If I greatly enjoyed Ted Chiang's "Understand", Lucy, Flowers for Algernon and Limitless, what other works along the same "superintelligence", "hyperbrain" or "gifted with superhuman intelligence amongst a world of normal people" theme would I enjoy? [more inside]
Where do you read novellas, novelettes and short stories in science fiction? Whom do you suggest? During the golden age of sf I relied on Analog/Astounding, but after all the recent Hugo drama I have realized that I barely keep up with the new novels. Looking back at the titles that won Hugos and Nebulas, I realized how many of the shorter pieces I truly loved and I feel the need to get to know the youngish writers. Tell me whom I should read and where I'll find that author.
There are numerous shorthand descriptions of various phenomena, like Rule 34 and Godwin's law and Sturgeon's law. Is there a shorthand term for the tendency of science fiction writers to ramp up sexual content over time? I know Heinlein did it over time. Niven did it in the Ringworld series. Simmons apparently did it. Now I find out that Herbert did it in the later Dune books. It seems to be a common phenomenon, but is there a specific name for it?
Who was the anthropologist who suggested that multinational corporations are the highest life forms on Earth? Author William Gibson has recounted going to a lecture by a female anthropologist at the University of British Columbia in the late 70s. The anthropologist posited the idea that multinational corporations were the highest life form on Earth, which had a profound influence on Gibson's world view, and therefore on literature influenced by Gibson. Who was this anthropologist? I haven't been able to find out who she was.
Are there any "civilization is ruined, zombies/marauders/robots are killing the survivors, we must rebuild/get to the final refuge" stories in any medium where the main characters are not mainly caucasian people?
Lots of genre TV stars have written memoirs, but do any of them go into detail about life on the convention circuit? [more inside]
I'm trying to identify/find this pre-1980 story set in America, about an epidemic (highly contagious, spread skin-to-skin) where everyone's turns grey and the victims have hallucinations. The protagonist is on the run (along with a woman?), trying to escape roaming victims (who have a craving to touch his uninfected skin). In that last aspect, it has a zombie apocalypse feel to it. I believe it was a little-known work by a big-name author. Can anyone tell me what it is? SPOILERS BELOW [more inside]
I've gotten out of the loop on recent Science Fiction writing. What are the best science fiction short stories and novels published within the last year?
A Facebook discussion about good books by well-known authors passing into undeserved obscurity had me looking up reviews of Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth. In the comments on Jo Walton's review there's a discussion about the ending, specifically whether he wrote two distinct endings, replacing the an earlier one in later editions. Did Clarke rewrite the ending? Spoilers below the cut. [more inside]
I'm looking for a solid science fiction novel to enjoy and then send along to a friend whom I owe a book. Recommendations will be much appreciated; a few details are provided below the fold. [more inside]
I'm getting fairly tired of science fiction set in the near or medium future where society and motivations are an extension of modern life. I'd like something set so far in the future that there is nothing that really calls back to earth politics or history or culture, or something which may well be in an alternate universe because earth-like things never even come up. [more inside]
I recently had the displeasure of encountering Philip K. Dick's "The Pre-Persons" for the first time. What other SF stories or novels by name authors are waiting to affront my political sensibilities? [more inside]
Where does the elision of universe to 'verse originate? I know it from the television show Firefly (aired late 2002) and recently noticed it used casually in The Chronicles of Riddick (released mid-2004), but it seemed unlikely that the screenwriter would appropriate a bit of slang connected to someone else's failed project from barely a year earlier. It seems to me I have heard it again since, but I cannot recall where. I read very little sf these days; did both these I mention draw it from elsewhere?
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]
I really like reading Atomic Rockets at Project Rho. But I want to take it around with me in an easily digestible form. Can anybody recommend books that have the same sort of content and a similar feel? Not science fiction, but books about the science of science fiction. [more inside]
I've recently finished Marcus Sakey's Brilliance and Max Barry's Lexicon and I'd like more thrillers like them. By "like them", I mean: fast paced, lots of twists and action, an intelligent, speculative, science-fictiony central idea, but the book is not marketed as genre science fiction, but rather as a thriller. Some literary aspiration is a plus, as is a good Bechdel test score (both of the above books kind of failed on that latter criterion). Already read: Atwood, Gibson, Stephenson. I read a lot of "literary mysteries" like Tana French and the like, but here I'm more interested in action/thrillers and not so much mysteries or procedurals.
Years ago I read this old science fiction book that was written in a poetic noir style, and I remember bits of the plot, but not any names to google. Could you help me find it? [more inside]
Help me remember a story where Florida is nuked by the US government and it's blamed on terrorists to justify authoritarian measures. I thought it was a John Brunner novel.... [more inside]
Please help me find as much short (8,000 words or less) dystopian fiction and literary theory (any length) as possible! Anthologies are fine. It can be on the internet or in book/magazine/any purchasable form. It can be famous; it can be obscure. Anything goes, really! [more inside]
In search of accessible contemporary SF—help! [more inside]
I'm trying to remember a science fiction story about a peaceful future in which there are only women and a time-traveling man shows up wanting adventure ("What, you don't have war? No soldiers?"), and I can't remember the title and can't google it up. Maybe by Joanna Russ? (End-of-story spoiler inside.) [more inside]
I'm looking for the name of this classic SF story about a handful of astronauts stranded in space in radio contact but slowly drifting away from each other and running out of air. [more inside]
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.
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]
I once saw a show, which I remember as being from The Outer Limits, where two people discover that reality isn't as they thought. [more inside]
Are there any relatively comprehensive bibliographic encyclopedias of science fiction pulp short story publications that I haven't found? [more inside]
She did a lot of research on her own & needed an expert to bounce ideas off. She found a sympathetic receptionist who connected her with a scientist who over several calls, said "nope", "nope", "nope", "oh, uhmmm... yeah, that might work". [more inside]
Where can I get some absentee alien stories? [more inside]
I recently read Berlin Noir, The City and The City and Chasm City, and was looking for recommendations for sci-fi detective fiction, or detective fiction that reads like sci-fi. [more inside]
Can you point me to some (non-prosthetic) scifi/fantasy makeup looks? [more inside]
What's this humorous SF mystery? [more inside]
What (probably 70s or 80s-era) science fiction novel involved colonizing an alien world which was inherently hostile to the human protagonists but which had a native population of vampire-like creatures who were similar enough to humans to "pass?" (Possibly shapeshifters.) I thought it was C.J. Cherryh's Faded Sun books, but it isn't – although I think I read it around the same time that I read those books in omnibus.
Speculative fiction about historical gradualism: I'm looking for SF stories which begin in the real historical world (past or present) and then gradually diverge from it, without any single decisive turning point. [more inside]
give me your tired, your poor, your huddled Swamp Things yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Looking for your favorite works of environmentally conscious and ecologically focused science fiction and fantasy. Obscurities preferred! [more inside]
What are some examples in fantastic and speculative fiction of characters struggling to survive in a beautiful but alien and dangerous natural environment? All media acceptable. [more inside]
What books and short stories would you use for a class trying to teach about science by reading science fiction? [more inside]
Hit me with some great, freely-available, science fiction short stories. [more inside]
Ask whether the universe of the story recognizes the existence of persons. Is this distinction between SF and Fantasy original with Ted Chiang? Can you think of any counter-examples that don't fit? [more inside]
I've been reading the Vorkosigan Saga, and I'm really enjoying the political-intrigue aspect. They've reminded me of a book I read at least five years ago, but I can only half-remember it...hoping the bits and pieces are familiar to someone here: - a human male protagonist who is a diplomat or attache or moves or works in that area (at least during the events of the novel) - a politically important event (negotiations?) involving humans and aliens, on earth or another planet (not in space) - a friend/colleague of the protagonist is a non-human who I believe is a floating sphere (which I think was on the cover and looked sort of pokemon-logo-ish) - a poetry contest(?) which the sphere person is interested in, and the poetry was a particularly complex form, possibly (or compared to) haiku or tanka (possibly knowing about or composing this type of poetry was necessary or useful in the diplomatic mission) Any bells?
BookFilter: Help me find this formative (but possibly terrible) 1970s sci-fi book I read in my youth! [more inside]
I'm getting back into reading for pleasure after years of avoiding it during college. I've found fantasy books easy to get back into, but have no idea where to start with sci-fi! [more inside]
Looking for a great new science-fiction-flavored or otherwise nerd-centric podcast. [more inside]
Identify a science fiction/fantasy novel from the 1980s, possibly YA, where they lived in the trees and where talk of killing others was taboo?
Can you identify this book? I read it in the mid-1980s. It may or may not have been a YA (Young Adult) title. The protagonist was a young girl, and her society lived peacefully up in the trees. She was interested in seeing the world down on the surface. There may have been another society down there. At one point she lost her temper with someone (a pet?) and blurted out something like "I would like to dead you!" at which her family was shocked and horrified at her violent thoughts. I particularly remember being struck by that part, that she understood the concept of killing but didn't know the verb. [more inside]
I'm suddenly very interested in stories, novels, films, music, poems, and comics/graphic narratives that take insanity, altered states of consciousness, and/or terminal illness as a primary theme. My general preference is for science fiction and speculative fiction, but suggestions from other genres would be very good as well. [more inside]
Can someone refresh my memory about Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds? I'm reading Redemption Ark and a few things I feel like I should remember aren't coming back. [more inside]
Can you recommend fiction that is a crossover between noir/hardboiled detective stories and sci-fi/fantasy? [more inside]
Help me remember a science fiction story: colonists beaten to objective by faster earth ship. [more inside]
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