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Old 03-31-2016   #21
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller is a beautiful novel, as well as a pessimist's delight.

'The reader is left bereft of hope in the human condition, hope in his own contemporaries or in those of a future post-apocalyptic world and its second (or third) chance to redeem humanity.'

Walter Miller: A Canticle for Leibowitz - Reviews - Hermitary
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Old 03-31-2016   #22
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by Robin Davies View Post
Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I've now read Star Maker and The Stars My Destination and am currently on High Rise. The first of these has already been mentioned on this thread, but it's definitely one of the most impressive things I've ever read.

I've also been advised I should put Asimov and Ellison on this list. I'll think about that.
I don't regard High-Rise as one of Ballard's best. The Unlimited Dream Company is amazing though it's more fantasy than science fiction. I'd recommend his short stories more than his novels. Harlan Ellison's output is mostly short stories and I think Deathbird Stories is his best collection.
I've already recommended The Crystal World over and over on this site, so I won't recommend it again.

Deathbird Stories is a very strong collection, but it doesn't have "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" or "Jeffty is Five" (neither of which should be missed).
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Old 04-01-2016   #23
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

I recommend the work of Keith Roberts, especially the classic novel Pavane (preferably the edition which includes The White Boat) and The Chalk Giants. I find his work deeply poignant and it vividly evokes the atmosphere of alternative versions of rural England.
Christopher Priest has done some excellent novels of interpenetrating realities such as The Affirmation and The Glamour but one of his early novels, Inverted World, is based on a particularly fascinating science fiction concept (avoid spoilers!)
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Old 04-01-2016   #24
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
... Can't stand the thought of reading Clarke, though I enjoyed his short stories as a child. ...
I saw the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey in my teens, and found it extremely boring. And knew after that, that I would never read anything by Arthur C. Clarke.
But recently I got an incentive or recommendation (don't remember from where it came) to read him. I read The City and the Stars and Rendezvous with Rama, and must say that those two are my favorite works of science fiction, or at least the two I have been most impressed with. Then I read Childhood's End, ... it felt a little less visually defined, but was creepy, and very interesting from a philosophical evolutionary standpoint.

Clarke was so extremely intelligent, grounded in science, and at the same time with a poetic sense, that he could create a weird atmosphere by piecing together physical observations, simply stating, seemingly very cool and matter-of-factly, ... but the result is vastly moving.
I am sure Lovecraft would have been very impressed with the cosmic perspectives in the three books above.

I had many years when I mostly stuck to three authors, and nearly nothing else: H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and Jack Vance.
The science fiction of Jack Vance, I wouldn't call so much pure science fiction. It is more of science-fantasy, having frequent studies of different human/humanoid cultures, inspired by his own travels around the World. His space ships, space travels, and distant planets are not very technical. But he has great, fantastic imagination, and is very visual. And has a sardonic, fatalistic humour. His most popular science fiction books are probably the Demon Princes series and the Tschai series.

In recent years I have tried to branch out my reading interests more. Two of my favorite authors are A. E. van Vogt and Arthur C. Clarke. Partly because they have an optimistic, happy go lucky attitude. I really like that. And I need it, for balancing up. Clarke, for example, welcomes the extinction of Man and His transformation into something else, as being something positive. I find that inspiring. His cosmicism is diametrical of Lovecraft's (not saying that Lovecraft was all dark; he had an ecstatic appetite for atmospheric beauty, for the sound stability and comforts of his own cultural and ethnic roots, and for high intellectual soaring, ... which I also find very inspiring).
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Old 04-01-2016   #25
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Robin Davies View Post
Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I've now read Star Maker and The Stars My Destination and am currently on High Rise. The first of these has already been mentioned on this thread, but it's definitely one of the most impressive things I've ever read.

I've also been advised I should put Asimov and Ellison on this list. I'll think about that.
I don't regard High-Rise as one of Ballard's best. The Unlimited Dream Company is amazing though it's more fantasy than science fiction. I'd recommend his short stories more than his novels. Harlan Ellison's output is mostly short stories and I think Deathbird Stories is his best collection.
I've already recommended The Crystal World over and over on this site, so I won't recommend it again.

Deathbird Stories is a very strong collection, but it doesn't have "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" or "Jeffty is Five" (neither of which should be missed).
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.

"人生夢幻耳" - 高井鴻山
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Old 04-03-2016   #26
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Michael Moorcock did some good SF stuff. And I love Conan Doyle's The Lost World.

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 04-03-2016   #27
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

I have added a lot of these recommendations to my to-read list, so thanks everyone. I expect to be returning to this thread a lot.

The sf encyclopedia frequently refers to "outside genre-sf" listing books like Burroughs' Nova Express or Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon has always been a bit over my head, but I find the beyond/meta sf concept quite interesting and worth looking into as well. (maybe Barry N. Malzberg's Galaxies belongs somewhere in this open category?).

I've just finished reading the first 2 books of Jack Vance's Tales of the Dying Earth but think I'll need a break from it. It's too much fantasy for my taste and not as fatalistic as I had perhaps hoped.

Speaking of outside genre-sf I was reminded of Michel Houellebecq's recent novel The Possibility of an Island. I think I may have recommended it before but would like to do so again. It's pessimist and misanthropic and in some ways relates to Thomas Bernhard's early fiction which I enjoy very much.
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Old 04-03-2016   #28
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

I was thinking about getting Samuel R. Delanys' Dhalgren which I saw in the bookstore the other day. But apparently some of my favourite writers such as Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison really hated the novel. So maybe it's not such a good idea. This is from wikipedia:

When the book appeared, Ellison in the L. A. Times (Sunday, February 23, 1975, p. 64) wrote: "I must be honest. I gave up after 361 pages. I could not permit myself to be gulled or bored any further." In an interview 27 years later, he said: "When Dhalgren came out, I thought it was awful, still do ... I ... threw it against a wall." Dick called Dhalgren "a terrible book" that "should have been marketed as trash. ... I just started reading it and said this is the worst trash I've ever read. And I threw it away."
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Old 04-03-2016   #29
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

THX 1138, the movie and the novelization by Ben Bova.

Also, the short films Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB and Bald: The Making of THX 1138 are pretty cool.



Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all is done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.

Last edited by miguel1984; 04-03-2016 at 08:29 AM..
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Old 04-03-2016   #30
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Re: Science Fiction Recommendations

Quote Originally Posted by MTC View Post
I was thinking about getting Samuel R. Delanys' Dhalgren which I saw in the bookstore the other day. But apparently some of my favourite writers such as Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison really hated the novel. So maybe it's not such a good idea. This is from wikipedia:

When the book appeared, Ellison in the L. A. Times (Sunday, February 23, 1975, p. 64) wrote: "I must be honest. I gave up after 361 pages. I could not permit myself to be gulled or bored any further." In an interview 27 years later, he said: "When Dhalgren came out, I thought it was awful, still do ... I ... threw it against a wall." Dick called Dhalgren "a terrible book" that "should have been marketed as trash. ... I just started reading it and said this is the worst trash I've ever read. And I threw it away."
That's interesting. I tend to agree with Ellison and Dick. I got Dhalgren years ago because I was impressed by its thickness and this cover:
http://raggedclaws.com/wp-content/up...1976_y8554.jpg
I struggled through to the end but I can't say I enjoyed it.
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