Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Greats

Talk about having some catching up to do. In the past couple weeks I have decided to read the great science fiction authors: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, and H.G. Wells.

I'm sure there are others that folks would recommend, and I'd love to hear the suggestions. Whether you're sorting by top 5, top 10, or whatever the above names are bound to be on that list somewhere. I am not ruling out, nor mean no offense/disrespect to other greats like: Robert Heinlein, Douglas Adams, Frank Herbert, Arthur C. Clarke, or even the late great Jules Verne. From what little exposure I have had to reading sci-fi in school my taste simply leans more towards the former list.

I think it was in 8th grade that we read Harrison Bergeron and it just stuck with me. I have some recollection of All Summer in a Day and Farenheit 451 as well. I know some would call it blasphemous to say I loved the movie "I, Robot" although I know it's not the original script for the screenplay. As for Orson Scott Card I have not read any of his stories, but I do have a sci-fi and fantasy writing guide of his and it gives me hope that he writes with much the same thought, voice, and style that I do...that is, on the rare instances that I do anything more than jot notes/ideas on notebook paper.

1 comment:

  1. I read Ender's game, and found it lacking. (That was really fashionable back in the early, mid 90s, and again it proves that that which is fashionable is usually not great). From what I have seen over the years, Card is probably not someone I would want to hang out with either, but oh well.

    I'd definitely recommend Heinlein, but you need to be selective about his books. Read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", but if you only ever read one RAH book, make it "Starship Troopers" because it's one of the best damned books ever written. Just don't judge it by the terrible movie which could not have been less loyal to the novel. Beyond these two, go for Heinlein's older works. The Scirbner Juveniles are usually okay, but a bit dated. Forget the "World as Myth" books, he just starts being weird by then and you can only enjoy those if you want to read entire chapters about incest.

    Arthur C. Clarke has written some good stuff, but he never created a sci fi "setting". Maybe Rama, if you want to read a good exploration yarn, or Songs of Distant Earth. 2001 on principle.

    Douglas Adams wasn't really a sci-fi writer, but a comedy writer. Do read "Last Chance to Read", or better yet find the audio book narrated by the man himself. It's a non-fiction book about traveling around to look at extremely rare species.

    As you are aware I am a huge fan of H. Beam Piper. His books have their weaknesses, but on the other hand they are public domain and free. Space Viking, Cosmic Computer and Uller Uprising are my highest reommendations.

    Larry Niven's Known Space books - some good reads in there as well. Ringworld is probably a must, though it too has its weaknesses.