Author Topic: Let's Talk about Sci Fi  (Read 537 times)

onthefringe

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2023, 07:59:44 PM »
I’m a ‘her’ who reads lots of speculative fiction, some of it the sci-fi zone. Read lots of “golden age” stuff growing up, little of which I have much desire to re-read with the exception of some Bradbury and some Sturgeon.

To put some more recent to current authors out there
Octavia Butler — wide ranging from believable dystopias Parable of the Sower to flat out aliens Xenogenesis to whatever Fledgeling is.
Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite and Suzy McKee Charnas’ Holdfast Chronicles for early engagement with what female dominated societies might look like
Neil Diamond, especially for more human focused cyberpunk like Diamond Age
Lois McMaster Bujold for space opera with a personal touch and some thoughts about how science affects things like reproduction and how that might change societies in the Vorkosigan saga
Cathrynne Valente for every book being completely different from laugh ot loud Space Opera to extremely disturbing (though maybe not sci fi) Comfort me with Apples to outstanding climate fiction The Past is Red
Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire’s alt for sci fi and horror) especially for the extremely prescient “pandemic + election year + changes to news coverage” in the “Newsflesh” trilogy
Martha Wells for a uniquie AI voice in the Murderbot series (great as audiobook)
Becky Chambers for some actual optimism about humanity in the Wayfarer series

Anyone else out there reading much of the current stuff?

Wahoo Redux

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2023, 08:32:23 PM »
Octavia Butler — wide ranging from believable dystopias Parable of the Sower to flat out aliens Xenogenesis to whatever Fledgeling is.

Parable was excellent, but Kindred is her masterpiece, IMO.  That book got the best response from students that I have ever seen in teaching literature.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

onthefringe

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2023, 03:44:40 AM »
Octavia Butler — wide ranging from believable dystopias Parable of the Sower to flat out aliens Xenogenesis to whatever Fledgeling is.

Parable was excellent, but Kindred is her masterpiece, IMO.  That book got the best response from students that I have ever seen in teaching literature.

I actually think Kindred is aging least well of all her books, and on a recent reread I found it fairly unnuanced and didactic. Xenogenesis has some (to me) really interesting things to say about slavery and colonialism that it gets to by making it “about” aliens and humanity instead of overtly about race and American slavery. I think that use of metaphor and symbol is one of the powers of sci fi.

jimbogumbo

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2023, 10:50:37 AM »
I liked Xenogenesis was great. I manage to miss Kindred, but will probably read it after I've watched the Hulu series.

In my old guy defense, John Varley (who I suggested upthread) and Butler started publishing at the same time. His last book was in 2018.
 

onehappyunicorn

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2023, 11:21:13 AM »
I freely admit I like a lot of C.J. Cherryh's work just as a fun read. The foreigner series is way more books than I ever want to read but I enjoyed the Chanur series and the Cyteen books.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2023, 11:53:13 AM »

Anyone else out there reading much of the current stuff?

I pretty much only read the new stuff--don't have the patience for the bad science and misogyny of the old. Like you, I quite like Mira Grant (although, really, Feed was far and away her best--I'm glad someone else connected her to the pandemic, though. It seemed oddly absent from discussions I've seen!) and Becky Chambers.

My current overall contemporary favourite is probably Adrian Tchaikovsky. In terms of great contemporary female scifi writers, I'd add Sue Burke and Ann Leckie. N.K. Jemisin, too, although her work often has a foot firmly planted in fantasy  (she's really, really, really good, though).
I know it's a genus.

jimbogumbo

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2023, 01:01:59 PM »

Anyone else out there reading much of the current stuff?

I pretty much only read the new stuff--don't have the patience for the bad science and misogyny of the old. Like you, I quite like Mira Grant (although, really, Feed was far and away her best--I'm glad someone else connected her to the pandemic, though. It seemed oddly absent from discussions I've seen!) and Becky Chambers.

My current overall contemporary favourite is probably Adrian Tchaikovsky. In terms of great contemporary female scifi writers, I'd add Sue Burke and Ann Leckie. N.K. Jemisin, too, although her work often has a foot firmly planted in fantasy  (she's really, really, really good, though).

What do the two of you consider current? 1980s and on? Or even later as a "start"? In my mind things really started to change in the genre in the 1970s.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2023, 01:03:30 PM »

Anyone else out there reading much of the current stuff?

I pretty much only read the new stuff--don't have the patience for the bad science and misogyny of the old. Like you, I quite like Mira Grant (although, really, Feed was far and away her best--I'm glad someone else connected her to the pandemic, though. It seemed oddly absent from discussions I've seen!) and Becky Chambers.

My current overall contemporary favourite is probably Adrian Tchaikovsky. In terms of great contemporary female scifi writers, I'd add Sue Burke and Ann Leckie. N.K. Jemisin, too, although her work often has a foot firmly planted in fantasy  (she's really, really, really good, though).

What do the two of you consider current? 1980s and on?

I would say aughts-on, I think.
I know it's a genus.

onthefringe

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2023, 01:30:03 PM »

Anyone else out there reading much of the current stuff?

I pretty much only read the new stuff--don't have the patience for the bad science and misogyny of the old. Like you, I quite like Mira Grant (although, really, Feed was far and away her best--I'm glad someone else connected her to the pandemic, though. It seemed oddly absent from discussions I've seen!) and Becky Chambers.

My current overall contemporary favourite is probably Adrian Tchaikovsky. In terms of great contemporary female scifi writers, I'd add Sue Burke and Ann Leckie. N.K. Jemisin, too, although her work often has a foot firmly planted in fantasy  (she's really, really, really good, though).

What do the two of you consider current? 1980s and on?

I would say aughts-on, I think.

I was thinking “author still alive and actively publishing”, which probably amounts to the same thing, but also interested in authors bridging that critical 70’s to 2000’s period

I’ve managed to miss Tchaikovsky — what’s a good starting point?
I left out a bunch of favorites who are currently pretty deeply in the  “fantasy” camp

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2023, 02:23:46 PM »

I’ve managed to miss Tchaikovsky — what’s a good starting point?


I doscovered him through Children of Time, which was just fantastic. (It's the story of a terraforming project gone awry.)

If you like space maze stories, then the novella Walking to Alderaban is great. Also novella-wise, The Expert System's Brother was great, too (colonization project gone awry).

If you prefer a space opera, then Shards of Earth is a solid entry into the subgenre. But I'd start with Children of Time, which was just fab.
I know it's a genus.

jimbogumbo

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2023, 02:27:23 PM »
What do we think of Neil Gaiman? All I've read of his fiction (currently reading the View from the Cheap Seats) is American Gods. Thinking of purchasing the Sandman collection.

onthefringe

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2023, 02:45:53 PM »
What do we think of Neil Gaiman? All I've read of his fiction (currently reading the View from the Cheap Seats) is American Gods. Thinking of purchasing the Sandman collection.

I love him though if I focus I can see numerous reasons other people might find him annoying. I choose not to do that as it would interfere with the “I love him” part. But while most of his work falls in the broad speculative fiction category, I would say very little of it is strictly sci fi.

That said I have liked all versions of Sandman (graphic novels, audio performances and Netflix series). I also quite like Anansi Boys and Neverwhere.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2023, 03:37:12 PM by onthefringe »

jimbogumbo

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2023, 03:21:42 PM »
What do we think of Neil Gaiman? All I've read of his fiction (currently reading the View from the Cheap Seats) is American Gods. Thinking of purchasing the Sandman collection.

I love him though if I focus I can see numerous reasons other people might find him annoying. I choose not to do that as it would interfere with the “I love him” part. But while most of his work falls in the broad speculative fiction category, I would say very little of it is strictly sci fi.

That said I have liked all versions of Sandman (graphic novels, audio performances and Netflix series. I also quite like Anansi Boys and Neverwhere.

Thanks! I'm in!

I think trying to define science fiction is futile. Since the 1970s I've preferred just SF, i.e. speculative fiction. That was the only way I could meaningfully process a "genre" that included Dick, Heinlein, Bradbury, McCaffery, Delaney, Zelasny and Vonnegut, and why I liked them all in what seemed like the same way.

After all this time, btw, I still have no idea what Dhalgren was about.

onthefringe

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2023, 03:47:52 PM »
What do we think of Neil Gaiman? All I've read of his fiction (currently reading the View from the Cheap Seats) is American Gods. Thinking of purchasing the Sandman collection.

I love him though if I focus I can see numerous reasons other people might find him annoying. I choose not to do that as it would interfere with the “I love him” part. But while most of his work falls in the broad speculative fiction category, I would say very little of it is strictly sci fi.

That said I have liked all versions of Sandman (graphic novels, audio performances and Netflix series. I also quite like Anansi Boys and Neverwhere.

Thanks! I'm in!

I think trying to define science fiction is futile. Since the 1970s I've preferred just SF, i.e. speculative fiction. That was the only way I could meaningfully process a "genre" that included Dick, Heinlein, Bradbury, McCaffery, Delaney, Zelasny and Vonnegut, and why I liked them all in what seemed like the same way.

After all this time, btw, I still have no idea what Dhalgren was about.

Agreed re definitions — I only brought it up because the definition of “sci fi” was discussed earlier!

I think Jo Walton (another “broad SF” author I adore) has some interesting things to say about Dahlgren though they largely boil down to she doesn’t understand it either but thinks it’s interesting. Which is more than I got out of it.

Larimar

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Re: Let's Talk about Sci Fi
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2023, 05:08:56 PM »
What do we think of Neil Gaiman? All I've read of his fiction (currently reading the View from the Cheap Seats) is American Gods. Thinking of purchasing the Sandman collection.

I love him though if I focus I can see numerous reasons other people might find him annoying. I choose not to do that as it would interfere with the “I love him” part. But while most of his work falls in the broad speculative fiction category, I would say very little of it is strictly sci fi.

That said I have liked all versions of Sandman (graphic novels, audio performances and Netflix series). I also quite like Anansi Boys and Neverwhere.

I tried to read Gaiman's American Gods once, but couldn't get into it. Stardust is really good though.