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What's your favourite type of science fiction? And why?

 
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Mike



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 2
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 2:47 pm    Post subject: What's your favourite type of science fiction? And why? Reply with quote

I have to say I think I prefer "classic" science fiction, and mostly prefer short stories. If you want to differentiate further I think I prefer "softer" science fiction as well, stories that focus on the softer sciences (social issues etc) rather than physics. Not that a story can't do both of course, but it seems to me that a lot of earlier science fiction used the genre to comment on social issues, and quite effectively at that.

I'm a huge fan of Philip K Dick, and enjoy Aasimov et all.

How about yourselves? Hard/soft? And why?
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Bubbagrub



Joined: 03 Jan 2007
Posts: 19
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 7:53 pm    Post subject: I prefer short, classic sf too. Reply with quote

I'm with you: my favourite is short, classic sf. Asimov's, Heinlein's and Sheckley's short stories are probably my favourites.

I think the hard vs soft question is a tricky one - in some ways, the best sf is the stuff that combines both: Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy springs to mind - incredibly "hard" scientific sf, but combined with politics, sociology, psychology and even a bit of religion.

I think hard sf can be great, but sometimes is less imaginative, as the authors can focus more on making the science right and not enough on characterisation etc. But that's not always true, of course.
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Pat



Joined: 03 Jan 2007
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, the ultra-hard sci fi authors skimp on characterisation, but then I find that the softer authors tend to skimp on stories a bit.

****The above statement is not true in all circumstances and represents a sweeping generalisation****

what I would like to see is a mixture of the two. I find the dark gothic works of alistair reynolds and Peter F Hamilton fascinating, with excellently structured stories, but they tend to leave me thinking "yes, but what of it?". The characters have a fractal dimension approaching 2.2, not quite cardboard, but not quite someone you can believe in either.

Kim Stanley Robinson, on the other hand, leaves me thinking for weeks afterwards, and wishing other sci-ci authors had such good characters, but I find the stories themseleves unfulfilling. Its sometimes as if he has am idea for a character that he wants to develop, and leaves the story to write itself as he goes along.

Recently I've discovered Charles Stross, who I think does both fairly well (although lighter on characterisation than KSR). As a bonus, some of his stuff is pretty funny.

Don't even get me started on Heinlein...
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slug_slug



Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Posts: 26
Location: Northampton

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like dystopian society sci-fi, as well as the fairytale-esque, such as The Veldt, by Ray Bradbury, and there is a story about a man who is a bacterologist who tells his good friend all about his experiment with the e coli virus (or anthrax, can't remember, lol I read it in English class in year 10-2001). when I get the title i'll tell you guys, but there are so many good short stories that I've read that are sci-fi or by well-known sci-fi authors playing with other/sub-genres that I can't remember all of them, unfortunately.

Rolling Eyes
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Eddie::Green



Joined: 27 Feb 2007
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:52 pm    Post subject: Hard as Nails ... Reply with quote

Bubbagrub wrote:
I think hard sf can be great, but sometimes is less imaginative, as the authors can focus more on making the science right and not enough on characterisation etc. But that's not always true, of course.


Oh you can always fill a Character in with your imagination .... Smile

I tend not to describe the very soft stuff as sf at all. Razz (I have at least one friend who is a Physicist who despises hard sf and prefers Dr Who!)

I like Egan very much, Baxter at times, Reynolds, Stross, Atwood (Oryx and Crake was fantastic) and a few other bits and pieces.

I like the New Space Opera approach that is both hard and epic in scope, eschatological in scale. I love the way that reading say Reynolds or later Baxter you piece together a meta-narrative that explores issues of being and existance.


Last edited by Eddie::Green on Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Pat



Joined: 03 Jan 2007
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Hard as Nails ... Reply with quote

Eddie::Green wrote:
I love the way that reading say Reynolds or later Baxter you piece together a meta-narrative that explores issues of being and existance.


Yes! That's it entirely. The way that some Baxter stories make you squirm (I'm thinking Origin, which turned my stomach at times) but makes you think about where we came from, or the way a Reynolds book looks at what makes a human - that's what I like.

I especially enjoy finding a new author (I recently discovered Baxter) and trying to find out what their "bigger picture" is.
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spontificus



Joined: 04 Apr 2007
Posts: 6
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's entirely subjective, but I prefer the imagination and optimism and not-as-self-conscious-?-ism of pre-70s sci-fi. To me it's almost as if after the moon-landing, and when the post-party drugs wore off... sci-fi writing lost that early innocence of expression and with it, some of its potency.

Richard
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EvilWeevil



Joined: 17 Nov 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all... new user to forum.

I definitely prefer the more modern "hard" sci-fi to the classical stuff. Reynolds and Hamilton are two of my favorite authors. Not to say that the classical stuff has nothing to offer (Asimov and Heinlein are the authors that really got me into sci fi), but I guess I find it difficult to really get into stories that present completely fantastical ideas that could clearly never happen in the real universe. For example, some of Heinlein's stuff that portrays venus as a swamp planet complete with semi-intelligent natives. It's just hard for me to suspend my disbelief enough to imagine an inhabitable, Degobah-like Venus when we now know for certain that the real Venus is a hellishly-hot, super high pressure environment where you are more likely to find rivers of molten lead than liquid water. Half the fun of reading sci-fi for me is to think about how some of the ideas that are fictional in the present could actually become reality in the future. That's why I love the space operas written by Reynolds and Hamilton. These stories extrapolate amazing new technologies that are still grounded in current scientific theory and could, therefore, be at least remotely possible in the future. That's what excites me.

Could my viewpoint is skewed because I am pursuing a scientific career, but that's my 2 cents.

E.
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