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Old 03-26-2008, 04:44 PM   #16
DMcCunney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DixieGal View Post
Thanks for correcting my spelling - and feel free to keep proofreading for me!
You're welcome. I made that same mistake in a flyer advertising Chip as a GoH at a convention years ago. No one caught it, till a local fan walked into a bookstore where copies had been left, looked, and said "You misspelled Delany's name!" Oops...

Quote:
I've never heard of Time as a Helix... but will try to find a copy.
It's widely anthologized:
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?40866
so it shouldn't be too hard to find.

It won the Nebula Award in 1969, as well as the Hugo.
______
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Old 04-12-2008, 03:01 AM   #17
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That list of 20 looks like it was written by someone fairly young. There's a huge gap there between the inevitable old classics that are always in print and books printed after 1979. I think the only reason I, Robot is listed is that the movie tie-in came out. I agree with the aformentioned Samuel R. Delany as one of the important ones. His Einstein Intersection certainly changed my life. Also seriously, seriously, seriously conspicuous by his absence is J.G. Ballard. On any list like that, I'd also include the Dangerous Visions anthology. Although it is a bit dated now, it shook things up at the time. Also missing is Harlan Ellison's "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman. Say what you will about Ellison as a person, that story rocks. Let's not forget the books that really did change people's lives too; books like Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and Herbert's Dune. I guess familiarity really does breed contempt. I'd also put Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination on any such list as well. And how can we forget Jack Vance's The Dying Earth? One book that I would be tempted to include that I only recently discovered right her on the forum is George MacDonald's Lilith. It was written as fantasy but he discusses concepts that science didn't discover until string theory.
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Old 04-12-2008, 04:47 AM   #18
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An interesting list, quite a few new to me so I look forward to checking them out.
My addition would be Huxley's 'Brave New World'. I read it in my early teens, and it really did change my life (reading the right book at the right time!).
It totally altered my conception of what it was to be human, the mind-blowing potential of technological advance, and the inimical role of politics in philosophy.
I put that book down a different person to the one who'd picked it up.

Last edited by Sparrow; 04-12-2008 at 04:50 AM.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:14 AM   #19
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Right, I'm just going to say it. It's Sunday night, and if anyone disagrees they'll hopefully only reply in a few hours time after the demons have settled down and my invisible friend, Adrian (the inadvertently violent gibbon) has stopped repeating everything I'm saying ("...everything I'm saying...") while tousling my hair like I'm the "baby brother" in this relationship and the voices that aren't in my head (they're in my fingers, and my left big toe) are no longer telling me to kill you all with bananas, and I will be normal and it will be Monday and I can apologise for my behaviour, so I'll just say...

"The Sparrow" is an interesting if slightly plain bit of "first contact" scifi covering for the fact that it's a "woe is me" tract for "like, you know, whatever"-type god-bothering teenagers who've read way too much (and yet not enough) Gerard Manley Hopkins and think "religion" means "Christianity [preferably RC like me, or at least like the RC I was born into] with a nod to Judaism" and that losing god is a worse fate that hating Him. It shows atheism only as a harmless, unthinking aside that naturally gets along with children really well, and tortures sexuality and love in twists of soap-opera-like confusion and angst and restraint (and heaven forbid "aberrant" sexuality be portrayed in anyone or in any way that is not violent, loathsome or "nobly" abstaining).

Fortunately for those who loved it, the author continued the themes through "Children of God", only progressing the plot (though, admittedly in the aforementioned "interesting" manner).

I read them through. I felt what I should feel. I can admire the author (and, at this point, I will cede that I can never put my own desired themes, yet alone plot, down on paper as well as her), but I still think that if "The Sparrow" changed your life, read something else and change it back. As someone once said, (or maybe it was that road sign I just passed sailing down the rampway onto the Bruce Motorway, one hand on the wheel, one hand tappin' away on the keyboard keeping up with my homies on MobileRead, singing along top-of-the-lungs-until-I-cough-up-blood my second-favourite band's - The The - Mercy Beat) "WRONG WAY. GO BACK."

I'll apologise tomorrow. I did think it (and the sequel) sucked though.

Cheers (mmm, cocktails.....)
Marc
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
NB: his last name has no "e" -- it's Delany.

Nova was a brilliant book. I'm also fond of Triton, and have wished someone would collect the "Notes towards the modular calculus" Chip had scattered through that volume as a seperate publication.

I wouldn't call liking Delany old fashioned. I'd call him one of the reigning masters of the field, as adept in shorter lengths (such as "Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-precious Stones", which garnered a Best Short Story Hugo Award in 1970) as in novels.

He's also a very nice guy in person, and fascinating to talk to.

I can't legitimately recommend all of his work. He did a porno novel called "The Tides of Lust" many years back which may be the most unerotic book I've ever read, and Dhalgren is best considered a literary experiment (though it was a cult item when published, with lots of folks discussing exactly what Delany was doing in that book.)

But for the most part, pick a Delany off the shelf and expect a good read.
______
Dennis
I remember receiving Dhalgren as a Christmas presentmany years ago from my little brother. I think that with the cover art on the paperback book he thought it was just another scifi book. I started reading it on Christmas Day, and if I recall rightly there was a scene early on in the book graphically describing a homo-erotic oral sex encounter that the hero of the book was engaging in. Since my tastes didn't veer in that direction (sixteen year old horny hetero teenager), I quickly put the book down and never picked it up again. Of course, to my brother's embarrassment and my parent's horror, I read out loud to everybody hanging out in the living room one particularly juicy passage that Christmas morning...
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Timoleon View Post
... Since my tastes didn't veer in that direction (sixteen year old horny hetero teenager), I quickly put the book down and never picked it up again. Of course, to my brother's embarrassment and my parent's horror, I read out loud to everybody hanging out in the living room one particularly juicy passage that Christmas morning...
My suppressed and guilty proclivities at a similar age did (and still do) veer that direction, and I read it at the same age as you.

I confess that I too initially put it down, for different reasons (embarrassment and shame and probably (self-)disgust), but I straight away picked it up again (for similar reasons - "sixteen year old horny...teenager") and I'm glad I did.

With this confession, however, must also come a professed need to read it again, without the intervening maelstrom of hormones.

I hope you've since apologised to your parents (imagine a grin-and-a-wink emoticon right here).

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:25 PM   #22
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care to list ?
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:59 PM   #23
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I would add Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End to any list of life-changing books. Slightly more current would be the Beggars in Spain trilogy by Nancy Kress. And even further back: H.G. Welles' War of the Worlds (not the movies, the book).

All of those books gave me profound perspective-shifts on life and humanity, more than any of the list of twenty (or any other books mentioned by others here).

Last one: Satan: His Psychoanalysis and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S. by Jeremy Levin.
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:06 PM   #24
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I think we should make a "20 supernatural horror novels" list too.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:22 AM   #25
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For my $0.02 --
  • Dune by Frank Herbert -- For my money, I think this book has had the biggest cultural impact. I'm currently listening to it as an audiobook. This is my third time through this particular volume, and every time I revisit it, I find more to be amazed with. The world building, the philosophy, the political intrigue, every bit of it is fascinating.
  • Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe -- This one could swing either way as either fantasy or science fiction. It feels like a fantasy world, but there are flying saucers and time travelers. This is probably the best example of a faulty 1st person narrator that I could imagine.
  • Faded Sun Trilogy by C.J. Cherryh -- She does such a great job building an alien culture. I read this as a young teen and it probably influenced my love of space opera quite a bit.
  • Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis -- I read Narnia when I was nine, and then my parents gave me this series as a follow-up because they knew how much I liked that. Totally different target audience, but I persisted, and it was quite rewarding.
  • Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle -- An excellent morality tale about racism and discrimination.
  • Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds -- I really liked this one. I'm a sucker for the unreliable narrator, and this one (combined with a really freaky ending) left quite the impression on my mind. I also liked the descriptive language he used describing posthumans.

I'm sure there's more.

I don't know if I'd consider Perdido Street Station on that list. It's solidly fantasy (I could do a really long fantasy list).

I do want to point out about Brin's Uplift books, the first trilogy is really rock solid, and should be held in the highest esteem. The second Uplift trilogy, though, shows a marked drop-off in quality. I never could get through it.
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:23 AM   #26
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i know i might be young and not appreciate all the old classic story's as i have not read them all (I'm working on it though) but the book that really got me reading in a big way was Ender's Game and then Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.

They really got my imagination going and since then science fiction and science (a vague term i know) as a field of study have been my main interest.

Also the way the two books are so different in settings and themes always impressed me.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:03 PM   #27
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Nice thread. I've been working on identifying quality SF, Fantasy books that are available for the Kindle. I base "quality" on the Hugo and Nebula awards, which most discussed here are recognized as such. I did this to A) find a good book in e-form for my kindle, and B) Get a sense of where the Kindle SF, Fantasy offerings are compared to print.

Here is the thread:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...870#post169870

The database has grown to 500+ books thus far (all hugo and nebula nominated books, including the "pre-hugos"), with maybe 25% available on the Kindle storefront. Ebooks aside though I had the data in my spreadsheet of these books and their awards so I wrote a quick macro to rank the authors by how many nominated or award winning books they have authored. The list is surprising:

(Most awarded authors, top 10 sorted most awarded first)
Lois McMaster Bujold
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Silverberg
Gene Wolfe
Orson Scott Card
David Brin
Ursula K. Le Guin
Isaac Asimov
Joe Haldeman
Poul Anderson


Poul Anderson made the top-10 and I did not even count his Niven-Anderson co-authored books which won or were nominated to quite a few awards.

Here are the top 19 books (I thought I had pasted 20, but oh well). Books are ranked by the number of nominations (one point each), and the number of actual wins (an extra point per win). So if a book wins the hugo and was nominated for the nebula, it gets a "3". I then sort them, highest is on top:

(Most awarded books, top 19)
American Gods, Neil Gaiman
Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
Dreamsnake, Vonda McIntyre
Dune, Frank Herbert
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
Forever Peace, Joe Haldeman
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Ringworld , Larry Niven
Speaker for the Dead, Orson Scott Card
Startide Rising, David Brin
The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
The Fountains of Paradise, Arthur C. Clarke
The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein



Note that of the 500+ books in the database, the top 20 most certainly won both awards I just lost that data when I posted in the original thread.
-d

Last edited by dugbug; 04-14-2008 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:20 PM   #28
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Nice thread. I've been working on identifying quality SF, Fantasy books that are available for the Kindle. I base "quality" on the Hugo and Nebula awards, which most discussed here are recognized as such. I did this to A) find a good book in e-form for my kindle, and B) Get a sense of where the Kindle SF, Fantasy offerings are compared to print.
You should look at all nominated book and you should look at the Clarke award also for "quality" books. I also think that the nominated or short listed books for the Nebula award have been "odd" these last years.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:33 PM   #29
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The database has grown to 500+ books thus far (all hugo and nebula nominated books, including the "pre-hugos"), ...
(Most awarded authors, top 10 sorted most awarded first)
.....
Here are the top 19 books (I thought I had pasted 20, but oh well). ...
I tend to disregard nominations as a sign of quality as it seems to me anyone could nominate anything. And people could have many motives to make a nomination.
But I could be wrong - it would be interesting to see the bottom 20 entries in such a database, and whether they are works still held in high regard.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:36 PM   #30
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Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five was definitely a mind-altering, and therefore life-changing, read for me. It may not classify as scifi by some people but it's a terrific and slightly bizarre book nonetheless. An amazing writer who kept me glued to his pages and constantly thinking. I could not help wondering what he would have been like if he hadn't lived through the Dresden firestorm. Sadly, Saturday was the first anniversary of his death.
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