A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 401


You might like 'Forty Signs of Rain' by KSR. Climate change is the main theme. It's the first of (what will be) a series. I enjoyed it, but there were so many things left hanging that I just want to get the next book.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 402

Blues Shark - For people who like this sort of thing, then this is just the sort of thing they'll like

Meant to mention this before Christmas, but never got around to it. One of the writers who has been mentioned on here (not least by myself), Robert Sheckley, died shortly before the holiday season of complications following heart surgery. The Obit. from the Guardian by fellow writer and friend Christopher Priest can be found here;


'Sheck' was a decent and modest man, by all accounts, and much liked by most of his contemporaries. I'll let priest have the last word, though;

"One evening we caught part of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide on the radio. This was before it was famous. Sheck listened in silence, without a smile. I asked him what he thought of it, and he replied: "He writes good jokes." He didn't add what seemed obvious to me, that most had originally been his."

smiley - shark

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 403

Little Bear

The Years of Rice & Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson is quite good, although it probably falls more into the alternate history genre than science fiction. The Wild Shore & The Gold Coast (the second in that series) are both books of his that I enjoyed reading a lot as well they were written before the Mars series.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 404

Spaceechik, Typomancer

Didn't Kim Stanley Robinson also write "Icehenge" as a fledgling writer? I seem to recall it being about monoliths of ice found on one of the Jovian moons. Good read.

Odd thing: Twice in the last 24 hours I've come across references to the same book, published in 1956, "The Stars My Destination", by Alfred Bester.

The first time was when I reread "Jumper" by Steve Gould (excellent read, BTW, with a new sequel out,"Reflex", an even better read!) about a teen who discovers he can "jump"/teleport as he is about to be beaten by his alcoholic father (very interesting characterization (there, as well) and his further explorations of his ability.

Second mention was in a very interesting column, talking about freedom vs. liberty, in context to the spying that's been going on here. Here's the article, if anyone is interested:
(And, yes, I realize it's a Republican/conservative rag. Just because I don't agree with them doesn't mean they don't have anything to say.)
I found his ideas on the future of freedom and the state were intriguing.

you have got to admire any SF novel which can still be referred to almost 50 years after, by different folks, as relevant to freedom.


Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 405

Secret Love

Christopher Evans is often worth a read - try Aztec Century.

smiley - cider

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 406

Keith Miller yes that Keith Miller

Walter.M.Miller is the name you where looking for and 'Canticle' is seminal reading for sure. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned your very own Brian Aldiss and fellow literary chameleon J.G.Ballard also Arthur.C.Clarke. I note that nearly all the references to Authors are of writers either long dead or long in the tooth. It does point to the swamping of Speculative Fiction by the Fantasy Sword+Sorcery brigade of which there is much dross and little gold these days. Mervyn Peake is a great choice btw.

If a candidate for a 'good' film that entertains you, makes you think, makes you laugh and makes you realise that nothing really changes, is needed. Then one could certainly look to 'Dr Strangelove'. Kubricks great take ... well watch the DVD and see for yourself. The final scene with Slim Pickings is a hoot!smiley - cool

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 407

Keith Miller yes that Keith Miller

Thank you for that link Blue Shark. Sheckley is a member of my collection and a damm good one at that. Priest is an interesting writer as well. The comment about Adams rings true if one has read for instance, 'The Alchemical Marriage of Alistair Crompton' or 'The Robot Who Looked Like Me'. I always liked this blurb by J.G.Ballard on Sheckley.........

'Witty and ingenious...as refreshing as a squirt from a Soda Syphon, a draught of pure Voltaire and Tonic'smiley - cheers

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 408


I am currently reading Pandora's Star by Peter Hamilton. Not sure if it was already brought up (it's from 2004) but definitely worth reading. Can't stop! help! smiley - smiley

Usually though I prefer SF short fiction: I love it when a writer sets him/herself the task to make a point in a few thousand words (or less!), and then goes and actually does it.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 409


I thought this thread deserved to be revived. I recently read The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, it was decent but not amazing.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 410


I don't really read SF but I'm told Olaf Stapledon is excellent. And Frederik Pohl. (Just read 'Gateway' mind - not my cup of tea really).

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 411


I have tried to get into Diamond Age several times, but never get very far. I have enjoyed several of his other books - Snow Crash had some very good ideas in it smiley - smiley Cryptonomican was an enjoyable read - but Diamond Age just did not hold me smiley - sadface

I have only read Of Last and First Men by Olaf, and it did have some good stuff in it (especially for when it was written), but if I had to pick one then I would choose Steven Baxter's Evolution (though I did disagree with some of his choices in it) over Of Last and First Men - similar themes but a 'better' ending and the more modern execution and writing clinches it for me.

Another author I would recommend here (or perhaps already have, as I have not been through the backlog in a long time) is Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space novels - worth it just for the 'conventional' traveling that needs to be done between star systems and the cultural consequences of it on the travelers, let alone all the other stuff shoved in smiley - smiley Until later...
BCNU - Crescent

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 412


It's good to know what other people think - will look out for Baxter and Reynolds. Stapledon's 'Star Maker' is meant to be fantastic, but I end up with The Kids from Fame in my head. 'Odd John' too.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 413


Antelia: I would second Baxter, he is a good writer of hard sci-fi. Sometimes his stories take place on quite a large scale, such as over 5 billion years.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 414

Spaceechik, Typomancer

"I would second Baxter, he is a good writer of hard sci-fi. Sometimes his stories take place on quite a large scale, such as over 5 billion years."

Hmmm, yes, that would certainly fit for Titan! A lot of interesting ideas in it, including some of the socialogical observations.

A book I've read recently, and *sort of* recommend..."Nanotime", by Bart Kosko (in RL, he's an engineering professor at University of Southern California). His characterization is not good, unless you like stereotypical males, but the concepts are worth the time.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 415

Jim Lynn

Stephenson: Always full of great ideas. Can't do endings at all.

Baxter: Great for huge epoch-spanning SF. You always feel like everything he writes is true, even when he's just making the science up.

I recently finished Dan Simmons' 'Olympos', the 'sequel' to 'Ilium'. I say 'sequel' but, like his Hyperion and Endymion novels, these were really two large volumes of a single story. I enjoyed it a lot, but I felt I would have enjoyed it even more if I knew more about Homer's Iliad, Proust and Shakespeare. But it was rollicking SF adventure nonetheless.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 416

turvy (Fetch me my trousers Geoffrey...)

I have just finished Alestair Reynolds Galactic North. Same universe as his other books (Chasm City and the like) and an extremely good set of short stories and novellas.

I've also enjoyer Richard Morgan's Kovacs series (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels etc). Kevin J Anderson's Saga of the Seven Suns is good IMHO too.

Has anybody read any China Mieville stories and can they recommend one?

turvysmiley - choc

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 417


I read Perdido Street Station, which I enjoyed. The plot is perhaps not the most original, but reading about the weird world he created makes up for it. One thing you have to be prepared for is how depressing he makes everything. There is not any imagery or descriptions that aren´t morbid and macabre. Such as describing the people moving through the streets like maggots in an open wound. If I ever meet the guy, I want to give him a big candy floss, just because it is sweet, pink and fluffy. smiley - smiley
I´ve just started The Scar by him as well, I´ll let you know how that works out.

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 418

Spaceechik, Typomancer

So...who *are* the new young turks of SF? We've got Gaiman, Mieville, Stephenson, Baxter, Simmons -- who else? And where are the women? Surely women, who've been making inroads in the sciences and tech in RL, have stories to tell us?

I think a lot of Arthur C. Clarke's stuff is still startling -- Fountains of Paradise, anyone? Age may not be a limit, but I worry about where the *new* people are coming from...

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 419

turvy (Fetch me my trousers Geoffrey...)

How about Tricia Sullivan's Maul and Double Vision?

turvysmiley - smiley

Intellegent SF can you name some?

Post 420


New people?

John Scalzi wrote a shockingly good debut book entitles "Old Man's War". It's clearly influenced by Heinlein's "Startship Troopers" (one of my all time favourites - so not a bad thing), but has a better sense of humour and is less overtly preachy. The sequel "The Ghost Brigades" is pretty damn good too. I'd HIGHLY recommend both.

smiley - ok

Stesmiley - mod

Key: Complain about this post