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PostPosted: Wed 19 Jan , 2005 8:08 pm 
Blade Runner
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I am a fan of exactly two brands of literature: Fantasy and Science Fiction. I would like to separate the two even as they are usually junctioned ( and in a certain state of natural symbiose ). Hardcore Science Fiction is a whole different world than Hardcore Fantasy.

I consider, for example, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, A.C. Clarke, Douglas Adams and Dan Simmons to be pretty hc ( =hardcore )Sci/Fi authors. There are more, but we shall dig into them later on.

I have to hurry now, so let us leave the opening post to this gimped, fractured state of existence. Let me just say that Simmons' Hyperion rocks my world from the very "w" to the very "d", and in all-caps if I had the boldness.


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PostPosted: Thu 20 Jan , 2005 2:04 pm 
Gloriosus
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You can have boldness (sorry for the typographic joke) :)

Do you actually want an "excuse" for fantasy (or science fiction) compared to the other genre (the thread title indicates that)? Are there even "softcore" scifi/fantasy books?

Certainly there are certain degrees of quality. There's scifi "accepted" into High literature like Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Stanislaw Lem, Ursula K. LeGuin, Philip K. Dick.
There's fantasy treated the same way - Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin again (at least those two I know).
There're many floating between those worlds, like the Strugatzkis, Cyrano de Bergerac, H. G. Wells, Karel Capek. I must admit I found most pleasure when reading a book of these guys who wrote "both", or just fantastic literature, i. e. "normal" books with a more or less heavy touch of the extraordinary.

There is, of course, a river of dung floating under it; I once bought a "Star Wars Expanded Universe" novel on a flea market and have the urge to scrub my fingers and eyes still today thinking of it.

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Feb , 2005 3:52 pm 
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Hyperion is one of the best books I have ever read. It is wonderful, and if you think the bulk of it is goodthe ending is mind blowing.

The Fall of Hyperion which follows it is wonderful too. Simmons has a wonderful way with worlds and makes really believable charactors and scenarios. I loved the CEO, and what she did. One of the most poignent pieces of prose in the genre. If you have not read these two books you must

I was disapointed with the Endymion and Rise of Endymion which I think sullied the first two. The characters he used were hashed from the start, I felt no sympathy for the main one and I am sure this was just from the style. shame.

I liked Ilium as well, but would not reccomend it to any Homer fan. It was very good, but the context was strained. I will read Olympos when it is realeased in June though.

Also a major fan of Iain M Banks, the Culture books are well written and interesting.

I do like pulp though, like Peter Hamilton and even have a soft spot for EE Doc Smith.

But Starwars books, Euuuuuugh. Not good.

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Feb , 2005 5:27 pm 
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Hey! Dune might be getting up there...though the later efforts tarnished the series.

Unfortunately, even I, a diehard Heinlein fan, have to admit he's not quite "fine literature"...but in terms of quality of science fiction, he's definitely up there.

Where would you stick Ray Bradbury in the mix? He's done almost everything...and done lots of it. He goes far beyond "pulp"...but does he make it?

In all reality, what are the criteria for "fine literature" or "high quality" writing?

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PostPosted: Wed 16 Mar , 2005 12:49 am 

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I remember EE Doc Smith with fondness from my teenage years, though it's probably not advisable I pick them up now. I am a big fan of Phillip K Dick and just finished reading "A scanner darkly" which was an enjoyable read, especially in light of my fascination with split-brain disorders during the years I studied cognitive science as part of my Philosophy major...

Electric sheep remains my favourite SF book though, a bona fide classic!


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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun , 2005 4:18 pm 
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Attention, blasphemous post ahead:



I don't understand Philip K. Dick and find his books to be mind-numbing and utterly confusing, in a way that makes it seem like there is actually no sense to it. Before you all stone me to death *ducks* I've only read three of his books and can only remember two of them: "The Man in the High Castle" and "Space lottery". The Man in the High Castle was an enjoyable read, though confusing and convoluted for me, whereas Space Lottery, although it was an interesting and new concept (for me, at least :P) was just plain confusing. I thought about reading more of his books (we have at least five more of his in the Sci-Fi collection my dad buys) but the three I've read have kept me form reading any more. I've been told that I should read other titles of his that are far better (by other sci-fi fans); is this the case?

Just wondering.



I have a soft spot for Heinlein and EE "Doc" Smith as well. Heinlein's "The Red Planet" and "Girl from Mars" (not sure about this last one's title, as I'm translating form the translated portuguese one) were some of the first "sci-fi" books I read, followed closely by the Lensemen series. Later on I read Stranger in a Strange Land (this when I was 14, so it was a few years after I got started in sci-fi) and so those authors really have a special place in my heart, even if their books aren't the best representatives of the genre. Ursula LeGuin was another author I read, but hers striked me as fantasy (The EarthSea trilogy) and not sci-fi... Anne McCaffrey was another one on my reading list, and I loved the Pern books.


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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun , 2005 6:33 pm 
of Vinyamar
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The only Heinlein I ever read was Starship Troopers, which I loved and Stranger in a Strange Land which was good. I read Brian W. Aldiss' Helliconia Trilogy, which I hated. I enjoyed the first 4 Dune novels by Frank Herbert and the Foundation series by Asimov. I enjoyed Battlefield Earth (book, not movie) by L. Ron Hubbard. I read the Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley up till about the 6th one. Hmm, let's see, there was a set of 5 books by Piers Anthony set in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy dual reality. Robot Adept was one of them... ringing any bells? I read the usual selection of Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke short stories. 2001 made a lot more sense as a book than a film, but I was lucky enough to have the film visuals to hang off the novel by the time I read it.

Overall, only a smattering of Sci-Fi for me. Fantasy was and still is my first love.

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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun , 2005 10:05 pm 
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Alatar wrote:
I enjoyed Battlefield Earth (book, not movie) by L. Ron Hubbard.


:Q

I thought it was awful. Sorry. Layed it aside less than half-way through and have never had the desire to pick it up aagain.

Quote:
Hmm, let's see, there was a set of 5 books by Piers Anthony set in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy dual reality. Robot Adept was one of them... ringing any bells?


"Split Infinity", "Blue Adept" and "Juxtaposition" published together (in my version as one book) as "Double Exposure". Clever premise of two parallel worlds, the rational and the magical. Anthony is a facile writer and it's a good read. The first sequel, "Out of Phaze" was less successful, imo, I found the writing a bit forced and the plot a little thinner.


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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jul , 2005 6:02 am 
Same as it ever was

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anya -

For Phillip Dick, try his anthologies of short stories. Many of these are great, and still manage to make one think and ponder, the main points of really good Sci-Fi.

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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jul , 2005 3:59 pm 

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Well, I think I really can relate to what you mean by "hardcore" sci-fi. I have to say, it's not really my thing, but I like what I'd call "softer" sci-fi (I personally think Bradbury here compared to the others you've listed) and I love all fantasy. The extreme details of some of the sci-fi things are just too much for me to get into in some cases; I need to try harder. Maybe I'm just not into all the battle stuff some of them have, too? For instance, I absolutely LOVE D. Simmons' horror stories, but couldn't get into Hyperion when I tried it a couple of months ago. Based on all your reviews, though, maybe I'll give it another shot. I think I need to read a good couple of chapters without being interrupted, which I haven't been able to do. However, I do love Bradbury, Le Guin, (and I did love Dune).

For fantasy, Gaiman, de Lint, Graham Joyce, and even Ramsey Campbell, whom some consider horror are my favs.


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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jul , 2005 4:28 pm 
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anya_Skywalker wrote:
Ursula LeGuin was another author I read, but hers striked me as fantasy (The EarthSea trilogy) and not sci-fi...

Maybe because the Earthsea trilogy is fantasy. But, have you read, for example, The Left Hand of Darkness or The Word for World is Forest?

Alatar, you hated the Helliconia trilogy? I found it quite good.

A sci-fi novel that I read years ago and found very intereresting was Grass by Sheri S. Tepper.

In general, I'm a friend of such "classic" sci-fi as Asimov and Clarke.

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PostPosted: Fri 01 Jul , 2005 4:59 pm 

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The Left Hand of Darkness is absolutely wonderful! :banana:


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PostPosted: Thu 15 Sep , 2005 12:53 pm 
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I would definitely say Ray Bradbury is not only quality Sci-fi but also quality literature. His short stories are amazing, and Dandelion Wine is anything but pulp sci-fi.


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PostPosted: Sat 16 May , 2009 6:58 pm 
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Actually there are some decent other Star Wars books. "I, Jedi" was excellent and I really need to add a copy to my library. The issue I am sure is that they have a bunch of different authors writing in the star Wars universe that there are sure to be some stinkers in there. Someday when I have the money and time I will have to check out some more of the books in the Star Wars universe. :)

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