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Douglas Adams - Great SciFi writer or The Greatest SciFi writer?
Posted: 06 June 2011 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I had a few occasions to coordinate with a lab in Toronto in the ‘70s and ‘80s and I always made it a point when I went to a new city or one I liked, to arrive a few days early and wander around.  As I recall I had some restaurant recommendations: two very good Indian ones and one pretty weak Chinese one. Sort of gave me some insight into the lab people I was dealing with.  smile

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Posted: 06 June 2011 11:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Wow, I don’t know how that happened.  George had said something like.  “Yes, we do.  How do you know that?”

I thought I answered in a new post, but I see my post over-wrote his original.  Weird.  Sorry about that, George.

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Posted: 24 June 2011 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I don’t happen to think of Douglas Adams as a science fiction writer per se, although I do love his writing. There’s a scene in *Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency* of the first look at Dirk’s apartment; the description of the blanket smoking the cigarette is hysterically funny. One difficulty this thread has do we limit it to science fiction or expand it to fantasy; I think Adams is more a fantasy writer, IM very personal O.

Isaac Asimov is my *favorite* sci fi writer, but I don’t think he’s a great writer as such; his love interests are uniformly flat and uninteresting, and his villains are in the tradition of ‘I will now tell you my fiendish plan; in the first part of my fiendish plan . . . .’ It’s his plots I think are his strong suit. I’d put Ben Bova in the same category.

I think for depth of vision, I’d pick Arthur C Clark, and a less known earlier author, Clifford D Simak - his *City* is brilliant and thought-provoking. Frank Herbert, too. Ditto for Ursula K LeGuin; but see the next paragraph. Let’s not forget Orson Scott Card, especially if you don’t mind *lots* of suffering in your characters. Heinlein (waggling hand), eh, sometimes great, sometimes not, and always military-democracy. (the movie Starship Troopers* makes a hash of his political philosophy, but it’s easy to pan.)

A lot of sci fi writers seem to have occasional problems with clarity. I like Robert Silverberg’s stuff (*Roma Eterna* and *Destiny’s Children* are good recent ones), but sometimes I’m just baffled at what exactly happened on this page or that, and I’m not typically a person who needs to have all the info at my fingertips at every sentence. William Gibson might fall into this criticism, but then he’s *deliberately* being obscure at times. Otherwise, he’s almost too brilliant to read easily.

chris kirk

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Posted: 24 June 2011 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Heinlein (waggling hand), eh, sometimes great, sometimes not, and always military-democracy. (the movie Starship Troopers* makes a hash of his political philosophy, but it’s easy to pan.)

It’s also required reading at the U.S. military acadamies. I’m not sure that the man had as much of a political philosophy as one might think. Heinlein was the sort of person who didn’t mind using his work to take readers with any number of idealogies and poke them with a stick.

He didn’t seem to care whether or not you agreed with any position he might take, and I’ll grant he took some, but he wanted the reader to actually think.

Frank Herbert was another really good writer albit too cerebral for a lot of readers these days.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 06:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Frank Herbert is my current favorite. The Dune books are great, but what other stuff I’ve read of his I have also greatly enjoyed. The Dosati Experiment, for example, is quite amazing.

Speaking of Dune, my favorite of that series is God Emperor Of Dune, because that one is the most challenging. Emperor Leto is a wonderful protagonist/antagonist monster.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I would pick Lois McMaster Bujold as a current favorite.  She does characters better than Heinlein, Asimov or Clarke but she still subtly incorporates science and technology into some of her stories though not all.

To much stuff called sci-fi these days is just shallow. 

The Vorkosigan series is on the net now though.

http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/24-CryoburnCD/CryoburnCD/index.htm

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Posted: 25 June 2011 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Some of my favorites include Clarke, Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, John Scalzi and Iain Banks. I haven’t read near enough of any of them.

I enjoyed Adams when I read him many years ago, but I made the mistake of buying a boxed set of three or four of his novels; they wore thin when read in succession. That said, he’s funny and inventive. He was also from all I’ve heard a wonderful person.

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Posted: 26 June 2011 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Yes, that does happen.  A few years ago, while I was in a second hand book store I saw paperbacks for the complete Lensman series.  I loved it when I first read it as a kid, so I figured I’d revisit it and bought the books.  It was surprisingly shallow and uninteresting when read in the framework of an older adult.

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Posted: 26 June 2011 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I finished the first four books of the trilogy yesterday. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the first two, especially The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but as Doug said the story began to bog down after that. After reading So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish, I set this series aside and went on to other books. Maybe I would have enjoyed them more if I had read something else in between the Hitchiker’s Guide books.

But when I get an iPad I’m going to find a cover that says Don’t Panic in large, friendly letters.

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Posted: 26 June 2011 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Occam. - 26 June 2011 03:09 PM

Yes, that does happen.  A few years ago, while I was in a second hand book store I saw paperbacks for the complete Lensman series.  I loved it when I first read it as a kid, so I figured I’d revisit it and bought the books.  It was surprisingly shallow and uninteresting when read in the framework of an older adult.

Occam

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Posted: 05 December 2011 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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dougsmith - 25 June 2011 05:39 PM

Some of my favorites include Clarke, Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, John Scalzi and Iain Banks. I haven’t read near enough of any of them.

I enjoyed Adams when I read him many years ago, but I made the mistake of buying a boxed set of three or four of his novels; they wore thin when read in succession. That said, he’s funny and inventive. He was also from all I’ve heard a wonderful person.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! to your listing Alastair Reynolds as a good one. He is my current favorite author period. I absolutely loved his books.

As for Adams, how weird is it that about five days ago I started reading the omnibus edition of his six HHGTTG books and then stumbled upon this thread. I love Adams and would certainly place him quite far up there on the list of scifi writers.

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Posted: 18 December 2011 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I finally read it. 

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewreply/145364/

Although I liked some Monty Python I was never a big fan.

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Posted: 21 December 2011 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Don’t know whos the greatest, but Asimov was the most influential on me, and he also did much more than write Sci Fi.  and I was about 12 when I read the Lucky Star series.

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Posted: 16 January 2012 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Posted: 16 January 2012 08:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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garythehuman - 21 December 2011 08:08 PM

Don’t know whos the greatest, but Asimov was the most influential on me, and he also did much more than write Sci Fi.  and I was about 12 when I read the Lucky Star series.

I think age is a problem when evaluating what is GOOD science fiction.  Probably a lot of other stuff too.  I would bet Dune would not have appealed to me much when I was 10 or 12.  But I think SF books with basic science woven into the story would be really good for this STEM education they constantly talk about.  That is part of why I don’t regard HHGTTG as science fiction.  Not a smidgen of science just silly techno-babble and lack of realism.

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