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Thread: Science fiction

  1. #31
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    For people that have read PKD have you tackled the Exegesis yet? It is in my local library but I haven't even read Valis yet. I'm currently reading that.

  2. #32
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    Re: Science fiction

    Quote Originally Posted by ZackeryH View Post
    For people that have read PKD have you tackled the Exegesis yet? It is in my local library but I haven't even read Valis yet. I'm currently reading that.
    Not yet. I've got the library of america boxed set, the book with valis etc. in it starts with "a maze of death", so I read that first, but didn't enjoy it, and haven't returned. My neighbour loaned me "radio free albemuth" and I might read that next.

  3. #33
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    I went to a presentation of Exegesis several months ago: Jonathan Lethem (who co-edited it) and PKD's daughters (Isa Dick Hackett and Laura Archer) were there, and the whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth, and I ended up not buying a copy. Was this thing meant to be published? Or is it a bunch of crazy notes? I think it's cool his daughters keep the legacy going by actively working on his estate, but the film productions that have come out of their work (including the recent execrable The Adjustment Bureau) do not do justice to PKD's writing. Laura kept going on about religion, and to me that also is not what PKD was about, though of course he had his spiritual/theological side, though to me PKD is always more about philosophy than faith. I don't think I'm very interested in the Exegesis, though as a fan I will probably pick it up at some point.

    Basically if you're a PKD beginner I'd recommend the following works: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Now Wait for Last Year, and then Galactic Pot-Healer, We Can Build You, The Simulacra, Dr Bloodmoney, and of course VALIS, and then The Divine Invasion. Confessions of a Crap Artist is a great non-SF book. To me Ubik, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, A Scanner Darkly, and The Man in the High Castle - his most famous works - are overrated, and not his best. Never read Radio Free Albemuth, or The Transmigration of Timothy Archer: from what I have read about them, both daunt me a little. One day I will sit down and tackle both of them. I'd basically say his golden period is the 1960s. That's when he transcended the limitations of 50s SF (Solar Lottery however is a great novel), took a bunch of drugs, and went fucking off the charts. You could also try dipping into the short stories: some real gems there (Beyond Lies The Wub, The Father-thing, The Mold of Yancy, The Electric Ant).
    Last edited by aggroculture; 12-16-2012 at 11:10 AM.

  4. #34
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    Science fiction

    Always preferred his short fiction. Books 3 and 4 of the 5 collected are the best iirrc

  5. #35
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    I finished Valis a few weeks ago. Some of the references to philosophy books I read back in undergrad were interesting. You could really tell he took a few philosophy classes. Some of the David Bowie references toward the end were interesting considering I'm a big Bowie fan. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and I guess it wasn't as daunting as I thought it was going to be. I think it was because some of the materials he references are part of a few phil classes I took in college.

    I've actually read a few of his books such as Three Stigmata, Maze of Death, Ubik, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and The Man in the High Castle. Out of those the only one I didn't really care for was Maze of Death.

  6. #36
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    I've been thinking of picking up a collection of Richard Matheson short stories, since this guy seems to have come up with about 50% of the greatest sci-fi/horror scenarios ever.

  7. #37
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    DO EEEET! He's pretty awesome.

  8. #38
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    My folks bought Exegesis for my gf (NO! She's my wife now, lol!!) last year, on my recommendation. It is indeed fairly out-there.

    VALIS was a wonderful read. I particularly loved the sequence where the narrator is trying to explain gnosticism to his shrink. So funny .

    Am currently reading the Dying Earth books by Jack Vance, which are more fantasy than sf, but blur the lines (not least because the sf/fantasy divide didn't really exist back in the 1950s). Such an engaging read. Cugel is a fantastic antihero.

  9. #39
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    Any recommendations for a sci-fi book that's not too thick?

  10. #40
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    Found out that Larry Niven will be the guest of honor at DragonCon this year, so hopefully I'll get a chance to shake the man's hand and get something signed!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    Any recommendations for a sci-fi book that's not too thick?
    Not sure if you're familiar with it already, but since it came up, you could give Niven's 'Ringworld' a try.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    Any recommendations for a sci-fi book that's not too thick?
    Flatland? I haven't read it, but it's pretty thin.
    Also, Solaris: I read it on a transatlantic flight.

  12. #42
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    Science fiction

    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post
    Flatland? I haven't read it, but it's pretty thin.
    Also, Solaris: I read it on a transatlantic flight.
    While I rate Flatland as one of the most influential books I've read, it's not really sci-fi. It's more an attempt to explain the concept of higher dimensional spaces by imagining if a world of 2D people encountered a 3D person.

  13. #43
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    Science fiction

    Most pkd novels are a standard length. Go for a scanner darkly, ubik, time out of joint, do androids...

    Ballard, Wyndham, Asimov all wrote shortish novels too.

  14. #44
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    Thanks guys Ringworld sounds good and the Foundation trilogy sounds interesting as well!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    Any recommendations for a sci-fi book that's not too thick?


    For me, part of the holy trinity of sci fi dystopias, along with Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's 1984. Although 1984 is routinely hailed, I do believe We and BNW are much better

  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dominik View Post
    Thanks guys Ringworld sounds good and the Foundation trilogy sounds interesting as well!
    I still need to read Foundation, and I recommend Arthur C. Clarke's "Childhood's End" (and the Pink Floyd song it inspired!)
    Last edited by Fixer808; 02-09-2013 at 12:59 AM.

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    I was perusing the Arthur C. Clarke section at a used book store a couple of days ago and noticed the name of the spacecraft in his 1947 novel Prelude to Space is Prometheus. I wonder if Ridley Scott or someone involved in the film has read it, or if it's just a coincidence.

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Findus View Post
    I was perusing the Arthur C. Clarke section at a used book store a couple of days ago and noticed the name of the spacecraft in his 1947 novel Prelude to Space is Prometheus. I wonder if Ridley Scott or someone involved in the film has read it, or if it's just a coincidence.
    I bought Solaris yesterday (because the other books you guys recommended were not available, I might have to buy that from Amazon), and the spacecraft the main character arrives in is also called Prometheus.

    I'm on the first 70-80 pages and it's awesome. Apparently there are 2 german translations of the book and I bought the shitty one, but I still like it so far.

  19. #49
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    I'm just discovering Alastair Reynolds and his Revelation Space trilogy. I can't get over how enormous the scope of his imagination is, the first book had me more engrossed than any other novel I can remember for the last couple of years. Usually I'm not one for pages of techno-babble, but here I'm finding that the astrophysical jargon that he backs his stories up with is a real complement to the plot. I'm nearing the end of Redemption Ark, it's still extremely well-written but I think a little less focused than the first one. Very excited to see how it all turns out...

  20. #50
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    Been reading "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven. Not bad. I love apocalyptic sci-fi.

  21. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixer808 View Post
    Been reading "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven. Not bad. I love apocalyptic sci-fi.
    I just picked that up a few days ago, added it to my pile of stuff to read.

  22. #52
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    Science fiction

    Alastair Reynolds really needs to write another revelation space book. Ideally tying it all up.

    His short sf is awesome too

  23. #53
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    William Gibson's "Neuromancer". Fucking AWESOME. Makes the Wachowskis look like a pair of filthy thieves.

  24. #54
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    Science fiction

    Neuromancer is fun. Burning chrome was good. Are there any other Gibsons worth reading?

  25. #55
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    Pattern Recognition, from 2003. It actually quite reminded me of the YZ ARG... or at least the hunt for new sites during it.

  26. #56
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    Is Cory Doctorow worth reading?

  27. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highly Psychological View Post
    Where as Philip K Dick seemed like he actuallyhad a mental illness i found it interesting JG Ballard in real life was an extremely normal Suburbanite with a wife and children living in a really conservative English Town who just unleashed this mind bending, Psychological Bombsite of a mind which created titles and works like Crash and Why I Want To Fuck Ronald Reagen and funneled it into his writing.....
    Exactly this. I think this is probably why Ballard seemed to have been disappointed upon finally meeting William Burroughs; he met a man just as fucked up as his own fiction, whereas Ballard's (for lack of a better word) 'fucked-up-ness' was purely psychological.

    Simon Sellars' 'Extreme Metaphors' collects a great amount of interesting interviews with Ballard. Some really great stuff in there. It's fascination seeing just how prophetic he was (i.e. essentially predicting social media a good 30/40 years beforehand).

  28. #58
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    Currently audiobooking this. Awesomely dated yet very compelling and prescient.

  29. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post

    Currently audiobooking this. Awesomely dated yet very compelling and prescient.
    I've got an ancient puffin copy dating from around 1930 to read at some point. Looking forward to it.

  30. #60
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    Last and First Men: incredible, compelling, mind-expanding book. Totally worth reading even though it is a bit long-winded and something of an endurance test, but it always felt engaging and fascinating.

    Some more classic SF I have been audiobooking:

    Arthur C. Clarke "Childhood's End": OK, nothing amazing, but pretty trippy at the end.
    H.G. Wells "The War of the Worlds": Pretty good, more engrossing than I would have thought.
    Richard Matheson "I Am Legend": A bit too heavy on the macho schtick, but also pretty engrossing.
    Jack Finney "Invasion of the Body Snatchers": A bit dated, very 1950s, especially with the gender politics, but also pretty engaging.
    C.S. Lewis "Out of the Silent Planet": I'm 1/2 way through this and it's fucking awful. Aliens with funny names, boring, like a bad version of Gulliver's Travels.

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