Thread of Wonder, the next 5000 posts: science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction 2021 and beyond

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Time to launch another lifeboat to the stars. Previously: ThReads Must Roll: the new, improved rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 08:32 (six months ago) link

All aboard the Strato-Cruiser!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 12 April 2021 09:14 (six months ago) link

DO U SEE, I’m a stranger here myself.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 10:43 (six months ago) link

Singing thread title to the tune of the Theme from Underdog

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:30 (six months ago) link

Thread of Wonder
5000 posts

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:31 (six months ago) link

Wonder Thread
Wonder Thread!

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:32 (six months ago) link

Thread of royal beauty bright!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 12 April 2021 14:40 (six months ago) link

Cool, except PLEASE change "Sci-Fi" to "Science Fiction"; true headz will respect it more.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:47 (six months ago) link

Seriously, change that shit.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:47 (six months ago) link

If a mod wants to a mod can, now to read some skiffy some I can make a real contribution to the thread.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 15:49 (six months ago) link

some

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 15:49 (six months ago) link

In thee beginning (not really, butt a big ol goodun, where I came in)
rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:52 (six months ago) link

That rolled from 2011 to 2014, I believe.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:53 (six months ago) link

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/P/B08F9XYGVQ.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SX500_.jpg

Kindle daily deal today. seems odd that it doesn't mention Gagarin by name.

also listed, a Tchaikovsky book, Doors of Eden. anyone? i liked the one about the spiders, i didn't like ironclads.

koogs, Monday, 12 April 2021 18:47 (six months ago) link

just finished The Ministry For the Future. almost comically unsubtle and didactic in its politcs. the last hundred pages or so were "scouring of the shire" bad. first half is excellent.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 12 April 2021 19:51 (six months ago) link

started that -- the first scene is harrowing, but i instantly lost all interest when things shifted to the ministry itself. i suppose no one dramatizes vast bureaucratic processes better than KSR but it's a low bar, and i'm not really up for doom right now

read 'hench', which has a jokey premise -- underemployed young woman seeks placement as a villain's henchman through a temp service -- but turned out to be fierce as well as funny

started jo walton's 'the just city'; it's a little precious but i'm liking it a lot so far

mookieproof, Monday, 12 April 2021 22:25 (six months ago) link

as everyone says about recent KSR, it's actually very optimistic. the first scene though good grief.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 12 April 2021 22:50 (six months ago) link

Yeah, if the future is remotely like that KSR projects I'd be a hell of a lot more hopeful than I am now.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 00:44 (six months ago) link

the last hundred pages or so were "scouring of the shire" bad.

I am struggling with this sentence.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 07:36 (six months ago) link

Yeah.

dow, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:05 (six months ago) link

ha! do you mean you're struggling with it syntactically or morally?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:10 (six months ago) link

Uh, aesthetically? The scouring of the shire is a highlight!

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:12 (six months ago) link

I'm more bothered by the lack of a comma in 5,000 than I am abt sci-fi tbh

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:31 (six months ago) link

Commas are only for numbers of five figures and up as far as I'm concerned

a murmuration of pigeons at manor house (Matt #2), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 18:53 (six months ago) link

Almost posted that embed 10x ina old-school JW Noizeborad style.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 19:34 (six months ago) link

I'm sure I talked about some of this in the previous thread about hanging out with horror people mostly then SFF people and then when you go back to horrorland, most people in SFF land start seeming really uptight and conversations have so many restricted areas and I have to respect what people aren't willing to discuss but I find it occasionally frustrating. And then there's this area of horror which is like the children of Dennis Cooper and it's lovely how relaxed they are and talking about what drugs they're taking all the time.

https://amphetaminesulphate.bigcartel.com/
https://www.clashbooks.com/
https://expatpress.com/shop/
https://www.apocalypse-party.com/books.html
https://www.infinitylandpress.com/books

I generally like SFF fans but I do feel like a lot of them (even a lot of the progressive ones) still want stories that are easy to swallow and are probably afraid to look at their dog's anus.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 21:25 (six months ago) link

Only thing is, the blurbs for some of these authors can be completely ridiculous and leave you hanging, not knowing what it's like or about. "Britney Spears singing love songs to you while Baudelaire gives you an enema" or some nonsense like that.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:18 (six months ago) link

Ha, exactly.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:25 (six months ago) link

Think I started a thread about that once.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:25 (six months ago) link

nothing more riveting than people talking about their drug regimens, very transgressive

mookieproof, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:32 (six months ago) link

I'm a complete teetolaler and I'm not even into drug talk but my point is it's nice to hear writers talking in a more carefree way. It's probably significant that the horror genre largely escaped the culture war and there's less people out to get each other.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:58 (six months ago) link

Like this crap is still going on in SFF land
https://dorisvsutherland.com/2021/04/06/baens-bar-the-utterly-incompetent-case-for-the-defence/

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 23:02 (six months ago) link

i haven't the patience to delve into what you consider 'culture war' 'crap' that's 'easy to swallow'

tbh i've seen way too much of my cat's anus, but nor have i considered cramming something up there and calling it art

honestly you are fucking creepy as hell; maybe you should stick to to 'open-minded' horror boards where you can discuss what you want to do to your waifus with no judgment

mookieproof, Thursday, 15 April 2021 04:46 (six months ago) link

but nor have i considered cramming something up there and calling it art

Does anyone do this?

Old Lunch was asking maybe two years ago about problems with reactionary horror people but as far as the fiction/poetry side goes it's really minimal compared to SFF, it's been said they're more easy going and get on better together.
The drawback is maybe the low brow attitude, too much easy amusement with juxtaposing high and low culture and the shit eating grins (see lots of horror author photos) and it does annoy me when people feel they have to present dark or gross subject matter in a jokey way, I'm regularly guilty of it too and it's often my first instinct to joke about some of these things. I think people do this because if they keep a straight face about it, they're worried people will think they're crazy.
But I think sometimes humor and punky attitude doesn't let people process things as well, I'd rather the subject matters weren't considered so transgressive or frightening, it makes peoples lives more difficult. So it's nice when people are just more at ease with it all, but the transgression is undeniably part of the appeal of some of these writers.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 17:30 (six months ago) link

There's been a lot of good buzz about this one
https://www.apocalypse-party.com/negativespace.html

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 17:33 (six months ago) link

Going to be weird hearing “George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (Rageblog Edition)” read out at a ceremony.
https://www.tor.com/2021/04/13/announcing-the-2021-hugo-award-finalists/

https://www.tor.com/2021/04/13/a-brief-guide-to-the-extraordinary-fiction-of-vonda-n-mcintyre/

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 18:48 (six months ago) link

A little bit heartbreaking how many SFF authors despise each other and the awards nominations intensifying it all.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 21:43 (six months ago) link

How many people nominated for a Hugo alongside Isabel Fall this year celebrated the removal of her story or contributed to the harassment campaign against her?

I think I count 3 so far. I really hope she wins.

— Experiencing A Significant Poggers Shortfall (@mechanicalkurt) April 13, 2021

The entire SF/F community came out and said "if you don't write about being trans in the way we think you should, we will attempt to harm you."

This is especially angering because it was an open secret that literally all of Chuck Wendig's writer friends were sex pests.

— Qualia Redux (@QualiaRedux) April 15, 2021

and some nice animals. What's weirder than the giant bunny in the first picture, is the way that guy is holding the pilot's head

One great sub-genre of retro sci-fi art: Confusingly Placed Animals pic.twitter.com/P0rmh9WG7I

— 70s Sci-Fi Art (@70sscifi) April 15, 2021

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 23:24 (six months ago) link

Jess Nevins - Horror Needs No Passport

This starts with Nevins explaining his frustration that there has been very little survey or study of international horror fiction and that he did this book because nobody else had. It sticks to the 20th century (with occasional background and influential writers from further back), skips USA, UK and a few other english speaking countries but there is still a bunch of english fiction included from other countries. Nevins doesn't say which writers he has actually read himself, he quotes other scholars evaluations quite a lot but I did get the impression he was voicing his own opinions about most of the japanese writers (who are surprisingly well represented in english translation) and these were some of the most enjoyable parts.

It might have been inevitable that many of the writers end up sounding very similar and my eyes often glazed over the descriptions of their approaches (what subgenres, where the horror effects are coming from). But every once in a while there's really tantalizing or unusual sounding stories about Africa, Indonesian martial arts horror, a story about a shepherd, Tarzan starring in Israeli horror adventures, italian extreme horror and amazing sounding gothics from all around the world.

It notes a handful of comic artists, Suehiro Maruo is oddly absent but I was pleased to discover Daijiro Morohoshi who I might have seen a little of but most of what I found on search was new to me.

The political/cultural background for every country is detailed, if horror was frowned upon or even outlawed (often in soviet countries, Germany and Japan censored under post-war occupation, some people writing horror only in exile), whether what each writer was doing was considered high art or trash from the gutter. It seemed like quite a lot of the South American writers were politicians.
A few times Nevins writes about authors not pursuing just "mere fear" and it seemed as if it was his own opinion (?), I don't understand why someone so devoted to horror would feel that being scary for it's own sake wasn't enough, given how that approach can be as intense and memorable as anything else when it's done well.

It is mentioned that Ewers was a Nazi but not Strobl, somehow.

No cover credit for Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

I do wish there was some sort of guide about the availability in english of these books. Perhaps Nevins was concerned it would date the book too much and that people might not bother searching for newer books if they weren't already in an english list? I spent a while checking isfdb and amazon for many of the writers but I didn't have the patience to research every writer that sounded promising. A few were indeed published after this book.
Sad that I probably won't hear about most of these authors again. If a particular writer has sufficiently high status, there's a good chance Penguin or some other classics publisher has them in english, a good deal of this stuff goes unnoticed by most horror fans and I can't blame them too much for not catching them all.

This could and should be an important building block for the future of horror. It's pretty great and I bought Nevins' Horror Fiction In The 20th Century, which can be considered a companion to this.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 April 2021 00:20 (six months ago) link

I can't remember who the writer was but one of the unique ideas I came across in the above book was from a writer in exile from a dictatorship who wrote a novel in which even gods are powerless against the goverment, which just seems like a horribly depressing idea. Quite a few south american stories were mentioned in which all the characters are completely fucked and have nothing but terrifyingly bad choices available.

I didn't know that books aimed at railway travelers was such a big thing in India. Which makes me wonder about "airport novels", do publishers and even writers really spend a lot of time thinking about what people want to read at an airport?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 April 2021 21:06 (six months ago) link

I like the idea of Brunner but haven’t really been able to read.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 April 2021 22:14 (six months ago) link

Brunner’s supporting cast, including the Jesuit time-travel expert, Father Ramon

Another one for my 'Catholics in spaaaaaace!' list.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 08:11 (six months ago) link

Never read any Brunner meself, sounds intriguing but this (re: Stand on Zanzibar) puts me off: Some examples of slang include "codder" (man), "shiggy" (woman), "whereinole" (where in hell?), "prowlie" (an armoured police car), "offyourass" (possessing an attitude), "bivving" (bisexuality, from "ambivalent") and "mucker" (a person running amok).

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 08:16 (six months ago) link

Elizabeth Moon's Remnant population: emo sf in the Le Guin mould. Good aliens and bad humans, though the humans aren't all that bad, and the dice are stacked rather heavily in favour of the aliens - not that Le Guin didn't indulge in a bit of dice stacking herself. Enjoyable but somewhat cosy and convenient.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 09:28 (six months ago) link

Also for fans of (at least) 5000 posts, this Rollin Speculative looks like the first, b. 2011, and is where I came in: (hey thomp, get back here):
rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

dow, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:42 (six months ago) link

Didn't mean to drop the g, sorry.

dow, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:43 (six months ago) link

Still I preferred it to Joan Slonczewski's A Door into Ocean, almost its exact opposite.

ledge, Monday, 4 October 2021 08:11 (three weeks ago) link

read 'a matter of oaths' by helen s. wright -- solid space opera that i thought packed quite a bit into its short one volume

particularly notable for having been written in 1988, when that sort of thing was unfashionable, and for being remarkably diverse, in the modern parlance: the main character is non-white, the kickass commander is a woman, there is gay sex, etc.

this no doubt explains why it fell out of print and was recently republished with a forward by becky chambers (#hopepunk). pretty weird how the brief author's note mentions that she, who still lives in the uk, 'never married' though!

mookieproof, Tuesday, 5 October 2021 22:05 (three weeks ago) link

anyway i liked it, it was worthwhile!

(i will simply never not reference hopepunk because come on)

mookieproof, Wednesday, 6 October 2021 04:15 (two weeks ago) link

https://www.tor.com/2019/04/18/quiltbag-speculative-classics-a-matter-of-oaths-by-helen-s-wright/

I must have seen it in this article (quite a good article series by Bogi Takacs) and on the Cherryh blurb list but I don't recall it. I can't find any biographical info, even on her personal site. Only one book then done, but it seems to have quite a strong fanbase considering that.

I don't have a very good handle on how publishers and readers treated gay sex back then. I was quite surprised by how much there was in Somtow's early 80s books in what are pretty much mainstream novels, maybe that's part of why Inquestor wasn't the hit I think it should have been.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 6 October 2021 17:53 (two weeks ago) link

That guy is good.

He POLLS So Much About These Zings (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 8 October 2021 23:07 (two weeks ago) link

I just (very) belatedly discovered Ursula Le Guin -- read Wizard of Earthsea and Tombs of Atuan in quick succession — they are so incredible!

My problem with most SF/fantasy is the bad sentence writing, so she’s obviously like the diametric opposite of that — but she’s so good at the “ripping yarn” part too. Especially in the first book, I love that dissonance between the subdued elegance of her prose and the extreme metalness of whatever’s going on in the story.

Also love that feeling when you read a great author for the first time and realise you have a whole new catalogue to explore.

Chuck_Tatum, Saturday, 9 October 2021 22:07 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah I rediscovered A Wizard of Earthsea a couple years ago, hadn't really appreciated it at 12.

I was pretty stunned. AWoE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

lukas, Saturday, 9 October 2021 22:19 (two weeks ago) link

Just to give one example, just before the final confrontation in the book, there's a cozy, funny, relaxed domestic scene. It's such a striking shift of tone, so unexpected, and yet it works.

lukas, Sunday, 10 October 2021 05:02 (two weeks ago) link

Yes, I was grateful for that moment, like Le Guin was saying "just in case you were concerned - I can do people and dialogue too". The relationship between Ged and Tenar in the 2nd book is very convincing too

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 10 October 2021 13:52 (two weeks ago) link

My problem with most SF/fantasy is the bad sentence writing, so she’s obviously like the diametric opposite of that — but she’s so good at the “ripping yarn” part too. Especially in the first book, I love that dissonance between the subdued elegance of her prose and the extreme metalness of whatever’s going on in the story. Struck by how otm this is also re last night's bedtime reading, Joanna Russ's "My Dear Emily": an Emerson-reading collegian, who's made prim-and-proper her eyes-lowered hot-cool style, obediently returns to old San Francisco and encounters the vampiric sole survivor of one the city's really olde families---with his aristocratic, Old Worldly male triumphalizm suitably enhanced, let him show her how---the erotic spiral of exhilaration and damage, incl. acting out, is jolting, esp. with slightly "disjointed" sentence momentum, clear as a cracked bell can be (real clear, turns out).
This from a Best of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, copyrights 1961-62-63---must have caused a stir back then---what else should I read by her---?

dow, Tuesday, 12 October 2021 16:20 (two weeks ago) link

Should say it really is mostly about Emily; he just starts her up...

dow, Tuesday, 12 October 2021 16:27 (two weeks ago) link

read 'the praxis' (millennia-old multi-species galactic empire falls apart when its ruling race dies out) by walter jon williams

military sf is not my thing -- stopped reading the mazalan book of stuff early on because i do not want to have to know who is commanding the 47th brigade of strike force nine or whatever -- but this one was recommended by jo walton, whom i like

anyway, it was pretty good -- akin, perhaps, to 'the expanse' minus the protomolecule? maybe a little too much of ships and missiles trying to maintain delta-v, etc. etc. but the two main characters (one male, one female) are interesting and not cardboard. it has sequels that i might read sometime

mookieproof, Tuesday, 12 October 2021 16:45 (two weeks ago) link

The Best Ghost Stories Of Algernon Blackwood

There's only one or two Blackwood stories I've read that aren't on this so I can hardly be an authority, but despite his expertise I think E.F. Bleiler probably left off a lot of highly deserving stories (the ones I've heard mentioned often, such as "The Man Whom The Trees Loved") that tend to get on the other Best Ofs. I can't tell you if there is a better collection of Blackwood, the huge Centipede Press editions are too rare/expensive for most people to consider but I have a feeling there are other better introductions.

I slightly prefer "The Wendigo" to "The Willows" (his two biggest classics), I find the setting and particular creepiness of the former a bit more enchanting but they're both great. "The Glamour Of The Snow" is a little beauty. "The Empty House" is more chilling than the garden variety murder of the story would suggest. "Ancient Sorceries" is spoiled slightly with the too insistent reminders of how shy the main character is and the revealed Satanism is underwhelming.
I was struck by "The Transfer" because of how it describes an unwittingly oppressive man having an effect on people that sounds strikingly like how people today describe oppressive systems of power; and I like the line "It seemed a few hours had passed, but really they were seconds, for time is measured by the quality and not the quantity of sensations it contains".

I think in terms of prose, Blackwood is head and shoulders above most of the other classic horror writers, he's so deft with delicate details and nuances of moments in a way that makes a scene come alive in a way M.R. James and Lovecraft couldn't pull off as well. But sometimes like in "Max Hensig", he explains the details in such a longwinded manner that the effectiveness is lost. I hear his novels can be more challenging for this reason. He's not without his prejudices but there's something refreshing about how outgoing and positive he is compared to the writers he is often mentioned beside. I'd only consider a few of these stories essential though.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 13 October 2021 20:25 (one week ago) link

Crime vet tries her hand at folk horror crossover:
The Devil at Saxon Wall (1935) by Gladys Mitchell draws on the tradition of the Victorian inheritance mystery, but with added folklore and witchcraft thrown in. Three babies were born in the remote village of Saxon Wall, one to the family of the local manor, another to a woman reputed to be a witch, and another to a woman regarded as a simpleton. Only two of the children survived: but which two?

Hannibal Jones, a writer of sentimental novels, comes to the village to convalesce from nervous trouble and becomes unwillingly involved in its affairs, which include stories of changelings and impersonations and missing heirs. The pub, the Long Thin Man, is named after a local spirit connected with a tumulus on the downs above. There are spells, potions, the evil eye, and propitiation rites to bring much-needed rain.

A full cast of characters, as well as the witch and the supposed simpleton, includes a couple of Ivy Compton-Burnett-esque sister spinsters with brisk, brittle dialogue (we could have done with even more of them), a volatile vicar with a Japanese valet, and of course Mitchell’s reptilian psychiatrist-detective, Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange. These vivid characters and the deft twists in the plot are the novel’s main strengths.

Gladys Mitchell was the author of over sixty crime novels, and they are uneven in quality, as she herself admitted. At her best her books are vigorous, eventful, sly, full of rich colour and eccentric characters. But even Mitchell experts seem divided about this book...
---from Mark V.'s latest post:
http://wormwoodiana.blogspot.com/2021/10/the-devil-at-saxon-wall-gladys-mitchell.html

dow, Thursday, 14 October 2021 17:19 (one week ago) link

interesting looking afro-futurism(?) set in Kindle daily deals today, but all only 20-40 pages long.

https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/amazon-black-stars-chimamanda-ngzoi-adichie-excerpt

(would probably fit in nicely with this month's reading but the size makes them expensive)

koogs, Sunday, 17 October 2021 12:11 (one week ago) link

https://www.polskieradio.pl/395/7791/Artykul/2789010,British-writer-unveils-his-gnome-in-Poland%e2%80%99s-Wroclaw
Graham Masterton once said his sex guides were so successful in Poland that strangers approached him in the street to thank him. I'm pretty sure the creature coming out the book is Manitou, from his horror series. I wonder who else has a gnome?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 17 October 2021 17:33 (one week ago) link

Bought Andy Weir's 'Project Hail Mary' as it was on offer, this may have been a mistake. (I have not read The Martian.) 500 pages ffs, does no-one write short books any more?

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Monday, 18 October 2021 09:39 (one week ago) link

Just finished that. Quite enjoyed it but it's basically The Martian in new clothes: (very mild spoiler) character all alone has to solve lots of science problems in order to survive

groovypanda, Monday, 18 October 2021 09:48 (one week ago) link

i also bought that (on saturday when it was cheap). and this is meant to be a return to form after the (slight) artemis. but we shall see.

(martian was similarly long but a very quick read fwiw, i think you'd enjoy it. it reminded me of a.c.clarke in that it was physics-led storytelling)

koogs, Monday, 18 October 2021 11:48 (one week ago) link

(i think the martian may've suffered from having only been seen as 'popular' (read 'hyped') because the film was good, but the book was good enough in itself)

koogs, Monday, 18 October 2021 11:53 (one week ago) link

i liked the martian and project hail mary, but the martian was better. that's my review.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 18 October 2021 17:08 (one week ago) link

(the martian was 300 pages, and read in a weekend)

koogs, Monday, 18 October 2021 17:37 (one week ago) link

yeah i read the martian in like 4 hours. PHM is arguably overlong.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 18 October 2021 17:41 (one week ago) link

500 pages ffs, does no-one write short books any more?

― namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Monday, October 18, 2021 10:39 AM

I don't think all of these are in paper form, but some of the ones labelled as ebooks are actually available in paper. Some of them have become hits.
https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/tor-novellas

Small press novels tend to be shorter though.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 18 October 2021 18:10 (one week ago) link

i would be interested to know what fraction of readers of something like PHM listened to the audiobook. has to be a lot.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 18 October 2021 18:17 (one week ago) link

it's a thing though, isn't it - big selling book followed up by a larger book - editors less likely to tell them to cut it down.

(thinking of harry potter here, and the dark tower books)

koogs, Monday, 18 October 2021 18:22 (one week ago) link

But isn't it usually the publisher that demands bigger books? Small press (usually with minimal editing) and self-published books are not known for being longer, big publishers want big books and King is just a long book writing guy.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 18 October 2021 18:27 (one week ago) link

ha, maybe. i wonder where the profit / effort maximum is?

koogs, Monday, 18 October 2021 19:36 (one week ago) link

king literally refuses to be edited iirc? although i don’t know when exactly he became big enough to get his way on that

mookieproof, Monday, 18 October 2021 19:45 (one week ago) link

einstein on receiving his (only) referee's report

"We (Mr. Rosen and I) had sent you our manuscript for publication and had not authorised you to show it to specialists before it is printed. I see no reason to address the – in any case erroneous – comments of your anonymous expert. On the basis of this incident I prefer to publish the paper elsewhere."

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 18 October 2021 19:49 (one week ago) link

xps thanks Robert, I'll ake a look at those - have read the first two, 2/5 and 3/5.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Tuesday, 19 October 2021 08:39 (one week ago) link

Alastair Reynolds was on radio 4 this morning after the 08:10 interview talking about the new Dune film.

koogs, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 09:54 (one week ago) link

... that he hasn't seen yet.

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Tuesday, 19 October 2021 10:43 (one week ago) link

All the better to allow him to have an unbiased response.

Double Chocula (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 19 October 2021 12:14 (one week ago) link

i saw footage from the leicester square thing earlier this week (er, yesterday)

but yes, most of it was background - the book, the previous film and mini-series.

koogs, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 13:33 (one week ago) link

Enjoyed this oral history of the Marvel comics adaptation of the Lynch movie:

https://www.tcj.com/marvel-comics-1984-dune-movie-adaptation-an-oral-history/

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 13:45 (one week ago) link

Forgot about that! Lots of infotaining discussions here though: DUNE: c/d and of course some threads on ILE, my fave being the one about Jodorowsky's Dune, w artwork I hope is still on there.

dow, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 16:10 (one week ago) link

I just finished my latest self-prescribed 1 story-per-night bedtime reading, the aforementioned Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction, Twelfth Series, (Avram Davidson ed., Doubleday, 1963): xpost "My Dear Emily" still the winner, but also James Blish's "Who's In Charge Here?" has the pre-Steely Dan Effect via withheld information x streetscape characters, Ron Goulart's "Please Stand By," Will Stanton's "The Gum Drop King," and Sasha Gilien's "Two's A Crowd" tight and bright w the wit, and undercurrents too, v. pleasing to middle-school minds, as recalled.
(Now I see that RG's investigation of a were-elephant on national holidays also incl. a couple known for paintings of "bug-eyed children" (as in Any Adams' fact-based Big Eyes(2014) and they've both taken the name Eando, from their initials (Eando Binder is a good olde science fiction pseudonym :https://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/binder_eando). Stanton's shortie is kinda poignant, Gillien's kinda scary. Ditto deft ending of "Hop-Friend," by 24-yr.-old Terry Carr, otherwise known to my only as editor of the good old Universe series of anths.
(Vance Aaandahl, author of striking-to-ok "When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloomed," was 19, and already had several stories published---SFE says he's done 30 in all, but never collected them.)
Edgar Pangborn's "Davy" kicks off a series about a somewhut twisted postnuclear "frontier" America, kind of an ancestor to Robinson's The Wild Shore, with the narrator being a bond servant who gets around, a pubescent Huck Finn, with even more ethical conundrums, incl. those resulting from conditioning and maybe nature (raised for instance to kill a "mue," a mutant, on sight, but also what id he himself is a brain mue, seemingly normal, 'til his true nature comes out.)
"A Kind of Artistry," by Aldiss, is like a Clarke story I read with mission to a convincingly developed situation in space, plus situation behind the assignment, but then spoiled by sour notes of misogyny and trick ending, like some others in here.
JG Ballard's "The Garden of Time" is a bit sentimental, unique in my non-expert knowledge of his work, but he earns it here.
A few other offerings are meh or a littlw worse.

dow, Tuesday, 19 October 2021 16:52 (one week ago) link

finally found a copy of Mary Staton’s from the legend of biel. Had been looking for it ever since seeing it on this list which I think was linked to itt: https://lithub.com/10-great-reads-from-the-feminist-lesbian-sci-fi-boom-of-the-1970s

But the ultimate test was if we’d read From the Legend of Biel. It is an odd, obscure, not easily (or ever) understood novel that resonated with all of us hardcore fans. If there was a copy on your shelf, you were automatically way cool. I hope that still works.

brimstead, Friday, 22 October 2021 01:00 (four days ago) link

Great list---where did you find Staton's book?!

dow, Friday, 22 October 2021 01:16 (four days ago) link

this place in fullerton, California: https://hobrf.com/

brimstead, Friday, 22 October 2021 01:25 (four days ago) link

Ah cool, thanks.

dow, Friday, 22 October 2021 02:47 (four days ago) link

Sounds a little disappointing but I'd still like to check it out
https://thebedlamfiles.com/fiction/hellstroms-hive/

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 23 October 2021 22:31 (three days ago) link

Project Hail Mary was probably the daftest 'hard' sf I've read, but quite fun. I can see how the endless 'problem! problem solved!' story style might work better in a slightly more realistic setting but I won't be rushing to read the martian as I don't think I can take a few more hundred pages of that narrator. (Though I understand the martian narrator is much swearier, this one limits himself to 'gosh darn' and 'dang' which is quite tiresome but i did lol (in a wtf sort of way) when someone follows another 'gosh darn it' with 'language!') Something very pollyanna and mary-sue (are there no derogatory terms for male protagonists?) about the belief, and its vindication in the story, that every problem can be solved with a little bit of thinking.

It's pretty handy how he manages to learn the language of a species with a completely different sensory modality with just a vocab primer, no worries about grammar, and he learns perfect pitch into the bargain. Lem would be spinning in his grave. And I'm not entirely clear how a species with apparently no knowledge of electromagnetic waves managed to detect the astrophages or navigate to another star. And one more thing... how did the taumoebi who burrowed into the xenonite then breed so that their adaptation could proliferate?

namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Monday, 25 October 2021 08:17 (yesterday) link

(on the plus side, you were worried about the size and yet it took you a week)

yeah, in the martian he was only ever talking to himself and all the problems were ones of survival and rooted in physics - "what if i take this laptop outside?" "how long can i live eating only potatoes?"

koogs, Monday, 25 October 2021 08:45 (yesterday) link

Something very pollyanna and mary-sue (are there no derogatory terms for male protagonists?)

― namaste darkness my old friend (ledge), Monday, October 25, 2021 9:17 AM

Gary Stu is the male equivalent that people use but I think there should be a better one. It mostly gets used for Wil Wheaton's character in Star Trek

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 25 October 2021 14:09 (yesterday) link

Horace Walpole - The Castle Of Otranto

just started this (is ~90 pages and it's approaching hallowe'en and it was mentioned here recently, oh, by R.A.G.) except... it's not the gothic horror i had it pegged as, the castle is more like the setting of a fairy tale - young prince gets killed by [thing], evil king sees [thing], young princess escapes by [action]... (am at end of chapter 1, things might change, but the only creepy thing so far is the father's change of marriage plans)

koogs, Monday, 25 October 2021 15:09 (yesterday) link

I can see how the endless 'problem! problem solved!' story style might work better in a slightly more realistic setting but I won't be rushing to read the martian as I don't think I can take a few more hundred pages of that narrator.

the martian is much better for that reason, and it's also shorter. not saying you should prioritize it, but it's a fun few hours if you're stuck in a reading rut.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 25 October 2021 16:04 (yesterday) link


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