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TheBritishInvasion



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Thebes: The Wheel of Time is a fantasy series written by the late Robert Jordan. It's 11 books long (not including a prequel) and fans like me are egarly awaiting the final book, to be written by Brandon Sanderson.

(And no it's not British.)

Today I finished Radio Free Albemuth, and I have just realised that I've finished my current book without securing something to read afterwards. This thought scares me.

Can anybody reccomend a good sci fi novel for a girl who's been reading fantasy her entire life and now wants to branch out into sci fi?

Today: My v button is acting funny. I think there's something stuck underneath it.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Britland: Orson Scott Card has an excellent series, the first in the line being "Ender's Game" if you haven't read it. That's pretty high sci-fi, and if you're looking for a more gradual transition there's mystery/sci-fi books. I just finished the second of three books I own by John Rollins, and he writes some amazing fiction! You should check out his work, definitely.

Today I'm playing my guitar instead of trying to sort through the day's problems. Avoiding problems works so much better, really. ::strums::
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Merlenyn



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Britland: My experience with sci-fi books has been rather small as well, though thanks to a couple classes of Sci-Fi Fantasy literature, I've read a handful of really odd and interesting sci-fi books...

Warning, the books can be rather twisted or heavy or just straight up bizzare...

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Dune by Frank Herbert
Frankenstien by Mary Shelley
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

*thinks* that's most of the straight sci-fi ones I think... I'll hafta scour my shelves for the others. I thought they were all really good, some more so than others, some were flat out disturbing (mainly Clockwork... *shudder*) but still good.

Today, I decided that I shall take next week off of work, and just chill, and do errands, and things. Resting up for the begining of the semester... heh
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
--- Good, but not really science fiction, despite the dystopian future setting.

Dune by Frank Herbert
--- Not bad, but overrated. And the sequels mostly stunk.

Frankenstien by Mary Shelley
--- Still good a after nearly two centuries, and it counts as SF, though very early SF.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
--- Good, but not science fiction. At one point Mina Harker uses a typewriter. Plus Dracula's pretty clearly supernatural, not (for example) a mutant or some such.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
--- Good;

Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
--- Also good; I liked Perelandra better.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
--- Meh. Okay. Not nearly as good as The Diamond Age, which is Stephenson's best work to date.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
--- Good, but I re-read it recently and the depictions of women bothered me. The only female character with any significant "screen time" was Wyoming Knott, and although the book SAYS she's smart and tough, she never really makes any contribution. She doesn't help with the planning beyond asking convenient "I don't understand" type questions so that the male characters can expound their political theories, she doesn't help with execution beyond collecting gossip from hairdressers and organizing first-aid. Basically, she's there so that Mannie can marry her towards the end. It was a good book, but quite definitely a product of its time.

If you want more SF, try:

-- Hyperion, by Dan Simmons
-- Startide Rising by David Brin
-- The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
-- Seeker by Jack McDevitt (also Polaris, which comes first)
-- The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
-- The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
-- Survival by Julie Czerneda

All of those are excellent SF novels, all in very different ways of course. "Hyperion" mimics the structure of the Canterbury Tales in that it consists of a group of pilgrims telling stories to one another. Startide Rising is interesting for its universe in which humankind is the youngest and weakest of many starfaring species. The Diamond Age blends grimm-style fairy stories with nano-technology. The two McDevitt books are as much mystery novels as they are SF. The Gate to Women's Country takes a socio-technical approach to gender issues -- which makes it sound like a lot less fun than it is, it's a good read, really. The Doomsday Book is a superb time travel novel, and Survival impressed me with its well developed and thoroughly thought-out alien cultures.

EDIT: Hey, wait! This is the Today thread. I'm going to split the SF stuff off into a new thread.
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Merlenyn



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, shows how much I know about literature. Since those I listed were ALL part of the book list for the very sci-fi heavy Sci-fi Fantasy class... We did also read Fellowship of the Ring, and some other books who's names I can't remember right now... I need to dig them out again and look.
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of academic classes about science fiction don't actually have very much on the syllabus that I would recognize as science fiction. I took a class from a guy named Mark Winokur several years ago which had almost the same syllabus as the one you mentioned, only with things on it like "Princess Mononoke", which is quite definitely NOT science fiction. Most of those things are definitely speculative fiction, in that they deal with worlds and situations that do not follow the same rules as every-day life. But they're not all science fiction, which usually involves technology of some sort and usually takes place in the future.

I really liked the teacher of that class, but the syllabus was in sad shape. In order to enlighten him, I arranged to take an a independent study course on science fiction with him -- the whole idea being that I would get to pick the books and he would have to read them. Mwa ha.
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Merlenyn



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL how did THAT work out Tin?

As for my teacher... I had the same teacher both times I took it (he's currently the ONLY reason we even have the class at my school) and he'd only changed a couple of books. Most of which were either things he thought stood out in the supposed genre or were close to the genre I think but had what he thought were well written. In fact, I remember one of the books we read last time I took it was Slaughterhouse Five... HE said he thought it was one of the best pieces of literature he'd picked for that semester. Or something along those lines.

I'll hafta keep those other titles you mentioned in mind, I read mostly fantasy-type stuff myself (good or bad, alot of authors I love are considered crap by some of the more... "well read" members of my two times taking the class) but do like to pick up new and interesting things from time to time. Heck, perhaps if I look into suggested books, my NOVEL collection will start to rival my MANGA collection... *loves the art and the stories of anime and manga...*
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, it worked out tolerably well. He integrated a few of the titles we read into his regular SF class.
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Merlenyn



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you should just stage a semi-hostile takeover and teach the class for him! >.> lol
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since it didn't make the transition to the new thread, I would like to second any book written by Jack McDevitt. I recently completed "Eternity Road" and didn't know there was more to the series, actually. Eternity Road was a relatively non sci-fi title, taking place after the fall of man. Of course, McDevitt has an uncanny ability to describe something without naming it, given that the name would be easy to recognize to a current reader. It drew me to his style, where he seemed to write from the perspective of the characters... very thrilling!

I also recently completed my second novel from James Rollins, and it's an excellent book. His series dealing with DARPA and Sigma Force is spectacular, though they're more slightly techy mystery novels, and not so much sci-fi. All the same, they're insanely cool, and I urge anyone to pick up his work and give it a read.

And you can never go wrong with the Sci-Fi Legends. Orson Scott Card, Arthur C. Clarke? Those are two great examples.

By the way, a funny anecdote from "Net Force" by Tom Clancey? The hyper-advanced mobile military computers they had in 2017? They had "highly advanced" 900Mhz processors! Wow, written in 1995 I think it was, maybe 1998... Got me to thinking though, if I could build a modern PC to full power specs (roughly 15Ghz or 20Ghz if I pushed it hard), and gave it to a country in the late 80's or early 90's? That government would be in power in five years, I almost promise you. It's a scary thought, that technology is such a powerful tool. Sci-Fi is really an interesting way to see all that, just imagine what the technology you're reading about would do in the hands of only one person in our modern world?

That person would be either a great hero, or a great evil...
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distantvoices



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@tenshi:

Hey, maybe Tom Clancy hasn't heard of Moores law* the time he's written that stuff about 900 mhz super computers. *suppresses a giggle*

*Moores Law states that cpu power is to double every two years - or so, have to look it up to citate properly. Shame I haven't done so beforehand.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know, I had to stop and re-read the entire paragraph to make sure I hadn't been off my mark completely. When I got back through, and realized they were using "highly advanced, cutting edge military 900Mhz processors" I was floored. But to be fair, maybe Moore's Law wasn't really well known back then. I mean, nowadays it's easy to say "wait two years, it'll be in the bargain bin" but back when PCs were first coming onto te market? Man, it was like buying cars!

Another good book that escaped my attention was "Eon" by Greg Bear I THINK. I don't have it anymore, can't check and see if that's accurate. I also read it when I was 11, so it was good at the time...
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distantvoices



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I remember those times. THose slow bins (i286/i386 machines!) have cost quite as much as an average car. Geez. Memory of about 16 Mb has been considered purest luxury. A hard drive? Oh my, we geeks have salivated even at the sight of a floppy drive. Smile

Well, I have to admit, Moore's Law is rather known amongst academic IT lads.

Concerning Science-Fiction (I write sci-fi & fantasy, btw) I can recommend the books of Gregory Benford: "Contact Cycle", consisting of 6 Books.
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Violabelle



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommend anything by Jules Verne (20000 Leagues, Around the World in 80 days, From the Earth to the Moon), Isaac Asimov (Foundation series, I Robot, ect) and Arthur C Clarke (2001, 2010, 2051 are all good, the Rama series made me cry like a baby) and maybe through in a little Brave New World by Huxley. Ursula LeGuin is also a classic, although I have yet to make it through Left Hand of Darkness, her book The Dispossessed is one of the most fascinating novels I've ever read.

Oh! And if you haven't ever read all 4 books in Madeleine L'Engle's 'Time Quartet', I highly recommend you do so with all speed (A Wrinkle in Time ect)

Not sure if all of those pass Tin's test, but this was the kind of thing I've always thought of as classic SciFi.
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thespaceinvader



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

E. E. 'Doc' Smith
Isaac Asimov
Hal Clement (the only book of his I've managed to find is Heavy Planet, but that is excellent)
Arthur C. Clarke

There's an old (I think) Gollancz publishing series called something like masters of Science Fiction (all with distinctive yellow covers as seen here which covers a number of excellent single-novel hard-sci-fi authors, too.

Classics like Dune never hurt, but sadly, really REALLY good sci fi is very hard to come by nowadays.
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