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 (four years ago) link

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

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

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

undreadable
Brian W. "Crazy Baldhead" Aldiss

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

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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

Introduction:
"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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

UK or US or other?

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

Probably UK

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 14 November 2014 22:02 (four years ago) link

Considerably fewer in US

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

Mark Sinker makes some connections (for inst., between Gothic and Futurist lit) new to me, after viewing the National Gallery's William Morris exhibition: http://dubdobdee.co.uk/2014/11/02/the-wood-beyond-the-world-or-this-bus-has-a-new-destination/

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 14:51 (four years ago) link

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

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

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 (four years ago) link

before I forget: this Brazilian writer recently died and Clute tweeted link to very appealing SFE overview of his work:
http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/carneiro_andre

dow, Sunday, 16 November 2014 15:51 (four years ago) link

Ooh! I mean RIP but yknow

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:02 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

(xp, obv)

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

okay, "Brain Transplant."

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

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

Οὖτις, Sunday, 16 November 2014 16:06 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

has this been posted already?
http://www.luminist.org/archives/SF/

Οὖτις, Monday, 17 November 2014 16:18 (four years ago) link

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
http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=6815&page=9

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 17 November 2014 23:35 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/games_and_sports
"Mirror of Ice"

Junior Dadaismus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 23 November 2014 20:48 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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:
http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/poetry

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 22:22 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/915UUZNX5hL._SL1500_.jpg

dow, Sunday, 23 November 2014 23:37 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

This is the abridged version I got (for 25 cents)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518xgA8aO7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

Vandermeer has come back to one he still thinks is underappreciated. The title and author seem vaguely familiar; anybody read it? http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/2007/08/19/smile-on-the-void-by-stuart-gordon/

dow, Monday, 24 November 2014 05:22 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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 (four years ago) link

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

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81dSlqYK3SL.jpg

dow, Wednesday, 26 November 2014 01:40 (four years ago) link

Yeah, I found a ridiculously pulpy copy of Shadow of the Torturer last week, it’s way nicer to read than the horrible modern paperback.

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 17 August 2019 17:49 (one week ago) link

Isn’t there a link upthread to different covers for that?

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 17 August 2019 17:50 (one week ago) link

reminds me i have a copy in the flat of "flight to lucifer: a gnostic fantasy" (harold bloom's hommage-sequel to "voyage to arcturus") to read one day

(i think i got hold of it when i was doing the radioshow with tracer)

mark s, Saturday, 17 August 2019 17:59 (one week ago) link

Is this the horrible modern one?
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51K7XOoQc7L.jpg

Not my favorite but it's not horrible by sf book cover standards.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 August 2019 20:16 (one week ago) link

Yeah. I know those masterworks are great for republishing but I find them a bit sterile and classy. I feel wrong if I’m not reading the mass market paperback size.

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 18 August 2019 16:44 (one week ago) link

https://i1.wp.com/www.djabbic.co.uk/BookCovers/Images/BrucePennington/TheShadowOfTheTorturer_1982.jpg

I’ve got this one linked upthread. The extra pulp factor comes from Gene Wolfe’s name - instead it’s blood red and embossed so you can see your reflection in it

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 18 August 2019 16:56 (one week ago) link

I've got the Severian Of The Guild omnibus (why didn't they just call it Book Of The New Sun?), the small painting on it isn't interesting and it seems misleading but I haven't read it yet.

Not sure why there has never been a complete Solar Cycle collection, you could maybe do it in 5 brick books. Seems like a handsomely produced series like this could be a hit but maybe publishers don't have much faith in people reading the whole series.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 18 August 2019 19:48 (one week ago) link

Been going down rabbit holes on the SF Encyclopedia. Turns out Jonathan Clements does most of the east Asian entries, but he has a crazy cv, including Japanese, Chinese, Scandinavian history, translation, voice acting, lots of 2000AD and Doctor Who stuff.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Clements
https://schoolgirlmilkycrisis.com/2011/10/10/get-lost/
Don't worry the last link is totally work safe.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 19 August 2019 00:30 (six days ago) link

Did any of those wormholes lead you to the discovery of a pocket universe or did you find yourself with the confines of a
keep?

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 19 August 2019 01:03 (six days ago) link

I hadn't but now I know from the latter entry, Ben Elton has an entry!

Looking up the Japanese cover art for New Sun, I found proper alt-right shithead blogs fantasizing about a euro-Japanese future.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 19 August 2019 02:17 (six days ago) link

lol

The Pingularity (ledge), Monday, 19 August 2019 08:17 (six days ago) link

on the whole tbh i prefer the "cover looks spacey or futuristic or handily evocative but has little or nothing to do with the contents" sf book cover aesthetic to the "i skimread this garbage and here is my somewhat inept lightning indication of some themes" school

(exception to this: maybe bruce pennington)

mark s, Monday, 19 August 2019 08:40 (six days ago) link

It was not uncommon for fantasy artists to shop their work around for anything they could get. I've seen some things that were book, comic and album covers.

This springs to mind
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?34280
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?28847
https://www.discogs.com/Sepultura-Beneath-The-Remains/master/57949

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 19 August 2019 11:11 (six days ago) link

Another Whelan
http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?33416
https://www.discogs.com/Cirith-Ungol-Frost-And-Fire/master/253625

I think some of Cirith Ungol's other album covers by Whelan were also originally book covers. I don't know if the band were doing Elric songs or what.
See also a ton of comic magazines in the vein of Warren and Metal Hurlant across the world, a ton of fantasy artists sold their stuff in lots of countries for all the different magazines (wouldn't be surprised if a lot of stuff was stolen). There is a painting of the Mexican movie Dracula of the late 50s that was swiped by numerous artists and I've seen that face on film posters, book covers and comics.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 19 August 2019 18:23 (six days ago) link

see i think this is good and i approve of it

(not the stolen bit, ppl shd be paid, but the multiple use)

also cirith ungol doing elric songs, everything is canon in everyone else's universe, thomas covenant also a tank engine etc

mark s, Monday, 19 August 2019 18:50 (six days ago) link

I think the usage should be somewhat appropriate. There's too many books with spaceships on the cover but nothing like that in contents.

The best thing about it is giving artists some freedom to pursue their own ideas, because they sometimes are treated as specialist handymen for whatever the editors want.
The Elric thing is kind of different though because I'm sure that image was done specifically for Elric.

Also see Giger.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 19 August 2019 19:27 (six days ago) link

any book is made better by a chris foss rocketship (that looks like like a stripy space potato)

mark s, Monday, 19 August 2019 19:42 (six days ago) link

Controversial opinion: I've never liked Foss. It's a big side of SF I've never really cared for and part of the reason it taken me longer to come around to science fiction.

Richard Powers is the only real SF specialist artist (though he did other things) that I love but with all those Japanese entries of the encyclopedia fresh in my mind, Noriyoshi Ōrai and Naoyuki Kato are good too, but with more reservations.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 19 August 2019 20:01 (six days ago) link

I don't like Foss at all. Powers is great obviously, but I also highly rate Charles Moll, Bob Pepper, Karel Thole, Michael Payne, Jack Gaughan, Mike Hinge god there's so many classics

Οὖτις, Monday, 19 August 2019 20:10 (six days ago) link

tbh this needs its own thread: this is the thread where you help me find evocative/komikal sf cover art

downside: a lot of the links in that are now dead
upside: everyone now know the artists' names!

mark s, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 11:26 (five days ago) link

Writer Jeannette Ng called John W Campbell a fascist during her Campbell Award acceptance speech at the Dublin Worldcon. I know that not everyone here is a Cory Doctorow fan, but thought this was a good response to the subsequent fuss:

https://boingboing.net/2019/08/20/needed-saying.html

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 08:49 (four days ago) link

Agree with every word she said. On a slightly different note, does it bother anyone else that there's a major award named after Arthur C. Clarke, given the nature of the accusations against him?

michael schenker group is no laughing matter (Matt #2), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 14:53 (four days ago) link

lol how is calling John W. Campbell a fascist even remotely controversial? I mean, his politics weren't exactly a secret

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 15:22 (four days ago) link

unaware of accusations against Clarke so idk

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 15:22 (four days ago) link

I think the charge against Clarke, that he was a paedophile in Sri Lanka, was always disputed (by Clarke himself and others). The main sources for the story were the British tabloid press in the 1990s, so the scandal could easily have been malicious homophobia masquerading as concern for the vulnerable.

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 15:35 (four days ago) link

British tabloid press in the 1990s

lol truly a reliable source

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 15:36 (four days ago) link

Hmm yeah maybe, although accusations against dodgy Brits tend to turn out true more often than not. Read the first story here and decide for yourself I guess:
https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/bjxp5m/we-asked-people-what-childhood-moment-shaped-them-the-most

michael schenker group is no laughing matter (Matt #2), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 16:15 (four days ago) link

Vice is not worth reading

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 16:24 (four days ago) link

Further to the Campbell controversy, David Pringle on Facebook shared a couple of...provocative quotes from J G Ballard:

"BALLARD: I never liked Asimov, I never liked Heinlein, I never liked Van Vogt -- that school of American SF I couldn't take. I never liked Astounding very much. I thought that fellow, what's his name, I met him once, the editor....
"PRINGLE: John Campbell.
"BALLARD: I thought he was a baleful influence. He consolidated all the worst tendencies of American SF. He introduced a lot of bogus respectability, all that hard sociology thing. You know: 'I was up at MIT last week, talking about the future of...' something or other, and it all sounded very _serious_. He allied SF to the applied engineering, social engineering, and so forth, of somewhere like MIT. He gave SF a serious, real dimension which was all wrong because that isn't what SF is about. I couldn't stand those writers..."
From: "An Interview with J. G. Ballard" by James Goddard and David Pringle (Shepperton, 4th January 1975).

"I mean, somebody like that illiterate editor, whatever his name was -- Campbell -- is an important figure to the American writer, and his influence is still strong. But he has no counterpart over here. I regard American sf -- much as I admire individual writers -- as really a kind of cul-de-sac, a minor tributary of the great stream of imaginative fiction. I regard the Americans, modern commercial sf which extends from, say, Asimov at one end of the spectrum to Star Trek at the other, as having done an enormous disservice to the possibility of the emergence of, you know, a serious science fiction." (From: "Interview with J. G. Ballard" by David Pringle, Shepperton, Middlesex, 14th June 1979.)

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 22 August 2019 11:15 (three days ago) link

Didn’t Barry Malzberg win a Campbell for Beyond Apollo, which fact if true seems to fit in with this discussion somehow.

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 22 August 2019 11:20 (three days ago) link

also didn't campbell go all-in on dianetics? hard science indeed

("who goes there" still rules tho)

mark s, Thursday, 22 August 2019 11:21 (three days ago) link

Longest way round is the shortest way home

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 22 August 2019 11:22 (three days ago) link

xpost

Yep:

He famously won the first John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel for Beyond Apollo (1972), a fine book about neurotic astronauts. A number of writers associated with Analog, including Poul Anderson, protested this award on the grounds that Malzberg's fiction was actively anti-Campbellian.

http://rrhorton.blogspot.com/2018/07/a-little-remembered-ace-double-gather.html

Malzberg's meta-fictional short story 'A Galaxy Called Rome' is also partly about Campbell and his ideas

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 22 August 2019 11:26 (three days ago) link

Malzberg is way closer to Ballard's POV than to Campbell's, even if he is a huge Astounding fanboy

Οὖτις, Thursday, 22 August 2019 15:04 (three days ago) link

Yes exactly

TS: “8:05” vs. “905” (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 22 August 2019 15:09 (three days ago) link

Tanith Lee - Tanith By Choice

This is one of two recent Best Of collections, in this one the stories are chosen by friends (many people you'd expect, although I was surprised to see no Liz Williams). The other is called A-Z, a much larger collection of mostly newer stories chosen entirely by her husband John Kaiine (he chooses a story and supplies cover art for Tanith By Choice).
The Selected Stories series (2 books) from 2009 was misleadingly titled. "Selected Stories" tends to be an upper-class publishers way of saying "Best Of", but these two were just regular collections.
Dreams Of Dark And Light from 1986 was the first Best Of. Forests Of The Night from 1989 might have been a retrospective but I'm not sure, as quite a lot of her collections have overlap and choose some old favourites.

My three favourites in this collection are...
(1) "Bite-Me-Not Or, Fleur De Fur". Wonderful setting: a castle of decadent royalty and vast surrounding mountains populated by winged humanoids, beautiful story.
(2) "White As Sin, Now". Fairy tale told from fragments of different viewpoints from different time periods.
(3) "After The Guillotine". Funny story about the afterlife of a group of people executed in the French revolution. I kept smiling at "let us pause to admire him". Gorgeous ending.

Although I tended to prefer the type of stories most associated with Lee, there's a good range, surprising at times. Especially "The Ghost Of The Clock", a fairly modern gritty British story. Perhaps too many stories were chosen for the circumstances in which they were first encountered?

I could see some people making a good case for "The Isle Is Full Of Noises" (final piece, the only novella) as the best in the collection. Even quite a long way into it, I wasn't sure what shape it would take or what sort of story it was, the uncertainty was enjoyable. There's so many parts to consider and piece together, to puzzle over. What was "the sound"?
Sarah Singleton says it's one of a few Tanith stories that sort of casts Rutger Hauer as a character (I have a strong feeling that "After I Killed Her" from another collection put me in mind of Hauer, which is bizarre, since I cant imagine any detail so specific suggesting him so effectively) and it has some commentary on using real people in this way.
I thought it was mostly great but I often struggled to visualize the shapeshifter in a satisfying way and a bit more detail could have fixed that, I know it was purposely vague but I felt it could have been less awkward. And some of the comparisons used throughout the novella seemed too much of a stretch. An impressive piece all the same. Loved the way it criticized talk shows too.

Unfortunately, there's quite a number of typos and one story has the wrong title across the upper corner of the pages. I'm guessing scanning technology was used because a few times "1" was used instead of "l" or "I". "Cold Fire" has lots of course slang written in an unfamiliar way, so possible typos were doubly dangerous there.
Every book should be proof-read but when you're trying to ensure a writer's legacy and talk in the introduction about the preciousness of their words, it's a bit harder to swallow a lack of proof-reading. Still a very strong book though.

After I've read A-Z I might come back here and say how it compares as an introduction to the writer. This is only my second book by her so I cant say how well selected it is.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 23 August 2019 23:58 (two days ago) link

Always liked this cover but I had no idea it was by the Dillons
http://bookscans.com/Publishers/pyramid/images1000/PyramidX1611.jpg

I'm increasingly wary of people being dismissive of large areas of a genre, or a large body of one writer's work. I used to lap it up when people dismissed Booker middlebrow stuff but now I think most such claims are probably bluffing about the extent of their reading experience. Upthread I mentioned Moorcock saying Aldiss was the only one who had read much American golden age SF. Would he have admitted this as a younger man? In that New Worlds 1983 anthology, he gives his opinion on a large number of trends and writers and while I have no doubt he's read a ton of this stuff and he's always interesting to listen to, I really don't think I can trust him. So many writers summed up quickly by a negative trait.

I realize that with certain areas of comics and animation, I'm in danger of becoming this schmuck. But the capability of someone's drawings is a bit easier to gauge.

So many writers on twitter impatient to dismiss one of the big boys. Show me report cards, motherfucker.

I'm impressed by John Clute's entries in the SF Encyclopedia but I'd like to know if he really has read everything by the dead authors he's mapping out.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 24 August 2019 12:11 (yesterday) link

Not that I'm doubting him, major respect but I just would like to know.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 24 August 2019 12:14 (yesterday) link

I know what you mean but with Clute I believe it. He has lead me to some great stuff but also to some mediocre stuff. I think he, like Michael Dirda of the WaPo (or James Morrison of ILB *ducks*), just seems to have an endless capacity to keep reading.

The Fearless Thread Killers (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 24 August 2019 12:32 (yesterday) link

Although to be fair Clute and Dirda seem to err on the side of boosting merely okay stuff which Real ILB James does not do.

The Fearless Thread Killers (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 24 August 2019 12:39 (yesterday) link

What did Clute overrate for you?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 24 August 2019 12:43 (yesterday) link

Raising Stony Mayall, by Daryl Gregory, some mid-level Poul Anderson are what come to mind at the moment

The Fearless Thread Killers (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 24 August 2019 13:03 (yesterday) link

iirc, isaac asimov said that the reason he rarely included extra-terrestrial life in his early stories was that john campbell refused to run any stories in which aliens were depicted as superior to humans in any way -- definitely an odd guy.

i spent a couple hours trying to figure out the charges against clarke a while back and came to the conclusion that they were pretty much BS -- there were no actual accusations as far as i could tell, just innuendo from some very untrustworthy sources.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 24 August 2019 18:47 (yesterday) link

campbell refused to run any stories in which aliens were depicted as superior

he'd already written "who goes there" so no others were necessary QED

mark s, Saturday, 24 August 2019 18:49 (yesterday) link

Think maybe we should run a book club (famous last words) on that Astounding Campbell bio.

The Fearless Thread Killers (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 24 August 2019 18:57 (yesterday) link

I would be into that

Οὖτις, Saturday, 24 August 2019 19:40 (yesterday) link


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