This topic contains 16 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 12 years, 1 month ago.
20th June 2007 at 10:41 am #41125
I get so angry when I go to the book store and look for a sci-fi book. Every freaking book I pick up is part of some sort of saga. There seem to be no stand alone books out there. Every book I pick up is ‘part three of pot-smoking-planet-rocket-dune-disc’ series or some crud.
Bah!23rd June 2007 at 8:28 am #77585
Well, try reading almost any book by Isaac Asimov! PEEBLE IN THE SKY is a little read book of his! In this little known work by this great scifi author and physicist,..the earth, partially turned into an atomic and barren wasteland, is overcrowded and Asimov has a solution,..a very unique solution,..for this populous problem! 😈
You might also try anything written by Robert Heinlein. In his writing heyday,..scifi was considered mostly a medium for children so he started out writing scifi books for kids. Try reading a few of his children’s books first,..if you can stomach them,..then go on and read his ADULT versions of the same stories. The results are “gut-wrenching!!”
And if you are REALLY bored at three AM in the morning,..dig out some Jonathan Swift! Woof! His solution to the overpopulation problem of Ireland is,..at the very least,…unique!!
These works are truly…”stand alone” stories!!24th June 2007 at 10:12 am #77588
Thanks. I’ll take a look at “PEEBLE IN THE SKY”.26th June 2007 at 6:00 am #77590
You know, you’re right! I’ve almost given up reading SF because you just can’t find a decent stand-alone novel anymore. Right now I’d better add a disclaimer. My alias isn’t a joke. I’m 61 years old and I read my first two SF (not SciFi or Sci Fi) novels at 10. They were Andre Norton’s [u]Starman’s Son[/u] and Heinlein’s [u]Starbeast[/u] (Lummox still rocks!). While Heinlein’s and Asimov’s juveniles are good reads, if outdated, Norton’s early stuff just never seems to grow old.
Look to pre-80’s stuff. Even the best writers began whoring themselves out by the late 80’s when they realized that the money was in serialized novels. Herbert wrote [u]Dune[/u] and could’ve stopped there, but it turned out he had more to write—and it was good—but you only [i]need[/i] to read [u]Dune[/u]. It stands on it’s own. Too much of this modern crap is written to force you to buy the next volume in the “quadra-tetralogy”. These suckers need 9000 pages to tell a story and, then, they still can’t tie up all the loose ends.
Here’s a short list. Actually two.
Authors first: Alfred Bester; Robert A. Heinlein; Isaac Asimov; Frank Herbert; Theodore Sturgeon; ANDRE NORTON, ANDRE NORTON & ANDRE NORTON; Robert Sheckley, Silverberg, Pournelle, Gregory Benford, Ursula K. Le Guin .
OKay, I’m someoldguy, there’s newer authors who also fill the bill (that guy who wrote [u]Mona Lisa Overdrive[/u] for instance) , but these come to mind easily.
Try reading some of these: Time Enough For Love; The Stars, My Destination; The Door Into Summer; Dune; Starman’s Son; Witchworld; Beastmaster (not to be confused with the crappy movie or TV show); The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; The Foundation TRILOGY (if you like series, this is a good one, forget the rest, they were just money makers); The Man Who Sold The Moon (one of Heinlein’s short stories); Majipoor.
I could go on. Maybe fluffybunny will, if he or she is still around. fb has really [u]GREAT[u] taste for SF.
Hope this helps. Hope it makes sense, Hope all’s well. Hope Pope Al cuts back on his three grand a month electric bill. 🙄 [/u]27th June 2007 at 8:38 am #77591
You know, you may be someoldguy, but to me, you are my new hero!
I bought “Janissaries” (I saw african mercenaries and space abduction in the same sentance and clicked on ‘add to my cart’ straight away) 😀
I also bought Star Flight by Andre Norton (two in one special) as well as her “From the Sea to the Stars”.
Thanks for those. I am sure I will enjoy them.
PS God Bless Wiki. I just googled Andre Norton and found out he was a she.28th June 2007 at 4:28 am #77594
Thanks to you beloved old guy I have some names to work with besides the biggies….
The problem I have is that sci-fi/ fantasy deal and i’m not one for neccesarily mixing them that freely. it just turns into some butch captain dude saving some chick with mystical powers or wings or something for 5 books.
Why do we need to gild an already beautiful lily. Why cannot sci-fi stand on its own? With a few more womanly changes in the general psyche of what sci-fi is; we could advance its popularity to more people especially women.
I’ve been attached to Frank McDevitt whom is, i would say, the …..oooh whose the spy novelist writer like The Bourne Identity…. the kinda sci-fi fan writer that writes for the mainstream sci-fi lover but has enough story and weaves it well enough to keep me entertained.
I loved “Seeker” “Polaris’ was fine except the peril to the characters was repeated 3 times; and I liked “Moonfall” but it is so simliar our modern disaster movies.
Sci-fi channel should use “Moonfall”; it’s right up their street and better than giant (insert whatever).
I’m trying to read McDevitt’s “Deepsix” now.28th June 2007 at 8:41 pm #77596
OWOW – these are some great picks! I’ll write them down and go shopping (although I actually do own Pebble in the sky and the Ugly boy).
I love the idea of being able to read a stand alone again! Whoo hoo!29th June 2007 at 7:18 pm #77598
I just read the new posts here and to my dismay, I noticed that I may have implied that Heinlein’s excellent [u]The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress[/u] is a short story! Uh-uh, no-no, it’s a novel. What I meant was: Read any of his short story collections.
On the subject of Robert Anson Heinlein, he wrote a long series of short stories, novellas and one novel in a series that became known as his “Future History”. I believe he may have pioneered the concept; he certainly carried farther and in more depth and detail than others. They were all collected in a big anthology called (I hope I get this right) [u]The Past Through Tomorrow[/u]. It contains the stand-alone novel [u]Methuselah’s Children[u] which turned out to be a prequel to the great [/u]Time Enough For Love[u]. It introduces Lazarus Long, who I consider to be RAH’s best character. It comes complete with a time line of his “history” and cover some 40 years of his writing including what, I believe, is his first published story. It is amazing how much of his “future history” parallels much of our own. ❗ BTW, We have been living in the “Crazy Years” for the last 30 (see; Malthusian Pills in his hilarious send ups of newscasts and advertising) , or so, years which kind of scares me given what he (and I, possibly)see coming next.
Hell, I talk too much. But my original premise stands, there is just so much really great stand-alone SF out there! Any local library probably has a bunch of moldy old SF sitting on it’s shelves that goes unnoticed and unread 😥 that would probably be a good place to mine forgotten and out-of-print gems. Good luck![/u]29th June 2007 at 7:20 pm #77599
Sorry about all that underlined stuff. Must be gremlins.3rd July 2007 at 7:28 pm #77602
I feel your pain. Many Scifi movies are sequels as well. Is there anything original? Many of the books mentioned are part of series. Authors must like the built in readers they get for the sequels. How about Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Fountains of Paradise”. It’s a Nebula and Hugo award winner from 1979/1980.3rd July 2007 at 8:00 pm #77603
Ya gotta stop feeding your computer after midnight and definitely don’t get the keyboard wet. 😉9th July 2007 at 8:27 pm #77612
gw2001h, you’re right. Many of the titles I posted are actually first books in what turned out to be series. IMHO, they do, however, stand on there own, unlike so many current series, they are not open-ended in the sense that you have to buy the next one if you want to find out what is going on. If a volume is complete on its own, I tend to count it even if sequels follow.
That said, I do agree with you that writers tend to like a built-in audience and I am as “catchable” as most, if the writer is honest and the story is worth my time. I know that is vague, but personal taste is everything, ultimately. 😉
You’re right about movies. Not many “Children Of Men” get made. Most of the good SF in film tends more toward fantasy and uneven sequels. The best stuff seems to lend itself more towards TV and mini-series and the (very) occasional series. B-5, Battlestar Galactica, the Dune mini-series, etc.10th July 2007 at 9:49 am #77614
True. Lexx was an eye opener for me. However, I look at a series like Lost and start to think it’s going the same way as Prison Break. It catches the publics eye (imagination), and the next minute there are another 3000 episodes on the way and the story becomes random points of no real interest or outcome.
I can’t remember when the last good hardcore sci-fi that (I enjoyed) came to the cinema.
PS, the books should be arriving soon. How cool is the South African postal service! It takes about a month to get something from Amazon. It leaves the US or UK the following day, lands in Jo’burg after two days, and then takes 3 and a half weeks to get to Durban from Jo’burg (a 12 hour drive at tops).
Wow. Look at me talking. Must be bored at work or something. 😯25th July 2007 at 7:15 am #77627
I ran across an old, old copy of a book called [u]Flowers For Algernon[/u] by Daniel Keyes that I should have mentioned. Actually, I should never forgotten this one. It is a rarity in that it won Hugo’s as a short story, novella and novel and an Oscar for Cliff Robertson in “Charly” the movie adaptation of the novel. All this in the 1960’s.
Briefly it is about a 30 year old mentally retarded man, Charly, who undergoes an experimental surgical procedure to increase his intelligence. He becomes a genius. Written in the form of a journal by Charly it is a truly unique work. To say more is to give too much away. Each incarnation stands alone and is excellent in it’s own right as the awards attest. The short story and novella have been anthologized, although probably out of print, should be read if you can find them. The novel is available at Amazon.com as is the DVD which is also available at Netflix here in the US.
A funny, sad page turner. A must read.5th September 2007 at 11:44 am #77664
[quote=”lexxrobotech”]I get so angry when I go to the book store and look for a sci-fi book. Every freaking book I pick up is part of some sort of saga. There seem to be no stand alone books out there. Every book I pick up is ‘part three of pot-smoking-planet-rocket-dune-disc’ series or some crud.
If I may introduce myself (hello!) and interject–
Since the late 80s when more and more small and mid-sized publishers were acquired and turned into “imprints” of conglomerates, editors and publishers increasingly will only give their time and patience to new talent willing to become human franchises. This has happened to every genre, not just sci-fi.
In an age of lowered attention spans, author franchises and character branding are the way you make money in the book business. Publishers believe people don’t want to see new characters. They want to see a new episode with old characters. It’s nearly impossible to sell a single novel without a plan– or better yet, an outline– for the rest of the franchise. Authors who get to do so are very, very lucky.
Even master of the trashy bodice-ripper Nora Roberts had to create a pseudonym to switch to near-future mysteries (featuring rampant near-future bodice ripping as well, I imagine) so none of her legions would be confused by the change. 🙄
And Re: someoldguy and Flowers for Algernon. I have only read it once. It was heart-wrenching. I couldn’t bear to read it again. (It was that good.) I recommend it often.6th September 2007 at 2:16 am #77665
[quote]In an age of lowered attention spans, author franchises and character branding are the way you make money in the book business. Publishers believe people don’t want to see new characters. They want to see a new episode with old characters. It’s nearly impossible to sell a single novel without a plan– or better yet, an outline– for the rest of the franchise. Authors who get to do so are very, very lucky.
The thing is familiar vs. new; it can depend on the times…
I don’t mind familiar if it is energetic and opens new doors with old characters but if it doesn’t go anywhere then you can read ten books like it and predict endings with ease.
That’s why variety is the spice of life…. I mean life and routines get us by for a while but I turn pages in sci-fi novels and turn on sci-fi to escape some, to learn some, but for entertainment.
The what ifs are few and far between; it’s more like what now 🙄 😛
I want that freshness of what ifs again; not suffering through another what now will they do to make this book/show too incredible to believe or too mundane to care about anymore.
AD sci-fi; for those that want the whiff of sci-fi without investing any thought into it. easy come, easy go. Something to crow about until the next shiny show grabs your attention; where writers become word shock-jocks.
Teflon TV; no stick!6th September 2007 at 1:26 pm #77666
The thing is familiar vs. new; it can depend on the times…
That’s very true, too. My tastes lean toward the dystopian rather than hard sci-fi so I’ve been forcing the satire Jennifer Government on anyone I see wearing Nikes, but I feel the Evil Corporation while relatively new to the genre is already getting old. Pretty soon it will be as prevalent as the Evil Empire plotline and just as predictable.
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