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Fantasy fiction 101

 
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 03:57 pm
A lot of catch-up reaching to do after being away for a day.

A thought: there appears to be interest here for further, more "advanced" discussions amongst you fantasy folk. It is perfectly OK by me if you veer off beyond the 101 level. Go for it if, that's what you'd like to do. No problem at all with me.

Thank you again to all of you for obliging me with your input. This has been great! Smile



0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2010 04:55 pm
Actually, MsO, you might like Darwin's Children and Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear. It's a tragic story about the way we treat a new version of human kind because the new kind are all children with what first seems like a wonderful mutation (until we turn them against us by being terrible to them).


Part of a synopsis from Amazon:
Quote:
Eleven years have passed since SHEVA, an ancient retrovirus, was discovered in human DNA—a retrovirus that caused mutations in the human genome and heralded the arrival of a new wave of genetically enhanced humans. Now these changed children have reached adolescence . . . and face a world that is outraged about their very existence. For these special youths, possessed of remarkable, advanced traits that mark a major turning point in human development, are also ticking time bombs harboring hosts of viruses that could exterminate the “old” human race.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2010 07:14 pm
You know, I'm really sorry you folk have stopped talking about your love of fantasy & science fiction, too. It has been a real pleasure to read what you've had to say & share your knowledge. This has been an education. Thanks, again. Smile
0 Replies
 
GoshisDead
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2010 08:24 pm
@littlek,
The thoughtful sociological interaction of new species, albeit somewhat preachy, was exactly why I fell in love with the original Ender's series as a kid and still hold it in my favorite books to this day.
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2010 08:27 pm
Yep, Ender's game too. But for MsO, Darwin's Children/Radio is set in (more or less) modern times on earth.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2010 08:32 pm
@littlek,
I agree. Darwin's Radio is an excellent into to Sci Fi for someone who might think it's all spaceships and aliens.
dyslexia
 
  3  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2010 08:41 pm
@engineer,
"A Canticle for Leibowitz" by Walter Michael Miller, Jr. is the most literate SciFi novel I've ever read (even Spendi agrees) it's short on Scifi but long on historical philosophy. It's a major literary accomplishment no matter the genre.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Sep, 2010 10:59 pm
@dyslexia,
Hear, hear!

One of my all-time faves.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 05:23 am
@GoshisDead,
Quote:
The thoughtful sociological interaction of new species . . .


Now this reminded me of David Brin's Sundiver, Startide Rising and The Uplift War. Briefly, the Earth has only very recently been added to a galactic "club" of civilizations which bring other species to sentience (those species are said to be "uplifted"). The second novel in the series, Startide Rising, won both a Nebula and a Hugo, putting it in an exclusive club with Herbert's Dune and Card's Ender's Game. Although the "Uplift wars" trilolgy is solid science fiction, it is also classic fantasy, in that the sci-fi aspect is simply a vehicle for some good political-diplomatic thriller action, with a healthy dose of non-preachy social and philosophical observation.

Brin is probably best known, though, for his novel The Postman, which is a post-apocalyptic fantasy novel, which became a fantasy fan cult classic much more than did his uplift series. Kevin Coster then made a thoroughly bad movie from the novel.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 05:46 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:

I confess I have not read one single fantasy novel, ever.
I once tried reading The Hobbit, after a really, really enthusiastic recommendation, but gave up. I'm not sure why now, but I did. That was ages ago.

But I notice on the book thread here that so many of you are hugely enthusiastic fantasy fans. So I'm wondering if maybe I'm missing out on something? (You never know!)

So, OK, you are speaking to a person who is completely unfamiliar with this genre. (& there may be others, for all I know.)

Could you explain (in lay-person terms) what it is which appeals to you about fantasy novels? Does it help if you're into science fiction, too?

If you were going to recommend just one novel to a complete fantasy ignoramus, what would it be & why would you say it's a great read?

Thank you in advance, anyone who contributes information & advice.
Based on your recommendations, I will check out my local library & see what's available.

I think it might be time to take the plunge! Wink

It was only when reading about Beowuf that I found the Tolkien was a scholar... His fantasy was very pointed at his times... In fact, my problem with science fiction/ fantasy is the it cannot escape the moment... No matter how far advanced into the future people look, or how far removed from the earth, they cannot imagine humanity as improved in the least by time, and the question presents, how could we ever get from here to there without improvement... This cruel, shortsighted, jealous, envious, avaricious, lazy, loveless humanity is not going anywhere but the bone yard without a character face lift... When I look at futuristic crap I don't see our future but our past...
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 08:06 am
@Fido,
Quote:
... my problem with science fiction/ fantasy is the it cannot escape the moment...

... When I look at futuristic crap I don't see our future but our past...


I'm not really clear about what you're saying here, Fido. You're judging science fiction/fantasy writing as "futuristic crap", because you believe it can't show us how humanity could be "improved"? Have I got that right? If so, that sounds like rather an unfair generalization to me.



engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 08:12 am
@msolga,
When I look at humanity today, I don't see that it is in general a lot improved over how history records humanity five hundred years ago. Expecting books set in the future to show some sort of fundamentally improved humanity is unrealistic because there is no reason to assume that better tools change the base animal inside. If anything, the best Sci-Fi creates situations that further illustrate the nature of the beast.
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 08:15 am
Here's Noddy24's thread on Science Fiction:

Fantasy & Science Fiction worth Reading/Re-reading
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 09:44 am
@Fido,
Quote:
No matter how far advanced into the future people look, or how far removed from the earth, they cannot imagine humanity as improved in the least by time, and the question presents, how could we ever get from here to there without improvemen


You haven't read enough sci-fi then, bro. Or perhaps you are looking for the wrong thing from it? Novels are meant to be entertaining, not morality plays or how-to manuals for fixing the problems of society.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 09:46 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
If anything, the best Sci-Fi creates situations that further illustrate the nature of the beast.


Good line--good point.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 10:09 am
@Setanta,
I would opine that Arthur C Clarke was a utopianist.
0 Replies
 
parados
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 10:10 am
@Fido,
Quote:
This cruel, shortsighted, jealous, envious, avaricious, lazy, loveless humanity is not going anywhere but the bone yard without a character face lift... When I look at futuristic crap I don't see our future but our past...

But all good literature has to deal with This cruel, shortsighted, jealous, envious, avaricious, lazy, loveless humanity. Think Shakespeare, Dickens, Faulkner, Hemingway, etc, etc

If it didn't deal with this it would read like the technical manual for a copy machine.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 10:10 am
I know what a piano is, but what is a uto-piano?
parados
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 10:11 am
@Setanta,
It's what a utopianist plays.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2010 10:18 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:

Quote:
... my problem with science fiction/ fantasy is the it cannot escape the moment...

... When I look at futuristic crap I don't see our future but our past...


I'm not really clear about what you're saying here, Fido. You're judging science fiction/fantasy writing as "futuristic crap", because you believe it can't show us how humanity could be "improved"? Have I got that right? If so, that sounds like rather an unfair generalization to me.

I used to read a lot of fiction, and watch a lot of movies... Prove me wrong, because too much of it is like Drama before Johnson, when plot was intrigue, and intrigue plot... Can you really imagine that we will bridge space if we cannot manage our behavior??? Yet, science fiction and fantasy does not presume any change of human nature... Put Cain and Able in the future, or Othello, or Achilles and you would have the same conflicts of character...




 

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