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Old 04-03-2016   #31
Robin Davies
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I happened to find a copy of Vermilion Sands in the local WHSmith (of all places) earlier this week, and I examined it and wondered, "Why didn't anyone recommend this to me?" I might buy it, but have bought so many books recently, I'm trying to refrain a bit.
Vermilion Sands is a good collection and contains some of Ballard's more lyrical stuff. It's also easier to classify as science fiction, whereas a lot of his work (such as Crash, Concrete Island, High-Rise and his last four novels) doesn't really contain any science that didn't exist at the time of publication. It's the characters' motivations and Ballard's cool yet eerily poetic prose that makes them feel like science fiction. They present a future psychology rather than a future technology.

Regarding this thread generally, the problem with asking for "science fiction recommendations" is that the field is so vast that there are loads of books that could be recommended and everyone's tastes are different. Maybe some more specific requirements are needed.
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Old 04-03-2016   #32
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

To be honest I really appreciate the eclectic range of recommendations, even if it leads in many directions at once.

As to "more specific requirements" I guess I am mainly interested in pessimist sf, horror sf and dystopian fiction. This is what I feel speaks most directly to me.

To my knowledge Thomas Ligotti has only written a single sf story - "The Nightmare Network" - which I have no problems seeing in continuation of the above.
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Old 04-03-2016   #33
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

I've read a few of the stories in Vermilion Sands (some were included in other Ballard collections), but I've never read the whole book, even though it is short and I own a copy. Ballard's early stories were very good, but I've always preferred the intense works he wrote just a few years later: "The Terminal Beach," "The Voices of Time," The Crystal World, and some others.

I'm glad I read Dhalgren when I was a teenager. I think in many ways it's a young person's book. (Delany was still fairly young when he wrote it.) It is very long, but its reputation for modernist difficulty is somewhat overblown. There are occasional short passages that require careful reading, and pages with an additional column of interpolated text, but most of it is very readable narrative. I looked at it again recently, and aside from a few arresting passages and memorable episodes, I'm not sure I would think as highly of it now as I once did. I don't think it's "trash," though, or a book that only a reader who is being "gulled" would continue reading; those comments are too harsh and probably just indicate a basic lack of sympathy with what Delany was doing in that novel.

Barry N. Malzberg's Galaxies is metafiction, but I wouldn't say it's outside of genre. It is meta-(genre-)science fiction.

Joanna Russ's We Who Are About To... is evidently pessimistic and antinatalist. I haven't read it but plan to.
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Old 04-04-2016   #34
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by Stu View Post
Michael Moorcock did some good SF stuff.
Behold the Man was great. Can't recall enjoying anything else of his, though.

It might interest some of you here that John Gray's Soul of the Marionette includes a reasonably lengthy treatment of Stanislav Lem and Philip Dick as writers working within a Gnostic framework regarding evil, divinity and free will.

Also, Zamyatin and Krzhizhanovsky.

I have a soft spot for the following three novels:

REH, Almuric
Verne, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea
Asimov, The End of Eternity*.

*that's the one where the protagonist time-travels to the past and leaves messages for the future by placing classified ads in newspapers or magazines, right? Or is that storyline from another one of his books?

PS. Many thanks to Malone and gveranon for recommending A Canticle for Leibowitz (bought it on Saturday) and We Who Are About To... (guess what I am getting next Saturday)

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Old 04-04-2016   #35
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

I haven't read it myself but I've heard nothing but good about David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus.
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Old 04-04-2016   #36
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

xylokopos, I'll be sure to take a closer look at John Gray's book. I've actually been meaning to since I read that review of yours some while ago. Gray's book also seems to include a reading of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic which I've been interested in because of its connection to Tarkovsky's film Stalker.

Also if any of you find time to read We Who Are About To... I'd very much like to hear what you think of it.

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
I haven't read it myself but I've heard nothing but good about David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus.
David Lindsay's Arcturus I read some years ago. I can't seem to remember much of it now, but I think it's perhaps closer to fantasy than sf? (even though it does involve some kind of time travel). Anyway a great book.
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Old 04-04-2016   #37
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Some early science-fiction stories:

Lucian: Vera historia – a whirlwind transports a manned ship to the Moon from where all earthly actions look comically and ridiculous: seen from above, that’s how we appear.

Voltaire: “Micromégas” – a gigantic being from Sirius visits our planet. Like Lucian’s story, very funny and true.

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein... – the first real scientific novel. Multiple possible readings...

Jules Verne: De la terre a la Lune – very entertaining and funny but perhaps a bit too long?

Stevenson: Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – “The most racking pangs succeeded: a grinding in the bones, and a horror of the spirit that cannot be exceeded at the hour of birth or death. (...) I felt younger, lighter, happier in body; within I was conscious of a heady recklessness, a current of disordered sensual images running like a mill race in my fancy ... an unknown but not an innocent freedom of the soul.”

Twain: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – wherein a Connecticut Yankee is transported back in time. Extremely entertaining and poisonous (“there are times when one would like to hang the whole human race and finish the farce”), yet not wholly misanthropic.

Bierce: “Moxon’s Master” – “’Are you serious? - do you really believe that a machine thinks?’” Like the monster created by Dr Frankenstein, this robot or automaton may be seen as a golem, a theme treated with Bierce’s usual superior prose and philosophical finesse.
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Old 04-05-2016   #38
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by xylokopos View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Stu View Post
Michael Moorcock did some good SF stuff.
Behold the Man was great. Can't recall enjoying anything else of his, though.
I enjoyed The Dancers at the End of Time. And his Michael Kane novels set on Mars were pulpy fun.

The Mask Behind the Face, Pendragon Press 2005
Shards of Dreams, Double Dragon eBooks 2004
Spare Parts, Rainfall Books 2003

Stuart Young\''s blog: http://stuartyoungwriter.blogspot.co.uk/
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Old 04-09-2016   #39
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

There's different types of science fiction, so I'll suggest stuff which might appeal to fans of horror/weird fiction:

_The Jaguar Hunter_ by Lucius Shepard. Its a collection of mostly science fiction stories, and has a horrific element. Shepard, like Ballard, was a superb prose stylist.
The Jaguar Hunter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

_The Day of the Triffids_ by John Wyndham. The conflict in the story is between a mostly blinded humanity and mobile killer plants.
The Day of the Triffids - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It occurred to me recently that some alternate history/parallel universe stories can by classed as horror. An alternate timeline might be more horrible than our own, or might be horrible in a different way. Such stories I liked:
"In the Arcade" by Lisa Tuttle
"The Lincoln Train" by Maureen F. McHugh
"A Threshold Hypothesis" by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
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Old 12-01-2016   #40
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Aquarium Drunkard Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction

I enjoyed this list. It's got fantasy and other stuff in there too.

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