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Best science fiction writers (now or ever)

 
 
Tuna
 
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 08:13 am
Neil Gaiman said Harlan Ellison should be read in schools. It's been a while since I read anything by Ellison, but I don't remember it that way. I remember him as high on emotion, low on anything particularly scientific.

Should he be read in schools? Would you even put him on your top-five list?

Who is on your top-five list? I'd add movie-makers to the list because I think movies and TV have taken their place along side writing in the science fiction department.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 20 • Views: 3,108 • Replies: 76
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 09:04 am
@Tuna,
Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, and Issac Asimov came immediately to my mind. (Sorta like choosing Beethoven's Fifth, 1812 Overture, The Blue Danube...and La Boheme for classical music, though!)

Gotta give Jules Verne a great big nod though...for pioneer work.
Tuna
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 09:19 am
@Frank Apisa,
That'll work, Frank.

The first book I ever read of my own volition was by Arthur C Clarke. There are images that haunt my psyche and probably always will that came from Philip K Dick. Isaac Asimov... I don't really know how to judge his work, but his personality was central.

Just to fill that crowd out to five: Jack Vance and Larry Niven.

Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 09:31 am
@Tuna,
Larry Niven with Ringworld knocked me out when I read it. I considered it THE masterpiece of sci fi. I wonder if we will ever see a version of that world as we set out to explore the stars.

At some point, I read Rendezvous with Rama...which I now consider the most important sci fi book of all time. It teaches a lesson we all should learn...and one I have been trying to get through to one of the regulars in the Philosophy area.
Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 09:44 am
HG Wells, first and foremost for me. Among "modern" SF writers, Phil Dick, James Blish, Greg Benford, JG Ballard, Brian Aldiss.
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 09:57 am
@Tuna,
There is good story telling, good science and then there is something that makes you think, that challenges your preconceptions. I love reading the former but would only teach the latter. Heinlein books always have a political bent and Starship Troopers should be a read in any Civics Class. (It's also a perfect book to teach since if a student just watches the movie, they miss all the political content.) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land also have good teaching potential. Bradbury was also excellent in this respect. I read Fahrenheit 451 in school. For students more interested in modern work, I would consider Card's Ender's Game, Robinson's Mars Trilogy and Scalzi's Old Man's War. I will say the classic teachable Sci Fi author is Ursula K. Le Guin. I read the Left Hand of Darkness is college. She is generally a level above in terms of using Science Fiction settings to set up moral debates and challenge the status quo.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 10:04 am
A writer's course I took some years back, assigned Ray Bradbury, as a sample of fine writing.
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Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 10:06 am
To me, Heinlein's writing has many strands that veer towards fascism, and also a particularly distasteful brand of libertarianism, US style. Which is odd, because I particularly like a science fiction novel Adolf Hitler wrote, The Iron Dream. I haven't read Lord of the Swastika, even though it won a Hugo.



0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 10:15 am
I was so disappointed in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, I quit reading his stuff.
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 10:16 am
@Tuna,
I'll bypass the obvious "old-timers" and try to list a few who are less well known but shouldn't be missed...

Daniel Keys Moran - The Last Dancer (at times, haunting prose)
Charles Stross - Singularity Sky (great ideas)
Iain Banks - Culture Series (Incredible technology)
Vernor Vinge - Marooned in Realtime and Fire Upon the Deep (different ideas)
Neal Stephenson - Snow Crash and Diamond Age (unusual)
Sterling E. Lanier - Hiero's Journey
Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 10:28 am
@rosborne979,
I have read stuff by Stross, Banks and Vinge and agree they are well worth reading.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 10:35 am
@Tes yeux noirs,
Try The Last Dancer by DK Moran, probably the single best book I've ever read.
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Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 11:08 am
Charlie Stross used to write columns in UK computer magazines, and that is how I first became aware of him, before I knew he wrote SF. Kind of the opposite situation to Larry Niven who had a column in Byte magazine, which I found quite annoying. Too much of his right wing politics. He has subsequently turned out to be quite racist. (Niven, I mean)
Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 12:24 pm
I also very much like Christopher Priest, all the way from A Dream of Wessex" to The Adjacent. I still remember fondly Dreamsnake by Vonda Macintyre. I forgot to mention Philip Jose Farmer, I mainly like his non-Riverworld stuff.
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Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 12:25 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
I was so disappointed in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, I quit reading his stuff.

God deliver me from people who use the word "grok".
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 01:55 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:
Larry Niven with Ringworld knocked me out when I read it. I considered it THE masterpiece of sci fi. I wonder if we will ever see a version of that world as we set out to explore the stars.

At some point, I read Rendezvous with Rama...which I now consider the most important sci fi book of all time. It teaches a lesson we all should learn...and one I have been trying to get through to one of the regulars in the Philosophy area.


Niven is truly great. The new science fiction series, "The Expanse" seems is set in a future very like Niven's. Clarke is also great, but "RWR" was too dry for me. "2001" is one of my favorites of Clarke's.

Roger Zelazny is a sci-fi God and his Amber series ranks among the great achievements in literature. So does "Lord of Light," but it's a little harder to figure out when you start it. "Doorways in the Sand" is very great and very accessible.
Tes yeux noirs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 02:32 pm
@Tes yeux noirs,
Quote:
Kind of the opposite situation to Larry Niven who had a column in Byte magazine, which I found quite annoying

Memory playing tricks... strike out "Larry Niven", substitute "Jerry Pournelle".
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 02:54 pm
@Tes yeux noirs,
I grok ya.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 03:01 pm
@Tes yeux noirs,
Tes yeux noirs wrote:

Quote:
Kind of the opposite situation to Larry Niven who had a column in Byte magazine, which I found quite annoying

Memory playing tricks... strike out "Larry Niven", substitute "Jerry Pournelle".


I used to enjoy "Computing at Chaos Manor."
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Dec, 2015 03:08 pm
Bradbury is perhaps my all time fave

Others, in no particular order, include
Phillip Jose Farmer
Harlan Ellison
Alan Dean Foster
Arthur C Clarke
There are many authors I like and only know through the many short story collections I own, this in particular is a fave
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimsy_Were_the_Borogoves
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