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KNITTINGMWTHIN's Photo KNITTINGMWTHIN Posts: 855
6/16/08 11:20 A

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I am reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. This is my first every Sci-fi book. I made a list of 50 things i want to do before I die and one of my goals is to read 50 new authors.

This is the first one i chose and what a different type of book for me. Enjoying it so far but took a bit to get into it.

I would like to live my life so that each morning when Satan sees me waking up he will say " Oh crap, she's awake again"

"JUST DO IT"


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6/16/08 11:07 A

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I am a *huge* sci fi geek. I even own several first editions of Robert Heinlein's work. And at least one copy of everything he ever wrote.

I also love Philip K Dick, Arthur C Clarke and Sir Isaac Asimov.

And, of course, love sci fi TV as well!!!!

I'm back after having been away for ages and ages! Trying to lose about 30lbs this time!



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6/16/08 11:03 A

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Actually, Bob, I think you meant Arthur C Clarke and what he said was:

"Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology"

I can't find anything close to the quote you attributed to Sir Isaac Asimov!

I'm back after having been away for ages and ages! Trying to lose about 30lbs this time!



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VINKLE's Photo VINKLE Posts: 771
6/16/08 2:24 A

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HEYT,
The 'trilogy' which includes VALIS is a not a true trilogy. None of the characters in this book are in the others. VALIS itself only appears in this one. The only real connection is that all three share an interest in fringe Christian theology.

The final one in the series THE TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER (Dick named it BISHOP TIMOTHY ARCHER but the publisher demanded a more sci-fi name). That book is partially based on the life of Bishop Pike, who Dick knew, who was famous in the late 1960's for a break with the Catholic Church over the meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It's pretty interesting, not at all like VALIS.

The first in the series is THE DIVINE INVASION which is more traditional sci-fi fare, set far in the future with people colonizing alien planets, a single dystopian government controlling Earth, etc. But still very Dick, very different from what other sci-fi authors were writing at the time.

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James

"Who in their right mind, given the choice between pancakes and living, chooses pancakes?" - Harold Crick

"I am the sanest man who ever lived!" - Bela Lugosi (in 'The Raven')


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6/15/08 11:14 P

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I think it was Arthur C. Clarke, or possibly Isaac Asimov who said, "Magic (or fantasy) is simply another word for science not yet understood".

So under that broad definition - to which I subscribe, fantasy is certainly in the Kingdom of SF.

Just drop back 45 years and watch reruns of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek.

Talking computers, Come on. Flip phones that can transmit around the world. Are you kidding me!

For those old nerds who experienced the wonder of that fantasy, that magic - well, it was just another name for science we had yet to achieve.

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6/15/08 9:40 P

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I love Anne McCaffrey. I've read almost all her books. I keep them on her own shelf on one of my many bookcases. I also enjoy Orson Scott Card. I have read some Star Trek and Star Wars books that are also enjoyable. I really enjoyed Imzadi which is a Star Trek Next Generation book.

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JUST DO IT!





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6/15/08 8:54 P

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I hadn't read any of his previous works but I'm floating along okay with it. My real problem has been finding reading time but I should be finished with it shortly. I may move on to the next in the trilogy if the library has it in.

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6/15/08 8:10 P

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And I always felt that Sci-Fi was anything that, in theory, could possibly happen. While fantasy couldn't ever be possible. emoticon

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6/15/08 8:02 P

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Anne McCaffrey is DEFINITELY my favorite Sci-Fi author. I have quite a few of her Pern series, but I also enjoy her Freedom series, which I discovered last year. Orson Scott Card is also good, and I LOVED Dune. Issac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, however are not at the top of my list. (Even though I still have the Martian Chronicles practically memorized.) I will admit to going to a Marian Chronicles party, complete with white bed sheet toga and my nails painted gold. Ya, you thought YOU were a geek!

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VINKLE's Photo VINKLE Posts: 771
6/15/08 4:58 P

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HEYT,
Are you enjoying VALIS? Have you read Philip K. Dick previously? Although I like the book a lot it's not one I've ever advised as a first Dick read to anyone. If you are not interested in the convoluted theological theories in the exegesis sections (or simply the kind of complex mental puzzles some of them represent) I imagine it would be a tough book to get into.

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James

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"I am the sanest man who ever lived!" - Bela Lugosi (in 'The Raven')


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6/15/08 12:37 A

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"HEYT, how does VALIS relate to the TV show Lost?"

In one episode a character (Ben Linus if you're familiar with the show) was handed it to read while incarcerated and stated that he had already read it.

Mainly, the whole time space-time continuum thing being superimposed relates to the show. In fact, during the season finale the island was actually moved and the character responsible for the action was temporally displaced.

There is also a beam of light (sadly, not pink) that occurs when this action took place. Also, Ben has an uncanny ability of knowing detailed information on people that cross his path...

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LILWITCH13's Photo LILWITCH13 Posts: 945
6/13/08 5:29 P

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Yea your probably right but I get my books From the Sci-Fi Book club so I guess I just consider it as Sci-Fi

Melanie Jean Magana


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6/13/08 4:25 P

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Vinkle,

Thanks for the correction. When you get to my age (the Dead Sea wasn't even sick when I was born), there are so many paths and contacts in your brain, a shortcut turns into a detour.

I have loved a good SF story since I discovered them back in the golden age - they were a natural extension, for me, of my addiction to comic books.

While a number of teachers weren't all that impressed with the books I read and reported on, I credit my above average vocabulary to the likes of Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and Andre Norton (I know, she is probably considered one of the founders of modern fantasy with her witches, etc.), but she wrote some awesome stories.

MelanieJean: I've not read any of Jim Butcher, but I would consider that genre of book more in the Fantasy region of the broad genre of SF&F.

I'll put him on my TBR list and check his stories out - thanks.

Bob

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6/13/08 3:56 P

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I love Jim Butcher the Dresden Files! Awesome! It's about a wizard and his journey to make things right in his world. I love anything supernatural with vampires, werewolves, ghosts etc. That's all I really read!

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6/13/08 1:51 A

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Bob, Asimov is one of my favorites. Oddly, I haven't read his robot books but they are definitely on my TBR list. His Foundation series is what convinced me of his greatness. I'm about due for a reread, too.

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LABEILLE's Photo LABEILLE Posts: 1,035
6/12/08 10:40 P

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Yes, finally you have got to the real godfather of scifi IMHO. I read everything of Asimov's I could get my hands on in my teens, several times over, and was appalled when I discovered the Foundation series in my university years because it had been in existence for so long already, just not in our small town library!

I love noting all the references to Asimov in popular SF, eg Data's positronic brain on Star Trek TNG, as well as the First Laws of Robotics taken as a given in most literature that follows it.

The funniest thing to me though (SPOILER ALERT!) was to read, in the final final book that summed up the Foundation series as well as everything else about the universe, was to find that in spite of his secular/mystical stance, he had to posit an all-seeing, all-knowing wisdom behind Gaia that turned out to be--surprise! the eternal-living robot introduced in his first novel.

Delighted to find this thread and that it is separate from the fantasy thread. I love them both, but I agree, they are different.

And back to the topic of sub-genres, no one has mentioned alternative history--all those books in which the Nazis won WW2, or the Vikings rule the present-day earth, or the Romans are still wearing togas and building colloseums (colossea?) as they explore the galaxies. I haven't read any, other than a short story anthology, but the cover art is interesting, and somebody must be reading them 'coz they sure publish a lot of them.

Edited by: LABEILLE at: 6/12/2008 (22:38)
VINKLE's Photo VINKLE Posts: 771
6/12/08 10:08 P

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Popeye,
RE: Dr. Asimov. He did not write 2001, that was Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

Dr. Asimov was an amazing man in many respects. A doctor of biology, research scientist, college professor, and possibly the most prolific writer to have ever lived (although most of the over 200 books he wrote were educational non-fiction). A Shakespeare scholar and a Biblical scholar, head of The Humanists, a man who wrote a daily syndicated science column which was carried in many, many papers. He was among the first to publicly warn that global warming was imminent and the greatest danger to human survival (this is the 1980s).

Dr. Asimov was also a famous raconteur, a mystery writer (he wrote more mystery stories than science fiction stories, and all that I have read are top notch puzzle stories). Also wrote many volumes of humor.

His weakness was a lack of adventurousness in his prose. He often stated he liked writing that was clear and easy to understand. He took a long break from sci-fi when the 'new wave' hit. Most of his science fiction must honestly be assessed as juvenile literature. But, exceptional literature for teens or even precocious pre-teens.

Despite the fact that I will probably never re-read Asimov again (I've read every one of his novels) I have the deepest respect for the man. His autobiography "I, Asimov" is HIGHLY recommended, especially to science fiction fans.

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James

"Who in their right mind, given the choice between pancakes and living, chooses pancakes?" - Harold Crick

"I am the sanest man who ever lived!" - Bela Lugosi (in 'The Raven')


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6/12/08 7:34 P

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We seem to have locked in to a topic devoted to Bob Heinlein, but he wasn't the only giant at the time.

For a person who was totally current with all of the hard science at the time and as one who could translate that into one great tale, Sir Isaac Asimov.

Long before we had vacuum cleaners that programed themselves to clean your living room or lawn mowers that could be programmed to mow your lawn, He was writing books that contained robots and androids. We've not got to the point where he envisioned, but without robots many industries would not be as profitable as they are.

Of course, he was first plucked out of the crowd and became noted by the general populace by the film production of "2001: A Space Odyssey".

A number of his books, where the main protagonists were robots, had a very bold social statement. Asimov was responsible for the Rule of Robotics.

I've known some philosophy grads and students that were totally surprised that a hard science guy could so deeply probe into their field.

Of course, most people would be aware of him through the film production of "I, Robot".

Bob

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6/12/08 4:11 P

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Vinkle, I'm a child of the '70s but my sister "lived" the '60s, boy, did it mess her up a bit! It might be interesting to read Stranger in a Stranger Land with 1) a grain of salt and 2) my sister's experiences in mind! Thanks again.

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6/12/08 2:12 P

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I think it is more of a critique of Heinlein's work. He wrote so much, and it's still hard to come by some of his work, as we all know sci fi people don't part with their books easy. I think you are on the mark Val.

Renata: The reason so many Libraries don't separate the books is because when sci fi first came out it wasn't in a big demand, and fantasy really didn't come into a big popular demand until AD&D the pen and paper hit it big, and by then the Library of Congress really didn't think it would take off as sci fi was still a small genre and just lumped it all together. Which was a serious mistake on their part. They are in the process of revamping the dewey decimial system to a new system and are working on how to separate the how new sci fi system, as it has grown in so many different directions, as your post pointed out.

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VINKLE's Photo VINKLE Posts: 771
6/11/08 10:49 P

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Has anyone read George Turner of Barry Malzberg?

Curious what others think as they are favorites of mine (with some reservations re: Malzberg) and it seems not well remembered today (although Turner's books were written in the 1990's and Malzberg puts out a new collection on occassion, including one a year or two ago).

"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James

"Who in their right mind, given the choice between pancakes and living, chooses pancakes?" - Harold Crick

"I am the sanest man who ever lived!" - Bela Lugosi (in 'The Raven')


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VINKLE's Photo VINKLE Posts: 771
6/11/08 10:45 P

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Heinlein Fans,
Have any Heinlein fans here read John Varley's STEEL BEACH? Interesting, entertaining sci-fi novel, which seems to my uninitiated eye to be a sincere homage to Heinlein the writer but a critique of some of his more extreme Libertarian views. What did you think? Is that a reasonable analysis or am I off the mark? Did you like it?

I just looked on fantasticfiction.co.uk and saw that this book was fourth in a series. I did not know that when I pick it up, nor did I realize it as I was reading it.

Also found out on fantasticfiction that STEEL BEACH was nominated for a Hugo. The cover quote is from Tom Clancy,"Varley is the best writer in America. This book proves it."


Edited by: VINKLE at: 6/11/2008 (22:44)
"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James

"Who in their right mind, given the choice between pancakes and living, chooses pancakes?" - Harold Crick

"I am the sanest man who ever lived!" - Bela Lugosi (in 'The Raven')


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6/11/08 10:42 P

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DRAGONLADY712,
There you go, some good tips from those who know Mr. Heinlein's work. As previously mentioned I would not start with STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. It's been a long time since I read it but if memory serves it's in part a critique of 1960's counter-culture, thus it will be dated to anyone who doesn't have a keen interest in that facet of that era.



"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James

"Who in their right mind, given the choice between pancakes and living, chooses pancakes?" - Harold Crick

"I am the sanest man who ever lived!" - Bela Lugosi (in 'The Raven')


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6/11/08 12:31 A

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Naomikes, Wow! Thanks. You covered a lot and really peaked my curiosity. I know I have Stranger in a Strange Land (picked up because of Heinlein's legendary name) but I can't remember the other titles. They're here somewhere. Going to have to add them to my TBR pile.

Thanks to all who've replied!

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Ann


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6/11/08 12:25 A

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Vinkle, thanks anyway. I saw CORWYNNDE's post, too. At least now I have some feedback. Thanks again!

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6/10/08 4:36 P

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NAOMIKES,

I never looked at Glory Road as being anti-war, but after having been in battle and coming home, there was a great deal about "baby-killers, etc." and it made me wonder about the connections.

What do you do with a person who you have trained to be a killer (I never found any "cold-blooded killers" in my time in the military), called him a hero and then dropped him on his head in a strange world.

I thought Heinlein's thrust was more of the current, "What happens when we take a young man or woman, teach them to be warriors, then shuffle them off to the side when it's all over?"

Fifty years before anyone was even contemplating PTSD, Heinlein was writing about it. To me, some of his social insights seem as if they came from the future.

Anyway, for someone who is seeking to read some Heinlein, I wouldn't start out with Glory Road or Stranger in a Strange Land - which was another social commentary. I'm not sure it wouldn't be best to start with his simple juvenile genre and see him grow as a writer and philosopher.

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6/10/08 12:41 P

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I'm not Vinkle, but I've read a lot of Heinlein--all the short stories & nearly all the novels, out of enjoyment at first and increasingly out of obligation--I mean, he's the Grand Master, there MUST be something redeeming in here. (Hint--by the time he wrote The Number Of The Beast--there wasn't.)
The short stories Can't Be Beat.
The juvenile novels are fun and often thought-provoking (make allowances for date of publication, though).
I'd take Stranger In A Strange Land, and the books that follow, with a generous grain of salt. Some people dislike his politics, which I think is a case of confusing the message with the messenger. If anything, I'd say he was best described as libertarian.
However he had some sexual interests that towards the end got obsessive--he had a serious 'thing' for young woman/much older man relationships, and dabbled frequently in incest.
He's an amazingly influential figure, but amazingly divisive as well--scifi lists burst into flame in his name.
That said, you can't go wrong reading:
The Past Through Tomorrow (a big fat anthology)
Waldo
The Puppet Masters (horror. scared me for days)
Glory Road (fantasy, sort of, and anti-war--what do you do with a retired hero, anyway?)
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
and my favorite of the juveniles and the very first book I ever bought with my own money:
Have Space Suit, Will Travel.

Sorry--didn't realize how long this got to be!




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6/10/08 11:46 A

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HAH, I learn something new everyday, interesting info.

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6/10/08 10:47 A

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Hi everyone! Looks like our SF lovers are making use of their very own discussion area! emoticon

Sci fiction is a bit way out there for me ... hoping to catch up some day. I was wondering why so many libraries lump science fiction and fantasy and decided to find out if there is a difference. And I learned ..... there is!!!

SPECULATIVE FICTION: A catchall term for work that answers the question: "What if...?" Sometimes it is also applied to fiction considered more "literary" in nature that includes elements of SF or fantasy.

SCIENCE FICTION: The work extrapolates from current scientific trends where technology is either the driving force of the story or the setting for a drama. In either case, SF tends to predict or define the future.

Okay, you can tell a novice wrote the title for the topic you're writing in! emoticon

SCI-FI: Term often used by people outside the field. Serious readers of science fiction prefer the abbreviation sf.

CYBERPUNK explores the fusion between man and machine.

MILITARY SCIENCE FICTION is the armed forces in space.

HARD SF is usually written by authors w/a strong science background and include meticulously detailed future science in their work, consistent with the most current research.

PARALLEL/ALTERNATE UNIVERSE SF: For every decision made or event that occurs, there is another place where the decision or the event went differently.

SPACE OPERA: High adventure in space of the type that used to be serialized at the movies and in the pulp magazines that were popular in the first half of this century.

Here's the link for more detailed info about these sub-genres and specific authors:

www.sfsite.com/columns/amy26.
htm


Fabulous ... now I'm off to create a fantasy topic.

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6/10/08 3:40 A

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DRAGONLADY712, I've read some Heinlein but not much. He was never one of my personal favorites. There are others in this discussion who are big fans and could better advise you regarding his novels. Some of his short stories are quite good. There are very possibly some excellent novels of his that I haven't read, as my experience with him is very limited.


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6/10/08 3:37 A

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HEYT, how does VALIS relate to the TV show Lost?

About 15 years ago there was an opera written based on VALIS. Every line sung in the opera was straight from the book. A very odd piece of music. Can't recall the composers name off the top of my head.

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6/10/08 1:44 A

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I'm a huge fantasy/sci-fi fan. My favorite author is Heinlein, I've read most of his books. I also love Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Raymond Feist... Mostly fantasy stuff, with a bit of sci-fi thrown in.

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Vinkle, have you by chance read any Heinlein(sp)? I have a couple of his books here, haven't read them yet, and haven't talked to anyone who has...

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See I like James Alxer, Terry Brook, Dean Foster, Sharon Green, Bradley and various others I find hard to come by.

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6/9/08 8:32 P

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I've almost finished with VALIS but I have to say the only reason I picked it up was due to the TV show LOST. I've liked it so far. Although, I do get tripped up a bit by the fact that I group up in the area the story takes place so it's sort of weird to identify with locales that are the same but different.

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6/9/08 8:23 P

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I like some sci-fi. When I was in my teens through late 30's I read a lot of sci-fi. I've read all the usual suspects so feel free to ask questions. I've also read most of the 'new wave' authors of the 1960's and 1970's.

As a teen I read the classics from the golden age: Dr. Asimov, Bradbury, Sturgeon, and also later writers. Still really enjoy Theodore Sturgeon's beautiful and weird short fiction. My favorite was Phil Dick. I was a huge fan of his before his death and posthumous fame. Also had a penchant for Ballard, Ellison, and Barry Malzberg.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BOOK and not as well known as it should be: DROWNING TOWER by George Turner. GREAT! Most of his books are very solid mixing mystery with near future events. Check the order, most are part of a series of some loose sort. But DROWNING TOWERS is his crowning achievement. Mr. Turner was a well regarded historian before becoming a science fiction novelist very late in life.



Edited by: VINKLE at: 6/9/2008 (20:25)
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I pick up Piers Anthony on occasion, just to see what he's up to. Some of his stories are terrific - others, I think he was smelling too much swamp gas.

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I love sci fi but find most people don't read the authors I like except for Peir Anthony but I hate his Xande series. I love Marion Bradley and Green and a lot of others. I was a geek when being a geek wasn't sheek.

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Enders Game was great, and I am looking forward to getting into McCaffrey. I find myself more of a fantasy lover but I do read some scifi, love to watch it more than read it I guess.

Another great Scifi book in my opinion was Lethe by Tricia Sullivan

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I read Ender's Shadow in high school. It followed pretty much the same timeline as Ender's Game, but told the story from Bean's perspective. I liked it a lot. I never really got into Speaker for the Dead, though. I should look at it again.

One of the things that strikes me about Card's writing (in Ender's Game and at least one other book of his I'm aware of, Folk of the Fringe) is the way his faith influences his writing. Could be I'm just more attuned to it, being non-LDS and living in Utah, but I was impressed with how little he let it influence Ender's Game.

Sarah

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6/9/08 6:00 A

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Sarah - I also loved Enders Game and I read it years ago when I was almost a young adult! :) I've read a bunch of Orson Scott Card - His Alvin Maker and Earth Born series are wonderful as well as the continuing saga of Ender. Great stuff!

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I read a fair bit of Sci-Fi/Fantasty. I enjoyed, but am not completely caught up on, Kage Baker's "Company" novels. I also like Louise Cooper, Mercedes Lackey, Terry Pratchett, andAnne McCaffrey.

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The one sci-fi novel that I absolutely loved was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I had to read it again this past semester for my Literature for Young Adults class and it just keeps getting better each time I read it.

Incidentally, I've noticed that some of the discussion in this thread has to do with the similarities between sci-fi and fantasy. Interesting, because my final project for the Lit. for Young Adults class compared archetypes between the two genres (specifically looking at Ender's Game and Stardust by Neil Gaiman). Interesting stuff. I'd be happy to share about the project if anyone is interested...

Sarah

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6/8/08 9:18 P

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I don't read sci-fi, but my son does and he's a real big fan of Phillip K. Dick. He wrote Minority Report and the bases for the movie Bladerunner, and Total Recall. And also likes Douglas Adams. He wrote Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. And a little known writer, Spider Robinson. Check them out!!!

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I'm a big SciFi fan, fantasy, too. Although its not the only genre I read it probably accounts for at least half the books. There are so many writers and books I can't really choose a fave but some of my preferred authors are Asimov, McCaffrey, and Clarke.

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I AM a big science fiction fan, from back when science fiction wasn't cool.

I have read everything Bob Heinlein, Sir Issac, Robert Clarke and Andre Norton ever wrote. I've read more than half of what Mercedes Lackey has written, as well as John Ringo and numerous other authors like Marian Zimmer Bradley, Elizabeth Moon, etc., etc.

As for Mr. Bradbury for me, his classic "Fahrenheit 451" should be required reading for all English, Journalism and Sociology majors in college. Though many critics rave about his "Martian Chronicles" (a series of short stories gathered into a novel), Fahrenheit is the one I would recommend.

Bob

PS: I believe it was Sir Isaac who said, "Magic is just science the ignorant natives don't yet understand." That for me is the pure difference between SciFi and Fantasy.

Edited by: POPEYETHETURTLE at: 6/8/2008 (16:16)
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6/8/08 3:28 P

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I've always considered myself more of a fantasy reader, but now that I think of it, there's usually a pretty fine line between the two in many cases.

As I mentioned in another post here, I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan-- it seems to me that his book Neverwhere would be a good choice for sci-fi fans. And I'm reading Dune right now-- that must be a classic sci-fi read!

Also, I was kind of thinking that I'd like to read some Ray Bradburry sometime soon-- surprisingly enough, I don't think I've gotten to any of his books yet. Any suggestions?



Edited by: DEESTRA at: 6/8/2008 (15:27)
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Well, I've never been a real avid science fiction fan (I was always a horror girl). However, I picked up a book years ago called "The House of Doors" by Brian Lumley, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite books. Without giving too much away, it's about a group of people who are sucked into a massive structure (dubbed the "House of Doors" by one of the unfortunate victims). The structure is actually a spaceship in which an evil alien, going against the code of his race, sets a trap for the humans in order to control the Earth. The group member who is first to enter a "door" within the House of Doors meets his or her worst nightmare on the other side. For example, one member (who was claustrophobic) upon entering the room found himself in a maze-like underground cave--that kept shrinking!! This book was such a page-turner. It really was a great read and absolutely packed with action and adventure. I even got myself 2 copies so that when I read one to shreds I'd have another! emoticon I highly recommend reading it. I'm currently finishing Brian Lumley's Necroscope (the first of the Necroscope series), and it's a good read as well (though IMO, it still can't hold a candle to The House of Doors!)

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I'm not a big sci-fi fan, but a couple I really enjoyed were Mary Doria Russell's "Sparrow" and its sequel, "Children of God."



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I've been intending to start some new genre chat threads in addition to the Mystery topic.

I've felt for a while the Sci-Fi genre booklovers were being deprived here since we've focused so much on mystery and historical fiction topics.

Blackat20 asked for a sci-fi thread .. and here it is!

Chat about anything you love (or not) about sci-fi!

Enjoy! emoticon

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