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  Poll
Question:what is your favorite science fiction author

arthur c clarke  0 (0%)
isaac asimov  1 (6%)
william gibson  0 (0%)
bruce sterling  0 (0%)
greg egan  3 (20%)
philip k dick  4 (26%)
neal stephenson  3 (20%)
other  4 (26%)
   
Total Votes: 15 

   Author  Topic: Favorite sci-fi author?  (Read 2616 times)
nrv8
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Favorite sci-fi author?
« on: 2002-07-16 14:41:59 »
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curious.
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rhinoceros
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #1 on: 2002-07-16 16:30:30 »
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Hard to choose, because SF is really many different genres covering different needs and subjects -- technological, social, personal...

If I had to chose only one of the authors listed, I would probably think in terms of uniqueness. Who cannot be eliminated without losing something very important? Probably Philip K Dick with his unique insight into human nature. Greg Egan is great too, but not unique.

I would also add to the list:

Larry Niven, as the best representative of the "engineering" kind of hard SF ("Ringworld", "The Integral Trees" etc).

Norman Spinrad for some great books of social speculation ("Bug Jack Baron", "Little Heroes", "The Men in the Jungle"), but he has written some crap too.
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nrv8
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #2 on: 2002-07-17 03:00:09 »
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hm true. i would add them if i could. they give me a poll option limit though
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Kharin
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #3 on: 2002-07-17 06:20:39 »
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I liked The Difference Engine by Gibson/Sterling though I had more than a few issues with it. What I have read of Gibson's own work has been rather less interesting but may have applications in the field of cures for insommnia. I enjoyed the first three books in 'The Caves of Steel' series but began to beg for mercy after that. Can only comment on Stephenson regarding Cryptonomicon, but I certainly approved of that.  I regard PK Dick as intolerably tedious; a dreary set of binary metaphyscial dilemmas. I loathe all of the authors suggested by Rhino.

Stanislaw Lem would probably be a better choice, but mine would remain JG Ballard. I also quite like Wyndham.
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #4 on: 2002-07-17 08:44:17 »
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[kharin]
I regard PK Dick as intolerably tedious; a dreary set of binary metaphyscial dilemmas.

[rhinoceros]
A good trick is not to try to resolve the metaphysical dilemmas; just watch how the characters shuffle through them.
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Casey
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #5 on: 2002-07-17 12:30:46 »
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My faves at the moment:  Stanislaw Lem,  William Gibson,  Neal Stephenson,  and Philip K Dick. 

While I am a fan of the genre I have to admit that I'm not a huge sci-fi reader.  But, what I've read of these 4 writers has given me pleasure.  That alone is a significant qualifying factor in the decision of what book I pick up to read.  Of course, I would have to say that recommendations figure into the equation, as well.  And with that, I thank Bill for recommending that I read Lem and Dick, and Eric Boyd for Stephenson.   

Thanks,
Casey
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #6 on: 2002-07-17 19:18:27 »
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An SF Poll without Heinlein? After many years of reading SF, Heinlein is undoubtedly the author whom I reread most repeatedly. I'm not sure if that qualifies him as "favorite" - then again, I am hard pressed to term any author in any genre (let alone one as broad as sci-fi) my favorite author, not just because authors tend to be rather uneven, but because my preferred genre (and style within it) will depend largely on my mood and how I would like to adjust it (which will be a predominant factor in determining what I choose to read).

Kind Regards

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Kharin
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #7 on: 2002-07-18 05:22:44 »
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Quote:
A good trick is not to try to resolve the metaphysical dilemmas; just watch how the characters shuffle through them.

A fair point, but I suppose I'm mainly interested in character and ideas rather than plot (I don't recall Dick's characters as being terribly well rounded). Then again, one could make the same criticism of Ballard.
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #8 on: 2002-07-18 06:56:14 »
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I think I have been unlucky with Heinlein. His first book I happened to read was "Star Troopers", where he displayed a not so amiable human outlook. Eventually, I read most of his books, some of them brilliant,  but I was always suspicious because of that first impression.
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #9 on: 2002-07-19 05:10:44 »
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I am hard pressed to term any author in any genre (let alone one as broad as sci-fi) my favorite author, not just because authors tend to be rather uneven, but because my preferred genre (and style within it) will depend largely on my mood and how I would like to adjust it

Ditto. Obviously enough, a term like 'sci-fi' could easily encompass More, Swift, Shelley, Orwell, Zamyatin, Huxley as well as Wells and Verne; most of those wrote outside of the generic rigidity that appears demanded today. I've never been able to bring myself to like Heinlein, though I did recall last night one book especially relevant to Virus; Behold the Man, by Michael Moorcock. A somehat neurotic time traveller goes back in time and finds that Jesus was born a drivelling idiot.
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #10 on: 2002-07-19 06:12:35 »
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Quote:
I think I have been unlucky with Heinlein. His first book I happened to read was "Star Troopers", where he displayed a not so amiable human outlook

Child of his time I think, I read a lot of Heinlein in my youth but I'm not so sure I'd enjoy him now. Stranger in a Strange Land was acounter-culture classic I understand. As a teenager I liked the fact that there was lots of sex in his books.

It's difficult to pick out the best and there are so many good writers, I tend to have a favourite author for about 3 months till I read the next Bear, Stephenson or Macleod.

Increasingly though I find it difficult to read books that do not include some kind of singularity scenario, just can't take them seriously or at least a decent explanation for why it's not happened - Peter Hamiltons recent series about the dead coming back (plot straight out of Farmers "To your scattered bodies go") is a case in point, but he made up for it by writing the best Sapce Opera I've read in years.

Oh and Vernor Vinge

and for sheer English sci-fi comedy Eugene Byrne
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #11 on: 2002-07-19 10:52:52 »
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[kharin]
Behold the Man, by Michael Moorcock. A somehat neurotic time traveller goes back in time and finds that Jesus was born a drivelling idiot

[rhinoceros]
I remember that book. This also reminds me of a short story by Garry Kilworth, "Let's Go to Golgotha" (1975), where there was a very popular time travel tour to watch the crusifixion of Jesus. Thousands of tourists from many different times were being instructed to behave like proper Jews, shouting angrily for the crusifixion or whatever they had to do, so that they don't alter history. But eventually they realized that these tourists were the only ones who attended and enforced the crusifixion.



[irvken]
Child of his time I think, I read a lot of Heinlein in my youth but I'm not so sure I'd enjoy him now.

[rhinoceros]
Somehow, Heinlein has been held as a very influential figure who has offered a "space vision" to many future scientists of his time.

There is a short story by Larry Niven, "The Return of William Proxmire" (1988), where an ex-senator William Proxmire wanted to destroy the NASA space program.

A cute quote of this Proxmire character: "They were seduced into science because they read Heinlein at age twelve. These were the people I found hard to deal with. No grasp of reality. Fanatics."

Well, Proxmire travelled to the past to cure Lieutenant Junior Grade gunnery officer Robert Anson Heinlein of the lung disease that had made him quit the US Navy and become an SF writer. So he did, but when he returned to his time a surprise was waiting for him. No funds for time travel research -- all resources were now going to space exploration under the authority of Admiral R. A. Heinlein.
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #12 on: 2002-07-19 13:16:01 »
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Behold the man, yeah I remeber that a swell, doesn't he take Jesus place so that Christianity actually occurs - very funny.

Reminds me of Patrick Tilleys Mission, where Jesus comes forward in time to catch Deep Throat showing in Time Square then takes a Manhattanite back with him to be an apostle. Patrick Tilley also wrote Fade-Out, which i thought  was an exceptional book.
Unfortunately he also wrote the Amtrak Wars . I can't abide those series that go on and on.
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #13 on: 2002-07-22 08:51:00 »
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Quote:
Behold the man, yeah I remeber that a swell, doesn't he take Jesus place so that Christianity actually occurs - very funny.

That's right. Byzantium Endures is also quite good, but that one is non sci-fi.
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Re:Favorite sci-fi author?
« Reply #14 on: 2002-07-22 18:20:17 »
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For a while in my 20s Moorcock was my favourite writer, the Jerry Cornelius stuff and Dancers at the end of time. I have well thumbed copy of Byzantium Endures and the sequel Laughter of Carthage, but my favourite non-sci-fi (if you can call any of it sci-fi) is Mother London. Following a group of London based schizophrenics from the War to the 1980s. they were regularly hospitalised for hearing voices but the twist was that they WERE hearing voices, as result of all being mildly telepathic. The best scene was when some of the central characters went to a festival where everyone including themselves were dropping acid, the voices got seriously strange then.
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