Building a SciFi/Fantasy Library discussion

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message 1: by bessie (last edited Feb 29, 2008 10:11AM) (new)

bessie (bessieflatley) The only science fiction I have ever read was the Ender's Saga and I am currently reading Stranger in a Strange Land. I adored the Ender's Saga, especially Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, and I am very much enjoying Stranger in a Strange Land. I find I like these novels because of their sociological aspects and I was wondering if there were any other sci fi novels that are along the same lines as these ones. I'm not interested in fantasy or really technical, scientific science fiction. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


message 2: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments I am somewhat similar in my tastes. I consider my favorite types of books to really be 'pseduo sci fi' that aren't too technical space/alien orientated or very deeply fantasy. Uh-oh, do I get kicked out of this group for admitting that? :)

For more socio-analyzing type scifi, many authors persue this lens by writing utopian/distopian novels. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbauch
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Also, you might check out Charles De Lint who writes urban fantasy fiction. Good books to start with are The Onion Girl (novel) or Waifs and Strays (short stories).




message 3: by Josie (new)

Josie | 1 comments There's also always the classics:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlen
The Screwfly Solution by Jams Tiptree Jr. (AKA Alice Sheldon)
Really, anything by those two authors would qualify as more sociological sci-fi, but those two, in my opinion, are the best!


message 4: by Rachael (new)

Rachael The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell -- really wonderful first contact novel -- the humans have all the best intentions, but don't understand what their behavior means to the aliens.


message 5: by Allison (new)

Allison | 15 comments For Sci-Fi that isn't too technical, but really explores cultural and psycological impacts of encountering and interacting with other sentient life forms, I'd recommend Julie Czerneda. Her characters have depth and the action keeps the pages turning, too.


message 6: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments Ursula LeGuin's Hainish books (which I've only read a handful of) should qualify, I think. Left Hand of Darkness being perhaps the most famous. She also writes some interesting essays-- I like her essay on oral vs print culture (taken largely from Walter Ong's work) where she gets into the way in which we "get in synch" with each other-- can't remember the title of the article but it was in her collection "The Wave in the Mind". Not quite an academic caliber article, but she does a good job at bringing some quality ideas to more of a "lay" milieu, and I've had my reading and composition students read that article at the beginning of the semester to help us start talking about orality, literacy, and human interaction both in life and more specifically in narrative performance.
Also, I want to heartily second both the Ender books (I may be the only one of my friends who enjoyed Speaker for the Dead) and The Sparrow. The other suggestions I've yet to read.
Oh, and Kathy Tyers' "Shivering World" should qualify for "sociological sci-fi" as well.


message 7: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey | 25 comments There are two sf books which are about gender which you might want to look at:

The Left Hand of Darkness which Carl recommended and a simlar book by Mary Gentle called Golden Witchbreed.




message 8: by bessie (new)

bessie (bessieflatley) Thanks a lot for all of the suggestions everyone, there are definitely a bunch I want to check out.

And Carl, that surprises me that you are the only one that enjoyed Speaker for the Dead! Out of the 4 Ender books, that one was my absolute favorite, Ender's Game a close second.


message 9: by Carl (new)

Carl | 38 comments I think that Speaker for the Dead dealt with issues that were more interesting for me, but that Ender's Game was a bit better "contained" as a story-- kind of like a sonnet (Ender's) vs a free verse ramble. Except that comparison doesn't really work, since Speaker is very carefully constructed with the mystery and all. But I think that is what many of my friends said about it (well, that's how I translate what they said-- and it's been about 5 years since I discussed it with them). They thought that Ender's was too perfect to mess up with a sequel, and I don't think they liked following a story so powerfully about the transformation of a child into a military "monster", a tragedy of sorts, with something with a very different flavor, however rich it was in itself. And to be honest, none of my friends at the time were into the whole cultural-anthropological side of things like I was/am.


message 10: by Chris (new)

Chris Cook | 2 comments I know I'm a bit late to this discussion, but I had to add Girl in Landscape by Jonathan Lethem. It's one of those sci-fi novels that functions more like a frontier story, with a girl discovering who she is amidst a strange new place. I would give this book 4 stars, if I ever got around to taking care of my e-librabry. :)


message 11: by bessie (new)

bessie (bessieflatley) I loved Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, so I'm excited to check out another of his books. Thanks for the suggestion!


message 12: by Brisha (new)

Brisha | 4 comments I suggest you try Darkness Abiding by Dew Platt now on Kindle. It's a mix of genre's including action thriller. It may get you started....


message 13: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 117 comments If you like politico-social SF, nearly any of the works of CJ Cherryh should appeal.

Bill


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