Jump to content
Dillon Levenque

A Derail Thread

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Lindal Kidd said:

We can debate all day about who's a great SF writer, but Alfred Bester is certainly right up there with the other greats.  Here are some of MY personal favorites.

  • Robert A. Heinlein
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Arthur C. Clarke
  • Neal Stephenson
  • Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Larry Niven (especially in partnership with Jerry Pournelle; I like them better together than either separately)
  • Alfred Bester
  • Poul Anderson
  • Frederik Pohl
  • Greg Bear
  • Robert Asprin
  • David Weber
  • Spider Robinson
  • James Blish
  • Ray Bradbury
  • David Brin
  • Roger Zelazny
  • Hal Clement
  • L. Sprague de Camp
  • Joe Haldeman
  • Theodore Sturgeon
  • Keith Laumer
  • C.J. Cherryh
  • Mike Resnick
  • John Varley
  • Peter F. Hamilton

You left out "Doc" Smith, who wrote the Lensman series and the Skylark series. Both are classic space opera SciFi. Also Clifford Simak.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Simak, yes.  Oops!  I deliberately left out many of the early greats...H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, E.E. Smith, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs. even Jack London.  I felt they deserved their own category.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Dillon Levenque said:

I came to the conclusion the same way I come to many conclusions: independently and without consulting any outside sources. I find I am far more often satisfied with conclusions obtained in this manner than by using any other method.

In truth, they really are considered classics. 'The Demolished Man' was almost avant-garde, at least for 1950's Science Fiction.

I did just take a look at Wikipedia; sources there at least make a case for me. It mentions he won the FIRST EVER Hugo Award, and Harry Harrison is quoted as saying, "Alfred Bester was one of the handful of writers who invented modern science fiction."

A lot don’t know that he wrote for the early Superman, Green Lantern, and The Phantom comics, and for The Shadow radio show, and early television.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Heinlein’s “Friday” comes to mind, but you always remind me of the protagonist.

I think my age is showing.  I've read everything Heinlein ever wrote and I remember the name Friday, but I don't remember the story at all.  I looked it up on Wikipedia and it still doesn't ring a bell.  I'm not going to bother to re-read this one, I do remember thinking about his later books, and this is one of his later books, that he was losing his touch. He would get started on one of his pet ideas and fiddle about, pontificating and advancing the plot with action but then he'd sort of fizzle out.  Either that or he'd tie the characters to his other works serving up leftovers.  Still love him dearly though and now that I'm also getting advanced in age, I'm a little more forgiving of his foibles.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, kali Wylder said:

I think my age is showing.  I've read everything Heinlein ever wrote and I remember the name Friday, but I don't remember the story at all.  I looked it up on Wikipedia and it still doesn't ring a bell.  I'm not going to bother to re-read this one, I do remember thinking about his later books, and this is one of his later books, that he was losing his touch. He would get started on one of his pet ideas and fiddle about, pontificating and advancing the plot with action but then he'd sort of fizzle out.  Either that or he'd tie the characters to his other works serving up leftovers.  Still love him dearly though and now that I'm also getting advanced in age, I'm a little more forgiving of his foibles.

As I’m sure you know, 99% of Heinlein’s work was all connected. “Friday” was a stand-alone. However, the man from Friday may have well have been Lazarus Long, and Friday his daughter / lover / mother. She was a polymath and saved the world from a plague.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh my, Love.  I have to step in here.

In 1949, Heinlein wrote the novella "Gulf".  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_(novella).  In this story,  Hartley M. "Kettle Belly" Baldwin leads a secret organization of "supermen"...people of well above average intelligence.  This group opposes others who would restrict human freedom.  The viewpoint character is "Joe", who is a reluctant recruit to Baldwin's secret agency.

Friday takes up the thread much later in Baldwin's life, but it is clearly a continuation.  (Friday's "Boss" is Baldwin.)  The book states most specifically that Friday/Marjorie Baldwin is a genetic construct...an artificially created person who partakes of the genetic makeup of many carefully selected parents.  Two of these donors are "Joe" and his partner/lover "Gail" from "Gulf."

Friday's universe is not that of Heinlein's "Future History" (which includes Lazarus Long).

Kali:  While Heinlein's last five novels definitely meander more than his earlier writing, I prefer Spider Robinson's interpretation of that rather than saying the old boy was "losing his touch".  I think the longer lengths gave him more scope to explore some of his ideas in greater detail.  And, I have another theory too.  A lot of his later books deal with the possible reality of fictional universes.  That is, the idea that you could REALLY visit Oz and meet the Wizard and the Tin Woodman, or the Star Trek universe and fly on the Enterprise with Captain Kirk.  Many authors feel that the characters and worlds they create do have an existence of some sort, apart from just in the mind of their creator.  I think, in his later works, Heinlein was trying to wrap up the lives of all his favorite characters and give them a happy ending.  He rescued Andy Libby (the young hero of "Misfit" and a major supporting character in Methuselah's Children) from death.  The plot of The Cat Who Walks Through Walls was to resurrect Mycroft Holmes, the self-aware computer from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  In To Sail Beyond the Sunset Lazarus Long rescues and rejuvenates his own mother, Maureen.  In The Number of the Beast... we again meet Jubal Harshaw from Stranger in a Strange Land as well as Hazel Stone from The Rolling Stones, and Podkayne from Podkayne of Mars.  All of them are offered rejuvenation and thus, continued long life.

After all, if the characters you create have a reality, you might meet them one day...in the afterlife, if nothing else.  Would YOU want to be confronted by someone that you'd heartlessly killed off?  Heinlein was hedging his bets.

Edited by Lindal Kidd
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Love Zhaoying said:

She was a polymath and saved the world from a plague.

And I remind you of her? I'm more likely to start a plague than save anyone from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Lindal Kidd said:

After all, if the characters you create have a reality, you might meet them one day...in the afterlife, if nothing else.  Would YOU want to be confronted by someone that you'd heartlessly killed off?  Heinlein was hedging his bets.

I'm with Twain here. I've mentioned this before, but Puddn'head Wilson got so out of hand while he was writing it that he had to drown characters from early in the book to make room for subsequent characters that proved more interesting as he moved along. He knew he was in trouble when he had to dig a second well. Though, now that I think if it, he did resurrect some of those characters in the short story "Those Extraordinary Twins".

Never mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

I would add Phillip K. Dick, glad a lot of his novels are finally being made into movies the last 20 years or so.

And, Kurt Vonnegut.

I thought of those, too, along with Jules Verne, who our family read together when kids were little. All three of them transcend their genre. (Which is why they are iconic names.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Jerry Pournelle's name was familiar to me, so I just Googled him. I apparently know of him from his technical writing, perhaps in Byte magazine, which was popular during my days in the Milwaukee Computer Club. I know I've read Heinlein, Asimov, Clark, and Bradbury. Blish sounds familiar and I might have read some of the other authors, but don't recall them.

I don't see Walter Miller on Lindal's list, perhaps because he's the Harper Lee of science fiction, having published only one novel during his life "A Canticle for Leibowitz", which won the Hugo in 1961. Its sequel was completed by another writer after his death.

Loved Canticle!  One of my favorites. I didn't know or maybe forgot there was a sequel. My memory is just terrible.  I could never have told you Walter Miller was the author. I didn't see Ursula LeGuin mentioned, I love her work.  Also the Dune series by Frank Hebert.

I cut my milk teeth on Heinlein when I was a teenager and continued to read everything he published as it came out. But I think "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" was my favorite.  Followed him with Asimov, Clark, Bradbury. Roger Zelazney was one of my favorites, I wish he'd written more. I hear his son has picked up and carried on with the Amber Novels but I haven't read  'em yet  Fave by him, hard to say, probably Doorways in the Sand, followed by Lord of Light. Greg Bear, another more recent fave, didn't know his work til I was already an old lady.  Samuel Delaney was another one of my teen discoverys "Babel17" and Dahlgren were my faves. Neal Stephenson I didn't read til after hearing about him in SL. 

I'm better at remembering titles than author names, so I don't know if I've read any of the others or not, but C.J. Cheryh name looks so familiar to me although I can't remember anything about her except the cover of a book. And not too good at titles either, so not sure who wrote about the invading baby elephants (Footfall)image.png.a15471d10c5945aa61d7a2f2b26f2b38.png

or the three armed monkeys (The Mote in God's Eye)

The Mote in God's Eye (Mote Series Book 1)

So I looked it up on Amazon and sure enough it was Larry Niven in partnership with Jerry Pournelle. I agree about them being better together.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

And I remind you of her? I'm more likely to start a plague than save anyone from it.

Nah. You'd just set the world on fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

Friday takes up the thread much later in Baldwin's life, but it is clearly a continuation.  (Friday's "Boss" is Baldwin.)  The book states most specifically that Friday/Marjorie Baldwin is a genetic construct...an artificially created person who partakes of the genetic makeup of many carefully selected parents.  Two of these donors are "Joe" and his partner/lover "Gail" from "Gulf."

Friday's universe is not that of Heinlein's "Future History" (which includes Lazarus Long

Agree, but I missed Gulf somehow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

And I remind you of her? I'm more likely to start a plague than save anyone from it.

I don’t disagree, but you’re prescient and a polymath like she is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, kali Wylder said:
The Mote in God's Eye (Mote Series Book 1)

So I looked it up on Amazon and sure enough it was Larry Niven in partnership with Jerry Pournelle. I agree about them being better together.

This was required reading in SF college class. Wasn’t my favorite, but it’s themes stuck with me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Selene Gregoire said:

Rider series!

5660-1316172955.gif.6a97a0bb01e36040e259fbe07758ee18.gif

My favorite C.J. Cherryh books are (in SF) the Foreigner series.  In fantasy, she is even better:  The Paladin, the duo The Dreamstone and The Tree of Swords and Jewels, and the four-book Morgaine series.  Dreamstone and ToSaJ are heavy going because of all the Celtic names, but they are a beautiful and sad story of the conflict between humans and the high Sidhe.  The Paladin is a delightful tale set in a world like medieval China or Japan, in which a former courtier, forcibly retired by political intrigue, reluctantly takes on a refugee peasant girl as a student of the sword.  The Morgaine books are half fantasy, half SF.  A tale of a woman, the last of her team, who travels between worlds via "Gates" built by a long dead species, with the purpose of closing them off.  With her travels Vanye, a barbarian warrior from one of those worlds.

Edited by Lindal Kidd
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, kali Wylder said:

Loved Canticle!  One of my favorites. I didn't know or maybe forgot there was a sequel. My memory is just terrible.  I could never have told you Walter Miller was the author. I didn't see Ursula LeGuin mentioned, I love her work.  Also the Dune series by Frank Hebert.

I don't think I have read A Canticle for Leibowitz, or if so, I don't recall it.  I do know it's one of the great SF works though...I must go back and read it!  I left out Ursula LeGuin deliberately, since I think of her as primarily a fantasy writer.  But I totally, totally, TOTALLY love the Earthsea books!  I've read Dune, but (unlike a huge fandom, I admit) I didn't like it/them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

I don’t disagree, but you’re prescient and a polymath like she is.

Prescient? I don't even know what's going on right now!

6 hours ago, Selene Gregoire said:
11 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I'm more likely to start a plague than save anyone from it.

Nah. You'd just set the world on fire.

Oooooh, I can see the headline...

World Escapes Plague by Burning to the Ground

Win-win!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Prescient? I don't even know what's going on right now!

Whoa! You’re so good, I almost believe you! Are you a member of a Liar’s Club?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

I don't think I have read A Canticle for Leibowitz, or if so, I don't recall it.  I do know it's one of the great SF works though...I must go back and read it!  I left out Ursula LeGuin deliberately, since I think of her as primarily a fantasy writer.  But I totally, totally, TOTALLY love the Earthsea books!  I've read Dune, but (unlike a huge fandom, I admit) I didn't like it/them.

I didn’t care for the Dune books either, but I read them out of order. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Prescient? I don't even know what's going on right now!

Oooooh, I can see the headline...

World Escapes Plague by Burning to the Ground

Win-win!

I knew you would like that idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...