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Friday, December 21, 2012

Don Muses on Science Fiction

We're talking about Science Fiction stories, and somebody mentions Philip K Dick which prompts Don to speak up:

I'll hazard a guess Byron's dad likes less pedestrian writing--of which sci-fi has too much--and not so much Dick's Galaxy straddling grand space operas.

Alfred Bester The Stars my Destination
Fritz Leiber The Big Time
Cifford D. Simak Way Station

All old, all on my shelf of favorites, next to the Dick books, all Hugo winners

Edgar Pangborn Davy

Should have won a Hugo, but didn't

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But if one likes space opera, and reasonably good writing I've been enjoying Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga--start with Cordelia's Honor.

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...um, I meant to say sci-fi has too much unimaginative, pedestrian writing. Odd, I guess, when you think about it, given the subject matter.

One could do worse than simply go down the list of Hugo winners, Simmons, Vinge, and Card off that list have been recommended to me by friends, but I can't seem to get into them. Maybe it's just old-fartism, but I like the sort of gentle friendly rambling of stories done closer to 19th century novel forms & more about friendship and problem-solving, than dwelling on the details of grand conflicts.

If that's an attractive notion, than I especially recommend Davy, Way Station, and the first two books of McCaffery's Dragon series: Dragonflight and Dragonquest
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Going deeper into my mental archives, I remembered some other less well-known, kinda' poetic works that might be of interest:

Cats, cruelty and children
The Taj: Berserker Ruminations
For a Breath I Tarry
    the poem from which the title is taken:
        From Far, from Eve

These works aren't novels, but they seemed like good sci-fi to me, because they were creative, unusual ways to examine what it could mean to be human, at the core questions about love, courage, curiosity & imagination, loyalty, honor, duty, ambition, and the conflicts that can arise from the clash of these concerns with themselves and with the darker side of human capacities.

Kinda like "real" novels, ya know?

--> don

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