Songfighters of Gor - fantasy, sci-fi and horror must-reads

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Jim of Seattle
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Postby Jim of Seattle » Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:12 pm

jb wrote:I can't bear to read anything by Orson Scott Card, since I found out he's a raving lunatic asshole.


How the hell did I miss this thread! I would have been posting the hell out of it. Well, all the better for y'all that I didn't.

Anyway, I just finished "Ender's Game" because everyone has said it's the greatest science fiction novel EVER or some such nonsense. It WASN'T. In fact, it wasn't even very good. Kind of compelling, but great? Come on! Plus I also read he's a Mormon fanatic, so that put me off, and made me question throughout if he had some homophobic allegorical meaning to the evil aliens being called "buggers". Big disappointment.

FINALLY reading Iasimov's "Foundation". Dense as dark chocolate, but fascinating.

Has anyone ever heard of Fredric Brown? He was a b-level science fiction writer, most famous for a Star Trek episode called "Arena" (Kirk makes a cannon out of native materials in a fight with a lizard man), but his best work is a series of quirky, funny O Henry-like short stories and novels, my favorite being a comic novel called "Martians Go Home" which I'm currently re-reading. Any Fredric Brown fans out there and you're my instant best friend.
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Postby Jim of Seattle » Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:24 pm

Oh, so more from ME about science fiction.

Dune - great, if a bit thick
1984 - Masterpiece. Hard to believe this was science fiction in its day
Stranger in a Strange Land - A perfect book
The Stand - couldn't put it down

I read a book a few years ago and I can't remember the title or the author, but it was a very science-heavy novel in which super-intelligent squids were engineered and sent into space, and they created this whole huge spacefaring squid society, and meanwhile humans had learned to harness the energy of galaxies and move them around to suit their own energy needs. Does this rings a bell for anyone?

Oh, and my recent FAVORITE sci-fi novels, Moon Rise and Moon War by Ben Bova. Exciting, believable, great.
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Postby Caravan Ray » Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:53 pm

Jim of Seattle wrote:1984 - Masterpiece. Hard to believe this was science fiction in its day


Masterpiece, yes. But I don't think it was ever considered 'science fiction' - was it?
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Postby the Jazz » Thu Dec 02, 2004 2:08 am

Only by people who don't read science fiction. Although I guess anything set in the future falls under the general umbrella of science fiction.

Jim - how much Foundation have you gotten through so far? The second trilogy has a different feel, probably because by that point he was writing novels, instead of collecting short stories and presenting them as novels. But it's still good.

I've become a recent fan of Michael Swanwick's stories that show up in Asimov's from time to time. He's a nutty guy.
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Postby Jim of Seattle » Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:38 am

I thought his son or something wrote the books after the first trilogy... I'm still only on the first book. It's on tape, and given my commute rate, I'll be done with it tomorrow evening. It's really interesting, but yeah, it's not so much a novel as a 200-page rough sketch of a 1000-page novel. I generally stay away from multi-book stories; I usually run out of patience. Foundation, though, seem like it's worth the time investment.

Oh, and the squid book I was trying to think of was Time by Stephen Baxter. Can't say I recommend it, but it's pretty mind-blowing.

So what aspect of 1984 disqualifies it as science fiction? Takes place in the future, has a completely different culture, pits something of an everyman against this futuristic society... Perhaps it's become so accepted by the mainstream as a classic that it's lost its science fiction street cred or something.....?
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Postby Mogosagatai » Thu Dec 02, 2004 1:27 pm

Perhaps the lack of <i>science</i> as a major plot device?
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Postby Rabid Garfunkel » Thu Dec 02, 2004 2:38 pm

Jim of Seattle wrote:So what aspect of 1984 disqualifies it as science fiction?

Marketing, maybe. Or rather, the author himself, whose life and the style and subject of his other works kept 1984 from being filed in the SF ghetto on the 'sellerses bookshelves of the '50s-'80s.

Jim of Seattle wrote:Perhaps it's become so accepted by the mainstream as a classic that it's lost its science fiction street cred or something.....?

Yeah, it's easier to sell to the straights if it ain't labeled SF (science- or speculative-fiction, that is), heh.
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Postby Freudian Slip » Thu Dec 02, 2004 2:52 pm

Rabid Garfunkel wrote:
Jim of Seattle wrote:So what aspect of 1984 disqualifies it as science fiction?

Marketing, maybe. Or rather, the author himself, whose life and the style and subject of his other works kept 1984 from being filed in the SF ghetto on the 'sellerses bookshelves of the '50s-'80s.
Jim of Seattle wrote:Perhaps it's become so accepted by the mainstream as a classic that it's lost its science fiction street cred or something.....?

Yeah, it's easier to sell to the straights if it ain't labeled SF (science- or speculative-fiction, that is), heh.

Speculative Fiction, eh? Slap any label you like best on it as far as I'm concerned. I love contrasting the Dsytopian Societies of Orwell and Bradbury. Course, reading up on Orwell a while back, it mentioned in his biographal file that he was ill (tuberculosis, I think) and disillusioned by his suffering, which likely colored his world with a darker set of crayons.

So. Given that 1984 is banished to the outlying regions of sci-fi, what genre would "Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quantity Surveying", be?
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Postby j$ » Thu Dec 02, 2004 5:01 pm

Can we please not get into a 'what is or isn't sci-fi' debate? It's as unanswerable as 'What is or isn't Jazz?' or 'Which was the first Punk band?' 1984 is as much science fiction as L Ron Hubbard, and I know which I'd rather read.

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Postby the Jazz » Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:41 pm

j$ wrote:It's as unanswerable as 'What is or isn't Jazz?'

:?:
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Postby Eric Y. » Thu Dec 02, 2004 11:33 pm

wait... 1984 is fiction???
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Postby j$ » Fri Dec 03, 2004 4:33 am

the Jazz wrote:
j$ wrote:It's as unanswerable as 'What is or isn't Jazz?'

:?:
I am Jazz.


No, you are the Jazz. As in mag. hehehe.

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Postby j$ » Fri Dec 03, 2004 4:36 am

tviyh wrote:wait... 1984 is fiction???


Some would argue that the whole of the 80s were fiction :)

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Postby Caravan Ray » Fri Dec 03, 2004 4:50 am

j$ wrote: 1984 is as much science fiction as L Ron Hubbard, and I know which I'd rather read.

J$


1984 wasn't science fiction. It's a social satire. It's actually set in 1948. It's not futuristic. It was releveant to 1948, to 1984, to 2004 and so on.

Science fiction is something that is read by boys who play 'Dungeons and Dragons' and can't find girls to have sex with them. Isaac Asimov had a very small penis.
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Postby HeuristicsInc » Fri Dec 03, 2004 7:57 am

you're just trying to start controversy, aren't you.
sheesh. rididculous.
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Postby j$ » Fri Dec 03, 2004 8:25 am

Caravan Ray wrote:
j$ wrote: 1984 is as much science fiction as L Ron Hubbard, and I know which I'd rather read.

J$


1984 wasn't science fiction. It's a social satire. It's actually set in 1948. It's not futuristic. It was releveant to 1948, to 1984, to 2004 and so on.

Science fiction is something that is read by boys who play 'Dungeons and Dragons' and can't find girls to have sex with them. Isaac Asimov had a very small penis.


Hmm, actually it was written in 1948. The inversion of the dates was of course to highlight that it was a comment on where society was going in '48. Doesn't sop it being science fiction, though.

Australia are not Rugby World Champions. There is nothing charming about a dodgy-looking bloke holding a baby whilst wearing a hat. Caravan Ray is science fiction. Discuss. :)
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Postby Hoblit » Fri Dec 03, 2004 10:05 am

BTW, Stephen King was on The Daily Show last night... so the re-runs will air today.

He's plugging a new book he co-wrote with some guy on the Red Sox.
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Postby Generic » Fri Dec 03, 2004 10:11 am

I haven't been reading this thread entirely, but if a thread about science fiction writing has gone four whole pages without a mention of Stanislaw Lem, something is horribly remiss. If he has, in fact, been mentioned, then you can disregard this message. Have a nice day. :)
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Postby Jim of Seattle » Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:08 am

Generic wrote:Stanislaw Lem


Uhh... who???
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Postby Mostess » Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:39 am

Lem's "Cyberiad" has a songfight in (I believe) the first chapter. Buy it and read it now.

An appetizer: http://www.cse.wustl.edu/~jbuhler/cyberiad.html
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Postby Generic » Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:59 am

Jim of Seattle wrote:
Generic wrote:Stanislaw Lem


Uhh... who???


Tell me you're joking, Jimmy.
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Postby Rabid Garfunkel » Fri Dec 03, 2004 2:26 pm

Caravan Ray wrote:Science fiction is something that is read by boys who play 'Dungeons and Dragons' and can't find girls to have sex with them.

...and who spend a lot of their time posting in online forums, let's not forget ;)
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