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Author Topic:   Sci-Fi
pterran
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posted 07-29-2004 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pterran   Click Here to Email pterran     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Translator and Mr. Dark,

Man, Iíd never thought Iíd address a post in this manner, let alone on a subject with which you two agree. Next thing you know, pigsíll fly, hell will freeze over, and the lion will lie with the lamb. . .

Iíll go with In Our Time and The Sun Also Rises as Hís best work. A Farewell to Arms comes second for me only because it follows these others. Re-reading it recently, I recall a passage or two that got a little windy and fell short of the legendary Hemingway style. And, though the ending is powerful, Iíve come to shrug it off: Why not have Catherine live? Because it doesnít suit the message H was trying to send. Iíve heard it said that H is the master of the dying fade Ė The Sun is the best example Ė but Farewellís ending feels forced to me now.

Old Man and the Sea is next for me. Followed by For Whom the Bell Tolls, though it has traces of influence from the Left that would permeate much of the work that came from the 30s. Just about all of his short stories work for me.

Posthumous work? Islands in the Stream has a sentimental place in my heart but somewhat flawed. The Garden of Eden is a brave book, one that, if it had been published in his lifetime, would have cemented Hís reputation as a risk-taker, something I think he was faulted unfairly for when compared to, say, Faulkner. True at First Light I found dull and ureadable. Ditto The Dangerous Summer. Donít bother with his poetry. Read his letters for an unvarnished look at the man and his times. His non-fiction not only shows his roots as a reporter, he was a pretty good one to boot.

Best,

Pete

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Mr. Dark
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posted 07-29-2004 09:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I loved "Islands in the Stream", and did enjoy "The Garden of Eden". The film "Islands in the Stream" with George Scott, I thought was good.

I think if Translator and I were to meet and refuse to discuss politics, I would find him fascinating. In the early days, when we posted more on Bradbury and literature, I think Translator would be able to add real value to the discussions. I don't disrespect him -- but we certainly disagree on politics.

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Mr. Dark
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posted 07-30-2004 07:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pete:

I think I ran into the quote you were originally referring to:

"...it's [science fiction] the most important fiction ever invented, it always has been. People haven't given it credit. Becuase it has to do with the histry of ideas. Of dreaming an idea, birthing an idea, blueprinting and idea, making it into a fact. And then moving on the the next idea." (p. 126

--Conversations with Ray Bradbury. Ed. Steven Aggelis. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson. 2004.

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pterran
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posted 07-30-2004 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pterran   Click Here to Email pterran     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Dark,

Always on the ball. Thanks for that quote. That's what I was referring to. I think this definition actually encompasses a lot of fiction, not necessarily the hardcore, nuts and bolts, hi-tech kind of sci-fi. It's the exploring of new ideas that I find intriguing. Or, I should say, the exploring of ideas and problems and answers to problems. What I can't tolerate is an author positing an idea or problem and then not taking a stand because, well, sometimes in real life, things just don't work out. This is fiction! Not real life! It's supposed to work out, in some way!

Going back to Hemingway. . .

I'm with you about the movie version of Islands in the Stream. It's hard for me, though, to seperate my personal feelings and experience from the movie. After my parents divorced, my brother and I would spend summers in Florida with my father. While he wasn't an artist, our re-unions and departures were fraught with the same mixed emotions presented in the movie. I've never seen another movie, or piece of fiction, that presented that situation so honestly. I'll admit to this sensitivity but imagine my surprise when I caught the last half of the movie not too long ago on TCM or AMC. Surprisingly, the movie holds up quite well. I believe it's one of George C. Scott's finer, and overlooked, performances.

Best,

Pete

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Mr. Dark
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posted 07-31-2004 04:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr. Dark   Click Here to Email Mr. Dark     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pete: I agree. I also think the novel is under-rated, and my prediction is that as time passes, "Islands in the Stream" will move up in the Hemingway pantheon of stories. I agree that that book captured the emotions well -- of the man and his ex-wife, also. Some of the language is stunning, and the portrayal as work being the means by which he overcomes the vacuous state of his life is very powerful, also.

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Translator
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posted 07-31-2004 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Translator   Click Here to Email Translator     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Mr Dark,
I'm very glad to see that disagreement in some areas doesn't make you condemn the whole person. I think of you in a similar way.

Pterran,
Hemingway was known for his long-winded passages as well - He was like Mellville in that respect.

Cheers, Translator

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grasstains
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posted 08-13-2004 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for grasstains   Click Here to Email grasstains     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TaoistBoy-

Most serious fans of SF consider "Sci-Fi" to be a four-letter-word, not five. From what I gather it has something to do with an association to Hollywood's treatment of SF. I don't really trip on it myself, but it may prove to be a hindrance to you on other sites.

A MUST-READ for any fan is STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert A. Heinlein. All on Mr. Dark's list are good to great. I can't remember if anyone mentioned CHILDHOOD'S END by Arthur C. Clarke, but that is also a MUST-READ. For a great recent novel try CLADE by Mark Budz. You can find most of the older titles at thrift stores for around $1.00.

Theodore Sturgeon and Clifford D. Simak are somewhat similar to Bradbury in the way they can set a mood and influence the reader's emotions.

If you want short stories David Hartwell's YEAR'S BEST SF is always great. It's strictly science fiction where as most of the other YEAR'S BEST often have some borderline offerings. DOZOIS' YEAR'S BEST is good too and his annual summation alone is almost worth the price of the book, but his selections are a bit racier and some can barely be defined as science fiction.

The best introduction to SF is probably James Gunn's THE ROAD TO SCIENCE FICTION series of books, especially volumes 2 and 3.

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Gothic
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posted 08-13-2004 04:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gothic   Click Here to Email Gothic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've just picked up a copy of Heinlein's Methuselah's Children, which seems like a good read at first glance. Childhood's End never struck me as Clarke's best - I much prefer his short stories and, of course, 2001: a Space Odyssey. The only Sturgeon I ever read is Some of Your Blood, a strange book.

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jfaronson
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posted 08-13-2004 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jfaronson   Click Here to Email jfaronson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What about Young Adult SF? One of the best in that genre is Alexander Key. "Door into Summer" is a seriously effective book. Interestingly, the first I heard of it was on a really cool show on PBS hosted by John Robbins. It went through many title changes, but the only on I remember is "Storybound." The premise involved Robbins reading a selection from a book and, at the same time, sketching out a scene from the selection.

It was a fantastic show that introduced me to TONS of excellent books. I wish it was still on--maybe it is in some markets...In fact, I would love to buy some episodes on DVD, so if anyone knows how, please let me know!

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icedearth525
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posted 08-27-2004 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for icedearth525     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many of the books and novels listed are great stories written by great authors. Most of the authors I saw though are from years ago. I didn't see many authors that have currently written stories. Like other Michael Crichton books such as Prey or Timeline. Also Timothy Zahn and his continuing success with the Star Wars side stories.

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