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Old 02-29-2008, 05:50 PM   #1
kilofox
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20 Sc-Fi Fiction Novels that will change your life

Twenty Sc-Fi Fiction Novels that will change your life.

Hummmm... life changing? I don't know about that, but definitely worth checking out. There are a few I need to look into.

Good starting list... how about some more????
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Old 02-29-2008, 06:41 PM   #2
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Twenty Sc-Fi Fiction Novels that will change your life.

Hummmm... life changing? I don't know about that, but definitely worth checking out. There are a few I need to look into.

Good starting list... how about some more????
I've read about half of them.

I'd actually recommend LeGuin's _The Left Hand of Darkness_ over _The Dispossessed_. And I wonder if the author of _Sparrow_ ever encountered the late James Blish's _A Case of Conscience_?

Oh, and the thumbnail plot description of _A Fire Upon the Deep_ made me wonder if we read the same book.

Others? Hmmm. Folks who haven't encountered them might like to try David Brin's "Uplift" series.

Humanity has developed FTL travel, and ventured out into the galaxy. It has also used genetic engineering to raise chimps and dolphins to human level intelligence.

It discovers that there is a galactic civilization. Intergalactic, in fact, encompassing five galaxies, and once, long ago, extending to fourteen.

The very first intelligent species to arise in the local cluster were the fabled Progenitors, several billion years ago. They achieved sentience and civilization, developed FTL travel, and went looking for other intelligent species. They didn't find any, since they were the first. They did find some worlds with species who could become sentient, with a little assistance, and they provided that assistance, and started a tradition that became known as Uplift, and grew and endured over billenia afterward. The Progenitors vanished long ago, but their memory and influence remains.

By the time humanity arrives on the scene, galactic civilization is based on Uplift. It is the closest thing to a religion the galaxies have. Every intelligent species in the galaxy has been "Uplifted" to sentience by a Patron race. Uplifted species owe their patrons 10,000 years of chattel slavery as repayment for being uplifted. Status in the galaxy is measured in part by how many species your race has uplifted.

Along comes humanity, tossing a cosmic monkey wrench in the works. To begin with, we don't appear to have Patrons. This is anathema to half of the galactic clans, who believe achieving sentience unassisted is a holy act only the sainted Progenitors could achieve. They believe that the Progenitors will someday return, and seek to make the galaxies the sort of place they believe the Progenitors wished them to become.

But if we did have Patrons, they appear to have abandoned the task part way through. This is unthinkable to the other half of the galactic clans, because Uplift is a sacred duty you do not simply abandon.

And to make it worse, we arrive with two already Uplifted Client species of our own, and instant status.

Half of the galaxy wants us extinct on general principle. The other half thinks we need more seasoning, and ought to be someone's Client species for a few thousand years...preferably theirs.

And a human exploration ship crewed by dolphins may have discovered what became of the vanished Progenitors.

Start with _Sundiver_, and proceed through _Startide Rising_ and _The Uplift_ war, as a good start.
______
Dennis

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Old 03-01-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
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I've read about half of them.

Oh, and the thumbnail plot description of _A Fire Upon the Deep_ made me wonder if we read the same book.
I had read ninet of them.

I thought the decription of A Fire Upon the Deep was accurate.

The Left Hand of Darkness of a better book than the Dispossesed but you can argue that the idea content of the Dispossesed will influence you more.
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Old 03-01-2008, 04:23 PM   #4
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I had read ninet of them.

I thought the decription of A Fire Upon the Deep was accurate.
I didn't see the menace as a computer virus, nor was there evidence it transformed matter.

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The Left Hand of Darkness of a better book than the Dispossesed but you can argue that the idea content of the Dispossesed will influence you more.
"Left Hand" actually influenced me more. Her depiction of a society of human hermaphrodites who could become either male or female in breeding season had all sorts of interesting implications. (And LeGuin stated a while back that had she to do it over, she would have used feminine rather than masculine pronouns to emphasize the differences even more strongly.)

The Dispossessed annoyed me. From where I sit, LeGuin's principal weakness is an inability to understand and therefore do convincing portrayals of villains. Her society on Annares was too carefully set up. The utopian communal ideal was a nice one, but she set it in a marginal environment where there was just about enough to go around. It simply wasn't possible to be significantly better off than your neighbor in material terms. It would have vanished like a moth in a flame in a more abundant environment.

And the society of Urras, the system's other habitable planet, felt like the main inspiration was the sort of thing depicted in old copies of The Masses, with top hatted capitalist owners oppressing slave workers in the name of profit. When Shevek's servant throws off his careful mantle of obsequious silence and begs Shevek to "help free them from the masters", I nearly tossed the book across the room in disgust. It simply didn't work for me, and I couldn't believe it. (And back when I first read _The Dispossessed, I was far more left wing in my beliefs than I am now, and far more likely to swallow such a notion.)

I felt LeGuin was stacking the deck and visibly pulling strings to make a particular point, and the book suffered because of it. It's more annoying to see that when it's someone like LeGuin than it is with lesser writers, simply because LeGuin is so good, and I expect better.
______
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:06 PM   #5
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I thinks I saw the program as a virus so I had no problem with that description. The matter transformation I do not remember anything about...

I read The Dispossessed 1987 (also when I read The Left Hand of Darkness for the first time) and have not re-read it so I do not remember the details. i remember that the setup read as constructed but I do not remember that I considered that something that destroyed the book for me.
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:19 PM   #6
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The Dispossessed annoyed me. From where I sit, LeGuin's principal weakness is an inability to understand and therefore do convincing portrayals of villains. Her society on Annares was too carefully set up. The utopian communal ideal was a nice one, but she set it in a marginal environment where there was just about enough to go around. It simply wasn't possible to be significantly better off than your neighbor in material terms. It would have vanished like a moth in a flame in a more abundant environment.

And the society of Urras, the system's other habitable planet, felt like the main inspiration was the sort of thing depicted in old copies of The Masses, with top hatted capitalist owners oppressing slave workers in the name of profit. When Shevek's servant throws off his careful mantle of obsequious silence and begs Shevek to "help free them from the masters", I nearly tossed the book across the room in disgust. It simply didn't work for me, and I couldn't believe it. (And back when I first read _The Dispossessed, I was far more left wing in my beliefs than I am now, and far more likely to swallow such a notion.)

I felt LeGuin was stacking the deck and visibly pulling strings to make a particular point, and the book suffered because of it. It's more annoying to see that when it's someone like LeGuin than it is with lesser writers, simply because LeGuin is so good, and I expect better.
______
Dennis
Very well put, Dennis. I had some similar thoughts about how perfectly marginal Annares was - it made her Libertarian society there conveniently plausible. I didn't throw the book. But it's interesting that I've totally forgotten how it ended. My favorite of hers is The Lathe of Heaven which definitely impacted me more than The Dispossessed.
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Old 03-02-2008, 03:53 PM   #7
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Can I find that Uplift series in eBook format?
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:03 PM   #8
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Can I find that Uplift series in eBook format?
Unfortunately, I don't believe so. The Uplift series is published by Bantam/Spectra, one of the publishers that currently doesn't have a clue about ebooks.

The only Brin titles I've seen in ebook form are _Kiln People_ and _Foundation's Triumph_, published by Tor and HarperCollins, respectively.
______
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:07 PM   #9
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I went looking for the Uplift series in electronic format and found nothing. I *loved* reading those books but have long since passed them on to new homes.
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:22 PM   #10
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I've still got the (smelly ) dead tree series
I won"t be parting with that
untill they are digital
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:30 AM   #11
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Twenty Sc-Fi Fiction Novels that will change your life.

Hummmm... life changing? I don't know about that, but definitely worth checking out. There are a few I need to look into.

Good starting list... how about some more????
Excellent link, thanks kilofox!

While not exactly SciFi, I consider G. Orwell's 1984 one of the few books along this theme that can definitely be life changing.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by kilofox View Post
Twenty Sc-Fi Fiction Novels that will change your life.

Hummmm... life changing? I don't know about that, but definitely worth checking out. There are a few I need to look into.

Good starting list... how about some more????
Hoy ! I wuz trying to squash that fly on my screen !!!!!!
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:02 PM   #13
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It changed my life

Nova by Samuel R. Delaney changed my life. It was published in 1969, and I found my copy at an aunt's yard sale in about 1973 or 74. I was a kid, 11 or 12 at the most, and it was the first "real" scifi book I ever read. It was a life-changing book for me to suddenly understand the possibilities of what could be imagined. I've been hooked on scifi - and Delaney - ever since.

I found a wonderful collection of Delaney stories in a used book store at the beach several years ago, and it's got pride-of-place on my bookshelf. I'm a big fan of older short stories, so forgive me if my taste in reading material seems too old-fashioned.
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:18 PM   #14
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Nova by Samuel R. Delaney changed my life.
NB: his last name has no "e" -- it's Delany.

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It was published in 1969, and I found my copy at an aunt's yard sale in about 1973 or 74. I was a kid, 11 or 12 at the most, and it was the first "real" scifi book I ever read. It was a life-changing book for me to suddenly understand the possibilities of what could be imagined. I've been hooked on scifi - and Delaney - ever since.
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.

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I found a wonderful collection of Delaney stories in a used book store at the beach several years ago, and it's got pride-of-place on my bookshelf. I'm a big fan of older short stories, so forgive me if my taste in reading material seems too old-fashioned.
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.
______
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:32 PM   #15
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Thanks for correcting my spelling - and feel free to keep proofreading for me!

I've never heard of Time as a Helix... but will try to find a copy.
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