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Old Masters of Science Fiction
#11  Luffy 01-27-2020, 07:20 AM
Quote drofgnal
Sci Fi is not my favorite genre by any stretch. I did like Wool by Hugh Howey, however, and I like post apocalyptic books even less than Sci-Fi. As I stated in the other thread, I don't go much for Heinlen's Starship Troopers. I did read the original Planet of the Apes. That was pretty good and a definite twist from the movie. I also Enjoyed some of the Star Wars books. The original Thrawn Trilogy by Zahn, and the Hans Solo Trilogy by Crispin. '

Some other recent reads were the The Three Body Problem by Liu. I read it after reading that it was on Obama's summer reading list one year. He called it 'wildly imaginative'. I read the sequels of the trilogy as well. The second was good, the third I had to kind of slog though. Howey's Molly Fyde Series was pretty good, a quick read. I read 2001, just so I could understand the movie somewhat. That was 40 years ago. Ender's Game, I just had to put down after 75 pages and quit. And lastly I did like the Old Man's War Series by Scalzi, it being more a comedy than sci-fi. I bought Hal Space Jock, a comedy series as well, haven't got around to reading it.
I'm genuinely intrigued. What is you favorite genre? For me it's cozy mysteries. I too cannot enjoy a lot of sci fi.
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#12  pwalker8 01-27-2020, 07:57 AM
Quote drofgnal
Sci Fi is not my favorite genre by any stretch. I did like Wool by Hugh Howey, however, and I like post apocalyptic books even less than Sci-Fi. As I stated in the other thread, I don't go much for Heinlen's Starship Troopers. I did read the original Planet of the Apes. That was pretty good and a definite twist from the movie. I also Enjoyed some of the Star Wars books. The original Thrawn Trilogy by Zahn, and the Hans Solo Trilogy by Crispin. '

Some other recent reads were the The Three Body Problem by Liu. I read it after reading that it was on Obama's summer reading list one year. He called it 'wildly imaginative'. I read the sequels of the trilogy as well. The second was good, the third I had to kind of slog though. Howey's Molly Fyde Series was pretty good, a quick read. I read 2001, just so I could understand the movie somewhat. That was 40 years ago. Ender's Game, I just had to put down after 75 pages and quit. And lastly I did like the Old Man's War Series by Scalzi, it being more a comedy than sci-fi. I bought Hal Space Jock, a comedy series as well, haven't got around to reading it.
Sigh, I feel old. It's pretty hard for me to consider anything written after I graduated from college as "Old Masters"
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#13  pwalker8 01-27-2020, 08:04 AM
Quote hobnail
An interesting topic. At some point in my early adulthood I transitioned from science fiction to fantasy. Years later I theorized that it was because as I got older I was more knowledgeable about technology and was therefore less impressed by the ideas they were exploring. And then years after that I've come to the conclusion that it was due to wanting stories that were character centric rather than idea or plot centric. That's probably also why I read almost exclusively science fiction short stories rather than novels; you often don't need a whole novel to explore an idea, and then short stories tend to be weak on character development which is also probably why I transitioned to fantasy.

This topic makes me wonder what science fiction books I've read that had good character development and made me care about the character(s). At the moment all I can think of is Dune, by Frank Herbert; I should try rereading that. I remember really loving Zelazny's Jack of Shadows and I tried re-reading it recently but found it weak on making me care about the character. Likewise with World of Tiers by Farmer.
Zelazny was part of a group of authors from the 60's who had what I would call more of a metaphysical focus, rather than a character focus. Moorcock was much the same way. It's kind of like watching some of the early James Bond movies. Characters smoked and drank a lot, were somewhat detached, ironic and were much more interested in abstract speculation than they were in what they were feeling. It was a style of writing popular back then. You weren't suppose to care all that much about the character. There was little likable about Jack of Shadows, which was kind of the point.
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#14  pwalker8 01-27-2020, 08:10 AM
Quote Greg Anos
One of the joys of the old S/F is the "when the world was young" sense of the times they were written in.

Let me give an example from Heinlein.

One of the Juveniles is Time For The Stars. A pair of twins acting as telepathic communications for a sub-light exploration of nearer stars, looking for habitual worlds. A valid premise in 1956. Today. its a joke! Within 50 years, if we bother, we will have mapped all the nearer stars' planets from the comfort of our own solar system. No need for exploration ships into the "unknown".

Who'd have thunk that in the mid 1950's?

Now obsolete, but still entertaining.

Today, there are fewer and fewer "reaches" for the imagination. We've already looked at so many former ones.
One of the oddities of early Heinlien is that his future books still had slide rules and human calculators in them. He predicted the personal mobile phone, but not the smart phone or small computer. Of course, his later books did have computers. A self aware computer is at the heart of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
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#15  pwalker8 01-27-2020, 08:31 AM
When I think "Old Masters" I tend to think of the SF writers who got their start prior to 1960, rather than those who mostly wrote in the 60's, 70's and 80's. I tend to think of writers like Heinlien, Azimov, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Poul Anderson, Tolkien, Andre Norton, Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp. Of course, if you want to go real old school, there were the writers who wrote in the 1890-1930's - Eddison, Haggard, William Morris and Lord Dunsany.

There was another wave of writers who got their start in the 60's - Zelazny, Moorcock, Gordon Dickson, Anne McCaffrey to name some.
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#16  Dr. Drib 01-27-2020, 11:42 AM
What??!!

No one has mentioned A.E. Van Vogt?

Slan?
Space Beagle?
The Weapon Shops?
The Weapon Makers?
The Book of Ptath?
The Players of Null-A?


Truly, I must be living in an alternate universe.
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#17  GlennD 01-27-2020, 12:47 PM
Heinlein remains my favorite science fiction author after all these years, with Starship Troopers being my favorite book (I HATED the movie of course ). I agree with the assessment of his later writing though. I didn't care much for Stranger in a Strange Land, and enjoyed Time Enough for Love right up to the point when Lazarus time traveled to sleep with his mother. Much of his writing after that (apart from Friday) needed an editor or just a "NO".
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#18  GlennD 01-27-2020, 12:48 PM
Quote Dr. Drib
What??!!

No one has mentioned A.E. Van Vogt?

Slan?
Space Beagle?
The Weapon Shops?
The Weapon Makers?
The Book of Ptath?
The Players of Null-A?


Truly, I must be living in an alternate universe.
I must admit I've never read any of his books.
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#19  william z 01-27-2020, 01:00 PM
No one has mentioned C. M. Kornbluth or Frederic Brown who were my favorite sci-fi authors when I was a teenager in the 1950's and science fiction pulp mags were still around.
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#20  pwalker8 01-27-2020, 01:00 PM
Quote Dr. Drib
What??!!

No one has mentioned A.E. Van Vogt?

Slan?
Space Beagle?
The Weapon Shops?
The Weapon Makers?
The Book of Ptath?
The Players of Null-A?


Truly, I must be living in an alternate universe.
I tend to put Van Vogt in a group of SF writers who wrote important books, but for various reasons, didn't remain as popular as writers like Asimov and Heinlein did. Van Vogt, Piper, Doc Smith all fall into this category for me. There are a bunch of well known names in this group.

If we want to add in Fantasy, then one should add in Robert Howard and H.P. Lovecraft. I have a Cthulhu for President, why settle for the lesser of two evils t-shirt. It's always interesting to see who laughs when they see it and who gives me the "I don't get it" look.
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