Sci-Fi Question

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Greg_R, May 8, 2003.

  1. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    I asked this in a previous thread but it was ignored...

    Could someone please explain how recent Hugo award winners fall into the category of sci-fi? I thought the Hugo was for sci-fi writing but look at the recent award winners:

    - American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
    - film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (for dramatic presentation)

    I would classify all of these under fantasy (there is little to no science involved with any of these novels). Am I missing something?
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I'd say that the Hugos have diversified.

    How many hard-core SF books have reached the best-seller lists in recent years anyways? There's your answer...
     
  3. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    I think that Sci-Fi and fantasy have really been grouped together in recent years it seems to be the common thought that if you play D&D you prolly really like Star Wars to etc. I agree none of those are Sci-Fi by any means but thats the way the world goes these days.
     
  4. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Say, aren't the Nebula awards still stubbornly science fiction?
     
  5. Bill Wise

    Bill Wise Agent

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    Max,

    Nope... Nebulas are SF/Fantasy.

    Bill
     
  6. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    How many hard-core SF books do you see on the stands nowadays? I shke my head every time I look at what passes for SF on the bookshelves now. Nothing but STAR WARS novels. The space not taken up by STAR WARS is taken up by endless STAR TREK novels. Fantasy suffers from the same malady but to a much lesser extent.

    I have pretty well stopped reading SF, because real SF is pretty well dead. SF fans were waxing eloquent about William Gibson at one time, so I picked up one of his novels, "Mona Lisa Overdrive" (IIRC); I couldn't even finish it. It was nothing but torture reading his stuff....completely boring. There was not one compelling character or scene in any of the pages that I read......and I read quite a bit of it before I gave up. His writing reminded me of Stephen R. Donaldson's "Thomas Covenant" series of books. I found that series boring as well.

    The last moderately engaging SF book I read, was Rudy Rucker's "Moldies and Meatbops".
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Edwin, I think you need to look overseas for good current SF. Iain M. Banks is good, Peter F. Hamilton is loads of fun, etc.

    In the US, there's still Vernor Vinge, Will McCarthy, David Wingrove, Connie Willis, China Mieville (Perdido Street Station and Scar are a weird mix of SF and fantasy), Linda Nagata (haven't read her works, but they sound hardcore...who knows?).

    Vinge leans towards hard-core SF, as does Stephen Baxter and Greg Egan. Rudy Rucker does too...he's loads of fun! I really liked his Edgar Allan Poe alternate universe work. [​IMG]

    Although, it does seem that the most literary SF comes from the Commonwealth countries like the UK and Australia.

    Nebula: Ah, guess they are a mix too...I haven't really looked into the SF/fantasy awards lately. I've been spending most of my time reading non-fiction science works lately.
     
  8. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    The SF market is less moribund across the pond? Thanks for the suggestions. If I can find some time I will have to look for books by the authors you suggested. I just hope I can find them amongst the deluge of STAR WARS and STAR TREK books that have taken over the SF sections of most bookstores.
     
  9. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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  10. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    I'll have to stop by the public library one day and see if they have a copy. I'm pretty sure they will. I won't take a chance on a purchase. Sometimes a writer just doesn't click with a person. Take Steven King for example. A lot of people really like his writing. I don't. The only stuff of his that I liked was a few of his short stories from (IIRC) "Night Shift". There was one involving witchcraft and toy soldiers that I found humourous because it ended so silly. "Christine" was okay too, but I really couldn't get into "The Stand". I got 135 pages into that one.....nothing was happening, so I decided I had better things to do with my time.
     
  11. Bill Wise

    Bill Wise Agent

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    Edwin,

    I'll give Greg's suggestion to try Neuromancer a try a second vote. Also, if you haven't read any Gene Wolfe, I highly recommend him. Not hardcore SF and a bit difficult to classify, but definately not a casual read and well worth the effort.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  12. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    I read Neuromance a while back. It was okay, but I found it to drag a bit. But I really enjoyed Idoru, which I think is the "second" book of that "series."
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Try David Gerrold. His recent Dingillian trilogy was a modern Heinlein juvie, and finally, book 5 of his Chtorr cycle is about to come out. He has many other fine SF book (When HARLIE was one for example) which are unfortunately not in print [​IMG]
     
  14. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Hmmm, I didn't like Neuromancer at all. I managed to trudge through half of it before I got bored.

    However, I did enjoy his collaborative effort with Bruce Sterling, "The Difference Engine". I loved how dirty (literally -- pulling fleas off of Victorian prostitutes stockings was a highlight) the Victorians were. [​IMG]

    Brian Aldiss is pretty decent too, although I don't think he's been writing much lately. He is also from across the pond.
     
  15. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  16. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Stunt Coordinator

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    :b I was wondering why the two books didn't seem to have ANYTHING to do with one another.

    My friend told me that was the triolgy. Oh Well, but I did like Idoru MUCH better than Neuromancer
     
  17. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
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    Speak of the Devil. I was trying to remember the name of the other author that I was not too fond of and, behold, his name arises. IIRC, Gene Wolfe wrote a book titled "The Fifth Head of Cerberus". I own a copy. Unfortunately, he was another author that I just couldn't get into. It has been years since I read that book. Maybe I should revisit it and see if my opinion of him as an author changes. You are right about him being hard to classify. He was not really a hard SF writer. The book I read seemed to lean more to psychological speculation.

    I did like Michael Moorcock's book "The Steel Tsar" (IIRC). I kind of have a soft spot for alternate time line stories.
    I like Harry Turtledove's alternate history books, but they don't qualify as Hard SF.

    I like Niven and Clarke's stuff, but I don't see too much coming out from them anymore. There seems to be a real dearth of authors who write the kind of SF that Niven and Clarke wrote.
     
  18. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Edwin: For Gene Wolfe, I suggest The Book of the New Sun, a series of four books, although I believe they're now grouped into two. Not exactly sci-fi, not exactly fantasy, but a great read.

    Totally agree with your Thomas Covenant assessment - I forced myself to wade through the whole series, just to see if this idiot would develop some common sense and bring a gun with him, but it never happened.
     
  19. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    SF insiders believe the Nebula Awards carry more credibility. Anybody can vote on the Hugos.

    The organized "fandom" community is now being given over to television shows and movie series that have spawned cult followings. Meanwhile, the circulations of all the original-fiction magazines continue to decline; there are only four regularly published SF magazines available in the U.S. now.

    The general media think that the X Files, Buffy, Star Wars, and such are "sci-fi" (a term SF lovers hate), swayed as they are by all those conventions devoted to the shows and movies.

    Some questionable nominees have made it to the ballot for the "Best Novel" Hugo, as with all the other Hugo categories.

    Needless to say, the Harry Potter series is not SF.
     
  20. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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