Sci-Fi / Fantasy book reviews
#13
(07-Jun-2011, 11:35 PM)Lije Wrote:
(07-Jun-2011, 11:14 PM)preshanth Wrote: Do try frank herbert and his dune series fabulous read which is a satire of the human dependence on oil amongst other things.

I knew that the arabs were the inspiration for fremen, but I never thought of spice as a proxy for oil. I'm a die hard fan of the Dune novel and have read it several times, but never made that connection. Thanks for bringing it up!

Ditto what Lije said. I completed all the original Frank Herbert ones years ago and have been reading the later ones by his son Brian and co-author Kevin Anderson. I wasn't too sure about, thinking they couldn't be as good as the original series, but they've been surprisingly good. Perhaps even better in some respects.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#14
"A sound of thunder" - a sci fi short story I referred to as belonging to Philip.K.Dick was wrong it belongs to another favourite of mine Ray Bradbury. I am posting a link to the short story which is available on the internet.

Ignore the analysis given and make your own. - http://www.scaryforkids.com/a-sound-of-thunder/
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#15
When we hear SciFi we often have Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury and Dick among the best. I have read many of their works from 2001 to Fahrenheit and love them. But I also love the works of Michal Crichton. Though it isn't the typical SciFi with space ships and aliens but is more earthly. I was 12 when I managed to read Terminal Man, Jurassic Park, The Lost world and so on and have been in love with his work ever since. His later works like Prey, Next are pure pleasure. I also managed to read Satyajit Ray's short stores with Prof. Shonku and it is very benign and friendly.
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#16
I too used to like Crichton's works. But after I started reading Asimov, Clarke and others, I realized that Crichton's novels had some anti-science bias. Most of them go like - Using science humans discover something new, but then something goes wrong because humans didn't know what they were playing with, people start dying, and finally a few survive. The moral seems to be that there are somethings that shouldn't be known. But I thought it was fine. He is a writer of fiction and suspension of disbelief allows for such things. But the last straw was his climate change denialist novel "State of Fear". After that no more Crichton for me.
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#17
I second Lije about how Crichton kind of comes across as anti-science. Interestingly, though, in Next's appendix he has reasonably defended his view on genetic research.

Contributing a few more titles to the Sci-Fi short stories list
1. Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Treasury: Its an anthology by Isaac Asimov, Martin Greenberg and Joseph Olander and has some excellent short stories. The ones I loved are
i. What's it like out there? - Edmond Hamilton
ii. Letter to a Phoenix - Fredric Brown
iii. The Trap - Howard Fast
Other good reads from the same book are
i. What have I done? - Mark Clifton
ii. Houston Houston, do you read? - James Tiptree Jr.
iii. If all men were brothers, would you let one marry your sister? - Theodore Sturgeon
iv. Dear pen pal - A. E. van Vogt

2. Asimov Isaac - Complete stories Volume I
i. Satisfaction guaranteed - Brilliant story about a humanoid robot experiment.
ii. Dreaming is a private thing - Another good one, deals with dreams
iii. Profession - Excellent one about education (can be read online here)
iv. Hostess - About aliens
v. In a good cause - Amazing story about war.

Also, but for the ending, I found Carl Sagan's Contact a very good read.
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#18
I love storytelling and Asimov(in his own words) comes off more as a Science Writer than a Science Fiction writer. Crichton on the other hand is like a master storyteller who can hold our suspense and make those pages turn.
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#19
I'm just wrapping up EE Smith's Triplanetary. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm listening to the audiobook (its free on librivox) instead of reading, for lack of time. (I have a feeling I'm going to be doing more of this, because of how much easier the mindless chores are when my brain is lost in fantasy world!).

The novel is nothing short of spectacular, and I plan of getting through the entire Lensman series after this. Triplanetary was written before the Lensman series, but Smith rewrote the novel later to be a prequel to Lensman, and sci-fi aficionados recommend the fictitious chronology. All in all, highly recommended. Be prepared for some early 20th century stereotypes about women.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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#20
I have been trying out some Independent self published author of SciFi and there are some good ones out there. I recently read one by Michael Hicks, In her name for free in Kindle. Check it out. http://authormichaelhicks.com/
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#21
I cannot believe A song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin has not been mentioned. A huge fantasy of epic proportions, with lots of grey characters, and brilliant twists. Best surmised as a tale about humans, politics, wars in a mystical setting. This is often christened as America's answer to Tolkien, but In my opinion, he surpasses Tolkien in most manners except Innovation.
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