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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 could never get into Dune.  Didn't hate it.  It elicited no response.

Tried to read it on three occasions, due to the immense hype.

Each time, the words just lay there, so eventually, I let them.

 

Jules Verne was similar.  Heard the hype, tried it out.

nada, zip, zilch. 

 

C'est la vie.

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28 minutes ago, silent thunder said:

I could never get into Dune.  Didn't hate it.  It elicited no response.

Tried to read it on three occasions, due to the immense hype.

Each time, the words just lay there, so eventually, I let them.

 

Jules Verne was similar.  Heard the hype, tried it out.

nada, zip, zilch. 

 

C'est la vie.

 

You sure you're not my separated twin?  We consistently seem to like and dislike alike. :) 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

 

You sure you're not my separated twin?  We consistently seem to like and dislike alike. :) 

It's really striking, how much we cross over... on so many topics.

Particularly some of the fringe topics, (mandela effect, your descriptions of Ayahuasca and interdimensional beings)

Much Love Sis!

Edited by silent thunder
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On ‎7‎/‎14‎/‎2020 at 5:26 PM, Taomeow said:

 

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. 

 

I know they are in translation because my brother read some of it when we were kids and he kept saying how great it was. He mentioned something about aliens in white submarines... does that ring a bell?

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Posted (edited)

I could probably talk endlessly on this thread but I'll just list some of my favorites-

 

The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K Dick

The Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories of Fritz Leiber

Clark Ashton Smith, especially his decadent Xothique tales/ prose poems

Angela Carter's short stories, especially The Bloody Chamber collection

Pu Songling's Liaozhai Zhiyi

Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Out of Time, and the Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

Lord Dunsany stories and his novel The King of Elfland's Daughter

Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun

Robert E Howard's Conan stories

Short stories of Nikolai Gogol

The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov

 

And, if fairy tales and folklore count, I could list lots more stuff. My single favorite probably being Padraic Colum's Irish fairy tale novel The King of Ireland's Son

Edited by SirPalomides
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19 hours ago, silent thunder said:

I could never get into Dune.  Didn't hate it.  It elicited no response.

Tried to read it on three occasions, due to the immense hype.

Each time, the words just lay there, so eventually, I let them.

 

 

I loved Dune but I would not say Frank Herbert is a fine prose stylist. His writing is... functional. His imagination and attention to detail in his world are superb and that's what makes the book worthwhile for me.

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20 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

 

I know they are in translation because my brother read some of it when we were kids and he kept saying how great it was. He mentioned something about aliens in white submarines... does that ring a bell?


I got a lot of Strugatsky books too. I’ll check which one, but it sounds like one of the movie adaptations too.

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Posted (edited)

@SirPalomides Wow, that was pretty random.  It's weird how kids remember things forever, even totally out of context.  I was mesmerized for years by the idea of the terrible Red Flower which came from a snippet of some theatrical show on TV I saw a fragment of when I was, like, 4, and only years later discovered it was the image of fire from Mowgli!  That creature explaining about the Red Flower in the play was clad in something that also seemed like scary alien attire -- turned out she was supposed to be Bagheera.    

 

 There were white submarines in an episode in the 1969 novel, one of my favorite, which as google seems to know was translated twice, under the made-up title Prisoners of Power and then under its real title, The Inhabited Island.  The "aliens" were fascists, a triumphant fascist Island Empire which is in the background of the story of the planet Saraksh where the main protagonist, a man from the happy Earth of the Strugatsky style future, gets stuck and then deeply involved in the tragic local struggles against the warring totalitarian monsters the local societies had turned into.  The book was spooky prophetic, and possibly more accurate in its predictions of the future than 1984.  The purportedly alien planet Saraksh under investigation was in reality one possible version of the way events on our planet could pan out.  (And, sadly, did -- our world today is even more like Saraksh than it was then.)

Edited by Taomeow
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Ah, thank you. Yes, he said something about how the crews of the submarine were somehow horrifyingly monstrous. The whole concept sounded so wonderfully strange.

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On the subject of hard-to-get-into fantasy classics, if anyone has had trouble getting through the Iliad, I highly, highly recommend John Dolan's funny, rambunctious, highly entertaining prose translation.

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I'm halfway through rereading the Malazan series, its made me cry and laugh out loud. Its deprived me of sleep so many times but I don't care because its still the greatest fantasy series ever written.

 

Close second has to be the Prince of Nothing trilogy and the sequel series the Aspect Emperor, which has prose so beautiful it could be poetry and characters so monstrous it makes you flinch to read what they do. 

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8 minutes ago, Vajra Fist said:

I'm halfway through rereading the Malazan series, its made me cry and laugh out loud. Its deprived me of sleep so many times but I don't care because its still the greatest fantasy series ever written.

 

Close second has to be the Prince of Nothing trilogy and the sequel series the Aspect Emperor, which has prose so beautiful it could be poetry and characters so monstrous it makes you flinch to read what they do. 

Malazan is intriguing...  It sounds similar in scope, breadth and level of world detail to Terry Goodkind's: Sword of Truth series and Robert Jordan's: Wheel of Time saga.

 

I devoured both of those series in similarly devoted, sleep bending fashion while living in Brooklyn in the 90's.  They were constant companions on tube rides and fire escape reading sessions.  Though reading them back to back, caused some cross-over of details where they have now, become relegated in memory to something of a parallel universe experience for me, the two tales and sets of characters merging into one massive double world.

 

They came at the right time for me, I don't think I could get through them now, but thoroughly relished them at the time.

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1 hour ago, silent thunder said:

Malazan is intriguing...  It sounds similar in scope, breadth and level of world detail to Terry Goodkind's: Sword of Truth series and Robert Jordan's: Wheel of Time saga.

 

I devoured both of those series in similarly devoted, sleep bending fashion while living in Brooklyn in the 90's.  They were constant companions on tube rides and fire escape reading sessions.  Though reading them back to back, caused some cross-over of details where they have now, become relegated in memory to something of a parallel universe experience for me, the two tales and sets of characters merging into one massive double world.

 

They came at the right time for me, I don't think I could get through them now, but thoroughly relished them at the time.

 

Definitely similar in scope, although I definitely found the characters in Malazan series more relatable. Never once felt like a slog which Wheel of Time did in the end. I've never heard of Sword of Truth but looks well regarded. Twenty one books though! 

 

 

 

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And even though Jorge Luis Borges is on my list, and Stanislaw Lem's everything including the monumental Summa Technologiae,

 

I have to confess that I also gobbled up all of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman.  A friend who was being instructed by me in the arts of the I Ching gave me the first trilogy as a present, with a disclaimer -- "it's basically a children's book... but you need to read it."  I'd say on a whole lot of very dark levels it's not a children's book at all, but well-executed books can occasionally (actually often) have this going -- they might appeal to a range of readers' ages for entirely different reasons.  Besides, when the main protagonist is a little girl with a version of my own childhood spirit, I can't resist.  (I even read The Game of Thrones -- chiefly because of Arya Stark.)  

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I read a fair amount of young adult/ kid literature, there’s quite a lot of good stuff out there that holds up for adults.

 

However the Narnia series does not IMO.

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The Earthsea series is a children’s series and fantastic, as is the InterWorld series, Thief of Always, Coraline, and a lot of children’s books exposed me to cultures and ideas I loved from China to Native Americans to Russian and Jewish folktales... Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins comes to mind.

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For an Asian biopunk book, Paolo Bacigalupi and his first novel, The Windup Girl, is fantastic.

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Now if anyone enjoyed the Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake...

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The 'Culture' books by Iain M Banks are quite immersive and I used to love Samuel Delany especially Nova and the Jewels of Aptor ... and Stars in his Pocket Like Grains of Sand.

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Borges!!!

His Dark Materials - loved it

 

Another favorite of mine -

Naked Lunch  William S Burroughs

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Wuxia novels of Louis Cha!  The Deer and the Cauldron, The Book and the Sword, The Legend of the Condor Heroes... "Excellent kungfu!"  as Trinket Wei used to say ))

 

 

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Eternal Champion series of Michael Moorcock and especially Behold the Man, Breakfast in the Ruins, Elric, Corum, Jerry Cornelius...

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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I like to have a good fantasy book on hand to read for an hour or so in the evening and there’s many titles here I’ve never heard of. I will check some of them out at my leisure.  I have a great liking for quality, character driven fantasy that resonates with aspects of my own experience, especially paranormal experiences. I like the magic systems to be explorations of the use and abuse actual siddhis, not something totally made up. (Science fiction with its focus on technological enhancement doesn’t usually appeal to me.)

 

For both character development and magic systems, by far my favourites are Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series of books:

 

The Farseer Trilogy

Assassin's Apprentice (1995)

Royal Assassin (1996)

Assassin's Quest (1997)

 

The Tawny Man Trilogy

Fool's Errand (2001)

The Golden Fool (2002)

Fool's Fate (2003)

 

The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy

Fool's Assassin (2014)

Fool's Quest (2015)

Assassin's Fate (2017)

 

And a few other books that come to mind of the many that I’ve liked when I read them:

 

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Also his latest Lyra centred story is excellent: The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two. (But Volume One: La Belle Sauvage is very mediocre.)

 

Zoe Reed: Breaking Legacies

 

Kristin Cashore:  Graceling and Fire.

 

Lian Hearn: The Tale of Shikanoko (Published in either 2 or 4 volumes as a prequel to her more popular Tales of the Otori series.)

 

Anne Bishop: The Black Jewels trilogy

 

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20 hours ago, Earl Grey said:

Now if anyone enjoyed the Gormenghast series by Mervyn Peake...


I tried reading in my teens, didn’t make it through the first book. Though oddly I remember liking what I read. I think I was overly depressed at the time and didn’t have a good attention span. 
 

On a side note I have a copy of The Hunting of the Snark with Mervyn Peake’s illustrations and they’re great.

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