Favorite fantasy/sci-fi literature other than Tolkien
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:44 pm 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:
Do you mean Crystal Singer? Mary Stewart wrote The Crystal Cave (an Arthurian novel, isn't it where Merlin is imprisoned?)


No, I just mixed up the names of two authors who are very similar in my mind.

I meant Mary Stewart, author of the series about Merlin, The Crystal Cave, the Hollow Hills, etc..


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:13 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:Reading this thread takes me back to the days when I had spare time.  :D


Reading this thread means you have spare time! :lol:

  


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:19 pm 
 

I think I'm finally starting to like some of the people on these boards.
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Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:52 pm 
 

jasonw1239 wrote:I truly pity the people that only know Starship Troopers through the movie(s) and not the book.
That Avalon Hill Starship Troopers board game was interesting, but it has been over 20 years since I played it.


Oh my god I completely forgot about Starship Troopers.  While the movie was entertaining, if you had read the book prior, you would amost feel it was spit upon by the folks responsible for the film.

In no way should they be compared.  The book, while not a masterpiece, is compelling.  The movie is nothing more than bubblegum entertainment.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:41 pm 
 

stylean wrote:
Oh my god I completely forgot about Starship Troopers.  While the movie was entertaining, if you had read the book prior, you would amost feel it was spit upon by the folks responsible for the film.

In no way should they be compared.  The book, while not a masterpiece, is compelling.  The movie is nothing more than bubblegum entertainment.



That is a big matter of opinion. Starship Troopers the book by Heinlein is very much a masterpiece, much better than his Stranger in a Strange Land (and his seeming descent into madness where each of his books became crazier and unfortunately, less interesting, afterwards).

In a very short novel Heinlein manages to entertain and express his views on politics and social responsibility. Some of his ideas are extremely interesting.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:07 am 
 

I've been partial to Christopher Priest on the sci-fi front ever since I was introduced to him via Inverted World.  That book is just insane brilliance, especially since the very last word in the book delivers a brilliant revelation about the fate of the main character which blows your socks off if you notice it.

Douglas Adams too, for obvious reasons.  Especially the Dirk Gently books, which are still so brain-twisting to my noggin that I can read them again and again and still be surprised by what happens at the end.

Sadly I find myself unable to abide most fantasy novels, especially the forest-destroying "epic" series that make me pray for e-books to take over the industry sooner rather than later just so that we can all keep breathing.  Martin, Jordan, Goodkind: all blowhards who need(ed) a darn good rap on the knuckles from an editor who isn't afraid to say, "If you need more than 3 books, 5 years, or 1,800 pages to tell your story, then you need to cut all the extraneous crap out and just tell your story."[/i]

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:44 pm 
 

MichaelC wrote:Douglas Adams too, for obvious reasons.  Especially the Dirk Gently books, which are still so brain-twisting to my noggin that I can read them again and again and still be surprised by what happens at the end.


I'm a big fan of the Dirk Gently books, too, especially The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. A little bit like Gaiman's American Gods except not nearly so self-serious.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:49 pm 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:That is a big matter of opinion. Starship Troopers the book by Heinlein is very much a masterpiece, much better than his Stranger in a Strange Land (and his seeming descent into madness where each of his books became crazier and unfortunately, less interesting, afterwards).

In a very short novel Heinlein manages to entertain and express his views on politics and social responsibility. Some of his ideas are extremely interesting.


For once you and I agree completely on something scifi related :). Heinlein's early stuff (even his "juveniles") is far superior to the extended adventure into sexual self-revelation that his later career became. While I'm not especially sanguine about his political views, while disagreeing with the underlying assumptions expressed in Troopers or Puppet Masters I can still enjoy the story, while books like I Will Fear No Evil or Time Enough for Love (IMO) were just self-indulgent incest orgy immortality fantasies.

And of course The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is a work of genius.


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Post Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:13 am 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Dirk Gently books, too, especially The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. A little bit like Gaiman's American Gods except not nearly so self-serious.


I like Gaimen a great deal, but I think the Dirk Gently books are a cut above his work.


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Post Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:16 am 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:
For once you and I agree completely on something scifi related :). Heinlein's early stuff (even his "juveniles") is far superior to the extended adventure into sexual self-revelation that his later career became. While I'm not especially sanguine about his political views, while disagreeing with the underlying assumptions expressed in Troopers or Puppet Masters I can still enjoy the story, while books like I Will Fear No Evil or Time Enough for Love (IMO) were just self-indulgent incest orgy immortality fantasies.

And of course The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is a work of genius.


Just reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress again and I will be going through a bunch of Heinlein this fall since it is a long while since I read him. His early works are great, many are some of the best sci-fi written, though I think Puppet Masters shows something of his fall into madness (paranoid-schizo tendencies maybe?).


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Post Posted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:37 am 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:
Just reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress again and I will be going through a bunch of Heinlein this fall since it is a long while since I read him. His early works are great, many are some of the best sci-fi written, though I think Puppet Masters shows something of his fall into madness (paranoid-schizo tendencies maybe?).


I need to read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress again soon; it's been too long (like 20 years). Puppet Masters seems to me like typical Commie-scare fare, though he takes the theme a bit far, for sure. I'd love to read it as genre self-parody (like "Hitler's"/Spinrad's Lord of the Swastika/The Iron Dream :)), but I'm afraid RAH wasn't quite as in touch with himself as all that.


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:21 pm 
 

bump

Has anyone read much James Blish? I read a few of his Star Trek "novelizations" a while back, and they were okay. I've just started the "Cities in Flight" tetralogy, and I'm having a hard time getting into it--seems a bit dry. He strikes me as a cross between a sober (i.e., boring) Alfie Bester, and a less intensely ideological (i.e., boring) RAH. I'm only about 15 pages in, though. I assume I need to give him a few more pages to hook me, but usually if I'm going to like something I do by then. Any thoughts?


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:35 pm 
 

I read his short story, More Light, which takes a shot at what might happen if someone read the play, The King in Yellow.  Blish gives his idea of a partial text of the play.

It was interesting.


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Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:06 pm 
 

Ooh, sounds interesting. I like Chambers. I might have to look that one up even if I toss the flying cities book. Was it in an anthology of some sort?


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:59 pm 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:Ooh, sounds interesting. I like Chambers. I might have to look that one up even if I toss the flying cities book. Was it in an anthology of some sort?


If you like Chambers try to locate "River of Night's Dreaming" by Karl Edward Wagner.  It has been heavily anthologized so you should find it somewhere. A girl being held in a mental facility escapes after a transport crash, swims to safety, and takes shelter in a decaying mansion where two woman live.  The other two women (like herself) have names of characters in the play "The King in Yellow". And then things get REALLY weird.....

I wasn't too fond of Blish's story "More Light".  I think any text that attempts to describe an "indescribable" text (like The King in Yellow, or The Necronimicon) just cannot do the thing justice.

I believe the Chaosium collection "The Hastur Cycle" has both Blish's and Wagner's story within.

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:38 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:I believe the Chaosium collection "The Hastur Cycle" has both Blish's and Wagner's story within.

Mike B.


Search around for The Hastur Cycle.  The asking price varies widely...from a little to a whole lot.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:36 pm 
 

Thanks, both of you. I came across The Hastur Cycle book on the Internet while searching for the Blish story last night. I'll add it to my "wish list" and get it at some point.


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:10 pm 
 

If you get The Hastur Cycle, don't miss reading River of Night's Dreaming by Karl Edward Wagner.

It is a product of Wagner's late senility as a writer...with a touch of the pornographic so common to senile fantasy writers...but it is easily the best King in Yellow story and it stands out as one of Wagner's best short stories overall.


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Post Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:35 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:If you get The Hastur Cycle, don't miss reading River of Night's Dreaming by Karl Edward Wagner.

It is a product of Wagner's late senility as a writer...with a touch of the pornographic so common to senile fantasy writers...but it is easily the best King in Yellow story and it stands out as one of Wagner's best short stories overall.




Amazon reviews of The Hastur Cycle are here:



. . . http://www.amazon.com/Hastur-Cycle-Cthu ... ll_helpful

  

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Post Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:01 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:

Amazon reviews of The Hastur Cycle are here:

. . . http://www.amazon.com/Hastur-Cycle-Cthu ... ll_helpful




Yeah, saw those. They don't exactly inspire confidence in the quality of the book. I was already aware that Bierce's contribution to the whole "Hastur" phenomenon was basically just a couple of names, later picked up by Chambers, and that HPL's mention of him in "The Whisperer in Darkness" is another simple name-drop (along with Tsathoggua, and like "Crom-Ya" in "Shadow Out of Time")--just evoking atmosphere and giving nods to writers he admired. The Wagner and Blish stories seem to be somewhat forced "expansions" of the theme. It's still on my list, but not high on it.


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