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Old 01-27-2020, 12:42 PM   #16
Dr. Drib
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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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Old 01-27-2020, 01:47 PM   #17
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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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Old 01-27-2020, 01:48 PM   #18
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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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Old 01-27-2020, 02:00 PM   #19
william z
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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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Old 01-27-2020, 02:00 PM   #20
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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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Old 01-27-2020, 02:14 PM   #21
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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.
This is a short thread, so far. As far as I'm concerned, many more posts to go.

Van Vogt was best in the shorter lengths. I have a big omnibus of his short stories from NESFA press.
Stories like The Monster, The Sound, The Village, Dear Pen Pal, and Far Centarus, for example.
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:10 PM   #22
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Sigh, I feel old. It's pretty hard for me to consider anything written after I graduated from college as "Old Masters"
I agree. My *personal* definition of the Old Masters mentioned in this thread title would be authors that worked with or were influenced by John W. Campbell: Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, A.E. Van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Fred Pohl and so on. Guys from the thirties to the fifties.

I don't think of Doc Smith, Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft or Fritz Leiber as part of the group either, though I read all of them (well, not Doc Smith).
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:01 PM   #23
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I agree. My *personal* definition of the Old Masters mentioned in this thread title would be authors that worked with or were influenced by John W. Campbell: Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, A.E. Van Vogt, Ray Bradbury, Fred Pohl and so on. Guys from the thirties to the fifties.

I don't think of Doc Smith, Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Lovecraft or Fritz Leiber as part of the group either, though I read all of them (well, not Doc Smith).
Hard to think that Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories (Fritz Leiber) date all the way back to 1939, even though the books that were mostly a collection of the short stories didn't come out until 1968-1970)

Howard, Lovecraft, Doc Smith and Burroughs were all pulp writers from the 20's and 30's.

It's a lot like talking about Rock and Roll music and tracing back from modern to the British Invasion in the 60's back to Elvis in the 50's then back to country/R&B/folk and onward. You can point to distinct movements and time periods (the pulps of the 20's and 30's, the Campbell writers, the 60's writers, the British adventure novels all the way back to Jules Verne and before) but really it's all interconnected.

The Campbell years were frequently called the golden age of SF, but the list of SF&F Grand Masters is pretty long and diverse.
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:04 PM   #24
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I'm going to give a list of Old Master writers one needs to read to get a well rounded feel of the era's writing.

And not just novels. In many cases, the important writers did their best works at shorter lengths.

Obviously, the "big guns":
Heinlein
Clarke,
Asimov

But there is a lot of gold in the so-called lesser writers of the era:

A.E.Van Vogt
Theodore Sturgeon
Eric Frank Russell
Cordwainer Smith (Paul Linebarger)
Poul Anderson
Alfred Bester
Jack Vance
Mack Reynolds
Fredric Brown
William Tenn
Hal Clement

(This is off the top of my head, by no means exhaustive!)

OMG I forgot Kutttner and C.L.Moore!
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:48 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
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.
Thanks for the reminder! I forgot those I enjoyed reading so very long ago & have just bought them. Had loved the Weapon Shops & Null-A; especially that a person in the future wanted to use a Colt-45 as a weapon instead of the new-fangled stuff.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:16 PM   #26
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I think I'll start a weekly reading recommendation of a golden age Author/book.

This Week's selection is:

The Best Of Henry Kuttner and C.L.Moore (Catherine L. Moore)

$2.99 on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Best-C-L-Moor...%2C288&sr=1-18

A short story collection of both authors. (They married in 1940 and jointly wrote stories appearing under many pseudonyms (and their own names)). Each started out in the Lovecraft horror circle, but became popular golden age S/F writers.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:14 AM   #27
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I'd say that anyone who's been awarded Grand Master status should qualify. I'd rec To Say Nothing of the Dog (Willis), the Pern series (somewhat dated in parts, but still classics), anything by LeGuin, Bradbury's The Illustrated Man and of course Fahrenheit 451. And of course Bujold's Vorkosigan series.

Octavia Butler should be a GM but perhaps died before they got around to recognising her (they only award to living authors) - everything I've read by her is very well worth reading, but I think a good place to start is the Parable duology.
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:27 PM   #28
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I'd say that anyone who's been awarded Grand Master status should qualify. I'd rec To Say Nothing of the Dog (Willis), the Pern series (somewhat dated in parts, but still classics), anything by LeGuin, Bradbury's The Illustrated Man and of course Fahrenheit 451. And of course Bujold's Vorkosigan series.

Octavia Butler should be a GM but perhaps died before they got around to recognising her (they only award to living authors) - everything I've read by her is very well worth reading, but I think a good place to start is the Parable duology.
meera. what we think of as science fiction is nearly 100 years old. It was born in the pulp magazines, and had different phases. I started this thread to look at authors from the "Cambrian Explosion" of the late 1930's, who published until they died.

I hadn't planned on covering the second wave of the 1960s, such as McCaffrey, Ellison, Zelanzny, Delaney, Le Guin, ect., not because they were not great writers of S/F, but because they constituted a different period in S/F.

Feel free to start a different thread for that period, or later.

(Yes, Bradbury is part of this period. along with Leiber. There are others.)

Last edited by Greg Anos; 01-30-2020 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:33 PM   #29
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meera. what we think of as science fiction is nearly 100 years old. It was born in the pulp magazines, and had different phases. I started this thread to look at authors from the "Cambrian Explosion" of the late 1930's, who published until they died.

I hadn't planned on covering the second wave of the 1960s, such as McCaffrey, Ellison, Zelanzny, Delaney, Le Guin, ect., not because they were not great writers of S/F, but because they constituted a different period in S/F.

Feel free to start a different thread for that period, or later.

(Yes, Bradbury is part of this period. along with Leiber. There are others.)
As much as I like their works, Mercedes Lackey started publishing in 1989 and Bujold just a bit later.

I tend to think of the writers who got their start back when sales were mostly oriented towards magazines rather than oriented towards novels, remember Campbell worked until 1970 but it's your thread.

To a great extent, one can divide the old masters into three groups, the pulp writers (Doc Smith, Howard and Burroughs are examples), the Campbell crowd oriented towards pure SF (Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke) and more literature oriented (Bradbury).

As I mentioned in passing, it's interesting to think about the old Masters who still have a degree of popularity (Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov and others) verses those who are considered greats, but haven't really aged all that well at least from a popularity point of view. I've certainly read van Vogt, Vance, Simak and Jack Williamson, but they aren't the first names that falls off the lips, even of someone who started reading SF in the early 70's.
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Old 01-30-2020, 04:44 PM   #30
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Is popularity the best judgment of quality? or interest?

How much "good art" fell by the wayside? Does that make "bad art"?

Example. There were two writers working in a classified project in world War II. One in the European Theater, one in the Pacific Theater. Both then became writers. One is a household name today, one ended in obscurity. Yet, if you read their works, I can't say that either one was a better writer.

Spoiler:
Ian Fleming (James Bond) and Eric Frank Russell


It seems to me, a thread on Old Masters of S/F should be inclusive of those writer who did good work, but fell by the wayside of popularity.

Dated? Of course! But so is Dumas, Mark Twain, and Doyle. One has to put themselves in the spirit of the times to appreciate their works. Same for the S/F magazine writers. I sort of wanted to start a conversation on that period, to compare and contrast, and maybe provide some reading tips for those looking to dip into that writing period.
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