadays I basically appreciate on merely on symbolism and covering some ideas found in occult & esoteric literature. One can see the approach of short stories used as method of teaching certain values of organization or group being done already.
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ARKHE
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« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2011, 12:17:20 AM »

Started reading Lovecraft age 12 I think - probably influenced by Metallica, hah - the basic anti-human idea immersed in all his writings had a severe impact on my world-view back then, before reaching heavier philosophic & religious writings..; the basic idea of humanity's complete insignificance  when facing some sort of true reality. And I guess astronomy has proved him more right than he'd thought himself, with physical matter in the universe being estimated to a mere 4%, but dark matter, whatever that is (yog-sothoth?) about 80% and dark energy about 16%... (at least to make the calculations work..).
But anyway, Lovecraft has been slightly ruined for me the past few years with all gothic/roleplayer whooptydoo and plush Chthulhus; he's had quite a renaissance the past years in Sweden with new translations, literary scholars publishing biographies and analyses, et c. I only know how the Swedish tranlsations are, and basically, they have lost at least one dimension of the original writings. Lovecraft's later works can be a bit overbearing with the pseudo-archaic aesthetics & three-hundred adjectives & synonyms to "unmentionable" in a row... but as a stylist, he's beyond most competition. His main point about horror literature I guess is that it's all about feeling, atmosphere, ambience. Characters & plot all comes in second hand. Maybe this should be reserved to a specific Horror literature thread? Fellows like Meyrink, Bierce, Machen and Blackwood deserve mention. Lovecraft's treatise "supernatural horror in fiction" is a must to get into early cosmic horror (late 19th/early 20th century). For the interested, I recommend Manuel Aguirre's Closed Space, a study of the four major themes traceable in the history of horror literature, related to what the actual horrors are, up to the 1980's.

Back to science fiction. Massive recommendation if you like theories about light-speed travelling & time dilation: Poul Anderson's Tau Zero.
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tisbor
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« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2011, 11:32:39 AM »

Yes , Lovecraft should be read in english if possible ! As pestdemon mentioned , otherwise all the adjectives redundancy and atmosphere can be lost .
I suggest American Library's Lovecraft collection :
http://www.amazon.com/H-P-Lovecraft-Library-America/dp/1931082723/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1296034322&sr=8-1
Italy had some great translations in the past though .

I'm currently reading a collection of chinese science fiction from 60's to 2000s , some of it is good and surprisingly bleak .



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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2011, 05:46:03 PM »

Re-reading The Brave New World (uusi uljas maailma) is still half way done, yet I think I hardly remembered the details of the story.

Finished the book, and didn't even remember how grim and hopeless the ending of the book is. If you hate to see happy twist put on things, this is most definitely recommended. When reading last few chapters, especially the simple reasoning why old is being destroyed/banned and why population should focus on happiness and feeling good, even if it results total meaninglessness, it's always inspirational.
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2011, 06:54:31 PM »

If you like Brave New World I'm sure Kallocain by Swedish novelist Karin Boye, written in 1940,  would be up your alley too. It shares many themes, in that it's set in a future totalitarian state, where the gov't uses drugs to control the masses. Highly recommended!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kallocain
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THE RITA HN
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« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2011, 01:06:54 AM »

Right now my favorite sci-fi works are by none other than Clark Ashton Smith.
Most recently got the RED WORLD OF POLARIS: THE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN VOLMAR hardcover.
He always captures the epic, horrific, dark, and atmospheric mystery of investigating unknown planets.  Smith's vivid imagination is almost best put to work in this genre with his staggering descriptions of planet plant life, landscape, and ultimately the alien inhabitants.  His masterpiece though is the short story THE ABOMINATIONS OF YONDO which never fails to drive my imagination into overdrive; all the way to the epic visage of madness that is the conclusion.
I also finally got the amazing Ib Melchior book published by Midnight Marquee press and it's amazing to find that most everything he was the storywriter, screenwriter, and set designer for all matched that category; with atmospheric and desolate results that are also astounding.  ANGRY RED PLANET, PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES, JOURNEY TO THE 7TH PLANET; all stories that eventually turned into the most incredibly haunting sci-fi films based on atmospheric and horrific planet investigation.
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ARKHE
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« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2011, 06:10:03 PM »

Have only encountered CAS' more traditional fantasy & some of his earlier Oriental-themed adventures (which were if I remember correctly so horrible I had to return the book to the store!)... obvious Lovecraft-connection with him. Didn't know of these more extra-terrestially themed works, sounds interesting.
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THE RITA HN
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« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2011, 11:24:17 AM »

I highly recommend diving headfirst into more of Clark Ashton Smith's books.  For most people I know Lovecraft is usually just the gateway drug for CAS works since once you really get into the CAS stories heavily, you can't go back.  Even other guys in the circle like Algernon Blackwood, Robert E. Howard, and even William Hope Hodgson can't compare as CAS's scope of imagination is just too staggering. 
Just some of my favourite examples applicable to this thread if you want a quick read:

THE ABOMINATIONS OF YONDO
http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/short-stories/2/the-abominations-of-yondo
THE DWELLER IN THE GULF
http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/short-stories/55/the-dweller-in-the-gulf
THE VAULTS OF YOH-VOMBIS
http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings/short-stories/231/the-vaults-of-yoh-vombis

Some people say that the can't stomach CAS as he's not as 'straight forward horror' as Lovecraft, etc., but I love to get caught up in the whirlwind of his horrifying and fantastic landscapes.  I think that's why lately I've turned to Lovecraft's poetry works to get a sense of his potential for abstraction against CAS writing, fantastic poetry, or otherwise.

"In sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Clark Ashton Smith is perhaps unexcelled by any other writer dead or living."
- H.P. Lovecraft


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tisbor
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« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2011, 09:39:40 PM »

Clark Ashton Smith's entire production has been published in 5 volumes :
http://www.amazon.com/Hieroglyph-Collected-Fantasies-Clark-Ashton/dp/1597800325/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1296329915&sr=8-2
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magnus
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« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2011, 12:43:09 AM »

Ashton Smith, name rings a bell, but couldn´t find anything by him at home... "planet investigations" sounds intriguing enough though, so will be sure to read that Red World of Polaris book (although the cover looks kinda corny...).
I´ll do a antiqvarian round for Brave New World as well, should be easy to pick up, the write up made me want to read it. Have put it off before after reading a couple of others by Huxley, they´ve been good in parts, but very long winded.
Regarding Space operas, i´ll confess to have quite a soft spot for the Perry Rhodan books. Lots of space battles, complicated scientific explanations, encounters with alien races and, yes, planet explorations, but all a bit silly. I have the first 50 paperbacks but only read about half so far. The Italians made a fun film based on him in the 60s, Mission Stardust aka ...4...3...2...1...Morte.
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