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oakwood said:
Anyway.. have you read anything thought provoking lately?
I find most of science fiction is thought provoking.

Trouble is, my thoughts tend to be unique, and when I voice a thought, it provokes people. :'(
 

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C. Gold said:
You kind of missed the classic greats - Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. I later added James P. Hogan to my pillars of awesomeness. :)
They were my faves, along with a little-known British author called William F. Temple (who once shared rooms with Arthur C. Clarke, apparently.)

Amongst other novels, Temple wrote a series of three books in the 50's featuring a maverick trouble-shooter called Martin Magnus. They were aimed at teens, and they're the reason I write SF now. Think classic 50's SF, where exploring the Moon, Venus and Mars was considered the peak of science fiction daring.

Some years ago I heard from Temple's daughter, who holds the rights to the novels, and I helped her republish them on Kindle. There was no budget involved so I mashed up some pretty basic covers, and it was awesome to be involved in bringing them back into print.

But yes, I'm firmly in the camp where you read widely and voraciously for years or maybe decades before attempting to write anything, and I'm talking across all genres.
 

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Douglas Adams made me think long and hard about where all the missing biro pens really go.

“Somewhere in the cosmos, he said, along with all the planets inhabited by humanoids, reptiloids, fishoids, walking treeoids and superintelligent shades of the color blue, there was also a planet entirely given over to ballpoint life forms. And it was to this planet that unattended ballpoints would make their way, slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely ballpointoid lifestyle, responding to highly ballpoint-oriented stimuli, and generally leading the ballpoint equivalent of the good life.

And as theories go this was all very fine and pleasant until Veet Voojagig suddenly claimed to have found this planet, and to have worked there for a while driving a limousine for a family of cheap green retractables, whereupon he was aken away, locked up, wrote a book and was finally sent into tax exile, which is the usual fate reserved for those who are determined to make fools of themselves in public.”
 
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Discussion Starter #6
oakwood said:
I strongly recommend picking up something from

Heinlein and his friend K.Dick, Vance, Farmer, Vinge, Ballard, Niven, P Anderson, Herbert, Sturgeon, S Lem, O Butler, Brunner, van Vogt, Pohl, Tepper, Aldiss, Delaney, Spinrad, etc, etc
Jack Williamson is missing from the list :eek: He's a grandmaster that isn't mentioned much today. He was awarded the SFWA 2nd ever Grandmaster of Science Fiction award (Heinlein got the 1st). Also an inaugural inductee to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Wrote the spectrum from pulpy scifi to brilliant science fiction.

I'm also adding Julian May to the thread. She's another who is rarely mentioned, though she should be. She's best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile, which is certainly a good read; however, imo her related series The Galactic Milieu Series is her best and is utterly brilliant. (Galactic Milieu Series books: Intervention (bk1 in UK, in the US it was broken into 2 parts: Surveillance (bk1a) & Metaconcert (bk1b)), Jack the Bodiless (bk 2), Diamond Mask (bk2), Magnificat (bk3)
 

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Evenstar said:
Douglas Adams made me think long and hard about where all the missing biro pens really go.

"Somewhere in the cosmos, he said, along with all the planets inhabited by humanoids, reptiloids, fishoids, walking treeoids and superintelligent shades of the color blue, there was also a planet entirely given over to ballpoint life forms. And it was to this planet that unattended ballpoints would make their way, slipping away quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely ballpointoid lifestyle, responding to highly ballpoint-oriented stimuli, and generally leading the ballpoint equivalent of the good life.

And as theories go this was all very fine and pleasant until Veet Voojagig suddenly claimed to have found this planet, and to have worked there for a while driving a limousine for a family of cheap green retractables, whereupon he was aken away, locked up, wrote a book and was finally sent into tax exile, which is the usual fate reserved for those who are determined to make fools of themselves in public."

Only the Brits know how to truly do absurd.
 

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The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
 

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Dan Simmons, Connie Willis, and Louis McMaster Bujold all write sci-fi with head exploding themes.
 

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It's funny, I got a review recently saying that authors shouldn't engage in social commentary. I guess we are simply to present the printed versions of half-hour mindless TV shows. The grand majority of SF I read growing up presented food for thought. You forgot such authors as Le Guin and Cherryh and Bradley. Not all the golden-age greats were men.
 

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Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
 

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I read most of those guys half a century ago, back when I was a teenager. I read their books for the story, and the amazing futures they imagined, taking their philosophies, or political ideas simply as part of the story. Even today I read fiction simply for an interesting story with good, clever writing, and full, well rounded characters. I have not read all that much science fiction since the golden days of my youth, so I can not really compare contemporary science fiction writers to those folk. I suspect, however, that the best of them are every bit as original and creative as the best were back in the day.

As for their writing, I have tried to go back and reread my old favorites, but no… No point in destroying good memories. I must have had a much more active imagination back then that filled in all the stuff that I find missing these days. Still, I see that several science fiction web sites regularly feature re-reads of old books, so perhaps others will enjoy them today. My attitude, however, is better them than me.
 

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CJ Cherryh. Olaf Stapeledon. The Niven/Pournelle collaborations. Robert Sheckley. Edgar Pangborn. John Wyndham. Julian May. Ursula LeGuin's Hainish novels. Harlan "Pay the Writer!" Ellison.
 

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Luke Everhart said:
Jack Williamson is missing from the list :eek: He's a grandmaster that isn't mentioned much today. He was awarded the SFWA 2nd ever Grandmaster of Science Fiction award (Heinlein got the 1st). Also an inaugural inductee to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Wrote the spectrum from pulpy scifi to brilliant science fiction.

I'm also adding Julian May to the thread. She's another who is rarely mentioned, though she should be. She's best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile, which is certainly a good read; however, imo her related series The Galactic Milieu Series is her best and is utterly brilliant. (Galactic Milieu Series books: Intervention (bk1 in UK, in the US it was broken into 2 parts: Surveillance (bk1a) & Metaconcert (bk1b)), Jack the Bodiless (bk 2), Diamond Mask (bk2), Magnificat (bk3)
The entire Galactic Milieu saga is brilliant and massively underrated. It has all the depth of Dune, but with much better writing and characters.
 

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The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
 

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I think Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the best and most important science fiction writers of all time - certainly the most important one working today. Aurora is one of the best sci-fi novels of this century: taking a topic which is considered gospel among science fiction fans (that it's both necessary and desirable for humankind to colonise the galaxy) and slowly dismantling it.
 

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Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (predicted earbuds)
 

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Yes to most of the above. I love science fiction that pushes the envelope of the moral view of the times, even when this takes me to some very uncomfortable places. Hanya Yanagihara's "The People in the Trees" really shook my view of what is morally acceptable with its reprehensible protagonist.

I recently wrote a blog post on meeting the other, which was a look at my favourite books that examine human-alien interaction. What makes these stories so special to me is the way most of these authors use the alien perspective as a lens on the values and mores prevalent in society at the time of writing.
 

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ShaneCarrow said:
I think Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the best and most important science fiction writers of all time - certainly the most important one working today. Aurora is one of the best sci-fi novels of this century: taking a topic which is considered gospel among science fiction fans (that it's both necessary and desirable for humankind to colonise the galaxy) and slowly dismantling it.
Aurora is anti-SF. That book put KSR permanently on my blacklist. I'd rather read thoughtful SF that doesn't, you know, actively dismantle SF -- and there are plenty of writers out there creating it right now! Try Gavin G. Smith, Ian McDonald, or Peter Watts. Or my own stuff :)
 
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