Rules
Terms of Use

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#184247 - Tue Jul 08 2003 06:26 AM Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Tielhard Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Oct 24 2002
Posts: 778
Loc: Blackpool UK
Shall I? Yes I think I will. There seem to be more people with an interest in Science Fiction around in the Forum than usual so I shall risk an SF post in the Books bit. Usually when I do this the thread sinks without a trace.

What are your five favourite Science Fiction stories or books and why do you like them so much? As a special treat for the Heretic ironikinit lets also have your worst SF book of all time. I think it might be wise to avoid media spin off series here?

My favourites are:

1) "The City and the Stars" by Arthur Clarke is a journey of discovery set in the far future. More than any other book it evokes within me a sense of wonder.
2) "Use of Weapons" by Ian Banks is a very literary book redolent with symbols and metaphor. It is one of Bank's Culture novels and addresses how a nearly omnipotent society exercises its will in the world beyond its borders.
3) "Neuromancer" by Wm. Gibson is probably the most influential book of the late 20th century certainly the 1980s. Both the ideas it contains and the style with which it was presented have changed and influenced contemporary society to an amazing degree.
4) "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein is a part of the nineteen sixties. It was written before this wonderful author completely 'lost it' but after his focus had moved away from the completely technological.
5) "A Fire Upon the Deep" by Vernor Vinge. A multitude of very different stories that looks like a space opera. It examines trans-humanist ideas and concepts of mind in a very accessible way.

I would nominate as worst SF stinker of all time:

"Time Enough for Love" by Robert Heinlein this book was written after the author completely 'lost it'. It is about a million pages long (ok it only feels that way) and contains all of the strange motifs that would characterise his later work. Heinlein was an Authoritarian who thought he was a Libertarian with an unhealthy interest in incest and a bizarre desire to unify all of his past work in to a single narrative this makes for a very bad book indeed.
_________________________
Regards, Tielhard

Top
#184248 - Tue Jul 08 2003 12:48 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 12527
Loc: Western Canada
Oh, okay. It's been years since I read any science fiction, so these will all be old, but what about -
Brightness Falls From the Air by James Tiptree Jr.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
Glory Road by Robert Heinlein
Surface Tension by James Blish (yes I know it's a short story but oh well)
I liked Time Enough for Love, even though it was flawed, so many of the individual bits were so good. That part where they go off and settle the new planet - loved it (you can spot my weakness for another type of genre fiction, the western).

Top
#184249 - Tue Jul 08 2003 12:52 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 12527
Loc: Western Canada
Oh, and the stinker. I'll nominate - what was it called - Battleship Earth(?) That big huge thing by L. Ron Hubbard. Actually, it may have gotten better if you read it all, but I just couldn't.

Top
#184250 - Tue Jul 08 2003 01:08 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
skylarb Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Jan 30 2003
Posts: 631
Loc: Virginia USA
Let me preface this by saying that I am not, in general, a sci-fi reader, so my background is sparse. But, based on what I HAVE read:

(1) Childhood's End--by Arthur C. Clarke -- Because I totally missed the point and thought it was a fascinating story about the beauty of individualism and the sadness of loosing that; when, in fact, it turns out the author's philosophy is quite the opposite. But nevertheless, affecting and well written.
(2) 1984 -- Because Orwell paints a powerful picture of the horrors of communism in a fascinating futuristic setting.
(3) Fahrenheit 451 - Because it is meaningful and interesting, well written
(4) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- Because it is Hilarious
(5) That Hideous Strength - C.S. Lewis - Because it is theologically profound
_________________________
"Why don’t you write books people can read?" - Nora Joyce, to her husband James

Top
#184251 - Tue Jul 08 2003 02:12 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
VickiSilver Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Thu Jul 03 2003
Posts: 263
Loc: Chattanooga TN USA
There are so many choices. In no particular order:

Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch
The Female Man by Joanna Russ

Worst novel by a "real" science fiction writer:

I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
_________________________
Reality is a crutch for people who can't face up to fantasy.

Top
#184252 - Tue Jul 08 2003 07:34 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
MsBatt Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sun Dec 16 2001
Posts: 883
Loc: Alabama USA
What a difficult question!

I think I'll start with the 'stinker' part, and say everything Heinlein wrote after 'Stranger in a Strange Land'. I'm guessing here, since I can't say I really know his works in chronological order, and even 'Stranger' has its odd bits. But "Time Enough for Love", "I Will Fear No Evil", "The Number of the Beast", and so on were/are revolting. 'The Number of the Beast" is the only book I've ever thrown in the trash! In fact, it was the first book that I even just stopped reading. I'd waded thru it nearly to the end, and finally he broke some final straw, and I got up, walked to the garbage can, and threw it in.


But then, I've never been able to get through "Naked Lunch", either.

As for the five best---how could I choose? When I was a kid, I loved all of Heinlein's juveniles, and some of his early adult works. Still do. Arthur C. Clarke has held me enthralled for years, and I have very fond memories indeed of
"Childhood's End" Nearly everything Asimov ever wrote is dear to my heart---and I've just mentioned SF's Big Three authors!

I'll have to give this one some long, hard thought. Le Guinn's boooks are all wonderful, not to mention Joanna Russ, Kate Wilheim, Octavia Butler, Theodore Strugeon, Andre Norton, Alfred Bester, Poul Anderson (anyone read "The Merman's Children"?), Clifford Simak, Henry Kuttner, James Blish (anyone truly understand "A Case of Conscience"?), Frederik Pohl, John W. Campbell...

I'll shut up now.
_________________________
Some days are easy, like licking frosting off a spoon: today was like stapling Jell-o to a brick.

Top
#184253 - Tue Jul 08 2003 10:46 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
ironikinit Offline
Forum Adept

Registered: Wed Jun 11 2003
Posts: 187
Loc: Brisbane Queensland Australia
Transcending the genre, top 5:

1984 by George Orwell
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Personal top 5

The Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

As for stinkers... actually, I've never been fond of Stranger in a Strange Land. It marked the beginning of RAH's "who needs an editor" stage, and I don't see much better or worse about his later books. Farmer's later Riverworld books were quite bad as well. I also remember a Sheckley novel that seemed to have been soaked in cocaine, but I don't recall the title.

I haven't kept up with the field very well and some of my picks are probably mostly nostalgia. It would have been nice to find room for Clarke, Vonnegut, Sheckley, Lem, Niven, Robinson and many others, but top lists are exclusionary by nature. Anyway, I cheated by making two lists and I'm still not pleased with the result.

Top
#184254 - Wed Jul 09 2003 08:39 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Mysterious_Misty Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Fri Jan 25 2002
Posts: 293
Ick, F451...the author did do a good job of capturing my attention with his writing style, but when I got to the end I was just like, "What was the point??" Didn't really see any deep meaning in it at all. How could an elderly man, (he didn't even seem that old,) remember back when firefighters would put out fires instead of starting them, yet all of the younger generations believe that they had always started them? Stuff just didn't fit together, at least to me.

Anyone here read House of Stairs by William Sleater? I liked that one a lot...I'll have to think about my other top choices.
_________________________
"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets." -- Voltaire

Top
#184255 - Mon Jul 14 2003 03:30 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
mandelbrotset Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Sun Aug 11 2002
Posts: 230
Loc: Riverside Chicago Illinois USA
Here are my favorite five in no particular order:

--Diaspora by Greg Egan
--The Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper
--City by Clifford D. Simak
--Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney
--The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

The worst SF stinker that I've ever encountered was Mars by Ben Bova. It was the longest bore. I kept on reading thinking that something unexpected, unusual, or exciting had to happen soon, but it never did. I can't believe he managed to write a sequel!
_________________________
"Patterns are set in one place and time, to be followed to the end of all years to come". (Andre Norton)

Top
#184256 - Mon Jul 14 2003 07:14 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Tielhard Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Oct 24 2002
Posts: 778
Loc: Blackpool UK
"An interesting set of lists so far" said Tielhard preparing to don his anorak again and make statistical inferences from a laughably small sample. The most interesting thing is that there is no agreement at all about the top five SF stories. The most popular author would appear to be Bob Heinlein which is curious because he is also up and away worst stinker, although again there is no real agreement on the worst book.

There are six books I had not read in these lists this surprised me a bit and two which I have always considered unreadable "The Female Man" and "Dahlgren" which surprised me a lot. Perhaps I should look at them again? Well "The Female Man" anyway.

The other thing which really surprised me is that most of the books selected were from a thirty year period covering the 50s, 60s and 70s. I was expecting a lot of 50s and New Wave work I was not really expecting so much stuff from the 70s which I always think of as a wasteland. Only mandelbrotset and I posted post 1980s work which is not too unexpected given the information in some threads.
_________________________
Regards, Tielhard

Top
#184257 - Mon Jul 14 2003 09:03 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
MsBatt Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sun Dec 16 2001
Posts: 883
Loc: Alabama USA
Okay, I'm going to TRY to pick (only) five---but there's no WAY I'm going to rank them within that five.

Poul Anderson's "The Merman's Children"
Isaac Asimov's "The Caves of Steel"
Andre Norton's "The Zero Stone" ++
A.E. van Vogt's "Slan"
Theodore Sturgeon's "It" +

+---Okay, so "It" isn't a novel, it's a short story. But then, short stories are what I like best, and "It" is probably one of the scariest SF stories I've ever read.

++---This is a juvenile novel, but one of the very first SF works I ever read, and was in part responsible for turning me into a SF fan. I enjoyed the sequel, too. (*grin*)

As I've said before, I have a hard time remembering titles and authors, so these were picked in part simply because they stood out enough in my (poor) memory that I could come up with both title and author. Plus, I'm more of a short-story fan, so I'm going to make my own list of favorite SF short stories:

"Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell
"Silly Asses" by Isaac Asimov
"When Baby Was Three" By Ted Sturgeon
"The Twonky" by...I don't remember---Henry Kuttner, maybe?
"Minsy Were the Borogoves" by, er, ah---I forget. (*blush*)

I'll try to look up these last two before I come back.




_________________________
Some days are easy, like licking frosting off a spoon: today was like stapling Jell-o to a brick.

Top
#184258 - Mon Jul 14 2003 12:14 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
mandelbrotset Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Sun Aug 11 2002
Posts: 230
Loc: Riverside Chicago Illinois USA
Quote:

There are six books I had not read in these lists this surprised me a bit and two which I have always considered unreadable "The Female Man" and "Dahlgren" which surprised me a lot.




I'm not surprised that you found Dhalgren unreadable; it was my first impression too but I only persevered with it upon the insistence of my science fiction "mentor" at the time. Dhalgren registers in the subconscious mind as a dream. When you recall bits and pieces of it later (as you invariably will) you will first ask yourself, did I dream that?

Three other books from that time period that I can recall having a slightly similar dream-like quality are The Veils of Azlaroc by Fred Saberhagen, Time Storm by Gordon R. Dickson, and The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Michael Moorcock.
_________________________
"Patterns are set in one place and time, to be followed to the end of all years to come". (Andre Norton)

Top
#184259 - Mon Jul 14 2003 12:32 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Pearldust Offline
Forum Adept

Registered: Tue Jun 24 2003
Posts: 115
Loc: Ithaca New York USA      
Okay, I love reading sci fi and so my list isn't very old:
Harry Potter/ J.K.Rowling
Martian Chronicles/ Ray Bradbury
The Hobbit/ J.R.R.Tolkien
Fear Street/ R.L.Stine
Many Waters

Top
#184260 - Mon Jul 14 2003 01:34 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
agony Offline

Administrator

Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 12527
Loc: Western Canada
Mimsy were the Borogroves was by Lewis Padgett. I think short stories serve science fiction very well - I'm sitting here with Vol. 1 of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and Lord what a lot of wonderful stories! Must sign off now, I need to sit down and read.

Top
#184261 - Mon Jul 14 2003 04:14 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
ironikinit Offline
Forum Adept

Registered: Wed Jun 11 2003
Posts: 187
Loc: Brisbane Queensland Australia
Time Storm seems like a pretty straightforward story in my memory. At least I remember that the events and narrative were "normal" for science fiction at the beginning of the book. Things may have become surreal later on.

The Fifth Head of Cerberus was by Wolfe and was a less straightforward book than most.

Top
#184262 - Mon Jul 14 2003 05:05 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
ladymacb29 Offline
Moderator

Registered: Wed Mar 15 2000
Posts: 15638
Loc: The Delta Quadrant
Since the only scifi books I read are either Star Trek or Babylon 5, here are my favorites:

1. Mosaic by Jeri Taylor. (ST:VOY) Learn all about Janeway's past

2. The Centauri Triology by Peter David (B5) Learn about what happens to Centauri Prime and the keeper that was given to David.

3. Homecoming by someonewhosenameIcan'tremember (ST:VOY) Events that happened to Voyager after it returns form the Alpha Quadrant.

4. The Farther Shore by the author of Homecoming (ST:VOY) Part II of Homecoming

5. Equinox by someonewhosename... (ST:VOY) VERY GOOD novelization of the episode
_________________________
"Without the darkness, how would we see the light?" ~ Tuvok

Editor for Television Category

Top
#184263 - Mon Jul 14 2003 06:41 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
MsBatt Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sun Dec 16 2001
Posts: 883
Loc: Alabama USA
Ladymach, I'm a major Trekkie, but primarily TOS. But if it's the only science fiction you've read, then---there's a whole universe waiting out there for you! Books like the Star Trek/Babylon 5/Star Wars/etc. series are all set in familiar universes and will NEVER surprise you like good, hard-core SF can and should.

Check out some of the novels and stories listed above. Maybe we can make a real SF fan out of you yet!
_________________________
Some days are easy, like licking frosting off a spoon: today was like stapling Jell-o to a brick.

Top
#184264 - Tue Jul 15 2003 04:07 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Tielhard Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Oct 24 2002
Posts: 778
Loc: Blackpool UK
'cor mandelbrotset I had a few bad minutes when you wrote about "The Fifth Head of Cerebus" being by Moorcock, I had to go and dig it up just to check it was by Wolfe. My memory has never been that hot and you really threw me!

I know what you are saying about a dreamlike quality of that book and I felt that "Dahlgren" also has it. It is just that whilst I found "The Fifth Head of Cerebus" a hard but satisfying read I have never managed to get through "Dahlgren" and did not get much out of what I did read. I've read "Time Storm", I think it was the Dickinson version (there is more than one) I can't remember much about the story but I thought it was quite straightforward as ironikinit suggested? There was something about a big cat in it I think? I don't remember it having a dreamlike quality. Anyway, to cut a long story short I looked at "Dahlgren" again last night then put it back on the shelf again. I hope VikiSilver does not think I am rubbishing her selection, it is just that I personally had trouble with them. In fact I would like to ask her why she chose "The Female Man", "Dahlgren" and her other choices.

Over the years the original series of Star Trek has grown on me. When I was younger I saw all of its faults (Spock's lug 'oles for a start) and none of its merits. I now look at it differently. It did a wonderful job of explaining quite complex ideas in philosophy, politics and ecology to a mass audience. As many of the episodes had different writers some ideas would be argued from different viewpoints from week to week. There are several episodes that are still particularly strong in my memory. The pilot in which the writer considered the nature of reality and illusion is one. "The trouble with Tribbles" (a straight heist of Heinlein's flat cats) which considers over population, the one based on Brown's(?) "Arena" and the one in which the people of a planet are actually just souls only appearing corporeal to outsiders are my other favourites.

Unfortunately I don't have the same good feeling about the later series and the films. They have wonderful production values, great characterisation, cool special effects. The problem is the storylines and the ideas behind them are so poor and in some cases illogical (the shade of Spock rides again!). The stories are in many cases worse than what would turn up in the worst episodes of "Blake's 7" which is saying something!

Babylon 5 is a different kettle of fish. It's fun, the physics are fairly good, the design is lovely, the effects are on the whole good. I loved it. Best of all there is a homogenous narrative and it follows the old "Doctor Who" pirate doctrine "plunder and plagiarise every SF story, fantasy and legend you can lay your hands on, then start on the rest of literature!" I lost count of the thematic swipes they pulled.

I would like to echo MsBatt and suggest that there are a lot of wonderful stories full of ideas in the lists of this thread that you would enjoy reading. Try a few ladymacb I don't think you will be disappointed? As you like Star Trek and Babylon 5, I would suggest a good space opera perhaps "A Fire Upon the Deep" or maybe "The Mote in God's Eye" both mentioned above. As a more general introduction to the genre you could not really ask for better than "Childhood's End", "Flowers For Algernon" and perhaps "The Martian Chronicles" which I see Pearldust has mentioned.
_________________________
Regards, Tielhard

Top
#184265 - Tue Jul 15 2003 10:30 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
MsBatt Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sun Dec 16 2001
Posts: 883
Loc: Alabama USA
I don't know how it escaped being on my list---I guess because someone else had already mentioned it, and I wanted to bring up different stuff---but "Flowers for Algernon" is absolutely wonderful. It's one of the few stories, SF or otherwise, that made me cry. And it can STILL make me cry when I re-read it. Did Daniel Keyes ever write anything else?

I loved the 'Martain Chronicles', and pretty much everything else Bradbury wrote. HIs SF has a wonderful, mystical quality to it that sets it apart.

Tiel, Andrew Greeley says that the reason the original Star Trek is such a favorite of so many people is that it's a thinly-disguised morality play. He wrote a wonderful article about it years and years ago, that's probably accessible on-line somewhere by now. (I can't even recall where I read it, just that I loved it!)

Which brings me to a question---can any of you refer me to a good site for reading fiction on-line? And for reference works about SF? I REALLY need to catalogue my library...
_________________________
Some days are easy, like licking frosting off a spoon: today was like stapling Jell-o to a brick.

Top
#184266 - Thu Jul 17 2003 06:21 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
rogue Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Sat Apr 05 2003
Posts: 664
In no particular order...

Jem by Frederik Pohl
The Time Trip by Rob Swigart
Chronicles of the King's Tramp series by Tom Dehaven
The Goblin Reservation by Clifford Simak
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe series by Douglas Adams

Also love the already mentioned Riverworld series, "Time Storm" and anything by Clifford Simak. "Engine Summer"
by John Crowley is a favorite I just remembered.

Stinker? Don't recall the title but I know it was written by Wilson Tucker. Something about cave-men and time travel...

Top
#184267 - Wed Jul 30 2003 02:45 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Jim_in_Oz Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Mon Jan 13 2003
Posts: 282
Loc: Brisbane Queensland Australia
Everyone is right: this is TOUGH to do. I'm including some series as a single book because the best series do seem to work that way together:

Foundation series - Isaac Asimov (I re-read these regularly)
Anvil of Stars - Greg Bear (fairly recent I think, maybe 1990s)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series - Douglas Adams (who proved SF can be funny)
A Maze of Death - Philip K Dick (better known for "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" which was made into the movie "Blade Runner")
Red, Green and Blue Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson (3 books in that order of colours)

As for the worst, that is also difficult. I have read one Star Wars novel. I can't even remember the name of it; I just remember it being bloody awful. Also (despite the fact that I thought her Dragonriders of Pern books were great) Anne McCaffrey's "Freedom" series struck me as just being Mills & Boone (cue the raising of crossed fingers to ward off the evil) set on another planet and including a big blue alien.
_________________________
Jim_in_Oz If you're going to jump across a well, try to do it in one jump or less.

Top
#184268 - Wed Jul 30 2003 03:17 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
VickiSilver Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: Thu Jul 03 2003
Posts: 263
Loc: Chattanooga TN USA
MsBatt: Daniel Keyes was never a very prolific writer, and none of his works is anywhere near as famous as "Flowers For Algernon." His novel "The Touch" (very realistic near-future SF about radioactive contamination) was pretty good, and his non-fiction book "The Minds of Billy Milligan" (about a multiple personality) was interesting.

Tielhard: I did not name "Dhalgren" so I won't defend it as one of the best. I thought it was interesting, if somewhat overblown. I liked Delany's "Triton" better. As far as "The Female Man" goes, I find it to be the best strongly feminist SF novel. This may say more about me than the book.

General comments: I'd like to mention just about every novel by Robert Silverberg from the late 1960's to the early 1970's, and a whole bunch of novels by Philip K. Dick. Outstanding among Silverberg would be "Dying Inside," "The Book of Skulls," and "A Time of Changes." Outstanding about Dick would be "Ubik," "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch," and "Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said."

As far as short stories go, just about everything by Cordwainer Smith.
_________________________
Reality is a crutch for people who can't face up to fantasy.

Top
#184269 - Wed Jul 30 2003 04:16 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
damnsuicidalroos Offline
Multiloquent

Registered: Mon Feb 10 2003
Posts: 2167
Loc: Sydney
NSW Australia
Correct me if I`m wrong but I havn`t seen Dune by Frank Herbert get a mention.The whole series rates for me as the most enjoyable I have ever read. Greg Bear would be my second favorite with Eon and the follow on Eternity wasn`t too bad either,I find most of what he has written to be easy to read. The Amtrak Wars written by Patrick Tilley comes in at third place. 1984 fits nicely into forth, I guess I could recite this book backwards.Fifth hasn`t been filled yet but what with all the great books in this genre mentioned here I will find something to fill this void over the years. The worst for me would be Monkey Planet by Pierre Boulle I found it tedious myself,though as a kid I did watch all the Planet Of The Apes movies avidly.
_________________________
Responds to stimuli, tries to communicate verbally, follows limited commands, laughs or cries in interaction with loved ones.

Top
#184270 - Wed Jul 30 2003 07:35 AM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Tielhard Offline
Mainstay

Registered: Thu Oct 24 2002
Posts: 778
Loc: Blackpool UK
VickiSilver,

Your quite right, of course you did not suggest "Dahlgren", my apologies. My only excuse is that the book is inextricably linked in my mind with "The Female Man" because I brought my copies of both of them at the same time and as I said above found them both unreadable. There are very few other SF books I have given up on completely so the memory does tend to linger.

I'm thinking that going on about Russ get me labelled anti-Feminist so I should just mention that I have read a fair bit of the sub-genre over the years. I have enjoyed (somewhat masochistically at times) most of it. I particularly liked Elgin's "Native Tongue", Tepper's "The Gate to Women's Country" and more or less anything by Sheldon/Tiptree (not all feminist). I like LeGuin's stuff as well but I can't really see it as primarily feminist.

As to your general comments I fully agree with everything you said about Silverberg, "Dying Inside" had a profound effect on me as a teenager and it still reads fairly well. Smith's universe was unique I don't quite know what it is about his stories but there is something both lyrical and mythic about them. I read his name in your post and I was thinking about the Instrumentality, C'mel and the Sickly Sheep forever protected by Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons.

Jim_in_Oz,

I'm glad someone mentioned the Mars series I really enjoyed it myself and although it was not up there in my top five it would be really close. There were great ideas, some images that were really intense and I loved the examination of alternative possible societies. It is a very earnest trilogy and way too long but it is still a great read.

MsBatt,

" ... the reason the original Star Trek is such a favorite of so many people is that it's a thinly-disguised morality play"

Nah! I can't believe that I went to a Morality Play at Lincoln Cathedral cloister a few years ago. It was all about a man in tights banging a big drum whilst the Devil broke wind in peoples faces, then two people ran around naked and some woman climbed up to sing on a step-ladder (all true). I'm sure I would remember if that sort of thing happened in Star Trek: "more cabbage Kirk?", "get your kit off Uhuru"?

I am still doing my anorak impersonation and collecting statistics from this thread. I am really surprised at how little modern writing is showing up. I am also rather amazed at the amount of seventies work appearing and disappointed at the lack of a significant British showing.

_________________________
Regards, Tielhard

Top
#184271 - Mon Aug 11 2003 11:52 PM Re: Best 5 SF Books and Worst Stinker
Dixie6256 Offline
Explorer

Registered: Sun Aug 10 2003
Posts: 50
Loc: southwest Alabama
Gosh. There's so much here, and so much of it great stuff.

David Weber has (pardon me) caught me in the web of his stories about Honor Harrington. Yes, I know it's Horatio Hornblower writ across the galaxy, but I've loved Horatio since I was 11, so I have no problem with the similarity.

"The Stars My Destination" wowed me. At almost the same time I read Sturgeon's "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff" and got wowed again with the extra element of feeling drawn to every single character: "Their young are delightful. [I] [feel good]. [Smith], [I] [forgive] [you]."

With Star Trek novels, I'm drawn more to TOS, and in that arena two are standouts for me. Uhura's Song and Dwellers in the Crucible both deliver characters who could be followed into their own adventures without a single reference back to an Enterprise crew member.

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Moderator:  LeoDaVinci, ren33, TabbyTom