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Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

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In which we speak of books we never finished, or wish we had never finished. Normally, I would provide a list of the novels we talked about. But this time, I think it’s better if you go in blind.

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Marie’s blog

Cory’s blog

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The Giver by Lois Lowry is the one book on elementary/high school reading lists that Canadians our age remember fondly. Why is this, and why is the cover so darn memorable?

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Marie’s blog

Episode 26: Get Urras back to Anarres (Discussion of The Dispossessed)

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We egoize about Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1974 classic, The Dispossessed.

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Marie’s blog

Episode 10 – The Left Hand of Podcasts

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Incidental Music: Danse Macabre – Big Hit 1 Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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I was browsing the British Library’s Flickr photostream, of all places, when I stumbled across a full PDF scan of the 1895 novel Fifteen Hundred Miles and Hour by Charles Dixon. The title refers to the speed of a spaceship built by a Dr. Hermann which ends up transporting him and three other stalwart individuals, as well as a dog, from England to the planet Mars. Keep in mind, The War of the Worlds wasn’t serialized until 1897. Here we have another example of early scientific romance that I think only Darko Suvin has read cover-to-cover after it went out of print.

He called it clumsy.

I can’t disagree.

(more…)

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Frank Hebert’s Dune is one of the most influential science fiction novels of all time. Naturally, we have a lot to say about it.

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Marie’s blog

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Science! Religion! History! A far-ranging discussion of Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s epic post-apocalyptic Catholic-monks-in-Utah novel A Canticle for Leibowitz.

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Marie’s blog

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Growing Weary

I am growing ever more weary from some members of the sf community championing the idea that the chief value of science fiction and fantasy is entertainment above all else, that these genres should not explore deeper aspects of self, society and culture because they overwhelm the story and transform the work into “message fiction” no one wants. Never mind that a good story, a deep story, a worthwhile story does explore the inmost world of the author and the culture surrounding him or her. The books that stay with me are the ones that aren’t merely entertaining, they’re the ones push boundaries of human experience, that let me see outside of our comfortable societal ideas of the norm. These books are fascinating and emotionally resonant because they take advantage of fantastic literature’s chief draw: the ability to articulate worlds different from our own. A book can do this and remain a quick, compulsive read; to include other visions of the human experience outside our immediate context can only help push forward a narrative, not hinder it. To say that sf is solely a vehicle for entertainment devalues the field and dismisses both its readers and writers as people unable to seriously connect, examine, and find meaning (or create it) with the text. It is to say the text has no power. I feel strongly on this point, because writing and reading fantasy has been an important part of my life, to how I ended up negotiating and building my dislocated identity, precisely because it articulates other worlds. Tackling troubling issues in sf does not “ruin” it; rather it expands sf, allows it to touch a wider range of readers, and makes it a legitimate (and vital) form of expression for a broader range of writers.

I can’t accept the premise that trying to find meaning in the narratives you spin is somehow wrong. And I won’t.

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