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

parts of Lanark def reminded me of Mitchell's Black Swan Green

that book is super-weird and unique tho

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 21:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I second the rec of Karen Russell, also suggest Kelly Link, both of whom I've carried on about upthread---ditto those two volumes of Houghton Mifflin/Mariner's The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, series edited by John Joseph Adams. I prefer the 2016 collection, guest edited by Karen Joy Fowler (check her novels too, starting with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, tracking the aftermath of raising a furry primate with/in a human family---there actually were and maybe are daddy scientists doing this, so it's a different kind of science fiction, also a Pen/Faulkner winner). But 2015, guest ed. by Joe Hill, also has some remarkable stories overall--most by authors new to me---it's just that having Russell and Link in the same collection provides a couple of acts that are hard to follow.
Haven't yet gotten to guest ed. Charles Yu's 2017 selection (haven't read any of his own stories either). 2018, guested by NK Jemisin, comes out Oct. 2.
Oh yeah, and Colson Whitehead's zombie-clean-up slab, Zone One, sported a jacket promising literary satisfactions and tasty pulp, delivered both.

dow, Thursday, 30 August 2018 00:30 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Saw a potentially interesting recent book about Ballard at the library today but didn’t check it out

Spirits Having Pwned (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 30 August 2018 00:50 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Ooh yeah Kelly Link, she’s great

Οὖτις, Thursday, 30 August 2018 02:10 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I'd love something that hits that old Lethem/David Mitchell sweet spot.

I feel wary about 'recommending' a book I haven't read myself, but this recentish novel by Michel Faber (who also wrote Under the Skin) got pretty good reviews, including a rave from M John Harrison, who knows a thing or two;

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 30 August 2018 08:29 (two weeks ago) Permalink

omg the book of strange new things is the worst. ludicrous characters, ludicrous situation. m john harrison said "it has such a lot of religious, linguistic, philosophical and political freight to deliver" but i unpacked those boxes and they were all empty. haven't read any lethem *gasps* (though ilx is doing its best to persuade me), but it has absolutely none of the invention or zest of cloud atlas.

Winner of the 2018 Great British Bae *cough* (ledge), Thursday, 30 August 2018 09:14 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Thanks all! I haven't read an anthology in years so I will check out the Best Americans.

I love Under the Skin but reading about the backstory behind Book of Strange New Things, idk, seemed heavy in a way that made me say "mmmm, maybe not now". Although the space priest setup brings to mind those weird Ender's Game sequels that I read as a kid.

I do remember enjoying Zone One, I think it was the first e-book I read. Weirdly Colson Whitehead has been coming up a lot lately and I had completely forgotton about the existence of that book until now.

change display name (Jordan), Thursday, 30 August 2018 15:07 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Reading The Apex Book Of World SF. Very impressed by the first story by S.P. Somtow, though it's more horror than sci-fi - a series of killings, viewed from the perspective of an American kid who fled China w/ his mother when the communists took over and ended up in Thailand. Lots of historical weight (Nanking Massacre and so on), and prejudices - Thai vs Chinese, Chinese vs Japanese. I'm a few more stories in but nothing has really impressed me in the same way.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 31 August 2018 13:52 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Somtow probably best known for Vampire Junction in the 80s.

People really angry with SilverBob's ill advised comments

On a private mailing list, Robert Silverberg called N.K. Jemisin's #HugoAwards win for Best Novel "identity politics" while admitting he hasn't even read her books. (Comment confirmed by John Scalzi.)

— Rogers Cadenhead (@rcade) August 22, 2018

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 31 August 2018 20:42 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Silverbob's politics are weird

Οὖτις, Friday, 31 August 2018 20:45 (two weeks ago) Permalink

My daughter went to DragonCon this weekend and got me Larry Niven's autograph -- I got perverse pleasure in getting it buried on page 186 of a ratty copy of the 1971 collection Quark/4. "The Fourth Profession" is my favorite of his stories and that was where I first read it. My daughter reports that Niven isn't tracking very well at all, not too compos mentis.

WmC, Monday, 3 September 2018 23:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I've been working my way through the early Nebula Award Stories collections, each one edited by a different big name SF writer. Volume 4, edited by Poul Anderson, only confirms my dislike for this author. This is from his introduction (published in 1969) - his subject is the contemporary inter-relationship between modern literary fiction and science fiction:

"Most science fiction has also preserved its own traditional virtues. It still tells stories, wherein things happen. It remains more interested in the glamour and mystery of existence, the survival and triumph and tragedy of heroes and thinkers, than in the neuroses of some snivelling fagot (sic)."

So give me Delany, for all his gaucheries, over this fucking guy always.

Volume 4 is all told a bit of a dud, anyway - over 100 pages of Anne Mcaffrey's interminable dragon fantasia was the SF story I've most struggled to finish since - Poul Anderson's 'No Truce With Kings'...

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 6 September 2018 19:07 (one week ago) Permalink

never bothered to read a word of Anderson, he sounds terrible

also signed his name to that pro-Vietnam War thing iirc

Οὖτις, Thursday, 6 September 2018 19:12 (one week ago) Permalink

Not fiction, but I just bought:

Frederik Pohl: THE WAY THE FUTURE WAS - a memoir.

Seems a really rich piece of personal cultural history about SF from c.1920s on - the formation of clubs, societies, Golden Age.

the pinefox, Friday, 7 September 2018 14:26 (one week ago) Permalink

Ooh I’ll read that

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Friday, 7 September 2018 14:28 (one week ago) Permalink

I got a copy of that when it first came out from the SF Book Club when I was in high school. Got his autograph too at a convention.

The Great Atomic Power Ballad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 7 September 2018 14:38 (one week ago) Permalink


the pinefox, Friday, 7 September 2018 14:43 (one week ago) Permalink

Pohl also blogged for the last ~5 years of his life, with many juicy biographical reminiscences. Probably a great supplement to that book, which I'd like to read.

mick signals, Friday, 7 September 2018 14:44 (one week ago) Permalink


I don't understand why that article is so virulently anti-Ray Bradbury. Goodness knows there is room for both of them and more.

the pinefox, Friday, 7 September 2018 14:51 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah, that blog is full of good stuff. Seems like he was a real mensch, based on that book, that blog, seeing him speak at the convention and the 30 seconds I talked to him.

Cruel Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 7 September 2018 14:53 (one week ago) Permalink

btw it's the interviewer, not Pohl, who is hostile to Bradbury.

I found that link via the blog.

the pinefox, Friday, 7 September 2018 14:54 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah, that’s a bizarre angle, like Bob Dylan talking up Buck Owens and trashing Merle Haggard.

Cruel Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 7 September 2018 14:58 (one week ago) Permalink

would read Pohl memoir. he always seemed like a standup guy with p good taste to me

Οὖτις, Friday, 7 September 2018 15:17 (one week ago) Permalink

I don't understand why that article is so virulently anti-Ray Bradbury.

because Vice hires shitty writers

Οὖτις, Friday, 7 September 2018 15:18 (one week ago) Permalink

that interview is absolutely bizarre

Number None, Friday, 7 September 2018 20:15 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm enjoying the Karen Tidbeck books so far, thanks for the tip ILB.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 7 September 2018 20:17 (one week ago) Permalink

which one are you reading? also sorry for mispelling it (it's Karin)

was surprised to find out she translates her own stuff

Οὖτις, Friday, 7 September 2018 20:25 (one week ago) Permalink

Oops my bad. I'm actually reading both at the same time, I'll read a story from Jagannath before bed (um, aloud to my partner) and then some of Amatka.

was surprised to find out she translates her own stuff

Wow, that's fascinating, and seems very rare even for multi-lingual authors? Like mastering your own record. I was thinking that the translation was very good.

change display name (Jordan), Friday, 7 September 2018 20:39 (one week ago) Permalink

Tidbeck said she knew that the chances of getting translated into English were very slim. You'd have to be a real phenomenon in Sweden for that to happen so she wisely translated herself and ended up writing a lot of her work in English first.

There's a lot of writers from all over the world who just go straight to the English market because it's probably your best shot at getting the biggest audience and the general community aspect is inevitably bigger too.

Moorcock is a big Poul Anderson fan (I'm sure he said Broken Sword is better than Lord Of The Rings, but he never really liked the latter) and I've heard enough stanning that I'm going to have to at least read Broken Sword, Three Hearts & Three Lions, Hrolf Kraki's Saga, War Of The Gods and Tau Zero.

I don't know why I never taken bigger advantage of Fopp's 2 for £5 deal before, because I'll never find all these books for cheaper (when you factor postage+packaging). So I bought 14 books and will probably get more.

Why do publishers allow Fopp to sell them so cheap. How do certain books get stocked so well in there? PKDick and LeGuin make sense and I can imagine the Strugatsky's somehow doing well in Fopp but there's also a pile of Bernard Taylor, Holdstock's Mythago Wood and McKillip's Forgotten Beasts Of Eld. I'm happy to see them but why are they there? Most of the SFF is Gollancz Masterworks (I really wish America had this line in all their stores because Gollancz really knows how to curate).

I got 4 LeGuins, 3 Strugatskys, some McKillip, HGWells, Christopher Priest, Wolfe's Fifth Head Of Cerebus and some I cant remember.

On Oxfam in Byres Road I passed on a 90s Orbit copy of Michael Scott Rohan's Anvil Of Ice because I wanted the Gollancz Masterworks one (would have been excited if it was in Fopp) because I figured it might be an omnibus but it's not.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 8 September 2018 11:18 (one week ago) Permalink

Tricia Sullivan got in SF Masterworks this year so that's a pretty good recommendation for a relatively recent writer.

I'm craving some no bullshit SFF criticism so I might get such books by Adam Roberts and Christopher Priest. I really appreciate Ian Sales' very difficult to please reviews on goodreads, I think his taste is completely different to mine but when he says something is amazing, I take note.

Strangely most of these guys are british. Joshi is honest but his judgement is quite iffy and he seems to be easily swayed by feuds and fannish stuff.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 8 September 2018 11:43 (one week ago) Permalink

re critics: John Clute's collections of reviews?

the pinefox, Saturday, 8 September 2018 17:50 (one week ago) Permalink

I'll take note.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 8 September 2018 17:56 (one week ago) Permalink

Which collection is that?

Cruel Summerisle (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 8 September 2018 18:19 (one week ago) Permalink

Ian Sales is a very interesting reviewer, but he has a weird insistence that books be morally correct that seems old-fashioned and not in keeping with the fiction he actually writes.

Mince Pramthwart (James Morrison), Sunday, 9 September 2018 06:38 (one week ago) Permalink

I noticed something like that but it was his insistence that a book was too politically ambiguous that made me cautious. But I hadn't read the books so I cant really argue.

I know in these times there's a feeling that messages need to be clearer and it's understandable but I wonder if the writing might suffer for it. I recently listened to a podcast with two SF editors saying that a lot of writers work suffers when they realize a large part of their audience doesn't understand and then make it too clear.

Trying to reach everyone is a fools errand. There's always going to be people who think a fragile pathetic macho gangster is awesome because he doesn't take shit and there's people who think American History X is an undercover pro-Nazi film.

I've been toying with making a thread about showing values through storytelling and how it has changed over time. Maybe soon.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 9 September 2018 10:16 (one week ago) Permalink

A list of Clute books here:


Other work could be good too. He has been heavily involved in the ENCYCLOPEDIAS which are now online and useful.

the pinefox, Monday, 10 September 2018 15:12 (one week ago) Permalink

What about his significant other, Elizabeth Hand? I have enjoyed several of her books but have seen very little interest in her work on this borad.

St Etienne Is Real (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 10 September 2018 17:03 (one week ago) Permalink


I assumed that was still Judith Clute.

Perhaps I assumed wrong.

the pinefox, Monday, 10 September 2018 22:19 (one week ago) Permalink

I did:

Raised in Canada, Clute lived in the United States from 1956 until 1964. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at New York University in 1962 while living with writer and artist Pamela Zoline.

Clute married artist Judith Clute in 1964.[7] He has been the partner of Elizabeth Hand since 1996

the pinefox, Monday, 10 September 2018 22:20 (one week ago) Permalink

(Maybe the Clutes never divorced?)

the pinefox, Monday, 10 September 2018 22:20 (one week ago) Permalink

Excited to see that Elizabeth Hand wrote 4 Boba Fett novels in 2 years.

the pinefox, Monday, 10 September 2018 22:21 (one week ago) Permalink

Heh, haven’t gotten around to those yet myself.

St Etienne Is Real (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 10 September 2018 23:07 (one week ago) Permalink

iirc i read her first novel (winterlong) back in the day and thought it was decent? i don't remember a single thing about it tho

mookieproof, Monday, 10 September 2018 23:38 (one week ago) Permalink

Don’t knock it, blade runner kept KW Jeter afloat for awhile there.

Elizabeth Hand used to be married to Richard Grant who wrote a few cool magic realist kind of fantasies for bantam spectra before sort of dropping out.

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 11 September 2018 00:10 (one week ago) Permalink

Thanks for the tip, Jon! I've only ever come across one Grant story, but it was a doozy---see how he stands out in this summation from the previous Rolling SF etc.:
I've already posted about most of the ones I really liked, and some of the duds; other categories: kinda-sorta, may need re-reading; Wolfe stories are things that make me go h'mmm (oh so tricky). Will try to answer any questions. Years of original publication are also listed.
The Ascent of Wonder: The Evolution of Hard Sf, David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, eds., 1994

Ursula K. Le Guin "Nine Lives" 1969 good
Bob Shaw "Light of Other Days" 1966 good
Nathaniel Hawthorne "Rappaccini's Daughter" 1844 good
Arthur C. Clarke "The Star" 1955 nah
Hal Clement "Proof" 1942 good
Robert A. Heinlein "It's Great to Be Back" 1947 nah
Gene Wolfe "Procreation" 1984 Eh?
Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” 1943 good
Raymond Z. Gallun “Davy Jones' Ambassador” 1935 good
Isaac Asimov “The Life and Times of Multivac” 1975 mmm-meh
Robert L. Forward “The Singing Diamond” 1979 pretty good
Dean Ing “Down & Out on Ellfive Prime” 1979 good
Hilbert Schenck “Send Me a Kiss by Wire” 1984 kinda
Philip Latham “The Xi Effect” 1950 nah
Edgar Allan Poe “A Descent into the Maelström” 1841 kinda-sorta
Gregory Benford “Exposures” 1982 meh-ish stiffly imposing
Kate Wilhelm “The Planners” 1968 stiffly imposing/contrived (lol 60s?)
James Blish “Beep” 1954 nah
Richard Grant “Drode's Equations” 1981 good! Borgesian
Theodore L. Thomas “The Weather Man” 1962 nah
Part II
Arthur C. Clarke “Transit of Earth” 1971 nah
J.G. Ballard “Prima Belladonna” 1971 good
Donald M. Kingsbury “To Bring in the Steel” 1978 good
C.M. Kornbluth “Gomez” 1954 kinda
Isaac Asimov “Waterclap” 1970 good
Anne McCaffrey “Weyr Search” 1967 good
Rudy Rucker “Message Found in a Copy of Flatland” 1983 good-ish
Tom Godwin “The Cold Equations” 1954 good
H.G. Wells “The Land Ironclads” 1903 good
Larry Niven “The Hole Man” 1973 nah
John W. Campbell “Atomic Power” 1934 nah
John T. Sladek “Stop Evolution in Its Tracks!” shit 1988
Miles J. Breuer, M.D. “The Hungry Guinea Pig” 1930 good in an early pulp silly way
Ian Watson “The Very Slow Time Machine” 1978 good
Bruce Sterling “The Beautiful and the Sublime” 1986 good (actually doesn't suck)
Ursula K. Le Guin “The Author of the Acacia Seeds” 1974 good
John M. Ford “Heat of Fusion” 1984 nah
Gordon R. Dickson “Dolphin's Way” 1964 kinda
Gene Wolfe “All the Hues of Hell” 1987 maybe?
Theodore Sturgeon “Occam's Scalpel” 1971 h'mmm, the ending
Edward Bryant “giANTS” 1979 kinda, above average ending (very last sentence), for sure
Randall Garrett “Time Fuse” 1954 nah
Clifford D. Simak “Desertion” 1944 good
Part III
Poul Anderson "Kyrie” 1969, mostly good? some bits of ick
Raymond F. Jones “The Person from Porlock” 1947 seems like pre-Gick for a while, but nah
Frederik Pohl “Day Million” 1966 nah
J.G. Ballard “Cage of Sand” 1963 good
James Tiptree, Jr. “The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Awful Things to Rats” 1976 good
Jules Verne “In the Year 2889” (year of orig. pub not listed) good
James Blish “Surface Tension” 1952 good, although lol-ish ending
Cordwainer Smith “No, No, Not Rogov!” 1959 good (I think?)
George Turner “In a Petri Dish Upstairs” 1978 good
Rudyard Kipling “With the Night Mail” good-ish ?
Arthur C. Clarke “The Longest Science Fiction Story Ever Told” 1965 okay but could've been better?
Alfred Bester “The Pi Man” 1959 just okay-ish (compared to some of his 50s)
Gregory Benford “Relativistic Effects” 1982 good
James P. Hogan “Making Light” 1981 nah
Isaac Asimov “The Last Question” 1956 nah
Philip K. Dick “The Indefatigable Frog” 1953 okay-ish (compared to some of his 50s)
John M. Ford “Chromatic Aberration” 1994 kinda
Katherine Maclean “The Snowball Effect” 1952 nah
Hilbert Schenck “The Morphology of the Kirkham Wreck” 1978 good
Greg Bear “Tangents” 1986 kinda, but predictable
William Gibson “Johnny Mnemonic” 1981 nah
David Brin “What Continues, What Fails...” 1991 kinda (def some good science ideas and promising setting. but more like notes)
Michael F. Flynn "Mammy Morgan Played the Organ; Her Daddy Beat the Drum" 1990 good
Vernor Vinge "Bookworm, Run!" 1966 some good details, but as with Bester and Dick, although much, much more so: why *this* Vinge?

― dow, Thursday, 11 April 2013 20:55 (five years ago) Permalink

Not that I don't get into some other short Wolfe, like "The Death of Doctor Island", and will re-re-read these some more.

― dow, Thursday, 11 April 2013 20:59 (five years ago) Permalink

Raymond F. Jones “The Person from Porlock” 1947 seems like pre-Gick for a while, but nah pre-Dick!

― dow, Thursday, 11 April 2013 21:01 (five years ago) Permalink

dow, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 23:44 (one week ago) Permalink

Yes, Grant's story was the only good' un to get an exclamation mark out of me---Maybe that's unfair, but it was spontaneous. Surer about "Borgesian."
Clute's SFEncyclopedia posts are often very astute, and can be so in a complicated lucidity---I especially dig his fail-safe: hyperlinks to other entries, the worlds behind and in his repurposed words, like "ponder" as noun.

dow, Tuesday, 11 September 2018 23:54 (one week ago) Permalink

Wells and James talked about collaborating on a novel once, about Mars. It's in their correspondence.

— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) September 12, 2018

mark s, Wednesday, 12 September 2018 15:50 (six days ago) Permalink

(that's HG Wells and Henry James)

mark s, Wednesday, 12 September 2018 15:51 (six days ago) Permalink

I knew your thread would come good in the end!

Henry James in Space

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 12 September 2018 15:52 (six days ago) Permalink

lol wtf -- i have no memory of that (or any idea even which office i'm referring to)

mark s, Wednesday, 12 September 2018 16:02 (six days ago) Permalink

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