ThReads Must Roll: the new, improved rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

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Because the old one got too long and Shakey couldn't load it. A sequel to rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

fgtbaoutit (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:51 (three years ago) Permalink

Hoping to report on Report On Probability A in the near future.

fgtbaoutit (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 00:54 (three years ago) Permalink

Gregory Benford: Artifact --- archaeologists uncover lethal alien thingy in Mycenean burial ground. Not brilliantly written, but interesting enough to continue with. Entertainingly, for a book written in 1985, it contains early 21st-century Greece falling apart because of a worldwide economic depression/recession

ornamental cabbage (James Morrison), Thursday, 13 November 2014 01:11 (three years ago) Permalink

lol @ thread title

Report on Probability A - was idly thinking of re-reading that recently, I remember being p underwhelmed by its central formal conceit. I expected it to be much loopier and disorienting. In general, Aldiss is v hit or miss for me (something I've read Moorcock attribute to his needing a good editor/manager, someone to set goals/targets for him). Cryptozoic is undreadable, for example, but I consider Barefoot in the Head from just a year or two later a masterpiece.

Οὖτις, Thursday, 13 November 2014 17:20 (three years ago) Permalink

Brian W. "Crazy Baldhead" Aldiss

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 13 November 2014 17:27 (three years ago) Permalink

Read rep on prob a at least twice a long time ago, didn't know anything about last year at marienbad but enjoyed the formal conceit and the last few pages made me want to high five him.

thread title capitalisation and constant reminder of that dunderheaded heinlein story is gonna make me rmde to eternity.

ledge, Friday, 14 November 2014 10:03 (three years ago) Permalink

agonising as it may be for ledge, this restart is v handy for me, as I meant to start following the previous thread after the initial poll that prompted it, and then i didn't and then it got so long that my approach of 'I must read all of it before participating' turned into hiding from the thread and not ever talking about some of my favourite strands of writing :/

Fizzles, Friday, 14 November 2014 10:41 (three years ago) Permalink

Sorry for thread title, ledge, I did it to annoy Shakey, not you.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:17 (three years ago) Permalink

You are not the only one who couldn't read prior thread, Fizzles. Was constantly using the search feature or wondering where something was only to learn it was further upthread.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:26 (three years ago) Permalink

Still slogging through the last of Atwood's Maddadam trilogy. The third book is piss-weak, slow going and uninteresting, and her stylistic flaws seem to show through more and more. Because it's sci-fi there's an attempt to be, I dunno, edgy or hardboiled or something and it's about as convincing as one of your parents trying on an ill-fitting leather jacket. Bit of a shame really, becaus eI enjoyed the first two books (Oryx & Crake / Year of the Flood) immensely.

joni mitchell jarre (dog latin), Friday, 14 November 2014 11:34 (three years ago) Permalink

I think I forgotten to say on the previous thread that another one of the best features on fantasticfiction site is it shows you the blurbs writers have done for other people's books.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 14:35 (three years ago) Permalink

Cool I'll just keep pasting in stuff from prev thread everytime somebody mentions something already discussed thoroughly, as I kept etc on prev thread its own self. Speaking of blurbs, here's a good 'un from a recent library shop score, Wandering Stars, An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Jack Dann, Introduction by Isaac Asimov:
I loved Wandering Stars, and why not? Two of the thirteen stories are from Orbit, and I would have bought seven of the rest if I had got my hands on them first. If the book had nothing else going for it, it would still be a triumph to get William Tenn to write the great story he was talking about in the fifties.--Damon Knight
(Also a blurb from Leo Rosten, who wrote The Education of Hyman Kaplan, about an immigrant who tends to take over English classes with his own versions and visions of language and lit.)

dow, Friday, 14 November 2014 15:47 (three years ago) Permalink

Contents (some of these titles are corny, but the few stories I kinda remember from mags etc were good):

"Why Me?" by Isaac Asimov

William Tenn: "On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi"

Avram Davidson: "The Golem"

Isaac Asimov: "Unto the Fourth Generation"

Carol Carr: "Look, You Think You've Got Troubles"

Avram Davidson: "Goslin Day"

Robert Silverberg: "The Dybbuk of Mazel Tov IV"

Horace L. Gold: "Trouble With Water"

Pamela Sargent: "Gather Blue Roses"

Bernard Malamud: "The Jewbird"

Geo. Alec Effinger: "Paradise Lost"

Robert Sheckley: "Street of Dreams, Feet of Clay"

Isaac Bashevis Singer: Jachid and Jechidah"

Harlan Ellison: "I'm Looking For Kadah"

dow, Friday, 14 November 2014 16:00 (three years ago) Permalink

I just looked at a full schedule of all the books on SF Gateway (presumably this is the ebook titles). It's 2599 books!
Cant remember where I found the document.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 21:16 (three years ago) Permalink

UK or US or other?

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 21:39 (three years ago) Permalink

Probably UK

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 22:02 (three years ago) Permalink

Considerably fewer in US

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 14 November 2014 22:12 (three years ago) Permalink

Mark Sinker makes some connections (for inst., between Gothic and Futurist lit) new to me, after viewing the National Gallery's William Morris exhibition:

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:51 (three years ago) Permalink

Thanks. Surely the friend mentioned there is an ILB poster.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:59 (three years ago) Permalink

RMDE at that this thread title too, as well as the terrible screenname I had at the time. Don't know why I did it. I guess the door dilated and I just had to go through it.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:59 (three years ago) Permalink

before I forget: this Brazilian writer recently died and Clute tweeted link to very appealing SFE overview of his work:

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 15:51 (three years ago) Permalink

Ooh! I mean RIP but yknow

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:02 (three years ago) Permalink

Thanks. Often hard to find something like that in translation or even not in translation. Wonder if he had anything in that Cosmos Latinos anthology? Don't seem to recognize the name.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:03 (three years ago) Permalink

(xp, obv)

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:03 (three years ago) Permalink

okay, "Brain Transplant."

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:05 (three years ago) Permalink

I've only read Brain Transplant but would def read more provided stuff gets translated

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:06 (three years ago) Permalink

Hey James, tried to reply to yr kind email, but it won't let us reply directly, and the webmail form has the worst captcha evah, I refreshed it a half-dozen times, got rejected over and over and over and over and over and over. So I'll reply here: thanks, you keep up the good posts too!

dow, Monday, 17 November 2014 02:06 (three years ago) Permalink

has this been posted already?

Οὖτις, Monday, 17 November 2014 16:18 (three years ago) Permalink

Laird Barron wrote a parody of the horror/weird scene, it included jabs at Mark Samuels in particular (however serious they were intended, nobody knows), there was some discussion of this at the Ligotti forum and eventually that resulted in Justin Isis writing hilarious rap battle lyrics.
Several spread across this page

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 17 November 2014 23:35 (three years ago) Permalink

The xpost link to Mark Sinker's William Morris exhibit etc is back online this afternoon. Read that before reading further, for max headroom:
When his fellow visitor/ILXor xyzzz (sic?) said it was down this morning, I told Mark, and we had this email exchange:

Mark:oh cheers, yes, the guy who hosts it (on a laptop in his spare room) sometimes has to reboot :)

me: OK, will keep in mind. I fairly recently got into Morris and those Kipling stories (if you meant "As Easy As A-B-C" and "With The Night Mail," for inst), but hadn't made the connection. Now I'm also thinking of Blade Runner's Earth, a mostly abandoned First World-as-Third World backstreet, where it rains all night in perpetual eco-ruins; also PKD's original setting, more like a slightly-future-to-us Beijing, with workers scuttling between buildings, hoping not to be singed/cancer-seeded by the invisible sun. Some later Tiptree stories too, and Mary Shelley's The Last Man, for me amazing as Frankenstein.
Probably some of Kim Stanley Robinson's later novels too, though they've gotten so long I may never know (early The Wild Shore was fine, best I recall). But I recently saw a mention of "cli-fi" as emerging trend, so we may get sick of the whole thing even before it all comes true.

Mark: Yes, Kipling’s mum was related to a famous Pre-Raphaelite in the Morris circle — his dad of course ran the Lucknow museum — and when he was boarded in England as kid (not the notorious time that became Baa Baa Black Sheep) he stayed with the De Morgans, who were also minor slebs in Arts&Crafts terms: William DM a high-end potter and tile designer (he did the fireplaces for the Titanic iirc!)

Yrs partly (Kipling's)sic-fi stories, but also the stories about ships and trains and cars — esp.the ones from the perspective of the train or ship. The ones abt cars are really intriguing: he was totally an early adopter.

me: Didn't know any of that, thanks! Will def have to read more Kipling----recently found one of his I mentioned in an anth w HG's "The Land Ironclads"---getting back into Wells, and suspect the Eloi and Morlocks might have gotten Morris (and Tolkien) going. Finally read The Lord Of The Rings, and feel like I totally/mostly get it! Specific associations re the "not allegorical, dammit!" Ring/magic can shift, but lately I think of fossil fuels as thee ancient source of modern marvels, source which must now be sacrificed to/for any chance of future lives, bearable legacy But once that ship sails off into the autumn sea, it sails, buddy. So the book is a tragedy, but fairly often experienced as a comedy, in a commedia sense: fascination of the vivid details, robustly acted out, with some mortal meat joy, and other meat conditions.

dow, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 19:08 (three years ago) Permalink

William DM a high-end potter and tile designer (he did the fireplaces for the Titanic iirc!

De Morgan Centre looking for a foothold. (Those are Tolkien's ships, right there)

alimosina, Thursday, 20 November 2014 01:24 (three years ago) Permalink

Just heard "Dream Weaver" on the radio. Wasn't there an sf writer named Gary Wright who had a much anthologized story about some futuristic luge called something like "Ice Slide"? "Ice Capades"? "Ice Rink" ? "Ice Mutants"? and then was never heard from again? I'll guess I'll see what Clute & Co have to say.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:44 (three years ago) Permalink

Looks like some Canadian teacher assigned it to his students to adapt as a short film. Don't think it was clemenza, though.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:55 (three years ago) Permalink

Can anyone tell me what on earth Science Fiction Poetry is? Poems of fantasy and horror just uses tropes of those genres but how do you achieve the conceptual framework of SF in poetry? Because without that, the tropes by themselves would just be fantasy poems or poems about radical change.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:56 (three years ago) Permalink

If you have to ask you'll never know.

Tom Disch might have had something to tell you about it, but he is sadly no longer with us.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 21:00 (three years ago) Permalink

Oh gosh, now that you mention it, I've seen poetry in science fiction mags as far back as I can remember, though I don't remember any specific poem, at least in part because I haven't read any sf mags in a long time. I do remember there being quite a range, from short light verse (limericks, even)to much more ambitious testimonials and mini-sagas(never got much space in the page sense).
I'll have to dig up some of those zines; meanwhile this looks like a good place to start:

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:22 (three years ago) Permalink

Also notable were the infusion of a quantity of poetry into the text of Brian W Aldiss's novel Barefoot in the Head (1969)

Thinking about what Aldiss to read next, since I finished Report on Probability A , which I will give a report grade of 'A' to, and this is on my short list.

There are some poems in the anthology Sense of Wonder.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:51 (three years ago) Permalink

Just came across a 1962 American printing of The Long Afternoon of Earth, AKA Hothouse; unabridged edition didn't come out in the US 'til 76.

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:37 (three years ago) Permalink

Did you buy it? It is currently out of print. I loved the story/extract in the Silverberg SF 101 book, as mentioned on prior thread.

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:41 (three years ago) Permalink

This is the abridged version I got (for 25 cents),204,203,200_.jpg

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00 (three years ago) Permalink

in terms of thematic vibe, this cover may be more appropriate, but the UK is awesome o coures

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 00:01 (three years ago) Permalink

In your favorite online sf reference work I believe that book has the tag ***SEMISPOILER ALERT** "Space Elevator" **END OF SEMISPOILER ALERT

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 24 November 2014 00:28 (three years ago) Permalink

Vandermeer has come back to one he still thinks is underappreciated. The title and author seem vaguely familiar; anybody read it?

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 05:22 (three years ago) Permalink

New Yorker won't let me link, but check out Laura Miller's "Fresh Hell" for clear lens view of profuse YA dystopias, and how the lit varies from Classic adult-aimed (later school-assigned). TNY's Amy Davidson later agrees with much but not all of Miller's take.

dow, Tuesday, 25 November 2014 17:40 (three years ago) Permalink

been reading LeGuin's "A Fisherman of the Inland Sea" (they had it at the library). I took Disch to task in "The Dreams Our Stuff is Made of" for his attacks on her, and while I won't recant on that count (he was unnecessarily harsh and dismissive), she really can let her didacticism get in the way. I can think of few fiction writers that have a more keenly developed political agenda that is so readily apparent in their work. Ayn Rand obviously (lol) and Heinlein and Scott Card I suppose. But LeGuin's well to the left of those boorish blowhards, and arguably more audacious conceptually. I wonder if I should go back and re-read the Kestrel books for any political subtext I may have missed in jr high, I always liked those...

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 25 November 2014 22:17 (three years ago) Permalink

I don't think I'll read her for a very long time unless I come across her work in anthologies. Because once Moorcock said her work was self-consciously literary and left him cold. But he was very fond of her as a person.

That really put me off and what you say here adds to that. But Wizard Of Earthsea is an attractive name so I'm not totally discouraged.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 01:28 (three years ago) Permalink

Moorcock doesn't always make the right choices...

Even people I know who don't usually like her (or science fiction in general) tend to like this

dow, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 01:40 (three years ago) Permalink

The Weird is the VanderMeer doorstop I own, and while obv not every story is a keeper it's amongst the best anthologies I've ever read for sure.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 5 March 2018 10:56 (one week ago) Permalink

as posted on the the general books thread, have been reading the three body problem. been really enjoying it, so interesting to see the more equivocal or measured judgments here. did feel that the writing style was excellent, so it was interesting to read this interview with Ken Liu, who translated the first and third volumes into English, updated some of the technology in consultation with Liu Cixin and also re-ordered the chapters back to what apparently was their original intent.

It is a pretty segmented book, as ledge implies upthread, but i liked the way cultural revolution history is the starting point for the story, and persists throughout as a motive force. I also liked very much the management of the mystery, and the general structuring. However, I'm now at the end of that section, and just on the edges of what I take to be the info-dump section that ledge referred to, so i'll see how it goes.

Downloaded the second volume The Dark Forest for a long plane journey back to the UK this evening. Not translated by Ken Liu though. As I said on the other thread I very much liked the manner and imagery of this English translation, so it will be interesting to see how well it's maintained by another translator. The third volume is Ken Liu again.

first post here! no idea why it's taken me so long.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 01:48 (one week ago) Permalink

oh and yerman S- put me on to this article about the new Chinese extraterrestrial radio station to which Liu Cixin was invited.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 01:50 (one week ago) Permalink

RIP Peter Nicholls (1939-2018):

This is the entry Peter wrote with Cornel Robu on the importance of a SENSE OF WONDER to sf, which I consider to be excellent [MD]:

— SF Encyclopedia (@SFEncyclopedia) March 6, 2018

groovypanda, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 11:52 (one week ago) Permalink

Glad to see a rehabilitation of the term, now to the entry for BIG DUMB OBJECTS for reading list ideas.

lana del boy (ledge), Tuesday, 6 March 2018 13:41 (one week ago) Permalink

Thanks for the link to that article, Fizzles! Intriguing overall, fave bits so far:

This grim cosmic outlook is called “dark-forest theory,” because it conceives of every civilization in the universe as a hunter hiding in a moonless woodland, listening for the first rustlings of a rival.

Liu’s trilogy begins in the late 1960s, during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, when a young Chinese woman sends a message to a nearby star system. The civilization that receives it embarks on a centuries-long mission to invade Earth, but she doesn’t care; the Red Guard’s grisly excesses have convinced her that humans no longer deserve to survive.

A beam from a giant laser array, to be built in the Chilean high desert, will wallop dozens of wafer-thin probes more than four light-years to the Alpha Centauri system, to get a closer look at its planets. Milner told me the probes’ cameras might be able to make out individual continents. The Alpha Centauri team modeled the radiation that such a beam would send out into space, and noticed striking similarities to the mysterious “fast radio bursts” that Earth’s astronomers keep detecting, which suggests the possibility that they are caused by similar giant beams, powering similar probes elsewhere in the cosmos.

In 1442, after the Ming dynasty moved China’s capital to Beijing, the emperor broke ground on a new observatory near the Forbidden City. More than 40 feet high, the elegant, castlelike structure came to house China’s most precious astronomical instruments.

No civilization on Earth has a longer continuous tradition of astronomy than China, whose earliest emperors drew their political legitimacy from the sky, in the form of a “mandate of heaven.” More than 3,500 years ago, China’s court astronomers pressed pictograms of cosmic events into tortoiseshells and ox bones. One of these “oracle bones” bears the earliest known record of a solar eclipse...

Liu and I sat at a black-marble table in the old observatory’s stone courtyard. Centuries-old pines towered overhead, blocking the hazy sunlight that poured down through Beijing’s yellow, polluted sky. Through a round, red portal at the courtyard’s edge, a staircase led up to a turretlike observation platform, where a line of ancient astronomical devices stood, including a giant celestial globe supported by slithering bronze dragons. The starry globe was stolen in 1900, after an eight-country alliance stormed Beijing to put down the Boxer Rebellion. Troops from Germany and France flooded into the courtyard where Liu and I were sitting, and made off with 10 of the observatory’s prized instruments.

dow, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 19:37 (one week ago) Permalink

Head On

John Scalzi fans will rejoice at his latest near-future novel Head On, a companion to Lock In. In this world, some inhabitants suffer from Haden’s Syndrome, a disease that paralyzes the body but leaves the mind intact. Many people with Haden’s Syndrome use robots called threeps to play Hilketa, a violent sport where winning requires ripping off an opponent’s head and carrying it across the goal line. When one of the Haden’s Syndrome players dies during a match after his threep is injured, things look suspicious. FBI agents Chris Shane and Leslie Vann are called to investigate and they uncover shocking information about the players and the nature of the game itself.

On shelves: April 17
I admit to having enjoyed Lock In, despite its eventual tendency to TV quips--just in case you're taking the suspense too seriously---although in the agent's case they can seem more compulsive, like maybe a symptom of Haden's Syndrome? He's one of those with it, mostly curled up in the dark while making his way through mean streets and other DC spectacles via threep.
A sucker for SF and some other procedurals, certainly The Demolished Man and alt-universe The Yiddish Policemen's Union and of course Do Androids Dream...? (even liked voiceover in orig. release of Blade Runner, because sounded like Sterling Hayden). Library's got an Asimov collection, Robots and Murder, will prob get to that too.

dow, Wednesday, 7 March 2018 19:40 (one week ago) Permalink

Still confusing Greg Egan with Greg Bear---but think it was the former named by so many writers, not nec. SF etc. ones, several years ago, in a survey I may have posted upthread---think several of y'all endorsed him then---anyway, I'm intrigued by word of this new (three-part) novella:

Dust jacket illustration by Gregory Manchess.

Welcome to Tvibura and Tviburi, the richly imagined twin planets that stand at the center of Greg Egan’s extraordinary new novella, Phoresis.

These two planets—one inhabited, one not—exist in extreme proximity to one another. As the narrative begins, Tvibura, the inhabited planet, faces a grave and imminent threat: the food supply is dwindling, and the conditions necessary for sustaining life are growing more and more erratic. Faced with the prospect of eventual catastrophe, the remarkable women of Tvibura launch a pair of ambitious, long-term initiatives. The first involves an attempt to reanimate the planet’s increasingly dormant ecosphere. The second concerns the building of a literal “bridge between worlds” that will connect Tvibura to its (hopefully) habitable sibling.

These initiatives form the core of the narrative, which is divided into three sections and takes place over many generations. The resulting triptych is at once an epic in miniature, a work of hard SF filled with humanist touches, and a compressed, meticulously detailed example of original world building. Most centrally, it is a portrait of people struggling—and sometimes risking everything—to preserve a future they will not live to see. Erudite and entertaining, Phoresis shows us Egan at his formidable best, offering the sort of intense, visionary pleasures only science fiction can provide.

Limited: 1000 numbered hardcover copies

From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):

“Egan’s gripping and surprisingly accessible short novel centers on the weird but consistent and intriguing science that has become his hallmark. Though short, this science-driven tale has an epic feel…”

From Booklist (Starred Review):

“Phoresis is an elegant, spare, evocative jewel of a novella told in three parts.”

From Kirkus Reviews:

“Dazzling new novella from an author (Dichronauts, 2017, etc.) who specializes in inventing seriously weird worlds and making them real.”
$40.00---of course I'll wait for the ebook (or get the library to order a more affordable print ed.) Others of his I should check---?

dow, Thursday, 8 March 2018 19:03 (one week ago) Permalink

koogs, Thursday, 8 March 2018 19:06 (one week ago) Permalink

^ not helpful

koogs, Thursday, 8 March 2018 19:07 (one week ago) Permalink

Read earlier Egan, up to Teranesia, especially his short stories. His later novels have been clever weird physics thought experiments with aggressively minute elements of characterisation.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Thursday, 8 March 2018 23:06 (one week ago) Permalink

Being a short stories junkie, will def check the earlier, thanks.

dow, Friday, 9 March 2018 01:50 (one week ago) Permalink

The short story collection "Axiomatic" has some of the best sci-fi I've ever read. The only novel I've read is "Permutation City" which I didn't really like that much. He has some amazing ideas but his characters aren't really interesting enough to hold my interest for an entire novel.

silverfish, Friday, 9 March 2018 14:10 (one week ago) Permalink

Finally started one of my Tanith Lee books. Pretty decent so far, enjoyed a scene of a leopard humming in answer to a woman to show it understood her. Currently reading her story about chariot racers with their wives & prostitutes. Very goth at times but I haven't got to her full-on dark fantasy.

Algernon Blackwood is a very fine writer much of the time but he can bang on a bit. Like Machen, he's so much more than another writer of classic ghost stories, he has all these very personal ideas of spirituality, lived quite an interesting life, travelled a lot.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 9 March 2018 19:03 (one week ago) Permalink

And also a Jessica Amanda Salmonson story that felt somewhere between Dunsany and Tanith Lee, about Death and Sleep trading places.

A horror anthology had FOUR stories by John Lennon, with wordplay that reminded me of his angry note to Todd Rundgren. Just silly little cruel stories.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 9 March 2018 19:19 (one week ago) Permalink

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the nominees for the 52nd Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. The awards will be presented in Pittsburgh during a ceremony on the evening of May 19, 2018.
All here:

dow, Friday, 9 March 2018 23:59 (one week ago) Permalink

Picked up a cheap copy of a late Clifford D Simak novel, The Fellowship of the Talisman - the little capsule summary for it on Wikipedia sounds NUTS:

On a parallel Earth perpetually laid waste by the Harriers of the Horde, a young man must ferry what may be a true account of Jesus's teachings to distant London. He is helped by a lonely ghost, a goblin, a demon, and a warrior woman riding a griffin.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 14 March 2018 16:23 (four days ago) Permalink

i read that as a kid! Simak's (kinda) genre fantasies are super weird. See also Where the Evil Dwells. I have been wanting to reread FotT tbh

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 14 March 2018 16:25 (four days ago) Permalink

xpost to general reading thread, regarding The Three-Body Problem:

I am also reading that, and enjoying it immensely, despite some reservations about weird dialogue, but there had best be some good explanations, even if they are handwavy, in the 100p I have left.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Friday, 16 March 2018 05:40 (two days ago) Permalink

also xposting to same, esp as it touches on ledge’s post upthread:

“thought its pacing and general appeal slipped quite badly towards the end unfortunately. still think the first half / two thirds was excellent.

reading the second in the trilogy, the dark forest, now. it’s a bit hard going and is more about the grind of preparing for an alien encounter 4.25 light years and multiple generations away, with modelled social implications. i quite like the way liu cixin (劉慈欣) is happy to let societal models play out almost as if they were characters an author allows to make their own decisions rather than forcing them down preconceived plotlines. but it’s not *really* a compelling basis for a novel.

also *lots* of characters who in strugglijg to distinguish.

on the advanced technology / fantasy point thomp, i think i agree. but the retention of scientistic language provides framework linking current day science and plausible future science to “fantasy science”. i’d also ask whether you’d include something that uses a scientific paradigm jump as its basic principle - like teleportation in The Stars My Destination - in that category.

there’s also a consideration, which is also too dull to consider, that much actual physics can feel fantastic, or requiring of a certain amount of faith, if you don’t properly understand the mechanics (as i don’t). tho as i say it’s a pub bore point.”

that last para is a bit lubberly - either make the point or don’t - so i’ll say that i think that point is irrelevant to the main point but perhaps pertinent to using the language of scientist - to which we are all accustomed - as a framework for hyper-advanced technologies. i think 3bp steers clear of magic for this reason tbh. i also have an inherent dislike for hard-science science fiction.

Fizzles, Friday, 16 March 2018 09:17 (two days ago) Permalink

xp lol

Fizzles, Friday, 16 March 2018 09:17 (two days ago) Permalink

it’s not that bad.

Fizzles, Friday, 16 March 2018 09:18 (two days ago) Permalink

I think the fact that one of the central conceits, the video game, is so conceptually flawed (a massively multiplayer online game which somehow skips forwards hundreds of years only while the main character is logged off) that it does lead me to treat the rest of the science with scepticism, and while what is hard sf vis what is science fantasy can - must - be in the eye of the beholder, iirc there was very little explanatory framework for the more magical deus ex machinas at the end.

lana del boy (ledge), Friday, 16 March 2018 09:32 (two days ago) Permalink

Jst finished it, and agree with both of you to a great degree. My main problem with the last 100p ended up being that the aliens turned out to be really DULL. But there was lots and lots of good stuff on the way there. Not sure whether to launch straight into vol 2, or do my usual trick of taking a break, forgetting who all the characters are, and then finding the second book mystifying because I let too much time pass.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Friday, 16 March 2018 12:20 (two days ago) Permalink

i didn’t mind the conceptual flaws with the VR game, ledge.

two reasons: one is that the nonsense about mechanics of MMO that you rightly point out added to the mystery. the whole thing was so strange it didn’t matter to me.

second i thought the imagery and fun of chaotic / stable periods with humans superimposed on aliens was... fun! and resulted in some of the best imagery of the book. the pendulums, the animals flying out of the burning lands, the cauldron, walking through the sparse emptiness at the beginning.

i guess that v much links into thomp’s fantasy point, but i enjoyed it. like many things that fail to resolve satisfactorily it the crucial problem seems to be too many ideas. that’s definitely a side i’d rather an author fail on, than too lenten.

Fizzles, Friday, 16 March 2018 19:54 (two days ago) Permalink

yeah it was definitely fun & had great imagery, e.g. the horserider on fire galloping into the palace shouting "dessicate! dessicate!"

lana del boy (ledge), Friday, 16 March 2018 20:12 (two days ago) Permalink

Possibly mentioned this before but I think it's interesting that these current Chinese authors mostly get golden age SF, apparently the newer classics often aren't allowed by censors, apart from Neuromancer.

Sits interestingly in the discussion about new SF fans not reading golden age stuff or thinking it's bad.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 16 March 2018 20:32 (two days ago) Permalink

Re: Clark Ashton Smith. He often talked about there being satiric elements in his work but it's not always obvious to me. He called a small spaceship "Space Annihilator" to be funny, but I thought it was just to be cool.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 16 March 2018 20:35 (two days ago) Permalink

“dessicate! dessicate!” — it is interesting that in misremembering ledge has chosen a better word

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Friday, 16 March 2018 20:38 (two days ago) Permalink

i am at the bit where the cop says ‘if any of you try anything, I’ll shoot’ and then does not shoot during what sounds like an elaborate bit of business in which someone grabs a bomb

this is in the middle of a scene during which someone says ‘of course you already know the history of our organisation - but for our newcomer, i will repeat it’

these two flashback chapters had in them one relevant detail not extrapolatable from stuff the reader already knows

they did contain this bit of sub-ansible muddle-headedness though:

Ye’s hand hovered two centimetres above it.


Without hesitation, Ye pressed the button.

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Friday, 16 March 2018 20:47 (two days ago) Permalink

“Dr. Ding, would you please show Yang Dong’s note to Professor Wang?”

Jeff, Friday, 16 March 2018 20:51 (two days ago) Permalink

Hardest part for me was remembering who was who. Still, loved all three of them.

Jeff, Friday, 16 March 2018 20:51 (two days ago) Permalink

This just popped into my head from Jack Vance's Dying Earth

"Hold, hold, hold!" came a new voice. "Hold, hold, hold. My charms and tokens, an ill day for Thorsingol ... But then, avaunt, you ghost, back to the orifice, back and avaunt, avaunt, I say! Go, else I loose the actinics; trespass is not allowed, by supreme command from the Lycurgat; aye, the Lycurgat of Thorsingol. Avaunt, so then."

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 16 March 2018 20:52 (two days ago) Permalink

xp lol i thought dessicate was probably wrong but couldn't think of another word, what was it?

lana del boy (ledge), Friday, 16 March 2018 20:52 (two days ago) Permalink


the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Friday, 16 March 2018 21:33 (two days ago) Permalink

As she grew closer to Yang, he was able to get her many classics of foreign-language philosophy and history under the guise of gathering technical research materials. The bloody history of humanity shocked her, and the extraordinary insights of the philosophers also led her to understand the most fundamental and secret aspects of human nature.

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Saturday, 17 March 2018 03:42 (yesterday) Permalink

The ETO concluded that the common people did not seem to have the comprehensive and deep understanding of the highly educated about the dark side of humanity. More importantly, because their thoughts were not as deeply influenced by modern science and philosophy, they still felt an overwhelming, instinctual identification with their own species.

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Saturday, 17 March 2018 03:44 (yesterday) Permalink

on the advanced technology / fantasy point thomp, i think i agree. but the retention of scientistic language provides framework linking current day science and plausible future science to “fantasy science”. i’d also ask whether you’d include something that uses a scientific paradigm jump as its basic principle - like teleportation in The Stars My Destination - in that category.

bester -- it's a long time since i read him -- i recall as coherently doing one kind of thing. liu's book is, cough cough, like a particle extended into eleven dimensions, trying to occupy several different aesthetic positions at once: among others, those of stanislaw lem, blindsight, cryptonomicon, helliconia spring, the gods themselves, ender's game, the works of kilgore trout, and the fountainhead

the brief glimpse of trisolaria at the end kind of illustrates this -- their society is dunderheadedly tedious pop-eichmann, but then the shift into the fabulous when they're building the proton computer was one of the highlights of the book. HOWEVER as ledge correctly illustrates above 'it was protons all along!' is not a satisfying resolution to all the stuff set up in the first fifty pages of wang's story. -- while i can't imagine any reader not yelling at the chracters 'for god's sake, the game is a simulation of the alien civilisation ye made contact with forty years ago, catch up already'

(sidetrack: one of the standard readings of a detective fiction is that the real narrative is that he uncovers, which seems largely incorrect: the real narrative is the textural interest of how the detective interacts with his world. by the end of this novel, liu seems to have forgotten that he had provided his detective figure with a family and a past.)

more laziness:
-- the thunking chekhov's-gun landing when shi suggests using wang's nanofilament technology.
-- or that shen, who has been an Adventist for years, happens to be playing the game (why?) when wang comes by
-- the rather unlikely thread that leads wang to go visit ye for the first time, in order to provide the dramatic reveal that she's an Adventist leader

am i being too harsh, i don't know, my hand is hovering above the submit post button without hesitation

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Saturday, 17 March 2018 04:33 (yesterday) Permalink

in retrospect, i realised i could have chosen a better term: by 'his detective figure' i mean the character who is the agent of the reader's encountering revelations about the past, that is, wang. not da shi, who is an actual detective.

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Saturday, 17 March 2018 04:34 (yesterday) Permalink

I also cannot believe, Dehydrating or not, any large species could survive what their planet has gone through. Anthrax spores, maybe, but not a big animal. And surely a vast stable period, longer than human history, would be needed to develop to the point they could gather the resources to build a huge interstellar war fleet.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Saturday, 17 March 2018 12:09 (yesterday) Permalink

i think you're being too harsh tbh xpost but making a fairly compelling argument doing so. the nanofilament thing is a bit bollocks obv but the whole reason for wang's involvement is that the trisolarians knew the technology would be dangerous. albeit not as a 'zither' but as a, errrrr, ladder into space iirc?

james that link looks like something i don't want to click on. i'm trusting you here.

Fizzles, Saturday, 17 March 2018 14:27 (yesterday) Permalink

I skimmed it a little bit and put it here for future reference. Not encouraging anyone else to click or not to click.

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 March 2018 14:31 (yesterday) Permalink

it's ok. i'm interested in the difference between horror and ghost stories, which roughly maps to his weird/hauntology categories. looking forward to reading it properly later. thanks for posting.

Fizzles, Saturday, 17 March 2018 14:47 (yesterday) Permalink

I was curious about that dichotomy too. Couldn’t quite follow the whole article.

Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 March 2018 15:08 (yesterday) Permalink

I and/or also had trouble with it

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 17 March 2018 17:16 (yesterday) Permalink


Whiney On The Moog (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 March 2018 18:48 (yesterday) Permalink

I read it back when it came out but I don't remember much about it apart from his tattoo.

I recall somewhere here enjoying Steve Rasnic Tem, so you may be interested in this new best of collection

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 March 2018 19:14 (yesterday) Permalink

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