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BS: Growing Up SF

24 Oct 05 - 10:35 PM (#1590206)
Subject: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

The thread about Azizi's location got me thinking -- who were the science fiction/fantasy authors you read while you were growing up (assuming that you did -- I'm still not through, myself)?

Mine included

Robert Heinlein
Isaac Asimov
Murray Leinster
Cordwainer Smith
Theodore Sturgeon
Jules Verne
EE Smith
Robert Howard
HP Lovecraft
Andre Norton
Edward Miller
Pat Frank
James White
Robert Bloch
Ray Bradbury
AE Van Vogt
L. Sprague Decamp
Poul Anderson
Jerry Pournelle
Spider Robinson
Dana Stabenow

and a bunch of others, the names of whom will come to me.

24 Oct 05 - 10:49 PM (#1590219)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Amos

Yes to all the above.

It was the Great Escape into possibility. Just what I needed as a vibrant young over-imaginative teenie boyo.

Still brings out the best in me! :D


24 Oct 05 - 10:49 PM (#1590220)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Peace

Most of the above, Rapaire. Also fell in love with The Mars series AND the Venus series by ER Burroughs. Read "Tarzan at the Earth's Core" to see if it jived with another Pelucidar story Burroughs wrote, but was never much of a Tarzan fan after a few of the books.

24 Oct 05 - 10:55 PM (#1590222)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Peace

Harlan Ellison--that man, well, nothing short of genius.

24 Oct 05 - 11:11 PM (#1590231)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: bobad

I'll add a few that I recall:

John Wyndham
Arthur C.Clarke
Frank Herbert

I remember really enjoying "A Canticle for Liebowitz" (I think that's what it was called) humour and post holocaust - can't go wrong with that combo.

24 Oct 05 - 11:15 PM (#1590233)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Peace

Funny. Just when I think that's it, there y'all are with more. Yes to the above, also.

Not familiar with these from Rapaire's list:

Spider Robinson
Dana Stabenow
Murray Leinster
Cordwainer Smith
Pat Frank
Robert Howard

24 Oct 05 - 11:47 PM (#1590246)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Bill D

Murray Leinster & Cordwainer Smith were classics...Spider Robinson is not exactly SF...the others escape me.

I will add John Brunner and Larry Niven and Marion Zimmer Bradley (Darkover series) and Roger Zelazny....and one of the best ever, James Tiptree, Jr....who was actually Dr. Alice Hastings Bradley Sheldon (1915-1987)

25 Oct 05 - 01:12 AM (#1590269)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Cluin

Robert E. Howard wrote the Conan stories for pulp mags among other tales of that ilk.

I liked Asimov, Tolkien, Niven, Clarke, Anderson,...
...and when I was a hormonal sex-obsessed teen, a pervert called John Norman.

As I became the hormonal sex-obsessed adult, I quit reading Norman when I realized what a shitty writer he is.

Read a lot of shitty stuff over the years too, most of which I've forgotten. Hey, how else do you recognize the good stuff unless you have something to compare it to?

25 Oct 05 - 01:24 AM (#1590270)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: michaelr

When I was a kid, I gobbled up the whole gamut from utter crap ("Perry Rhodan" anyone?) to thinkers like Asimov, but Frank Herbert was the first SF writer I read whose work seemed to go deeper: he was ecology-minded, and interested in comparative religion study. Reading "Dune" really opened up my mind in several ways.


25 Oct 05 - 02:53 AM (#1590276)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Morticia

all of the above plus Orson Scott Card......but what's this about being a kid? I still read Sci fi......

25 Oct 05 - 05:00 AM (#1590316)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF

My Dad introduced me to SF by lending me his copies of the ER Burroughs books (I inherited these when he died last year).
I then discovered that my local library was full of SF - first the Heinlein and Blish juveniles in the childrens' section and then the Heinlein and Blish novels for adults in the adult section. Of course, there were many other SF writers featured in the adult section: Anderson, Sheckley, Galouye, Sturgeon, Herbert, Aldiss, Ballard, Simak etc., etc., etc. Anyone remember the Gollancz hardcovers with their hideously dull and inappropriate yellow and magenta covers?
Next I discovered that, about 20 miles from my home town (Peterborough, UK), in the small Fenland market town of Wisbech, there was a shop devoted to SF (what joy!). The shop was called 'Fantast (Medway) Ltd.' (I never did find out what the 'Medway' bit represented) and was run by a couple called Ken and Doreen Slater. Their shop was a treasure trove - full of all the latest American SF paperbacks ('Ace', 'Pyramid', 'Lancer' etc., etc.). These all had very striking covers painted by such worthies as Ed Emsh, Jack Gaughan and Gray Morrow - a distinct improvement on the Gollancz covers! I used to save up my meagre pennies and make monthly (or bi-/tri- monthly, depending on how many pennies I had!)pilgrimages to this shop on the bus.
It was in this shop that I discovered such diverse writers as Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, Samuel Delany, L. Sprague deCamp and Philip K. Dick.
I have been an SF fan ever since those far off days but don't really read as much as I used to (I'm much more selective now).
If it's of any interest to anyone, the contemporary writer who still rings my bell as much as those 'Old Masters' used to do is Walter Jon Williams. Try his extraordinary urban fantasy 'Metropolitan' and its sequel 'City on Fire' and if you like Space Opera who have to read his trilogy that started a couple of years ago with 'The Praxis' - brilliant!

25 Oct 05 - 05:33 AM (#1590331)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: mooman

All the above plus the writer who first got me into the genre as a young lad. I remember it to this day... Hal Clement "Mission of Gravity". Also "Needle" by the same author.

Now I'm heavily into Iain M.Banks and Peter F. Hamilton ("The Algebraist" from the former and "Pandora's Star and its sequel "Judas Unchained" from the latter are corkers).



25 Oct 05 - 06:34 AM (#1590356)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Paul Burke

Oh, science fiction, Ursula Leguin and all that. I thought you meant "Sinn Fein".

25 Oct 05 - 07:45 AM (#1590388)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Pied Piper

Jack Vance
Jack Vance
Jack Vance


25 Oct 05 - 07:54 AM (#1590393)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Clinton Hammond

William Gibson changed my life, but Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman put their arms around me and told me it'd be o.k. until I believed them.....

25 Oct 05 - 09:06 AM (#1590432)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Den

Ha Ha Paul. That's what I thought when I fisrt saw the thread title. Weaned myself of the SDLP and grew up Sinn Fein;-) I kind of liked the first Terry Brooks books.

25 Oct 05 - 09:18 AM (#1590444)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

Spider Robinson: not SF? The Callahan stuff? The "Dancer" stuff he's written with his wife? Mindkiller? His Hugo?

Dana Stabenow: better known for mysteries, for which she's won an Edgar. But her first novels were science fiction, and she wants to get back to it.

Pat Frank: wrote Alas, Babylon, one of those post-nuclear-war novels.

And how about

Cordwainer Smith
Edgar Pangborn
Harry Turtledove
Anne McCaffery
Madeline L'Engle

and even

Kurt Vonnegut.

25 Oct 05 - 10:03 AM (#1590467)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: GUEST,ClaireBear

Okay, in roughly chronological order (and my definition of SF is pretty broad here):

Madeleine L'Engle
Ray Bradbury
Zenna Henderson
C.S. Lewis
Mervyn Peake
Pierre Boulle
John Hersey
J.G. Ballard
Harry Harrison
John Brunner
Clifford Simak
Philip K Dick
Larry Niven
Jack Vance
Roger Zelazny
David Lindsay
Marion Zimmer Bradley (I hate to admit it, but it's true)
Poul Anderson
Keith Roberts
Robert Silverberg
Keith Laumer
Fritz Leiber
John Wyndham

...and lots of others, plus a ton of fantasy, but I don't call that SF

Skip ahead about 30 years to my second childhood, and I'd add these as major influences:

Greg Bear
Richard Grant
Tim Powers
Charles de Lint
Gene Wolfe
Jasper FForde
Diane Duane

...and lots of others, again

That was fun! Thanks!

25 Oct 05 - 10:54 AM (#1590490)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: robomatic

You guys are playing my song, to which I'll add:

Anthony Boucher
Ben Bova
Randall Garrett
R A Lafferty
Murray Leinster
H G Wells

25 Oct 05 - 11:12 AM (#1590506)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Bill D

" The Callahan stuff?"...*grin*...sorry, Rapaire, I'm a purist snob.

"Callahan" (much as I enjoyed it) is to SF as Dylan is to folk, IMHO....(if he has written other, more centrist stuff, fine.)

25 Oct 05 - 11:28 AM (#1590523)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF

Dear Pied Piper,

Greetings from another Jack Vance fan! He's a complete original. I've been reading him since the mid 60s and have everything by him except the mystery novels (which appear to be very hard to find). I suppose my favourites are 'The Dragon Masters', 'The Last Castle','The Eyes of the Overworld','Emphyrio' and 'Lyonesse' - but it's really hard to choose!

Best Regards,

25 Oct 05 - 11:55 AM (#1590537)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: GUEST,ClaireBear

My Jack Vance favorite is a long short story/short novella entitled, I believe, Noise.


25 Oct 05 - 12:17 PM (#1590555)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: frogprince

I've read at least 13 of the authors in Repaires initial post, and at least a dozen of the others mentioned since. I have to have read damn near everything Heinlein ever wrote by now, and probably from two to five or more books by most of the others.
If the 'cat has a negative side effect, it's that I'm reading less.

25 Oct 05 - 01:18 PM (#1590620)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Le Scaramouche

Apart from Wells, I only really like EE 'Doc' Smith.

25 Oct 05 - 08:26 PM (#1590802)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

Paul French

(Let's see who gets it.)

25 Oct 05 - 09:30 PM (#1590840)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: GUEST,Joe_F

Heinlein & Bradbury, Kornbluth & Pohl in my adolescence -- plus some isolated works by authors not associated with the genre: Orwell, _1984_; Kipling, "Easy as ABC"; Davis, "Adrift on the Policy Level"; Shiras, "In Hiding"; Forster, "The Machine Stops"; Huxley, _Brave New World_. Those have all worn well. In more recent years I have not been part of the subculture, but I like Le Guin's _The Dispossessed_ & a couple of Greg Egan's books.

--- Joe Fineman

||: There is nothing wrong with devil theories in politics. Just look to the devil in the mirror. :||

25 Oct 05 - 09:44 PM (#1590846)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Bill D

Paul French! wow...been awhile since I saw that name. Like in 1953 maybe...He was on the shelves of my Jr high library....and then there was this Asimov guy who was much too adult for me.....

25 Oct 05 - 10:21 PM (#1590857)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Metchosin

A Classics Illustrated comic of Journey To The Centre of the Earth whetted my appetite when I was small, then I read Sturgeon's More Than Human when I was 11 or 12 and I was totally hooked. Read most of the authors listed except perhaps Lovecraft. I also found Stephen R. Donaldson's The Cronicles of Thomas Covenant engrossing.

Who wrote The Green Child?

26 Oct 05 - 09:24 PM (#1591351)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: robomatic

I was in Summer Camp waiting for my turn at the firing range. Started a kid's book called: "Tom Corbett - Space Cadet" and never saw it again. Later in the school library I saw a book called "Space Cadet" but this one was different, by a guy name of Heinlein. Read everything by him I could get until I was turned off by "Farnham's Freehold" which was awful but still readable. Then "Stranger In a Strange Land" which can be read as hippie chic or fascist manifesto.

26 Oct 05 - 09:28 PM (#1591356)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Peace

Read, Herbert [deceased] ***
The Green Child
This utopian fantasy is widely considered a high classic of general literature and shows up on numerous "canonical" lists of the "hundred greatest" sort; it is Read's only fantasy work.

26 Oct 05 - 09:45 PM (#1591367)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Peace

Sorry. That's from a google of The Green Child.

26 Oct 05 - 09:54 PM (#1591373)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

And while we're at it:

August Derleth
John Wyndham
Damon Knight
H. Beam Piper
Keith Laumer.

Heinlein's Space Cadet was, I understand, the source for the Tom Corbett series.

27 Oct 05 - 04:37 AM (#1591576)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF

I'm glad that someone has mentioned Damon Knight. He was an important figure in 20th Century SF. He was a writer, editor and critic.
I never really enjoyed his novels very much but he was a great short story writer. The short story has always been an important vehicle for SF (probably because of the SF magazine format) and Damon Knight was definitely one of the best short story writers.

27 Oct 05 - 07:50 AM (#1591645)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: GUEST,Dáithí Ó Geanainn

I atarted readinbg SF (hurrah - it's NOT Sci-Fi") in the early nineteen sixties and read most of the names posted here. Especially fond of Zenna Henderson's People series. Another name to add would be L. Sprague de Camp (sp?).

Eventually I moved away from fantasy stuff and now prefer time related stories. Either alternative histories, or time travel. Anybody know where I can find a copy of Robert Heinlein's short story "By his Bootstraps"?

Great thread - thanks!

27 Oct 05 - 08:56 AM (#1591678)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: artbrooks

Spider Robinson not SF? Well, if you don't think Callahan fits, try Stardance and its sequals.

And, for those of us who haven't quite grown up, there are all of the current crop of SF authors, such as David Weber and Mercedes Lackey.

"Paul French"? That would be Grandfather Isaac and his Lucky Starr series of juvies.

Daithi, here is a copy of By His Bootstraps.

27 Oct 05 - 08:59 AM (#1591680)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

"By His Bootstraps"...that's what I was thinking of when I responded to the post about "All You Zombies."

I myself prefer "hard science" SF to fantasy, but I read both. Daithi, I wish you were a member so you could PM me your email address -- I'd scan in "BHB" and email it to you.

27 Oct 05 - 10:13 AM (#1591731)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Sandra in Sydney

Good to see another Andre Norton fan. Over the last 12 months I've completed my collection of her books. 'taint the whole body, just the 8 or 9 series I loved with new titles in these series, reprints of old books & second hand books. Secret Santa Amergin gave me 4 of the titles I was wanting last christmas.

I also remember The People, I'll take a copy of this thread to my local library, but I'm not buying any more, right, my bookshelf is full, I have no room for more books.

Does anyone remember a book from the 60's (before the feminist movement) where the male author obviously wrote a typical adventure with a male hero, & changed the name & pronoun to female. When I read it in the late 70's it seemed way ahead of it's time, the hero(ine) was in total charge, nothing like females (traditional & emerging feminists) in stories of the period, which is why I assume the author wrote about a male character. I wish I could remember the title.


27 Oct 05 - 10:49 PM (#1592218)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: GUEST,Joe_F

Yes, I should have mentioned Damon Knight too. I particularly liked "The Analogues" & "The Country of the Kind".

Some other great sf by non-sf-writers: "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes, and _Earth Abides_ by George R. Stewart.

--- Joe Fineman

||: Promotion is the department of a business that is concerned with harrassing and insulting its customers. :||

28 Oct 05 - 03:45 AM (#1592308)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: bassen

I was nine years old. I had never read or heard of SF. I found a book on the bookmobile called Catseye by Andre Norton. Reading that book, I felt like I was floating in this world of blue light and a solo clarinet was doodling low in the background. Honestly. It was a rush I've never felt with any other book. After that, I read every SF book the dear old bookmobile ladies could find. There was a 4 book limit for those of us under the age of 12. I'd borrow my four books on Friday afternoon and had all of them read by sometime Saturday. My one ambition was to turn 12 so I could check out as many SF books as I wanted.

Finally turned 12. I read SF and fantasy on a daily basis for 30 years after that, all the names mentioned here and more. Favorite authors changed through the years, loved some, hated others, read them all. Then one day I'd had enough, can't say why. It's been 15 years and more since that day. I've slowly come back to my old love, but not in the all consuming fashion of previous years. My sons have adopted my passion only to a certain extent - Fantasy but no SF. But I know the boxes in the attic with all my Ace paperbacks and F&SF mags will be a motherlode for them one day.


28 Oct 05 - 08:48 AM (#1592354)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Grab

If we're on the "whilst-growing-up" thing, I'd nominate Nicholas Fisk - the "Starstormer" series, plus a one-off called "Futuretrack 5". All aimed at the kid/young-teen market, but well-written and great concepts. Also the Tripods series by John Christopher. New names for this thread, I think!

To my shame, Heinlein too. I read tons of them when I was a kid, and it seemed great. It wasn't until I was about 18-19 that I realised what an utter tit he was.

Also various crap writers. Ben Bova, Greg Bear, Greg Egan, Frederick Pohl, Larry Niven, Clarke, Kim Stanley Robinson, James Herbert (more fantasy/horror than SF), David Eddings (all fantasy), Asimov,... Some had good ideas (Clarke, Robinson, Asimov), but even as a teenager I could tell that the writing was pretty damn hopeless on all of them.

For better writers, Clive Barker until it became obvious he was repeating the same story with different characters. Ditto Terry Brooks (the Shannara books were a blatant rip-off of LotR, but the first two were pretty good), and Raymond Feist started fairly well too until he descended into serial hell. Also Stephen Donaldson and John Wyndham.

I never really got Bradbury when I was younger - only more recently. His short stories were accessible ("Illustrated Man", etc.) but the novels were too much. To be honest, I don't think most kids would be able to get into it, in the same way I guess most kids wouldn't get Philip Dick.

On the "ones I wish I'd found earlier" list, I'd put Sheri Tepper and Robert Silverberg. I only got into them fairly recently, and they're both wonderful. Also Richard Matheson has some good stuff.

And for pure dumb fun, you can't beat Harry Harrison. (Not even with Terry Pratchett.) I mean who else could think up a line like "He's having his hernia removed. They're putting in a new one."? :-)


28 Oct 05 - 06:24 PM (#1592714)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

Grab, I first read this essay while waiting for my mother to be buried (it's a long story) in 1981. Even today I can't refute what is written there.

28 Oct 05 - 09:53 PM (#1592854)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF

Growing up, I read mostly Asimov (particuarly the "Lucky Starr" stories), a few bits of Heinlein, Bradbury and Clarke, and the James Blish novelizations of the original Star Trek.

I didn't start reading SF heavily until college when I discovered the Hopkins SF Association's collection in the library. It's been downhill ever since.

These days, I've read just about all the authors I've mentioned here. Most common reads are David Weber, Lois McMaster Bujold, Niven, Pratchett, Robert Sawyer and Jack McDevitt.

-- Gary

31 Oct 05 - 08:22 AM (#1594118)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: GUEST,Dáithí Ó Geanainn

Artbrooks - U R a star.Thanks SOOOOOOOOO much for "By His Bootstraps - what a surprise!
Also Rapaire for the thought too. Was a member but can't figure out how to reset cookies on office pc (can't remember passowrd, if any, either...sigh!)

31 Oct 05 - 08:40 AM (#1594130)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF

Dear Grab,

So, Clive Barker, Terry Brooks, Raymond Feist and Stephen Donaldson are 'better' writers than Greg Bear, Frederick Pohl and Kim Stanley Robinson, are they? All I can say is that you must be using an odd set of critical standards!
Are you really saying that you prefer the former writers to the latter? If, 'yes', that makes more sense.

31 Oct 05 - 08:57 AM (#1594148)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

Daithi, post your problem at Someone who can help will pick up on it.

Hey, let's not get into "my authors are better than your authors." That leads to hard feelings, and before you know it it's all blasters and lightsabers and "space the doofus". And then someone has to pick up the pieces and clean off the walls and I, personally, always replace the carpet because, like Rufo, I get sooooooooo depressed looking at the spot when I had to kill a friend.

31 Oct 05 - 09:08 AM (#1594159)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: jonm

Read most of the authors list, but there were a few where you had to have the lot - read everything, seek out obscurities etc.

Those were Bradbury and Larry Niven in my teens.

Now Charles de Lint and Pratchett.

31 Oct 05 - 01:17 PM (#1594264)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF

Can I just say, I hate Charles de Lint!!!!! He must have published at least 750 books this year, alone!!! I know, let's just call it 'de Lint Fiction'(dLF)and forget the rest. He's part of the creeping 'soap opera-isation' of SF. Come back 'Space Opera', all is forgiven!!!
Let's get this straight, Charles, there are no fairies in Toronto, or whatever it is you write about!!! I never got past chapter one of your first book, let alone Opus Number 52,920 - all of which seem to be clogging up the shelves of the, so-called, SF section of my local bookshop!!!

31 Oct 05 - 01:30 PM (#1594269)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

I'd like to see bookstores make a distinction between Science Fiction and Sword-and-Sorcery.

31 Oct 05 - 01:30 PM (#1594271)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: s&r

Kurt Vonegut's 'Harrison Bergeron IV' is the most accurate prediction of the then future I've ever read. Pick your own Diana Moon-Glompers...


01 Nov 05 - 01:33 AM (#1594754)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Cluin

Alfred Bester, though I've only read "Stars My Destination" and a short story by him. Love to get more.

01 Nov 05 - 12:50 PM (#1595081)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: HuwG

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.

02 Nov 05 - 09:02 AM (#1595708)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

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....

23 Jan 19 - 10:24 AM (#3973073)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: keberoxu

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.

23 Jan 19 - 10:44 AM (#3973078)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Mo the caller

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.

23 Jan 19 - 11:57 AM (#3973101)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Helen

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."

23 Jan 19 - 01:03 PM (#3973114)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

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.

23 Jan 19 - 01:08 PM (#3973115)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: keberoxu

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.

25 Jan 19 - 06:30 AM (#3973436)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Neil D

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.

25 Jan 19 - 12:04 PM (#3973488)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Charmion

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.

25 Jan 19 - 05:22 PM (#3973531)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Bill D

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"

25 Jan 19 - 07:17 PM (#3973536)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

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.

26 Jan 19 - 04:14 PM (#3973603)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Bill D

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

27 Jan 19 - 01:22 AM (#3973638)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Helen

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?

27 Jan 19 - 06:33 PM (#3973762)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Nigel Parsons

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.

27 Jan 19 - 06:48 PM (#3973765)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Donuel

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.

28 Jan 19 - 04:23 PM (#3973880)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Donuel

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.

28 Jan 19 - 08:46 PM (#3973899)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: Rapparee

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.

29 Jan 19 - 06:56 PM (#3974053)
Subject: RE: BS: Growing Up SF
From: keberoxu

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.