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Science Fiction and Fantasy you love and hate from all times and all parts of the world

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I read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 at nine years old, it was a particularly difficult time in my life,, and that book fundamentally altered, my view of the world. I will always be thankful to him for that!

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, moment said:

I read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 at nine years old, it was a particularly difficult time in my life,, and that book fundamentally altered, my view of the world. I will always be thankful to him for that!

  

I read Bradbury when I was 12-13, and Fahrenheit 451 -- the temperature of burning books -- did the opposite in my case, to wit, ignited my lifelong interest in science fiction. 

 

What I love...  the list would be long.  All-time favorites are the Strugatsky brothers, but I've no idea if any good translations are in existence and worth checking out.  Some of their novels, aside from being masterpieces of sci-fi, are also masterpieces of literary Russian, and that translates very poorly, far as I know.  Lots of idiosyncratic humor and some of it doesn't translate at all.    

 

In their novels written in the 1960s -- 1980s they envisioned a future that was a bona fide utopia.  What can possibly be interesting plot-wise in a perfect world?  What can go wrong in a utopia?  Ah...  only everything.  That was the best part -- exploring all the things that could (and did) test human beings when the world was finally off their backs, when the burden of injustice, poverty, disease, war, mind-numbing, life-sucking work has been lifted.  And that's when the real men and women had a chance to emerge -- to find out who they are when they don't have to be at each other's throat for everything under the sun.  And that's when they became truly interesting.  Heroes and cowards, enchanted scientists and tragically reckless scientists, disillusioned immortals and contactees of a mysterious superior civilization whose goals, methods, and intentions remain fathomless, zoopsychologists psychologically "defecting" to the side of intelligent canines, and of course "special forces" who, for lack of engagement on Earth, attempt to intervene at other planets (which closely resemble Earth as we used to know it and as we know it today rather than the Earth of the authors' creative dreams that left all that shit behind).  And the painful conflicts of some but not all people evolving to be something else, something no longer human and immeasurably superior -- and not interested anymore in humanity they came from...  beginning with their loved ones, their families.  And tragedies -- human tragedies, not the money-power kind.  And hardly anywhere a happy ending -- nothing ends, we are not supposed to "end" anywhere, according to the brothers, we're an eternal beginning.      

Edited by Taomeow
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I read soooo much of it as a youth !

 

 

1:23:15

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Strugatsky Brothers!  They're at the top of the Sci Fi heap for me hands down, even translated.  Encountered them after seeing the Tarkovsky film Stalker about 20 years ago, which instantly became my favorite Sci Fi film of all time.  The book Roadside Picnic which inspired the film was amazing, but I suspect Taomeow is correct, compared to the film, which was subtitled over the native Russian and was lyrical and poetic throughout, the book's translation seemed more literal... still, I was gobsmacked by the story and world.  Instant fan for life of both Tarkovsky and The Stugatsky's.

 

I've always favored High Fantasy though and my two most influential authors are Fritz Lieber (Fafhrd/Grey Mouser Anthology) and JRR Tolkien.  Lieber has a small but fierce cult following and his seven books carry a unique style of phrasing that I've always treasured.  I found Lieber in the early 90's due to a friend who found out I enjoyed playing the old pen and paper rpg's like Dungeons and Dragons and Palladium.

 

The six or seven books by Lieber are credited as bulking up the early Sword and Sorcery genre.  Each of the six or seven books are collections of short stories that aside from the first, can be read in any order, most in a single sitting and come together over time acting as a chronicle of the lives of The Greatest Thieving Duo Nehwon had ever seen.  Fafhrd (pronounced Faf-heard) the Great Barbarian from the Snow Clans of the North, and his wily, slim companion known as The Grey Mouser who hails from the immense cities of the South.   They face living castles, cultists, hordes of the shadow realm, elder and younger gods, all while trying to skirt their duties to their two patron Wizards, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face.

 

Also have to mention Susan Cooper, whose The Dark is Rising series is the first I ever read at 10.  She set the stage for my love of fantasy.  I also was deeply impacted by Stephen King's The Shining.  Which of course led to Lovecraft...

Edited by silent thunder
spellin'
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A few loves:

 

Mary Doria Russell - The Sparrow and Children of God

Haruki Murakami - Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas

Hugh Howey - Wool trilogy

Jeff Long - The Descent

Katherine Dunn - Geek Love

Jeremy Levin - Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, JSPS

Liu Cixin - Remembrance of Earth’s Past (thanks TM)

Alan Moore - Voice of the Fire

Frank Herbert - Dune

Dan Simmons - Hyperion trilogy

Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Rita Indiana - Tentacle

Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange

Italo Calvino - If on a winter’s night a traveler 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, steve said:

Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I was listening to Neil read this on CD on my long commute home, finished it right before the lockdown.

 

Neil is amazing... and Haruki Murakami!  Pure lyrical genius.

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Posted (edited)

Mentioning Murakami puts me in mind of Tom Robbins and his book

 

416mm4-6chL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

I loved Robbins' nonlinear plot and use of a diary format to convey his views on religion in particular. Highly humorous, his commentary, as hilarious as it is scathing and deeply insightful throughout was nigh on perfect for me when I encountered it.  I used many excerpts from this book as powerhouse audition pieces in my acting daze.

 

brief summary: While unwittingly infiltrating a band of Catholic Monks who operate as assassins for the Pope, the main character stumbles down into the catacombs under the Vatican, revealing the ancient horde of secrets that lie at the heart of the Papacy and the Holy See, as well as the confiscations and the bodies of innumerable nuns and children...

 

Mercilessly scathing and hysterically critical.  Loved it.

Edited by silent thunder
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Posted (edited)

Rachel Pollack - Unquenchable Fire

Ursula K. Le Guin - The Left Hand of Darkness

Haruki Murakami - Kafka on the Shore

Neil Gaiman - Everything (comics, screenplays, and novels)

Alan Moore - Everything (same)

Grant Morrison - Everything (ditto)

Clive Barker - Imajica, Weaveworld, The Art Trilogy

Gene Wolfe - The Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun, The Book of the Short Sun, Peace, Latro in the Mist, Soldier of Sidion

China Mieville - Perdido Street Station, The Scar, Iron Council, The City and the City

Richard Matheson - What Dreams May Come

Orson Scott Card - Ender series, especially Ender's Game and the Shadow series, Speaker for the Dead

Frank Herbert - Dune series (what else?) but IGNORE ANYTHING MADE BY HIS SON!!!!!

Terry Pratchett - Discworld series

Piers Anthony - Incarnations of Immortality and Xanth series

Jonathan Carroll - The Answered Prayers Sextet and The Crane's View trilogy, The Land of Laughs, Voices of Our Shadow and pretty much everything else

Edited by Earl Grey
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8 minutes ago, silent thunder said:

Mentioning Murakami puts me in mind of Tom Robbins and his book

 

416mm4-6chL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

I loved Robbins' nonlinear plot and use of a diary format to convey his views on religion in particular. Highly humorous, his commentary, as hilarious as it is scathing and deeply insightful throughout was nigh on perfect for me when I encountered it.  I used many excerpts from this book as powerhouse audition pieces in my acting daze.

 

brief summary: While unwittingly infiltrating a band of Catholic Monks who operate as assassins for the Pope, the main character stumbles down into the catacombs under the Vatican, revealing the ancient horde of secrets that lie at the heart of the Papacy and the Holy See, as well as the confiscations and the bodies of innumerable nuns and children...

 

Mercilessly scathing and hysterically critical.  Loved it.

 

I think you would dig Tentacle.

 

I just started reading some short stories by Ted Chiang, very promising.

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39 minutes ago, Earl Grey said:

 

Ursula K. Le Guin 

Haruki Murakami 

Orson Scott Card

 

On my list too. :)

 

also, among others,

Margaret Atwood -- anything

and the surprise appearance of the non-G.O.T.  George R.R. Martin.  Tuf Voyaging.  

 

But since we're in a love/hate thread, I have to say it.  I will probably lose much street cred over this...  but I can't properly serve my sci fi gods if I embrace the demons.   

 

I hate Dune.  

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

 

On my list too. :)

 

also, among others,

Margaret Atwood -- anything

and the surprise appearance of the non-G.O.T.  George R.R. Martin.  Tuf Voyaging.  

 

But since we're in a love/hate thread, I have to say it.  I will probably lose much street cred over this...  but I can't properly serve my sci fi gods if I embrace the demons.   

 

I hate Dune.  

 

 

 

I read Handmaid's Tale in high school and it was a little too similar to reality at the time because this was before 9/11. Hated Oryx and Crake though because I had a similar relationship where I was the "snowman" in the friendship with my own Crake and have a hard time bringing myself to finish the Mad Adam trilogy. 

 

Don't know why you hate Dune, but to each their own. 

 

Haven't read much of Martin beyond Fevre Dream actually. 

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1 hour ago, Earl Grey said:

 

I read Handmaid's Tale in high school and it was a little too similar to reality at the time because this was before 9/11. Hated Oryx and Crake though because I had a similar relationship where I was the "snowman" in the friendship with my own Crake

 

Oryx and Crake is disturbingly similar to the current reality...  

...which brings to memory another one -- The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre...  it's not really sci-fi, though to those who get their picture of our reality from the telescreen it may seem like sci-fi -- but it was actually based on a true story that took place in Nigeria (and is currently taking place in West Africa on a much grander scale...  but don't let me digress.)  

 

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49 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

 

Oryx and Crake is disturbingly similar to the current reality...  

...which brings to memory another one -- The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre...  it's not really sci-fi, though to those who get their picture of our reality from the telescreen it may seem like sci-fi -- but it was actually based on a true story that took place in Nigeria (and is currently taking place in West Africa on a much grander scale...  but don't let me digress.)  

 


Agree with O&C assessment there.

 

Saw constant gardener type activity in some NGOs sadly when in Tanzania and Cambodia...

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Also I omitted Robert Anton Wilson in my list above because he‚Äôs not fiction. ūüėĀ¬†

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Anyone read the Expanse books - I've just binge watched the TV show to season 4 and wondered if its still worth reading the books.

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19 hours ago, Earl Grey said:

Also I omitted Robert Anton Wilson in my list above because he‚Äôs not fiction. ūüėĀ¬†

 

Masks Of the Illuminati is  not fiction  ?

 

Good !    I like the idea of James Joyce, Albert Einstein and Aleister Crowley  drinking together in a bar  (it sounds like the beginning of a good joke ) .

 

:)

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52 minutes ago, Nungali said:

Masks Of the Illuminati is  not fiction  ?

 

 

I'm being facetious because a lot of it is too good! :D 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, steve said:

Hated: Foucault’s Pendulum 

 

 

 I had a love-hate relationship with it.  And also with Liu Cixin's trilogy.

 

I just remembered that my first intro to sci fi was all of H.G. Wells, between the ages of 7 and 8.  Blew my mind. 

The Island of Dr.Moreau!!  I had the book on my lap and was reading it in class, the boy sitting next to me raised his hand and snitched on me to the teacher, the teacher confiscated the book just when the puma-woman escaped from the lab!!!  I channeled her and stabbed the snitch with a wooden pointer through the hand he had raised to snitch on me.  (I've learned to control my impulses much better since then.)   

     

Edited by Taomeow
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My earliest were

Verne - Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

HG Wells - War of the Worlds and The Time Machine

Mind blowing for a child

 

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22 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

 

 I had a love-hate relationship with it.  And also with Liu Cixin's trilogy.

 

I just remembered that my first intro to sci fi was all of H.G. Wells, between the ages of 7 and 8.  Blew my mind. 

The Island of Dr.Moreau!!  I had the book on my lap and was reading it in class, the boy sitting next to me raised his hand and snitched on me to the teacher, the teacher confiscated the book just when the puma-woman escaped from the lab!!!  I channeled her and stabbed the snitch with a wooden pointer through the hand he had raised to snitch on me.  (I've learned to control my impulses much better since then.)   

     

 

I had that same "DON'T BOTHER ME, IMBECILE" attitude when idiots in my school used to put their hands in my book when I was reading or grab it or slap the book out of my hand. My reaction time wasn't always fast enough, but it was enough to show people not to disturb me, a bookwyrm rather than a bookworm. 

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Mine, besides H.G.Wells, were the sci-fi novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The Lost World, The Poison Belt, The Maracot Deep.

Hated: most of Jules Verne

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5 minutes ago, Earl Grey said:

 

I had that same "DON'T BOTHER ME, IMBECILE" attitude when idiots in my school used to put their hands in my book when I was reading or grab it or slap the book out of my hand. My reaction time wasn't always fast enough, but it was enough to show people not to disturb me, a bookwyrm rather than a bookworm. 

 

Fun word.  I never let anyone get away with anything till I was 13-- and that's how I could get away with reading like a maniac without anyone even dreaming of counting me among the harmless bookworms.  Past 13 of course I had to use a totally different strategy.  It wasn't OK to fight anymore for a girl at that time in that place, you had to start learning docility and helplessness and weakness as part of feminine attractiveness and appropriateness. You couldn't defend yourself with your fists or all the knights in shining armor would have to file for unemployment. )) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I cant leave this one out of a SF thread

 

 

 

 

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