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Old 02-14-2013, 10:40 AM   #256
crich70
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The Time Machine is not alternate history.
I didn't say it was. Wells was concerned with the division of the classes as it was in his day and what it could lead to in the future. In that way he wrote social SF rather than one dependent upon a lot of gadgets. He does have gadgets being mentioned (in the scenes in the museum) but very little technical detail is given about what man had achieved between the present and the time when the time traveller came from.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:44 PM   #257
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Some "alternate history" is not sf; it can just be historical fiction.

If you think about it, it's interesting why "Guns of the South" is classified as (and feels like) alternate history and not time travel, even though, schematically, it involves a group of people who travel from the future to the past and use their advanced technology and knowledge to try and change the past. Conceptually, it seems very similar to "Lest Darkness Fall" (from the 30's) and the numerous time-travel stories that followed.

But I think what makes it different is the focus. "Lest Darkness Fall" (and the H.Beam Piper stories, and "Doomsday," and most traditional TT works tend to focus on the time-traveler him or herself. In "Guns of the South," the perspective is from the past and the protagonists are the confederates of that period, with the time-travelers being very minor characters. That distinction isn't always easy to draw (I'm not sure where I would put 1632, really), but I think it is meaningful for GotS.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:28 PM   #258
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That distinction isn't always easy to draw (I'm not sure where I would put 1632, really), but I think it is meaningful for GotS.
1632 is really political commentary at heart.

But I see it as SF because:
1- Time travel is essential to the story
2- the impact of technology upon society is a key element to most of the stories in the series

And I agree that Guns of the South and 163x are very much in the same vein as LEST DARKNESS FALL which nobody has ever doubted was SF. So is the Conrad Stargard series. And Axis of time. Time travel plus tech impact on society are both common SF tropes and I see no reason why the society being impacted by the technology disruption *has* to be either alien or a future society.

Put another way: Heinlein said that there were four ways to build a SF story, and one of them was "what if". So why shouldn't SF encompass a story that says: "What if you transplanted 20th century tech and political thought to 17th century central europe?"

A lot of time travel stories deal with the question of whether or not you can change the past. Well, alternate histories built around time travel explore that same concept but in full detail. They say; "Yes you can and if you could, this might happen."

SF stories can take place in any time period: present, future, or past.
(Because they always *have*.)
And, when you get down to it, they *all* take place in alternate histories.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:38 PM   #259
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Consider his era. You can't compare his writing to modern writing, things have changed both in the SF world and in our culture.

And Asimove was never particularly a character-driven author; he mostly dealt with Ideas.

For it's time, Foundation was revolutionary.
Ditto.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:59 AM   #260
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I was introduced to sci fi in the 60s and early 70s by the Big 3. I've reread many of those early books and yes they are very dated. But I've also read Edgar Rice Burroughs Lin Carter (can you call him sci fi) and Jules Verne, also even more dated. I loved Dune and have read all the new ones too, not up to par with the old man, but enjoyed them nonetheless. You can't read a book forgetting its times.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:11 AM   #261
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Welcome to MR imrod.

Some books and stories do stand the test of time better than others.
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Old 12-30-2013, 11:56 AM   #262
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Spoiler:
I finally got the "Great" Foundation series
by Isaac Asimov for my, then new, Kindle fire.
HORRIBLE just... HORRIBLE!!!


Have you considered the fact that it is YOUR TASTES and not the author that is the problem here? NO AUTHOR, not matter how wonderful or popular, is going to appeal to everybody. You complain of 'flat characters', but honestly, I think he did enough characterization for his main characters. I don't see what your problem is. The reality is that it is the story that attracted and has kept readers all these years. You clearly have a different expectation on how a writer should present characters. I'm more interested in a story that keeps my attention.

I don't think Asimov was overrated at all - his books sold in the millions and CONTINUE to sell long after his death because readers love his stories. He was also a prolific writer. When you consider that most of his books were individual novels, not part of a series, that says something for his creativity as well. Perhaps a good focus for you would be to find underrated writers.

My suggestion is to go to your Kindle account and request a refund if you haven't passed the time limit yet.

edited to add: If it helps any, I only like a few of Asimov's works. I mostly like the science fiction mag that bears his name. Also, MANY sci fi authors, even current today, replace 'God' with some other epithet. Anne McCaffrey's Pern used terms such as "by The Egg" or other such things to relate to the belief systems of her characters. Believe me, curses and blessings do change, even over the course of only 100 years.

Last edited by Tarana; 12-30-2013 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:06 PM   #263
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Originally Posted by Tarana View Post
Spoiler:
I finally got the "Great" Foundation series
by Isaac Asimov for my, then new, Kindle fire.
HORRIBLE just... HORRIBLE!!!


Have you considered the fact that it is YOUR TASTES and not the author that is the problem here?
Do you really think the OP is going to care, more than a year after posting?
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Old 12-30-2013, 12:07 PM   #264
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Do you really think the OP is going to care, more than a year after posting?
Probably not, but maybe....he did seem quite 'hung up' on the issue.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:00 PM   #265
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Talking

I should finally start reading the 'Foundation' series since it's on my backlog for such a long time already...
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:02 PM   #266
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^It's not getting any fresher.
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:08 PM   #267
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Right, it just will become more 'outdated' to use OP's words...
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:24 PM   #268
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Ah but it's just like fine wine! Mmmmmmm.....
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Old 12-30-2013, 03:29 PM   #269
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Right, it just will become more 'outdated' to use OP's words...
Definitely adding to the campiness score. A definite win.
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:31 PM   #270
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I should finally start reading the 'Foundation' series since it's on my backlog for such a long time already...
My favourite books of all time. I have read the series about 7 times over the years and love it every time ... though I actually rarely ever reread books. However like all readers, it depends on your tastes and expectations. Asimov is not into fantasy; he doesn't include alien beings, on the whole, in his writing, and he concentrates on relationship rather than technology.
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