Favorite fantasy/sci-fi literature other than Tolkien
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Post Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 3:46 am 
 

George RR Martin wrote some terrible bad Twilight Zone episodes in the 80's. I tried getting into his 1st GOT book and couldn't. It seems like the older I get the more things seem contrived to me. When I was little I dug the Myth books quite a bit and Belgriad and Shannara
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and then the subsequent series, Mallorean and Shannara part2 or whatever were so ripoff shittastic and it's like I got very jaded. Books that stuck with me are Clive Barker "Books of Blood" "Armor" by Steakley (a one hit wonder of an author) "Swan Song" a copy of Kings Stand but better and it got Kings blessings in the 80's. The only stuff I can get into now is the historical biography shit on Hitler and WWII generals and the Crusades and whatnot. The really interesting times sort of stuff. I certainly dig the art over the books as you might be able to tell...

and what was so shittastic about those other books is that Brooks and Eddings ripped off their own Goddamned ideas! Some critic said AC-DC created the same album 9 times in a row... Eddings and Brooks were much less original than AC-DC.

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Post Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 6:06 am 
 

Barkers Books of Blood are genius IMO as much for horror as Serling Twilight Zone is for everything else (including horror). Unfortunately no Barker art here (yet) but more Myth:
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Post Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 4:56 pm 
 

Tharizdun wrote: "Armor" by Steakley (a one hit wonder of an author)


Search out Vampires by Steakly.  (I don't think the author's name is supposed to be ironic.)

Probably the best modern vampire book I've read.  (If you like Ann Rice and want to go on a dream date or just have sex with the undead then you probably won't like Vampires.)

It was made into (what I've heard is) a horrible movie starring James Woods.  The movie fell apart by following vampire movie cliche's and reversing the identity of the bad guys.  The book blows up most of those cliches.  Ignore the movie.

The characters from Armor are washed off and inserted into Vampires with excellent results.  

One Steakly quirk:  The coolest person in the world that Steakly can think of is a Texas county sheriff.


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Post Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:40 pm 
 

I didn't like Vampire$. It has good ideas but I liked Armor way better!

That movie was John Carpenters and yes it wasn't good.


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Post Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 5:46 pm 
 

Tharizdun wrote:I didn't like Vampire$. It has good ideas but I liked Armor way better!

That movie was John Carpenters and yes it wasn't good.


In fact, it was unintentionally funny. I think I asked for my money back from the theatre, too

  


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Post Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 6:46 pm 
 

The tail end of Carpenters sad fall from grace...


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 6:47 am 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:
Peter S. Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn (I think)

Cordwainer Smith wrote science fiction (a series of books that are slightly absurd). It is a strange future history series wih a planet settled by australians who raise giant (100ton sheep) for an immortality serum.


Yeah, Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn in 1968, and then fell off the map for about 25 years. More (relatively) recently there was The Innkeeper's Song, which is a lot edgier (there are sword fights, assassins, and the only tastefully done group sex scene in SF and F I've seen since Heinlein), and a slew of short stories in the 2000s which are quite good.

Cordwainer Smith IS a strange bird, and there is definitely some (intentional) absurdity in his stories. Norstrilia (short for Old North Australia, pronounced NorSTRILia, LOL) is the name of the novel and the planet featuring the 100-ton sick sheep that produce the immortality serum. He's sort of a thinking person's Douglas Adams.


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 7:57 am 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:
Yeah, Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn in 1968, and then fell off the map for about 25 years. More (relatively) recently there was The Innkeeper's Song, which is a lot edgier (there are sword fights, assassins, and the only tastefully done group sex scene in SF and F I've seen since Heinlein), and a slew of short stories in the 2000s which are quite good.

Cordwainer Smith IS a strange bird, and there is definitely some (intentional) absurdity in his stories. Norstrilia (short for Old North Australia, pronounced NorSTRILia, LOL) is the name of the novel and the planet featuring the 100-ton sick sheep that produce the immortality serum. He's sort of a thinking person's Douglas Adams.


Hmmm... I put Douglas Adams way, way, way up there... and Cordwainer Smith as a writer I've rread and don't plan on rereading. Smith had some interesting ideas but I would have been perfectly happy picking up someone elses book and never reading Smith's. I feel fairly blah about his writing.

With Adam's, I will probably reread Hitchhiker's guide someday, but I will definitely reread his Dirk Gently books.

I do think that you can tell fairly quickly if you will like Smith or not and the books I had by him were not long.

Everyone has different tasts, personally I cant stand Jordan and that wheel of time series, the Game of Thrones series by Martin, Terry Goodkinds series, and probably most of the best selling modern series novels that tend to come in those 7 or 8 hundred page books.

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:15 am 
 

Adams is right up there as an all-time great.

The Gently books are superb. I have both on audio-book too, read wonderfully by Adams himself, which seems to add something :)


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:21 am 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:
Hmmm... I put Douglas Adams way, way, way up there... and Cordwainer Smith as a writer I've rread and don't plan on rereading. Smith had some interesting ideas but I would have been perfectly happy picking up someone elses book and never reading Smith's. I feel fairly blah about his writing.

With Adam's, I will probably reread Hitchhiker's guide someday, but I will definitely reread his Dirk Gently books.

I do think that you can tell fairly quickly if you will like Smith or not and the books I had by him were not long.

Everyone has different tasts, personally I cant stand Jordan and that wheel of time series, the Game of Thrones series by Martin, Terry Goodkinds series, and probably most of the best selling modern series novels that tend to come in those 7 or 8 hundred page books.


I liked the Dirk Gently books, too, better than Adams' other stuff. Yes, Smith's style is something that'll either immediately turn you off or suck you in. I do think his stuff repays repeat readings, but his output certainly was somewhat uneven in quality (Norstrilia, for instance, is not the place to start). I'm happy to agree to disagree about him.

I'm with you 100% on Jordan, Goodkind, Martin, etc. I knew I wasn't into the Wheel of Time when about halfway through the second book I was desperately hoping that Ran-alwhatshisface would die soon, and knew he wouldn't because there were like 8 books left to read. It's never good when you want the main characters to perish because you're so bored with them. One thing I will say for GRRM is that this isn't the case with him--in his books, it seems like everyone dies eventually, usually when the character in question is just getting interesting... I was okay with him until his boneheaded move of putting out half of a book 5 years ago (A Feast for Crows) and promising the second half the following year and not delivering (still no release date for A Dance with Dragons). He's been relegated to my, "Yeah, maybe I'll read something by him again someday, if there's literally nothing else left," shelf.

You seem to have a good background in SF, Jason. Any authors from the 50s/60s/70s I might have missed that you particularly like? I've read most of the "big names" (Asimov, Niven, Heinlein, etc.), but not so many of the lesser-known guys.


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:14 am 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:
I liked the Dirk Gently books, too, better than Adams' other stuff. Yes, Smith's style is something that'll either immediately turn you off or suck you in. I do think his stuff repays repeat readings, but his output certainly was somewhat uneven in quality (Norstrilia, for instance, is not the place to start). I'm happy to agree to disagree about him.

I'm with you 100% on Jordan, Goodkind, Martin, etc. I knew I wasn't into the Wheel of Time when about halfway through the second book I was desperately hoping that Ran-alwhatshisface would die soon, and knew he wouldn't because there were like 8 books left to read. It's never good when you want the main characters to perish because you're so bored with them. One thing I will say for GRRM is that this isn't the case with him--in his books, it seems like everyone dies eventually, usually when the character in question is just getting interesting... I was okay with him until his boneheaded move of putting out half of a book 5 years ago (A Feast for Crows) and promising the second half the following year and not delivering (still no release date for A Dance with Dragons). He's been relegated to my, "Yeah, maybe I'll read something by him again someday, if there's literally nothing else left," shelf.

You seem to have a good background in SF, Jason. Any authors from the 50s/60s/70s I might have missed that you particularly like? I've read most of the "big names" (Asimov, Niven, Heinlein, etc.), but not so many of the lesser-known guys.


Glad you asked.

H. Beam Piper

Piper is my favorite sf author. His output was minimal (about 7 books and a few anthologies).

He has a future history series and a time travel series. His universe makes sense (and the TRAVELLER rpg uses some of it for their campaign. His future history stories have inspired (or been used) by several authors including Pournelle (who is Piper's disciple in SF writing).


Space Viking - It is the best sf interplanetary war novel I have ever read. It is too freaking short like all his novels. His ship to ship combat is straight fifties ideas but they make great sense and are wonderfully consistent.

Uller Uprising - It is a SF version of the Sepoy Mutiny. It is fun, bloodthirsty and not politically correct.

Cosmic Computer - This novel always makes me want to go and clean out my garage and rebuild a car engine, or start an engineering company. This is a kind of take on the world novel.

The Fuzzy books - these are incredibly good books. They aren't children's books. They have some pathos but I find it balanced very well. There is action in them, but they aren't military or action SF. The first is the best, the third is the worst, but they are so thin that you can read all three in a day.

Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen - This is an incredible novel. It has inspired a ton of other time travel stories and series (including that SOB Flint who says he hates Piper, may Flint burn in Hell, yet takes the concept for his 1632 series, the bastard). Do not read the sequels by Green and Carr. They are a like reading a castrated version of the series. Robert Adam's did a good book that used this concept (though Adams went freaking insane and crazier with each book in the series). Leo Frankowski did his version with his crosstime engineer series, and Turtledove with several of his including a direct Piper tribute.

Again this is short book but it is Piper's way of showing how one man in the right place at the right time can take hold of history and shape it.

Paratime - which is not a Lord Kalvan story but covers the time/dimensional travelling society.

Federation - an anthology

Empire - another anthology.

Worlds of - which covers some non-sf writing

there are a few more including continuations by other authors (at least two awful Fuzzy books) and at least one partial manuscript completed by someone else, and a recently discovered mystery novel Ive never read.
Its been awhile and I am probably forgetting a few books

As for other authors, you've probably read them and Im missing bunches (and not mentioning the bigger names like Moorcock, Leiber, Zelazny, Heinlein...)

A.E. Van Vogt
Clifford Simak
Theodore Sturgeon
Poul Anderson
Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle
John Wyndham
John Myers Myers
Gordon R Dickson
Robert Silverberg

  

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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:49 am 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:A.E. Van Vogt
Clifford Simak
Theodore Sturgeon
Poul Anderson
Larry Niven
Jerry Pournelle
John Wyndham
John Myers Myers
Gordon R Dickson
Robert Silverberg


Thanks, always looking for new reading material, and suggestions are always helpful.

I know Piper, somewhat. I've read the Fuzzy books, Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, and the collection of stories you mentioned, Empire, which I think were set in the same milieu if I remember rightly. Yeah, I've read Zelazny, Moorcock, Leiber, etc.

I haven't read too much from the others you listed, except for Niven (everything) and a little bit of Simak and van Vogt; also the odd short story or two from some of the others.

With Sturgeon, I just don't know where to start. The man wrote like a thousand short stories. They can't all be great, and I'd hate to start with the wrong stuff. Is there a "Best of" collection out there for him (I guess I'll just go look), or should I start with something like More than Human? Same with Silverberg, the man is a machine.

I'm not too much into the military scifi scene, which I gather from what I've heard that Pournelle is the poster boy for. I've read his collaborations with Niven, which were okay, but I'm a little wary of the David Drake-esque stuff I hear he writes on his own. Am I wrong? Not that there's anything wrong with the subgenre, but I've had more than my fill of Starship Troopers, Forever War, and that sort of thing over the years..

Wyndham - Is Day of the Triffids the place to start?


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:55 am 
 

Anybody else read the Asprin books with Skeeve? I found those very amusing.

Another comedy series was the Cineverse cycle by Craig Shaw Gardner, but I did read that just after I left school, so memories may be diluted to its quality.  8O

I'm guessing Pratchetts Discworld has been covered earlier in the thread, but with his illness, its a shame those will stop too early. :(


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:29 am 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:
Thanks, always looking for new reading material, and suggestions are always helpful.

I know Piper, somewhat. I've read the Fuzzy books, Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, and the collection of stories you mentioned, Empire, which I think were set in the same milieu if I remember rightly. Yeah, I've read Zelazny, Moorcock, Leiber, etc.

I haven't read too much from the others you listed, except for Niven (everything) and a little bit of Simak and van Vogt; also the odd short story or two from some of the others.

With Sturgeon, I just don't know where to start. The man wrote like a thousand short stories. They can't all be great, and I'd hate to start with the wrong stuff. Is there a "Best of" collection out there for him (I guess I'll just go look), or should I start with something like More than Human? Same with Silverberg, the man is a machine.

I'm not too much into the military scifi scene, which I gather from what I've heard that Pournelle is the poster boy for. I've read his collaborations with Niven, which were okay, but I'm a little wary of the David Drake-esque stuff I hear he writes on his own. Am I wrong? Not that there's anything wrong with the subgenre, but I've had more than my fill of Starship Troopers, Forever War, and that sort of thing over the years..

Wyndham - Is Day of the Triffids the place to start?


Triffids is a good place to start and usually the easiest to come by. Pournelle, try Mote in Gods Eye which is more SF than military, though I like military SF if done well (Drake is one of the best at it, though Drake is infleunced by Pournelle, rather than the other way round).

Sturgeon can be a little funky and philosophically surreal. For short story The Worlds of Theodore Sturgeon (ACE 1972), More than Human. The Dreaming Jewels (also titled The Synthetic Man).

Silverberg, Lord Valantine's Castle is a good starting novel, there are also Best of for his short stories (such as The Best of from Pocket Books 1976). or for a quick light read of his The Gate of Worlds.

Have you tried Alan Dean Foster - Many decent novels out of him (and some crap).

  

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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:34 am 
 

ashmire13 wrote:Anybody else read the Asprin books with Skeeve? I found those very amusing.

Another comedy series was the Cineverse cycle by Craig Shaw Gardner, but I did read that just after I left school, so memories may be diluted to its quality.  8O

I'm guessing Pratchetts Discworld has been covered earlier in the thread, but with his illness, its a shame those will stop too early. :(


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 12:11 pm 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:Triffids is a good place to start and usually the easiest to come by. Pournelle, try Mote in Gods Eye which is more SF than military, though I like military SF if done well (Drake is one of the best at it, though Drake is infleunced by Pournelle, rather than the other way round).


I've read Mote; it's co-authored by Niven, so I came to it that way.

Sturgeon can be a little funky and philosophically surreal. For short story The Worlds of Theodore Sturgeon (ACE 1972), More than Human. The Dreaming Jewels (also titled The Synthetic Man).


I like funky and philosophically surreal, otherwise I wouldn't be a Cordwainer Smith "enthusiast" ;). Seems like you meant it in a disparaging way... I'm getting the impression that our tastes don't overlap too much :), which is of course fine. You seem to go more for the hard scifi and space opera side of things, whereas I'm at the other end of the genre spectrum. I'm guessing you're not a huge fan of Philip K. Dick? Tom Disch?

Have you tried Alan Dean Foster - Many decent novels out of him (and some crap).


Yeah, I've read a bunch of Foster over the years, mostly a loooong time ago.. The Flinx and Pip (or is it Pip and Flinx?) books, the humanx stuff, and some of his early Star Wars tie-ins (Splinter of the Minds Eye comes to mind, I think that was him). I tend to put him in the same category, perhaps unfairly, as Kevin Anderson...sharecropper.


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 12:34 pm 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:
I like funky and philosophically surreal, otherwise I wouldn't be a Cordwainer Smith "enthusiast" . Seems like you meant it in a disparaging way... I'm getting the impression that our tastes don't overlap too much , which is of course fine. You seem to go more the hard scifi and space opera side of things, whereas I'm at the other end of the genre spectrum. I'm guessing you're not a huge fan of Philip K. Dick? Tom Disch?


Yeah, I've read a bunch of Foster over the years, mostly a loooong time ago.. The Flinx and Pip (or is it Pip and Flinx?) books, the humanx stuff, and some of his early Star Wars tie-ins (Splinter of the Minds Eye comes to mind, I think that was him). I tend to put him in the same category, perhaps unfairly, as Kevin Anderson...sharecropper.



I enjoy surreal as well as funky philosophy if it is done well. You should try Tim Powers and Blaylock (if you haven't already) or Neal Gaimen who should never have wasted time on comics (which were good) because he is much, much better with his novels (American Gods and Anansi Boys are two of his best).

It has been a long time since Ive read Sturgeon and while I liked some of his ideas and the way he said them his stories didnt stay with me. Disch I tried and didnt like and Phillip K. Dick, I've read more about him than I've read of his writing. What I did read I didn't care for, which is sad because from what I understand he was truly insane and that can result in some memorable writing (or not in the case of Heinlein and his descent into madness and bad fiction).

For funky and surreal I like a number of non-sf/fantasy writers. Hesse, Pynchon, Salinger, Kerouac, Kesey. Huxley, Dalmas (though he also writes SF) Shea & Wilson, Kafka, Dusty-Evsky the Russian cowboy...

I do think you are giving Foster a bad rap. He can be a decent writer, but he also writes for the bucks sometimes, especially novelizations. I found Splinter of the Minds Eye (the first Star Wars novel, and one that took a completely different spin on the first movie) to be a good book, and some of his other novels are decent as well, Icerigger comes to mind, and in the same setting Mission to Moulekon (sp). I think he is worlds better than Anderson  could ever hope to be, though not what I'd call a great writer by any means.

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:10 pm 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:
That's Sir Terry Pratchett, knave!

Intentionally Being able to write humor is a rare, rare gift. For some reason British writers received more than their fair share.


:lol: Humble apologies! :)

But surely not as many as the Germans...


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