Author Topic: Where to start with SciFi  (Read 5729 times)

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #100 on: September 16, 2013, 06:01:32 pm »

Donaldson I stopped reading partway through the second volume of the current 'Covenant' Runes of Earth set, as he has now taken his thesaurus and disappeared completely up his own arse. His writing is so unreadable that his story concepts get lost.


Ah, is that called doing a 'Frank Herbert'? That's what happened to Dune.  Although his thesauras was in fine form from the outset of course.
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

LEE

Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #101 on: September 16, 2013, 11:14:58 pm »
Some cliches to help you out...

SPACE & VACUUM

Explosions in space make noise
Exposure to vacuum makes you horribly swell up and/or explode within seconds (ex. "Total Recall", "Outland")
There's a deep humming in space, no doubt about it.
Space is not Newtonian; spacecraft can't 'coast', but just stop dead if they run out of fuel or power.
Laser beams are visible in vacuum.
SPACESHIPS

Spaceships make noise!
Spaceships always fly perpendicular to the same axis. When two spacecraft encounter each other, they're always aligned on a plane and never approach at odd angles.
All spaceships, no matter how small, have internal artifical gravity and no matter how badly your ship gets pummeled by the evil aliens in the evil alien ship, no matter how many external panels get blown away, no matter how many sparks or how much smoke pours out of your control panels, the artificial gravity will always keep working.
There are tiny cameras mounted everywhere, on every panel, in your spaceship. No matter what happens anywhere int eh ship, you will always be able to ask the computer to replay the scene for you later (even if the computer went up in smoke) and unlike those blurry convenience store cameras, your tiny ship cameras always capture everyone's actions at eye-level with perfect lighting.
Warp or hyper-drive will always fail at critical moments.
Inertial dampers will always prevent passengers from being plastered against the walls during acceleration into warp speed, yet any explosion will send passengers reeling across the room.
In a spaceship battle scene, for a ship to fire a weapon at another, it must be in visual range. Even though the 20th century saw the advent of weapons that can be fired without visual contact, the people of the future have lost this technology.

Steph

  • Fast. Fast and bulbous. But fluffy.
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #102 on: September 17, 2013, 02:53:32 am »
The bit about coasting... there is a dreadfully stupid scene in one of the Mars films that came out together, the one with Tom Hanks IIRC. He is trying to 'jet' across to a rescue/escape pod and he runs out of reaction matter ('fuel') so, of course, he stops dead...

And talking of testicular utterances, the totally shite film 'Stranded' has humans breathing out CO.

To an extent, that brings up the SF--Skiffy (Sci-Fi) distinction. For die-hard Fans, Sci-Fi refers to things that have an SF atmosphere but are not SF, for example Flash Gordon, Star Trek, Star Wars and so on. What constitutes SF has always been a real bone of contention..

Speaking of Star Wars, Lucas allegedly tried to sue the makers of 'Battlestar...' for plagiarism, only to receive a call from a rep of the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) professional body.

"Let us know how you get on, George"
"Why?"
"Well, if you win, we'll be suing you for the same thing"
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i

Vince

  • Can't climb; won't climb
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #103 on: September 27, 2013, 12:10:53 pm »
Thanks for all the input. Not a clear answer, but I didn't really expect that.

I've just started The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin on Jo's recommendation.
If that goes well, I'll give Dune a try, then something by Kurt Vonnegut as he was mentioned a lot in The Universe Verses Alex Woods.
216km from Marsh Gibbon

Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #104 on: September 27, 2013, 12:17:49 pm »
...
Speaking of Star Wars, Lucas allegedly tried to sue the makers of 'Battlestar...' for plagiarism, only to receive a call from a rep of the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) professional body.

"Let us know how you get on, George"
"Why?"
"Well, if you win, we'll be suing you for the same thing"

Reminds me of something I spotted on the io9 site recently, concerning all the sources that James Cameron ripped off "was inspired by" for his Avatar film.  ;)
Hell is empty, and all of the devils are here.

red marley

Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #105 on: September 27, 2013, 12:28:26 pm »
Reminds me of something I spotted on the io9 site recently, concerning all the sources that James Cameron ripped off "was inspired by" for his Avatar film.  ;)

Sources plural? I thought it was just the one:


Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #106 on: September 27, 2013, 12:37:09 pm »
Reminds me of something I spotted on the io9 site recently, concerning all the sources that James Cameron ripped off "was inspired by" for his Avatar film.  ;)

Sources plural? I thought it was just the one:

He also ripped off the landscape and appearance of the animals from Roger Dean's artwork.

<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #107 on: September 27, 2013, 03:23:08 pm »
Reminds me of something I spotted on the io9 site recently, concerning all the sources that James Cameron ripped off "was inspired by" for his Avatar film.  ;)

Sources plural? I thought it was just the one:

He also ripped off the landscape and appearance of the animals from Roger Dean's artwork.



Making Roger Dean the 8th known plaintiff accusing Cameron of plagarism:

http://io9.com/a-history-of-plagiarism-claims-against-james-cameron-690974718

Cameron himself has admitted that Avatar is Dances With Wolves... in Spaaaace!

http://herocomplex.latimes.com/uncategorized/james-cameron-the-new-trek-rocks-but-transformers-is-gimcrackery/

Took a bit of searching (I'd flushed my interwebs history last night), but here's the article I referred to, which on a thematic level, suggests that Avatar was something of a SF pot-pourri of influences:

http://io9.com/5460954/the-complete-list-of-sources-avatars-accused-of-ripping-off

Hell is empty, and all of the devils are here.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #108 on: October 04, 2013, 03:57:45 pm »
Five pages and no one has mentioned Brian Aldiss yet? Poor.

Aldiss is very readable, a good storyteller and has some interesting ideas. Asimov ticks the interesting ideas box, and is clearly an important exponent of the genre for that reason, but his stuff is borderline unreadable.

As an aside, I hate the prissy quibbles over terminology you get whenever this subject comes up. Sci-fi, SF, syfy, whatever... Is it any good? That's all that matters.

Theodore Sturgeon

I was going to mention Kilgore Trout...

Vince

  • Can't climb; won't climb
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #109 on: October 04, 2013, 04:00:11 pm »
Very fishy, now I think you are making these up!
216km from Marsh Gibbon

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #110 on: October 04, 2013, 04:17:30 pm »
Very fishy, now I think you are making these up!

Theodore Sturgeon is real. Kilgore Trout is the fictional version of him created by Kurt Vonnegut, and a recurring character in Vonnegut novels.

I wouldn't call Vonnegut sci-fi but he uses sci-fi tropes for literary effect, eg in Slaughterhouse-Five, the Tralfamadoreans experience time in a non-linear way, but this is really a device to explore the psychological effects of the Dresden bombing on the novel's protagonist, Billy Pilgrim - his being "unstuck in time" is clearly a manifestation of what we would now recognise as PTSD.

So it goes.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #111 on: October 04, 2013, 04:28:20 pm »
Talking of Vonnegut, in God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, the eponymous Eliot Rosewater - trying to track down Kilgore Trout - attends a sci-fi conference where he stands up and makes this speech to the assembled sci-fi writers...

Quote
“I love you sons of bitches. You’re all I read any more. You're the only ones who’ll talk all about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one, either, but one that’ll last for billions of years. You’re the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstanding, mistakes, accidents, catastrophes do to us. You're the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distance without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.”

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #112 on: October 05, 2013, 09:11:11 pm »
Quote from: citoyen link=topic=75881.msg1571909#msg1571909
As an aside, I hate the prissy quibbles over terminology you get whenever this subject comes up. Sci-fi, SF, syfy, whatever... Is it any good? That's all that matters.

yes, this  :thumbsup:
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #113 on: October 06, 2013, 09:51:53 am »
I don't care if they call it SF or SciFi or whatever but what does bug me is when the SF section in a bookshop is 99% vampire romance and swords and goblins.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

fuzzy (retd.) AAGE

  • SWMBO's Toy Boy.
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Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #114 on: October 11, 2013, 04:29:14 pm »
Well, I'm glad Steph recommends Starship Troopers- a fantastic read IMHO. I also like Space Cadets as it is a good yarn though more dated than Troopers.

I also recommend Arthur C Clarke's Deep Range, a story about an astronaut grounded by PTSD who enlists in a world Sea Patrol and becomes a submariner ranger. Another nice read.

Harry Harrison wrote the Deathworld trilogy, about a bloke with a particular skill set who is hired by the inhabitants of an offworld colony Pyrrah- high gravity so tough hombres sort of thing.

Embedded by Dan Abnett is about an embedded journalist in some future war scenario. The embedding is done via implanting his mind into the recipient soldier so that he is literally on scene. It goes a tad shonky and the story develops.
Quote from: tatanab
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If it ain't bad for you it ain't worth doing

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #115 on: October 11, 2013, 06:12:22 pm »
I don't care if they call it SF or SciFi or whatever but what does bug me is when the SF section in a bookshop is 99% vampire romance and swords and goblins.


Well I love reading fantasy too - I think there is a heavy overlap of interest from readers which is why the book shops find it convenient to lump it all in as the Science Fiction/Fantasy section. Suits me right dandy frankly, sorry.
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #116 on: October 12, 2013, 03:10:22 pm »
Speaking of fantasy, Tim Powers is pretty good, especially The Anubis Gates.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #117 on: October 12, 2013, 11:55:34 pm »
Speaking of fantasy, donn't bother. It's 99.999% shite  :demon:

urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
  • Known in the real world as Dave
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #118 on: October 16, 2013, 10:49:32 am »
Speaking of fantasy, donn't bother. It's 99.999% shite  :demon:

An opinion that plenty of people don't subscribe to. Even those who read "Hard" science fiction.
Owner of a languishing Langster

Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #119 on: October 16, 2013, 11:08:33 am »
Try Robyn Hobb's The Farseer Trilogy. It doesn't get much grittier than this.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

fuzzy (retd.) AAGE

  • SWMBO's Toy Boy.
  • Apprentice Leathery Old Git
    • The Secret Cyclist blog
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #120 on: October 16, 2013, 12:02:43 pm »
Speaking of fantasy, donn't bother. It's 99.999% shite  :demon:

It is all subjective.

Some folk think Shakespear is 99.999% shite.
Quote from: tatanab
The mark of a true cyclist - prepared to try anything on offer

If it ain't bad for you it ain't worth doing

Steph

  • Fast. Fast and bulbous. But fluffy.
Re: Where to start with SciFi
« Reply #121 on: October 18, 2013, 11:12:22 pm »
Many years ago I met Brian Aldiss and Bob Shaw, both lovely men.

Aldiss? 'Hothouse'

Shaw? 'Wooden Astronaits' or 'Slow Glass' stories (Light of other days)
Mae angen arnaf i byw, a fe fydda'i