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BS: Growing Up SF

HuwG 01 Nov 05 - 12:50 PM
Rapparee 02 Nov 05 - 09:02 AM
keberoxu 23 Jan 19 - 10:24 AM
Mo the caller 23 Jan 19 - 10:44 AM
Helen 23 Jan 19 - 11:57 AM
Rapparee 23 Jan 19 - 01:03 PM
keberoxu 23 Jan 19 - 01:08 PM
Neil D 25 Jan 19 - 06:30 AM
Charmion 25 Jan 19 - 12:04 PM
Bill D 25 Jan 19 - 05:22 PM
Rapparee 25 Jan 19 - 07:17 PM
Bill D 26 Jan 19 - 04:14 PM
Helen 27 Jan 19 - 01:22 AM
Nigel Parsons 27 Jan 19 - 06:33 PM
Donuel 27 Jan 19 - 06:48 PM
Donuel 28 Jan 19 - 04:23 PM
Rapparee 28 Jan 19 - 08:46 PM
keberoxu 29 Jan 19 - 06:56 PM

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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: HuwG
Date: 01 Nov 05 - 12:50 PM

Only two mentions of John Brunner. Worth re-reading, if only because we are only a few years from the dates in which his future dystopias (in Stand on Zanzibar and The Jagged Orbit are set.

Patrick Moore wrote some goodish SF in the early '60s. Unfortunately, later advances in astronomy and exploration of the Solar System rather kicked the legs from under his novels.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 09:02 AM

Discoveries in planetary studies have kicked the legs out from under a LOT of science fiction. Venus isn't covered with swamps (Heinlein, Asimov and others), for instance. We've found that things are quite different -- and many times much, much stranger -- out there than anyone thought.

Why, I almost think we'll just have to go out and see for ourselves....


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Jan 19 - 10:24 AM

I was a " 'tween," I think --
on the cusp of teenagerhood, someplace
(it's a marketing category nowadays, from merchandise to TV shows) --

when I picked up one day
a hardcover anthology of short stories from soup to nuts,
all genres within the format, all kinds of authors.

I was entirely unprepared for
"The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster,
positively science fiction.
It stopped me in my tracks.
I've never forgotten it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Jan 19 - 10:44 AM

I never read SF until my late teens, (except HG Wells - Invisible Man) though there were wireless serials-
Journey into Space (we talked about it at school the next day)
Day of the Triffids (Wyndham)

At college more fantasy than SF - was introduced to Tolkien & White

After college shared a hostel room with a discerning SF fan so found all the authors writing in the 60s with ideas that were (then) before their time - and now have happened. Social problems like an aging society.
Some of the short stories are gems.

Asimov's reprints are interesting - he doesn't spoil the story with an introduction, but writes an 'afterword' to tell readers about how he came to write that story, and where the science behind it has been disproved.

Zenna Henderson's People series - mentioned above - I got 1 out of the library years ago, haven't seen any more of them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Helen
Date: 23 Jan 19 - 11:57 AM

Some of my SF & Fantasy faves, in no particular order, and including what I would call social or sociological fantasy:

Ursula K. Le Guin
Alan Garner
Terry Pratchett
Margaret Atwood - MaddAdam series, Handmaid's Tale
C.J. Cherryh
Lloyd Alexander
Mary Norton
Anne McCaffrey
George Orwell
George MacDonald
Douglas Adams
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Neville Shute - In the Wet, On the Beach
Louise Cooper
Philip K. Dick
Andre Norton
C.S. Lewis
Richard Matheson
J.R.R. Tolkien
John Crowley

I could add more names to my list.

As bassen said above, I used to devour all of these genres when I was younger, including the SF authors mentioned in the thread, and then suddenly, I had had enough. I discovered Pratchett in the early '80's and read every one of his books that I could lay my hands on for about 20 years and then - stopped. I've enthused about his books to many, many people over the years and managed to recruit a lot more enthusiasts to the Pratchett fold.

Also, hands up all those who think of George Orwell's 1984 when hearing about how modern communications technology can influence the "concept" of historical fact e.g. through Facebook etc, or reading about Donald Trump's tweets about "fake news" or his attempts to deny the facts as reported in the media:

"The protagonist Winston Smith , a member of the Outer Party, works in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth as an editor, revising historical records, to make the past conform to the ever-changing party line and deleting references to unpersons, people who have been "vaporised", i.e., not only killed by the state but denied existence even in history or memory."


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee
Date: 23 Jan 19 - 01:03 PM

I'm glad to see this thread resurrected. I should have added, to the first post, C. L. (Clement L.) Moore, whose initials stood for Catherine Lucille, was one of the first women SF writers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Jan 19 - 01:08 PM

The short stories of Harlan Ellison were terribly important to me.
It's only recently that Ellison died (Mudcat has an Obit thread for him)
and in the obits and articles,
I wasn't surprised to learn that
he was very demanding and difficult to live with;
he was one of the writers whose standards raised the bar
for me as a reader and student.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Neil D
Date: 25 Jan 19 - 06:30 AM

I endorse most all of the fine writers listed above. I don't believe anyone has mentioned Philip Jose Farmer. Surprising really, as I find him to be the most inventive of them all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Charmion
Date: 25 Jan 19 - 12:04 PM

When I was about 12 (circa 1966), I found early editions of Heinlein in my father's sock drawer -- no lie! I have never known why he hid them. Dad was also fascinated by Tolkein, reading The Lord of the Rings over and over again.

By the time I was about 25, I had read pretty well everything Heinlein ever wrote: the good, the bad, the awkward, and the incomprehensible. His hobby-horses were always on parade, so he gave me an early and effective lesson in reading for bias. And, through Heinlein, I soon found my way to other American and British writers of speculative fiction, including his literary heir, Spider Robinson. (I think Spider should have pried himself a bit looser from his idol's plinth, but I always liked his smart-aleck style.)

I have always been most impressed by writers who normally work in other genres, but produce the occasional speculative novel to test an idea. Margaret Atwood is the most obvious, with "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Oryx & Crake", but I find her a bit flinty; I could never read to the end of "The Handmaid's Tale" because I knew how it was going to end and I didn't want to go there. A more intriguing, and no less disturbing, book, written a few years earlier, was Madge Piercy's "Woman On The Edge Of Time", which introduced me to the notion of a society not divided on gendered lines.

I still love fantasy and speculative fiction. I spend quite a lot of time slogging away on cardio machines at the gym, and nothing makes that time fly like a really well-produced audio-book version of a really well-written fantasy or SF novel. It's the whole thing of creating a believable world with two or three completely impossible premises; with every new author, I so want it to work and I'm so delighted when it does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jan 19 - 05:22 PM

Well.. an old thread I barely remember...... but I am STILL a purist snob about SF, just as I am about 'folk'. I can read some generally related stuff and enjoy some of it, but I like my categories narrow...

Anyway, this caught me a tender time, as I am... downsizing... and about 1000 SF paperback and a couple boxes of F&SF mags and many copies of OMNI are headed OUT... to Friends of the Library if they will have them..(no magazines they say) or to recycling.

If anyone near me wants some free SF -almost all classic-no Sword & Sorcery-... (some with 35¢-50¢ cover prices).. say so soon!

And Philip Jose Farmer... gee.. so 'creative' that I lost all sense of what he about...Riverworld? What a theme! But he lost himself in the possibilites... and lost me, too... just as Herbert did with Dune.

The only serious stuff I am now reading is Niven & Pournelle's "The Gripping Hand"


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee
Date: 25 Jan 19 - 07:17 PM

I've a bit partial to the Lord Darcy series, save that Randall Garrett had BIG personal problems. Didn't seem to interfere with his writing, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Bill D
Date: 26 Jan 19 - 04:14 PM

Sorting books today... found an original copy of Asimov's "The Man Who Upset the Universe" (Foundation & Empire) 35¢-1952
Durn, this is painful..


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Helen
Date: 27 Jan 19 - 01:22 AM

I forgot to mention John Crowley's book called Engine Summer. A gentle, strange, quirky, atmospheric book. I have never read anything quite like it.

Speaking of gentle, strange, quirky and atmospheric, does Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game count as SF, futuristic, fantasy?


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 27 Jan 19 - 06:33 PM

Oh, what a terrible discussion topic. ( ;-) )

Reading through it I'm reaching for my Kobo (a 'Kindle' type device) thinking that I must re-read A,B,C & D, and probably also X,Y & Z.
This could prove expensive.

Of course, time is against me. (Anyone got a time machine?)
There are certainly books, novellas & short-stories that I need to read from the 'Hugos' short-list ready for this year's Worldcon in Dublin the first time Worldcon has made it to Ireland.

Over the years I've read a lot of great SF & fantasy. Some of the stuff I've read was 'not-so-good' but I don't begrudge the time spent. If you manage to avoid reading any of the 'not-so-good' stuff you miss the chance of a basis of comparison.

I won't add any names to the above until I've checked my current reading list, and had a chance to compare it to what's already listed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Jan 19 - 06:48 PM

Being the next door neighbor to Rod Serling and growing up in front of the tube, I was most influenced by the Zone and dimensions of the short story. I found most of Rap's list of authors late.

With all the prophesies come true by the best SF authors of their day I believe today is the most fertile time for SF possibilities.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Donuel
Date: 28 Jan 19 - 04:23 PM

SF grew up for me when I read about sentient stars. That took me to new places all right.


I noticed that the books that imply that they are going to explain it ALL, like the space fetus in 2oo1 or the end of LUCY which has space sperm wriggling toward a cosmic egg, still use human creation as their symbology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee
Date: 28 Jan 19 - 08:46 PM

And why not use human symbols? It's what we know best. In fact, I doubt that we could even imagine a race/universe that did not somehow reflect the one we know. If we could we couldn't communicate it as there would be no referents. Even the "speed of thought" is only, at best, 390 feet per second. It seems fast only because neurons are so closely packed inside a human body but we have nothing else to compare it to.

We reason in this area by analogy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: keberoxu
Date: 29 Jan 19 - 06:56 PM

Stephen R Donaldson has started a new series of books.
This is fantasy, though. Sorcery, magical repositories, like that.

I looked at his space-opera series,
although I couldn't actually read every word of every book.
Dense stuff. But quite the caper, in terms of plotting.
Some of the people were humans who had been
shanghai'd and turned into cyborgs.

Donaldson was working territory similar to Asimov in that respect,
as I now see,
looking at Asimov's series-within-a-series books on
robots who interact with space explorers building empires.

Now I've gone and forgotten the name of the Asimov book,
which he wrote rather late in the series -- just read it for the first time.
It's the one that brings several existing series together,
and there is an ongoing dialogue between two robots
who call each other "friend."

They are robots who have spent a LOT of time closely allied to humans.
Luckily for them, the humans they were linked to
were people of character.
In this last book, the robots find themselves carrying out a mission
in the company of some thoroughly nasty-minded humans.
They can't stop the humans entirely,
but the robots succeed in altering the outcome
so that the Earth is not annihilated all at once,
but humans have time to escape.

And then the robots make an agreement on which of them
will continue the lonely vigil of eternal life,
and which of them will sort-of die.
It was like real opera, highly theatrical,
and really moving.
Darn, I need to look up the title.


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