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Good Russian and Eastern European SF/F/Horror

I really love the sort of bleak/dark horror/fantasy/science fiction from Russia and Eastern Europe. I loved the Nightwatch series, loved Solaris, loved the Metro series. What else would I love from that part of the world?
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Jul 8, 2014 - 15 answers

Most interesting science fiction/fantasy monetary or currency systems?

There are lots of interesting SF&F economic systems that are without money -- post-scarcity AI-nano cornucopias, magic subsistence economies, etc. For those who imagine worlds that still have money, though, what are the most interesting speculative monetary/currency/financial systems? (Please feel free to mention the obvious-to-you, as I've got big gaps in my SF&F reading and watching.) Thanks! [more inside]
posted by deathmarch to epistemic closure on Jul 6, 2014 - 17 answers

Putting a pricetag on my dream?

I've had a fantasy that has been rolling around in my head for the past 15 plus years of opening a small public aquarium. It's always been the sort of things that I thought to myself "If I ever won the lottery one day." level of realism. Over the past year or so, I've been getting encouragement from friends to actually go for it. While I still thinks it's just daydream fodder, I sort of want to figure out a rough idea of cost to see just how crazy the idea is. The problem is, I have no idea how to figure that rough estimate of what it would cost. [more inside]
posted by [insert clever name here] on Jun 29, 2014 - 13 answers

Engrossing Science Fiction Recommendations Please!

Help me fill my Kindle with vacation reading! I like well-written doorstop SF, urban fantasy, spaceship books, epic fantasy, deep complicated books but also joyful romps, complicated prophecies that manifest in unusual ways, great worldbuilding, etc. Romantic elements are fine but I'm not as into stuff where the plot is a thin scrim to hang over endless sexy sex. And as a lifelong SF reader, I have now officially read enough books without women in them, so only books that include solid female characters (as opposed to braid-tugging smurfettes). Things I have loved under the cut. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on Jun 19, 2014 - 65 answers

What's the name of this kids' scifi anthology I remember?

I read this book of short stories years ago, and for some reason I remember most of the stories in it but have had no luck with Googling for it. Must be that the stories' premises were creative enough or caught my imagination in a particular way. The most memorable story was about trying to survive on Earth after a supernova. I'm pretty sure these are all from the same book: [more inside]
posted by lostburner on Jun 18, 2014 - 7 answers

Fantasy Disguised as General Fiction

Looking for fantasy books hiding out in the non-genre section of the bookstore. [more inside]
posted by xenization on Jun 18, 2014 - 27 answers

Nonviolent sff: where is it?

Please recommend to me any science fiction/fantasy novels (maybe TV shows as well) that are well written, interesting, and essentially nonviolent. "Completely violence-free" isn't necessary. I'm particularly looking for novels aimed at adults that don't rely on combat scenes to advance the narrative, generate/resolve tension, or provide Crowning Moments of Awesome.* [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Jun 17, 2014 - 41 answers

Give me your tired, your poor, your... SF authors needing a True Fan?

After this FPP on Amazon's questionable tactics dealing with Hachette (and in particular, Michael Sullivan's article on the matter, in which he mentions developing "a direct sales channel" with readers), and mathowie's comment in the MeFi funding thread on True Fans, help me find a better way to support authors than binging on the Kindle Book Store (where the majority of my payment apparently goes to publishers and distributors - boo!). Difficulty level: hard SF (think Greg Egan), space opera (think Banks' Culture series); ebooks preferred. [more inside]
posted by snap, crackle and pop on May 24, 2014 - 7 answers

Fantasy series that inspire fan theories like A Song of Ice and Fire?

One of my favorite aspects of ASOIAF is how GRRM drops clues and foreshadowing and his use of unreliable narrators and second-hand information to keep fans guessing and theorizing about what "really" happened. And one of my favorite aspects of ASOIAF fandom is that the word count of fan theorizing seems to now exceed the word count of the actual books by an order of magnitude. What are some other fantasy series that employ similar techniques and have inspired a comparable level of online theorizing? Thanks!
posted by Jacqueline on May 2, 2014 - 15 answers

Fantasy Childhood Book Oswald the Sea Monster, Basilisks, Mandrakes...

A favorite childhood book was titled something like "A Mysterious Parcel." It was a translation from another (unknown) language into my own Eastern European language, so the original title might have been quite different. [more inside]
posted by Atrahasis on Apr 21, 2014 - 2 answers

Today's science-fiction story: P. Anderson's classic "A Plate of Beans."

In Poul Anderson’s “The Last of the Deliverers,” (spoilers ahead) he describes a future America in which, for all practical purposes, cheap solar energy and a culture of decreased desires for material advancement (people are essentially satisfied with a comfortable, but low, standard of living) have led to a kind of utopia. The plot of the story is, more or less, that two representatives of remnants from an older culture – a small-government type in the Barry Goldwater mold as well as a member of the American Communist Party – meet in a village and argue about the virtues of their respective ideologies, but cannot appreciate that social evolution and the lack of scarcity produced by it has made their political differences (and their politics) largely pointless and obsolete. So how am I to understand the last half-paragraph of the story, which seems to undercut the entire story in a most paradoxical way: [more inside]
posted by Mr. Justice on Apr 21, 2014 - 4 answers

What was the name of this fantasy novel from my childhood?

I am searching for the name of a fantasy novel from childhood, which has been calling to me lately in a way that may greatly inform my artwork. It has been fruitless to google, as I can only remember certain clues about its plotline and cover illustration. Help me, metafilter! The internet is great but some quandaries need humans. (Read extended explanation for the clues) [more inside]
posted by kaspen on Apr 20, 2014 - 7 answers

SF/Fantasy books with a 'big reveal'?

RecoFilter: I'm looking for recommendations of books, preferably in the sci-fi/fantasy genres, that have a 'big reveal' somewhere in there that changes the whole perspective of the book or protagonist. Examples would be The Inverted World, The Prestige, or Ender's Game, for example, or the first Star Trek film, or some Lovecraft stories — the whole thing, and all events narrated, appear in a different light after, you know? [more inside]
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 18, 2014 - 43 answers

What are some great sports newsletters?

I'm looking for some good sports newsletters. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Apr 13, 2014 - 0 answers

Modern Life is Magic

Help me find books that convey a jolly feeling of appreciation for the wonders of modern life. Ideally these would be books that have a sci-fi or fantasy feel, but in which nothing overtly magical or fantastic happens. The best recent examples I can think of are Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which has all the elements of a fantasy novel but is set squarely in our world, and William Gibson's most recent novels, all of which feel fantastic to me but are grounded in real life. [more inside]
posted by spacewaitress on Apr 10, 2014 - 18 answers

Help me find a pair of novels set in the future with magic.

Trying to find a pair of novels set in the near future North America that I read sometime between 1990 and 2004 approximately. The "big idea" is that neopagan magic "returns" (or at least everyone believes it does, and acts accordingly) with the millennium. The protagonist of one novel is pregnant with the next world spiritual leader. In one scene, a prophet yells at her, "you're full of fish!" Another novel with the same setting (perhaps the same novel) involved a conspiracy and had a genderqueer magical cyberpunk/hacker as a minor character. I remember them as similar to Galveston by Sean Stewart but I'm pretty certain they're not by Stewart. It's not Bone Dance or DeLint, and they had nothing to do with Shadowrun. Help appreciated. They're probably not all that great, but the pair were striking enough that a few things stick out.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos on Apr 3, 2014 - 2 answers

Help, I've got an Amazon credit burning a hole in my pocket!

My wife and kids are leaving town for five days. I have to stay home because of work. However, I will have some free time this weekend and in the evenings early next week. I also have a nice credit in my Amazon account. So, this seems like the perfect time to read a big science fiction or fantasy novel. I'm looking for a single long novel or maybe a trilogy. Something to fill the lonely hours. I'd like interesting characters, an exciting plot, and writing that's not too clunky (better writing is preferred, but I'm more interested in character and plotting than MFA literary styling). I want to read the sort of book (or series) that will keep me up late into the night. A page turner. I usually have to read things in small chunks in the evening and on the bus, but this is my chance to indulge in some obsessive reading.
posted by Area Man on Mar 28, 2014 - 31 answers

Who is the original artist of this image if floating islands?

I can't source which artist creating this fantastic image: link to floating islands click here Can anyone plead help? Image search engines have been useless! [more inside]
posted by flexiverse on Mar 27, 2014 - 7 answers

The American SF "Canon"

For an upcoming project I'm putting together what's meant to be a comprehensive timeline of important (even "necessary") works of American science fiction since the late 19th century. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Mar 23, 2014 - 68 answers

Ravens, filigree, coal smoke, pocketwatches, and lots of brass fittings

Moviefilter: I love the imagery and atmosphere of Victorian fantasy. I don't (necessarily) mean stories that were written in the Victorian era, but rather stories which are set in the Victorian era (or in an imaginary analog of it). The genre I'm thinking of tends to have a certain mythologized and aestheticized vision of the era: melancholy, mysterious, perhaps a bit of Gothic horror or the supernatural—i.e., not necessarily a realistic period piece. Wikipedia's entry on gaslamp fantasy is suggestive. (For the record, I am emphatically not talking about romance or novel-of-manners stuff.) Now: are there any movies like this? [more inside]
posted by escape from the potato planet on Mar 5, 2014 - 26 answers

Fantasy Stock Software

Help me create a fantasy stock account - offline solutions preferred. [more inside]
posted by matkline on Mar 4, 2014 - 3 answers

Let's Play "Name That Book!"

Back in the early-mid 90s, preteen me read a surreal science fiction book that I checked out from my local library. I remember a few tantalizing details, and I'm curious to find it and find out if it was any good. The basics: Many-worlds, and characters move between them unknowingly whenever they talk on the newfangled quantum telephone. Something bad happened to the US in most/all universes, but nobody in the multiverse knows what. It Gets Weird. [more inside]
posted by Alterscape on Feb 14, 2014 - 6 answers

ISO good fiction about catching babies

Recommend me fiction or very readable memoirs about midwifery, obstetrics, and the politics of birth--any genre is fine, but SF/F and historical suggestions are especially welcome. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Feb 10, 2014 - 24 answers

Sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and weird fiction from Central/Eastern Europe?

What are the best sci-fi, horror, and fantasy books, movies, and comics from Central and Eastern Europe? "Best" includes both the finest and also the most popularly influential, as well as both pro- and anti-communist material, as well as both past and contemporary work. Bonus points for such fiction from the former Yugoslavia! [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Feb 10, 2014 - 16 answers

Help me identify this fantasy novel

I bought it from a thrift store sometime in the 90's. Mostly, I recall there being an auction of magical/religiously significant items and a chase scene involving a golem. [more inside]
posted by darchildre on Feb 6, 2014 - 2 answers

Googling "weird camel thing" surprisingly proved fruitless

I am trying to remember the name of a fantasy book I read around 1990 or so. It was written for pre-teens/young adults, took place on another planet, involved a longish journey on some sort of camel-esque creature and the development of a relationship between a trainee warrior-type and some sort of novitiate. Any ideas as to what this book could be? [more inside]
posted by HonoriaGlossop on Feb 6, 2014 - 4 answers

Help me remember this book about a maybe-Dutch not-wizard

Hi metafilter, I read this (fantasy?) book as a kid and only remember it vaguely. I was hoping someone could help me find it. Here is all that I remember, which might be made up or two books joined into one in my head: [more inside]
posted by c[,,] on Feb 1, 2014 - 3 answers

Intro to Superhuman Studies, the Novel

I'm looking for examples of novels (or stories in other media) that fit a particular mold exemplified by Harry Potter. The basic premise is that the protagonist is living a (usually particularly unpleasant) mundane life when they are unexpectedly contacted by a representative from a secret supernatural (or otherwise fantastic) society and then.... invited to enroll in a school. [more inside]
posted by 256 on Jan 30, 2014 - 20 answers

Seeking names to one classic movie and a couple SF/F stories

My google-fu is not helping me on these, this is sort of a disjointed question, for whatever reason a few disjointed memories have come to mind recently from media I once consumed, I can usually figure out the sources if I can piece together this much memory but I haven't managed to with these ones. I read/watched these long ago. This is one classic romantic-comedy and various SF/F novels and short stories. [more inside]
posted by elista on Jan 27, 2014 - 6 answers

Book recomnedation: worldbuilding and self-aware, active characters

I again have time to consume books like a cookie-monster. I've avoided lists of classics-by-genera because I tend to like only 5% of what's on them. It's not that I specifically like reading dystopias or sci-fi - I liked the Poisonwood Bible for instance, as much if not more than Lord of the Rings. In addition to book recommendations, it would also be useful if, given the books listed below, you have any ideas for other trends that could help me search out books myself. Your advice is much appreciated! :) [more inside]
posted by ch3cooh on Jan 25, 2014 - 24 answers

A chiller version of fantasy baseball

Is there a more relaxed version of fantasy baseball -- preferably one that I can just play online without organizing a league among my acquaintances? [more inside]
posted by vogon_poet on Jan 23, 2014 - 4 answers

Where are the doorways to magical worlds?

I need more examples of the ways that children get into magical worlds in books. [more inside]
posted by not that girl on Jan 21, 2014 - 56 answers

Mefites led me to Game of Thrones but now I need more to read!

Several years ago I found the Game of Throne books after several people suggested it on here. I have a pretty decent amount of Christmas vacation this year and I would like to read more, well-written, fantasy. This is where you come in - what would you have me read? [more inside]
posted by WinterSolstice on Dec 17, 2013 - 23 answers

Fantasy/sci-fi TV series NOT available on Netflix?

I'm looking for a DVD stocking stuffer for my partner, who loves fantasy and science fiction television series of varying quality (examples within). He uses his Netflix account heavily. Do you know of any fantasy or sci-fi series that are slightly more obscure -- meaning they're not available on Netflix, but are still available for DVD purchase? [more inside]
posted by southern_sky on Nov 30, 2013 - 36 answers

Seeking a series of fantasy/war books from the 1980s

You know how you can just remember a few details about some subject from your youth, and it's going to bother you until you can reveal the full scope of that memory? Yeah, I'm right there. I'm looking for a series of books. They were in the SF/F section in the 1980s. They were probably popular because their covers resembled Frazetta prints, and they tended to be really violent (i.e. jumping on the popularity of Conan). [more inside]
posted by thanotopsis on Nov 19, 2013 - 4 answers

Highfalutin' Genre Fiction

Give me your most well written genre fiction! [more inside]
posted by latkes on Nov 4, 2013 - 49 answers

Please make this pregnant lady cry

Can you recommend me some fiction, comics, and movies that are parenting positive--especially mom-positive? [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Oct 14, 2013 - 39 answers

¿Como se dice "space ship"?

I am re-re-re-embarking on my periodic quest to actually develop competent Spanish skills. (I'm Hispanic, it feels obligatory.) Something I've never had previously--books I actually wanted to read for fun that were not translated from English. So: Are there Spanish-language authors to look for who're writing science fiction and fantasy? Especially of the YA variety? [more inside]
posted by Sequence on Oct 13, 2013 - 11 answers

THIS IS THE SECOND WEIRDEST STAR WARS BOOK EVER

What are some exceptionally weird tie-in novels and comics? I'm looking for books which are especially weird as a result of not fitting the tone or form of the source material, or of the usual tie-in product. Preferably in fantasy, sci-fi, & horror. [more inside]
posted by Sticherbeast on Oct 6, 2013 - 15 answers

What are some great ongoing fantasy and science fiction book series?

A while back I stopped reading any book series that was not completely finished. I have now decided to ease up on the rule and I have realized that I am a little bit out of touch with the state of the field in fantasy/science fiction. So please recommend your favorite recent books and series in this area. [more inside]
posted by bove on Oct 2, 2013 - 40 answers

What are the best sites for science fiction and fantasy book reviews?

I like reading reviews of books, both to learn about new things to read, and to gain insight on things I've already read. Right now, almost all the books I'm reading are science fiction and fantasy. What are the best, most comprehensive sites that review books in these genres? I'm looking for review quality above your standard Amazon reviews—not just rehashing the plot with "I liked it" or "I didn't like it", but thoughtful, high quality analysis.
posted by ocherdraco on Sep 24, 2013 - 8 answers

Non-euro fantasy stories?

Looking for fantasy that's not based on your standard European/Tolkien background. Pretty much any flavor of fantasy is alright (straight, urban, science, what have ye). Just finished reading Barry Hughart's Master Li/Number Ten Ox books and enjoyed them. Would definitely prefer "adult" fiction versus YA, but no preference for novels versus short stories.
posted by curious nu on Sep 23, 2013 - 24 answers

Help me give my Sci-Fi Elective slightly more structure

As a sort of follow up to this question I posted last school year, I am now four weeks into the Sci-Fi elective and am worried about the lack of structure I have in my class. I'm looking for ideas/activities to do with my students in class. More details below the fold. [more inside]
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith on Sep 17, 2013 - 15 answers

Help me find the fantasy series about fencing and Norse gods!

Back in 1998 or so, I read a fantasy book - first of a series - about college kids, all members of their school's fencing club, who go back home on break. They run into werewolves (followers of Fenris Ulf), the favorite uncle turns out to be a norse god of making things (or perhaps just a dwarf?), and somehow or other they end up in a world of norse gods and, of course, use their fencing skills to bring the first book to a successful conclusion (with the help of a bunch of WWII vets armed with BARs and silver bullets). I'd like to re-read this book, and/or read others in the series, but have had no luck finding it. Help please.
posted by madmatx on Sep 14, 2013 - 2 answers

I've exhausted Iain M. Banks. I want more. What should I read next?

So I'm a dedicated Culture fanatic and have loved almost everything I've read by Iain M. Banks. (His Iain Banks stuff is pretty good too, but his sci-fi is what I really dig.) I particularly love the holistic, humanist morality that pervades his work and the way that he digs right down into the philosophical implications of various ideas and worldviews while simultaneously serving up lots and lots of sex, action, and sensawunda. However, I've read everything he's written several times over. What should I read next? [more inside]
posted by Scientist on Sep 9, 2013 - 36 answers

Economic Fantasy And The Anti-Anthem.

Settle a bet: Friend claimed that Terry Pratchett's "Going Postal" and "Making Money" where unique in the fantasy genre for dealing so much with the economics and " white collar" systems of a fantasy setting. I said that couldn't be true but couldn't think of any examples ( they abound in Sci-Fi, but we're talking wands and robes here, and the Baroque Cycle is only kind-of-fantasy). So, what are some examples of fantasy novels where things like labor unions, mediums of exchange, guild politics, trade imbalances, commodities markets, hostile takeovers and government regulation are both explored and woven into the plot? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Aug 26, 2013 - 30 answers

Looking for stories where humans are the monsters.

Many monsters in fiction are scary in large part because of their inherent, biological abilities: acid blood, teeth, claws, wings, etc. Inspired by this tumblr thread (via this Omni article), I'm looking for stories in any genre that avoid or (preferably) subvert this trope, making humans out to be inherently frightening, gross or dangerous.
posted by Skorgu on Aug 23, 2013 - 38 answers

Books or movies like Dark Souls?

Along with a friend, I have been immersed in Dark Souls for over 100 hours the past couple weeks. Although we still have much ground to cover, we're obsessed with the beautiful world, tone and feel created by this game. Are there any movies or books that capture this? Don't know what Dark Souls is like? Explanation has lots of detail! [more inside]
posted by Senza Volto on Jul 25, 2013 - 17 answers

Sci-Fi / Fantasy Novels with Travel to Unique and Well-Imagined Places

I'm looking for a particular type of escapist literature. For financial reasons, I can't travel that much at this stage in my life. So, I would like to read some fantasy or science fiction novels in which the characters travel to interesting and richly imagined worlds. I would like travel or exploration to be a significant part of the novels. I don't want to read about the same old faux-Tolkien worlds or generic galactic empires.
posted by Area Man on Jul 23, 2013 - 41 answers

Once upon a time there was a cat...

Help me find the link to a short fantasy story that was posted here about a japanese cat who goes on a great adventure. [more inside]
posted by TorontoSandy on Jul 18, 2013 - 5 answers

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