The Evolution of Science Fiction discussion

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1920-1939: The Pulp Era > What are you reading now, 1920-1939?

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
What are you reading now that was published in or has to do with SF in this time period?


message 2: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments I went looking for Heart of a Dog, but that was checked-out of the library so I got The Fatal Eggs instead. It looked really short and had a preface by the great Doris Lessing.

The preface was rather uninteresting. The story was fun enough, but just barely. I was happy that it wasn't another story of a mad scientist. The scientist is at times angry, but not "mad". It is the journalists and the government officials who use the discovery incautiously and cause a big problem.

This was in the "pulp era", but since it was in Soviet Union, it is really part of a different tradition from American pulps. Closer in spirit to H.G. Wells, but with light satire of Soviet society.


message 3: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 232 comments Gregg wrote: "I just finished the New Annotated Lovecraft this spring. It was a fun read and gives lots of insight into how his physical environment impacted his storytelling. I had previously read a biography t..."

(from the 2000-current discussion)

I want to read more Lovecraft because his work is so foundational to a lot of modern writers. I have a collection of some of his stories but I've only read The Dreams in the Witch House and maybe a couple others.

I did read The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian recently which is a collection of some of the earliest Conan stories. Robert E. Howard often corresponded with Lovecraft and there are some obvious references to Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos in Howard's writings.


message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
The Black Star Passes by John W. Campbell Jr. is one of the basics texts of SF. Originally serialized in the pulps in 1930, this epitomizes Campbell's writing & his preferences as one of the most influential editors of the genre. It's also has one of the basic components of "The Big Bang Theory". It was a fun blast from the past, but I could only give it a 3 star review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 5: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 232 comments A few weeks ago I finished Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I had previously read it as a sullen high school student and probably didn't have the proper perspective to enjoy anything the author had to say. Remarkably, a lot of the ideas stayed with me over the years (Soma, the feelies) so I jumped at the chance to re-read it with a different bookclub. I liked it quite a bit despite the very slow start and I gave it 4 stars.


message 6: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Randy wrote: "A few weeks ago I finished Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I had previously read it as a sullen high school student and probably didn't have the proper perspective..."

I enjoyed it as a sullen high school student. Wonder what I'd think of it now?


message 7: by Randy (last edited Nov 11, 2017 11:04AM) (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 232 comments Ed wrote: "I enjoyed it as a sullen high school student. Wonder what I'd think of it now?"

You'd enjoy it, but you'd be less sullen about it. ;-)


message 8: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 750 comments Randy wrote: "A few weeks ago I finished Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I had previously read it as a sullen high school student and probably didn't have the proper perspective to en..."

I don't remember whether or not I was in high school when I read Brave New World but I was sullen. It was eclipsed by 1984, which I first read as a college hippie.


message 9: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 232 comments I just started At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft. Having recently read Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer I can see why they are so often compared. Lovecraft does a terrific job of slowly building suspense through his description of the setting which VanderMeer also did.


message 10: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 232 comments Finished At the Mountains of Madness and gave it 4 stars. I bought the complete Lovecraft collection and one of these days I'm gonna read the whole dang thing.


message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim Davis | 3 comments I just finished the Cosmic Engineers by Clifford Simak. While the novel was published in 1950 it was originally serialized in Astounding in 1939. I am a huge Simak fan and was totally surprised by this epic space opera. I was introduced to Simak by novel like Way Station and City. the book was very dated but Simak gave E. E. Smith a run for his money when he not only included all of our universe but also an adjoining universe and a 5th dimensional space in between !! Unfortunately I have to give it a weak 3 stars, mainly for sheer scope, and I did find myself skimming a bit.


message 12: by Jim (last edited Mar 27, 2018 05:23PM) (new)

Jim Davis | 3 comments I have a couple of books on my PC from the 20's & 30's that I will be reading shortly.
Sinister Barrier - Eric Frank Russell
Last and Rirst Men - Olaf Stapledon

I've read some other novels from the 20's & 30's.
When Worlds Collide & After Worlds Collide - Philip Wylie
Gladiator - Philip Wylie
Brave New world - Aldous Huxley (many, many years ago)
Metropolis - Thea von Harbou

I tried to read the serial novel "Cosmos" but couldn't get past the first few chapters.

But the majority of stuff that I read pre-1940 would have been in short story format from the pulp magazines and far too many to list or even remember. One that stands out was Stanley G. Weinbaum's “A Martian Odyssey.” I also remember some stories from P. Schuyler Miller but the titles slip my mind.


message 13: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 145 comments I have recently finished R.U.R.by Karel Capek.


message 14: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 138 comments Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis is pretty cool. Definitely more thoughtful and literary than those stories that give 'pulp' a derogatory connotation. The science isn't perfect, but it's definitely SF, not some weird primitive fantasy, not a fable like Gulliver's Travels or something. I mean, it does have allegorical themes and metaphysical ideas, but they aren't necessarily as important to the reader as the adventure itself.

Anyway, I kinda liked it and am starting the sequel.

I found it particularly interesting that Lewis made explicit nods to H.G. Wells and to "the space-and-time story."


message 15: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 145 comments I have started reading A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay.


message 16: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 232 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I have started reading A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay."

I recently obtained a used copy of that book. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.


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