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Sci-Fi Suggestion for Book Club

 
 
Charli
 
Reply Tue 11 Mar, 2003 10:38 pm
Do you have a suggestion for a Sci-Fi book for our book club? Not "too far out," entertaining, enjoyable, intelligent, a smattering of humor. Oh, can we probably obtain it easily in our local libraries? I just checked our regional consortium - 26 libraries, I believe - very, very few books by Ray Bradbury. I would think Asimov and Crichton should be well represented. I personally have almost zero knowledge of Sci-Fi books. The book club is working its way through the various genres - Shakespeare to Stout, Dickens to Proulx, Roosevelt to ??? Classic, mystery, biography, history, etc. Thanks for your help! :-) :-) :-) Charli[/color]
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LarryBS
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 01:56 am
Charli - You should get some answers here soon, but there are some great ideas in these three A2k topics, if you haven't already seen them already. Two of them are mostly about Philip K. Dick, who may be near the top of many people's recommendations. He is pretty easy to find in the library if you pick one of his more well-known works. I like Bradbury, Heinlein, some Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov. I'll think about one or two specific books to recommend.

Science Fiction
http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1002

The Best Author You've Never Read (Philip K. Dick)
http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2660

Philip K. Dick
http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3481
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 10:11 am
Ringworld by Larry Niven. Anything by Larry Niven, actually.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 10:28 am
Oh, jeeze, littlek. I read Ringworld and The Integer Trees both, and couldn't get past the concept and into the story. Niven has the gift for creations like this; I don't.

Niven, co-authored with Pournelle, I can work with.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 10:45 am
Oh, hmmm. I couldn't get into Integer Trees really, the first time, but Ringworld I consumed. Foot fall, Lucifer's Hammer.....
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roger
 
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Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 11:32 am
Foot fall, Lucifer's Hammer - okay, but wasn't Jerry Pournelle involved in those?
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littlek
 
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Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 06:27 pm
I thought so, that's why I listed them.

So, maybe a bit more definition on what's "too far-out" is in order?
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Charli
 
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Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 09:01 pm
"TOO FAR OUT???"
littlek - Good question! What's "too far out."? Since I have almost zero knowledge of Sci-Fi content ... I'm only guessing. I believe I'd know it when I saw it. (What a cop out!) When I wrote that, I was thinking about things like people turning into animals and back again (does that exist?). Six-headed monsters as a real Cinderella or Prince Charming; cannibalism in order to own someone's powers; living in tarantula-filled caves; maybe even animals ruling the world - unless we're talking Orwell's "Animal Farm." Anyway, a well-written story, even if farfetched, that we might dream or wish it were true. I could buy into "Star Trek" or "Star Wars," give or take a few thousand years.

I was in the library today and brought home "Fahrenheit 451," several H.G. Wells' books, and Crichton's "Timeline." However, I'm still searching. Want to be sure of my ground before I make a suggestion. Thanks for all of yours! :-)
[/color]
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Mar, 2003 10:46 pm
You might want to consider Ursula K. Le Guin. She hasn't written anything for a while, but she received a lot of awards for her books and gives an interesting viewpoint, one of the few women in the field, Doris Lessing being another.

The Word for World is Forest is one I liked. Lathe of Heaven and Left Hand of Darkness were more generally acclaimed.

Lessing's best was the Shikasta series.
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Beedlesquoink
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2003 08:52 pm
Hi folks, I would like to make a list of recommendations, but first a comment. The books that most people seem to be suggesting are (to me oddly) from the middle aged period of science fiction. Writers like Niven, Greg Bear, Spider Robinson are, while good writers, not the up to date practitioners. Clarke, Heinlein, Bradbury of course represent the older generation of writers. Along with masters like Sturgeon and Jack Vance are from the late Golden Era. The Golden era would be the thirties and forties, when much of the writing was done in magazines.

From each of these eras I could suggest a book that is not widely known, better than much of what is known, and I shall.

But my observation is this. Science fiction is above all about modernity, and so few readers seem to know any of the more current work. Personally I think the field has been cheapened by the Star Trek phenomenon. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is fun, but it's not the literature and is, at best, space opera... a not very deep corner of the field.

As for far outness. Well, you lose me there. What, indeed, is far out? Much of what we have in the world right now is far out, and people barely notice it, or fail to appreciate its remarkableness because we are a very bored culture with short attention span.

Here is a list that most science fiction writers, editors and scholars of the field would agree are books that might reveal to people that there is much much more to science fiction than the few books that are 'far in' enough to get public acceptance. I promise you if you track these down and read them, you will see science fiction in a very different light, and you may become convinced, as I am, that it is one of the most important literary movements in history.

The Einstein Intersection, Samuel R. Delany (early 1960s)
The Doors of his Face, the Lamps of His Eyes, three stories by Roger Zelazny (Early 1960s)
The Cosmic Rape --Also published as To Marry Medusa, Theodore Sturgeon (late 1950s)
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon (mid 1950s)
The First and Last Men, Olaf Stapleden (1930s)
Odd John, by Olaf Stapleden (1940s)
The Dying Earth, by Jack Vance (recently published in a comprensive volume
containing all four novels of the series)
Cities in Flight, by James Blish (four interrelated novels available in one edition)
The Demolished Man, by Alfred Bester (mid 1950s)
The Stars my Destination, by Alfred Bester (early 1950s)
The Disposessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin (early 1970s)
334, by Thomas Disch (mid 1970s)
The Urth of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe (First three of a many volumed work spanning thirty years of the writer's career. Possible the greatest achievement of any modern science fiction author)
The Fifth Head of Cerberus, by Gene Wolfe (mid 1970s)
The Garden of Iden, by Kage Baker (first of several related novels, published in the mid 1990's --possibly one of the most intricate and intrguing time travel ideas ever put to paper)
Beyond the Veil of Stars, Robert Reed (late 1990s)

...Trust me, this is just a start. There is so much really good science fiction that goes unnoticed that it's really kind of sad. I hope just one of you good folks try just one of these books.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2003 09:12 pm
If you want to emphasize the entertaining and humorous aspects, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams is fantastic. Very light and goofy, but with a healthy serving of intelligence, too.
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2003 09:31 pm
GREAT SUGGESTIONS!
Piffka, Beedlesquoink, sozobe - and all the folks I thanked before (I hope!) - so many great suggestions! And so little time - to read 'em all, that is. Now to get to the Library ... How can I save these pages? Or, will they be here whenever I try to access them in the future? I did try with one of my browser selections. However, I can't open the file in the hard drive. Maybe copy-and-paste to an email? Thanks again. Looks like some terrific choices. :-) - Charli [/color]
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2003 10:21 pm
Have fun Charli!

I used to adore reading sci-fi, I was addicted to it and read loads, from Arthur C. Clarke to -- well to Doris Lessing. Then I stopped quite suddenly. It seemed like everything had gone to Sci-Fantasy, which is a different genre, not to my liking. I actually loved some of the early shoot-em ups... there was one set, The Lensman Series, old when I started reading it, which I loved beyond all understanding since it wasn't really that good! But the Lensmen were, and that's the escape I was looking for, I suppose.

Beedlesquoink! Thanks for the huge list. I am very interested in several of these and think I'll try to start with Kage Baker... I try to read women writers whenever possible!
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LarryBS
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2003 10:38 pm
Charli - aren't these some great recommendations? I've now read two books, sci-fi, both based on something someone at A2k said.

These pages should be here for a very long time! Just remember the name of this topic to find your way back. But of course you can just save this web page as a favorite if you want. What I do with long lists of recommendations is to simply highlight what I want to save and copy and paste it to a Word or WordPad file, which I save with a name like "Sci-Fi Books."
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Mar, 2003 11:26 pm
Or go to the bottom of the page and click "Watch this topic for replies". That will also send new replies to your email
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Mar, 2003 09:38 pm
"WATCHING" and "PASTING"
Now, both ""watching" and "pasting." Thanks roger and LarryBS for the suggestions. With computer systems its backup, backup, backup for anything you really want. Those lists and ideas are too good to lose. Thanks to each one of you for all of them! :-) - Charli
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Jim
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 03:10 am
"Santiago" by Resnick mightb be worth considering. You don't need a PhD in physics to understand it, and there are some ideas in the book worth thinking about.

In a nutshell, it's the old west in outer space. The exploits of several bounty hunters are chronicled as they try to track down the notorious Santiago.
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 08:51 pm
THANK YOU, JIM!
Thank you, Jim! Welcome aboard! You'll like it here! "Santiago" by Resnick sounds very interesting. Different, yes? I'll look for it. Of course, the library can obtain a copy from almost any library in the States. And I have had books from other counties and other states. The only thing is that those books cannot be renewed and are usually loaned for just two weeks. Read fast! Thanks again for the suggestion. Smile Smile Smile - Charli[/color]
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Vivien
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2003 02:08 pm
is Anne McCaffrey too lightweight for you? The Crystal Singer series is very original and her worlds in her various other sci fi and dragonriders link and overlap and to me at any rate hang together well.

Not high classical literature but an enjoyable read.
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Charli
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2003 08:16 pm
THANKS, VIVIEN!
Thanks, Vivien, for your suggestions. I don't have any familiarity with Anne McCaffrey ... but I'll certainly look at her books the first chance I get. We still haven't read a Sci-Fi book at the Book Club - but we will and I wanted to be prepared. In fact, I'm going to try to be as "prepared" as possible with other suggestions, too, since there's only one person who seems to come up with book titles besides me. And that person's taste seems to run more to very, very lightweight stuff. The group has liked the books I've suggested, such as "The Origin" (historical), "Accordion Crimes" (immigration/social problems), "Oliver Twist" (classic), "Mid-Summer Night's Dream" (Shakespeare). Then, "they" threw in Rex Stout, James Patterson, Wally Lamb, Mary Kay, and ... I do read every word of whatever it is - except that one by Lamb: "This Much I Know Is True"? Just couldn't get through it. Love all kinds of books, but preferably ones that offer some "enlightenment": moral, insight, factual, entertaining, etc., etc.

Thanks again! :-) Charli
[/color]
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