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OLD CODGERS READING BACK IN TIME


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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008 7:42:59 AM PDT
>Too often books and authors I liked have attitudes towards the women that make me cringe

Yeah. Women are basically invisible in the first 1/2 of the Foundation novels, except for some hilarious references to housewives with nuclear powered freezers & suchlike, LOL. With the appearance of Bayta and Arkady Darrel in the 2nd and 3rd novels, he completely rights the imbalance!

As for the nuclear powered gadgets, it points up how some of this classic SF is hilariouly 'retro' and "cute' with its 1950's ideas.

Funny, I'd never have thought of "science fiction" as nostalgia, but there it is!

I have often thought that SF was a dying genre... it is a genre of ideas, but today there is a sense that "everything has been done" (at least, when I go to Writer's Workshop, you can't submit a story without being told 'it's been done by this & this author"). Plus there is a cynical disillusionment with "science" as a cure for everything. A lot of SF stories are more 'cautionary' and depressing.

I think the discoveries of Exo-planets is such a fruitful field for writing...but I just think editors don't want to invest in SF anymore.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008 7:44:54 AM PDT
Tyro says:
Dilger -- The first 2 Alien movies are my favorites as well, though I do have a weak spot for Wynona Ryder's wide-eyed cyborg waif in the latest entry. I wasn't complaining about the franchise at all, but rather pointing out that its provenance is more horror than science fiction. Great SF trappings, though!

As far as anime, one of my all-time favorites has to be the Ghost in the Shell franchise, both movies & television series. Wonderful hard tech, expostulatory dialogue, guns, mecha, beautiful animation art. I find each entry endlessly fascinating. Masamune Shirow, who created the original manga, is a true science fiction visionary.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008 7:55:03 AM PDT
sbissell3 says:
Tyro,
You won't find Fincher's comments; 20th Century cut them from the DVD. I think Fincher's version was flawed, but at least it made sense. The theatrical version was stupid and pointless. According to some, Sigourney Weaver wanted to make Ripley's death 'final' so she wouldn't have to make another. When asked why she came back for #4 she said, 'I had 20 million reasons.' Watch the specials about Alien 3 and you'll see what the issue was.

My primary problem with labels on SciFi in recent years has been the lumping, even with awards, of Fantasy with SciFi. But that's just preference. There has been some other odd stuff, like Neal Stephenson's 'Baroque Cycle' being routinely called SciFi when there is hardly any element of SciFi in there; but I love it anyway.
Steven

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2008 8:29:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 19, 2008 8:37:50 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Yo gang!---My indicator for this thread must have gone out....I was talking with Joyce at another thread and we talked a little history. It made me think about the scifi we were raised on. Do you notice that not only is there an internal history of events, but correspondence with actual human historical events. An example: in Harry Harrison's Deathworld Trilogies, there is a reflection of various periods of earth history. Without going into detail, Harrison also wrote non-fiction history. Perhaps that is why I like the detail of his books, they're just sooo realistic. Where do you think the idea of "Make Room!, Make Room!" came from? But much of the scifi we read is just souped-up history. It's had an effect on my way of thinking since my two major areas of interest are science and history. Coincidence?.....Tyro, Steven---An apocryphal story: When "Alien" first came to town some friends went to see it. A friend next to one girl kept spilling his drink on her throughout the movie. It wasn't an isolated incident. What I like about all the Aliens is the scale of the sets. This massivity of a space empire dwarfs the human element. There is a certain awe that all the franchise could bring about this effect. Later!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2008 6:51:46 AM PDT
sbissell3 says:
B. A. Dilger,
Bit more trivia about 'Alien.' Ridley Scott only agreed to do the film after going to a screening of the original 'Texas Chin Saw Massacre.' He really like the idea of a slasher film done in SciFi style. Veronica Cartwright thought she had been cast as Ripley and didn't know she was the slightly hysterical navigator until she arrived in London and she was unhappy about the role. However she won the Saturn Award and has later said it was a good casting choice. Bolaji Badejo was a 7 ft tall Nigerian student who Ridley Scott met in a bar. Scott wanted some to play the alien who was 'alien' in size and shape so that the audience would not think it was someone in a rubber suit. As far as I know this is the only role Badejo ever played. While there is a 'Director's Cut' available, Scott says the theatrical version was exactly what he wanted released. The only major scene added in the other version is one of the Alien in a sort of crucified position just before he naps Harry Dean Stanton; oh, the first thing Stanton said to Scott when he tried out for the role was "I hate SciFi and horror films!"
Steven

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2008 7:13:17 AM PDT
In the first Alien, the Ridley Scott sets and ambience more than the actual creature spooked me so much I had nightmares. I was fully adult and I never get nightmares from movies or books or stuff. When the second came out I was 40 and pregnant and decided to pass until later because I remembered how the first affected me. As an aside, the only other time I remember having nightmares from something I saw, or in this case heard, was when I was a little girl. I heard the Frankie Laine (?) song "Ghostriders in the Sky". I saw red-eyed cows rushing at me from the sky for weeks.

The reason I wasn't particularly scared by the Alien monster was that I just didn't believe it. It was too far removed from what I knew about even the most bizarre terrestrial creatures. It is that which makes many audiences break out in giggles at monster movies (plus a bit of embarrassment that they got scared anyway). I liked the modern Godzilla, I thought it was wicked cool. I think it would have been more effective had it been called something else so the audience wasn't comparing to the old rubber suit charmer we all love to laugh at.

I think the best science fiction or fantasy, no matter how far removed from human experience, has something recognizable in it so that the audience/reader can immerse themselves. No matter how willing we are to suspend our disbelief we need an anchor if we are to allow ourselves to cast off into the complete unknown. Particularly in visual media the needs of actors and an audience unsophisticated in the ways of science fiction dictated humanoid aliens. Star Trek and then Star Wars increased the sophistication level. I have great hopes for CGI movies to finally catch up with the imagination of Science Fiction readers of all eras; then we'll see some truly amazing aliens.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2008 1:34:17 PM PDT
Tyro says:
Steven: Sorry about the lateness of this reply. I've been revisiting L.A. for 12 days and have fallen behind on my correspondence (been buying plenty of old sf paperbacks at the used book stores, especially Asimov and Terry Carr's anthologies).

I always liked Fincher's Alien entry the least of the whole series, but I was glad to see the missing scenes in the Quadrilogy. I haven't yet played it with audio comments. As for new sci-fi books, I must confess I tend to pick and choose. I like Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov novels, perhaps because they seem so cinematic and would make diverting movies. What do you think of all the Dune sequels and prequels?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2008 1:46:51 PM PDT
sbissell3 says:
Tyro,
I was never much taken with the 'Dune' series except for the idea that humans could make adaptations to other worlds. The first one had a strong ecological message, but after that it got lost, for me, in mystical stuff. I'll admit to not reading many of the sequels.

I often think cinematicaly about a book, most recently 'The Wreck of the River of Stars' by Michael Flynn. It is a good hard science SciFi with lots of other dimensions.
Steven

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2008 3:44:41 PM PDT
Tayla36 says:
I keep most of my fantasy and sci fi books (my library numbers 300 hardbacks and nearly 1000 paperbacks) so when I want to re-read them, I just have to go to my bookshelf and get it. And I do re-read a lot of stuff. I recently re-read Patrica McKillip's "Riddle-Master of Hed" series, and boy has that withstood the test of time. It was written in 1977. It's probably been about 20 years since I read it, and I loved it all over again. After so long, I had forgotten many of the details, so it was like reading a new book.
I also recently went online to find a used bookstore repurchased some books that I had misplaced over the years (like the first book of McKillips series) so that I could have the full series of books.
My mom thinks I'm nuts for keeping all of them, but as I do re-read them so much, it is worth it for me.
and yes, it does take me back in time to when I first read the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2008 5:53:56 PM PDT
Tyro says:
Tayla36: Keeping and rereading all your Patricia McKillip books is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. She has a fine prose style and could really weave a mood in her stories. The first book by her I ever read was "The Forgotten Beasts of Eld," and I do believe I still have that paperback somewhere.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2008 8:45:01 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Tayla36---It's nice just to reach for a book and read over words that you may have pondered upon decades ago. That is my situation. A year ago I started purchasing a science fiction library to replace one lost 16 years ago. A few of my "classics" and a lot of short story anthologies to catch up on "progress". It hasn't changed much. Now the scifi piles up on my living room floor because other books fill the bookcases and line the wall in the hall and the bedroom and the kitchen. The books are stuffed under living room tables and the bed into boxes and closet shelves. And the bathroom has a shelved table stacked with--you guessed it--more books. What do you do with your books?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 6:12:43 AM PDT
Tayla36 says:
B. A. Dilger: My basement is converted to a den. I have seven 6-foot bookcases lining the walls. That is just about enough space to hold all of my sci fi and fantasy, but I still have all of my mystery and crime drama's in boxes stacked in the corner. When I redecorate my living room, I'm going to get more bookcases and transfer all the hard cover books to the living room and keep all the paperbacks in the basement.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 6:42:43 AM PDT
Hi Y'all, Ah the joys of finding places to put all the books. When we moved into the current house it had a huge "great room". My husband immediately lined the walls at one end with bookcases (then stole one whole section to display his old tools! humph). Those are the non-fiction/reference books. There are, of course, bookcases in all rooms and boxes storing more. After my son left home I put a bookcase in his bathroom! When we were first married we brought seven boxes of books between us into a tiny apartment with no room for even one bookcase so we turned the boxes into end tables. lol When we moved, one criterion was room for books.

On Patricia McKillip...Everyone mentions Riddlemaster (I really need to reread that one) and Forgotten Beasts of Eld; but, the book that got me started on McKillip was one I took (yeah, I took it, they didn't appreciate it) from the library called The Trome of the Erroll of Sherrill. I fell into the book's language and floated. Nobody uses words like Patricia McKillip. Some of the most indelible images I have from books have come from her.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 6:57:59 AM PDT
sbissell3 says:
I have a friend who has a complete set of all the Hugo and Nebula winners from #1 to present. Some of those are hard to find! My only 'collection' is a bunch of post-apocalyptic novels. I use to save everything, now I either give them to someone or the library as soon as I'm done.
Steven

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 7:51:25 AM PDT
MagicDave says:
Since I have not read all the posts on this forum, I apologize if this author has already been named, but one of my favorite authors growing up was Edmond Hamilton. He wrote of incredible space ships that could move suns!
I think some of his work influenced George Lucas to do Star Wars.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 3:47:57 PM PDT
Give a tip of the hat to E E Smith. His six-book Galactic Patrol series was wonderfully cinematic to my fertile imagination. When Star Wars came out I was finally seeing on the screen what up to that point I'd seen only in my head.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 4:09:52 PM PDT
I'm a young avid reader that will read anything with pages. I've been looking for horror novels from early 1800's on... anyone have any suggestions?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2008 5:25:17 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 27, 2008 5:33:52 PM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson was written about bi-polarity in an age when people still believed in demons. The Spencer Tracy movie version is excellent. And Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" (a little earlier) is still relevent for today with all the organ transplants and criminal activity to get them. These books could be seen as early science fiction.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2008 6:45:00 AM PDT
sbissell3 says:
Jenna,
Take a look at Centipede Press http://www.centipedepress.com/home.html as they specialize in classic horror.
Steven

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2008 11:09:34 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 28, 2008 11:10:52 AM PDT
Some of the best horror is short fiction. Lovecraft is the best and he did write a longer piece called At the Mountains of Madness. If you define horror as creepy/spooky ambiance try Wilkie Collins The Woman in White and The Moonstone. Also read Dracula (the first section with Jonathan Harker in Dracula's castle is especially creepy) and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. More modern but still spooky are Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and Hell House by Richard Matheson.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 28, 2008 11:36:08 AM PDT
Thanks so much everyone! I actually read Dracula and the Picture of Dorian Gray (both have proud spots on my bookshelves). I will put the others on my must-read list.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2008 7:22:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2008 7:22:35 AM PDT
Hi Jenna, I should have mentioned that you should try the progenitors of modern gothic fiction... The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole and The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe. Also Polidori's The Vampyre. Look up the Wiki article on gothic fiction.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2008 7:27:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2008 7:29:03 AM PDT
Hi Y'all, I don't think anyone has mentioned Cordwainer Smith. He was just brought to mind on the genetic engineered discussion. Does anyone remember reading his stories? The Ballad of Lost C'Mel was written in the 60s and I remember liking it.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2008 7:38:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 29, 2008 7:41:17 AM PDT
B. A. Dilger says:
Joyce---I remember reading "The Ballad..." but couldn't tell you it's contents without prompting. There is just so much reading scifi in my history that connecting titles is difficult. Is it a short story? I do remember the title....Ed. note: In 1989 I fell off a roof getting a brain concussion and almost a broken neck. You know the rest...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2008 10:57:46 AM PDT
Tyro says:
Dilger --
"She got the which of the what-she-did,
Hid the bell with a blot, she did,
But she fell in love with a hominid.
Where is the which of the what-she-did?"

Ring any bells?
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  146
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Initial post:  Aug 2, 2008
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