The Evolution of Science Fiction discussion

56 views
1940-1959: The Golden Age of SF > What are you reading now, 1940-1959?

Comments (showing 1-50 of 84) (84 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

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 Rafael (new)

Rafael da Silva (Morfindel) | 53 comments I am reading Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov.


message 3: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 231 comments I just finished a re-read of The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. One of my all-time favorites. Hard to believe it was written in the 1950s.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 4: by Rafael (new)

Rafael da Silva (Morfindel) | 53 comments I started today I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.


message 5: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 145 comments I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451.


message 6: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451."

How did you like it? It blew me away the last time I read it & my edition included an afterword by Bradbury that was just as good. I gave it a 5 star review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 7: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 145 comments I really liked it. His writing is wonderful and his ideas have become more relevant every year.


message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I really liked it. His writing is wonderful and his ideas have become more relevant every year."

I thought so, too. It has biometrics. Montag comes home & sticks his hand in the glove on his door & it recognizes him. Wow. Paper shredders weren't even around yet.

Ear shells that constantly blast entertainment into his wife's head. So much like a Walkman or iPod, but transistor radios wouldn't even be developed for another year.

TV screens that cover the walls & inane programs that are more important than real life since they also allow user input. We're seeing that today. The TV we had when I was a kid in the early 60s was only about a foot wide & took up a piece of furniture the size of a table.

Montag's run is eerily familiar to King's "The Running Man" & 'reality' TV. Short wars that no one understands a thing about. & presidential candidates based on looks.


message 9: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments The movie by auteur Truffaut is also outstanding. It is done completely illiterate like the society. It is an amazing experience to this day.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 001 is a Librivox collection of golden oldies that are well worth listening to. I listed all the stories in my review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 11: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 748 comments Jim wrote: "Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 001 is a Librivox collection of golden oldies that are well worth listening to. I listed all the stories in my review here:
https://www.goodread..."


Thanks, Jim.


message 12: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
I've listened to 2 more of the Librivox Short SF Collections now. There's some duplication in the stories & they're read by different narrators. #3 had two duplicates from #2 & one story was a standalone. That still left 7 stories, 6 of which were pretty good.

My review of #2 is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

My review of #3 is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 13: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 145 comments I am rereading Foundation by Isaac Asimov. The last time I read it was in the 80's.


message 14: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I am rereading Foundation by Isaac Asimov. The last time I read it was in the 80's."

I've still never read that. In fact, I don't know whether I've ever read anything by Asimov.


message 15: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments Dear God! At least read "I, Robot".


message 16: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "I've still never read that. In fact, I don't know whether I've ever read anything by Asimov."

He's certainly one of the more important authors in the evolution of SF, especially his Laws of Robotics. I never cared much for Foundation, but I'd highly recommend reading I, Robot. Just be careful to get the anthology of 8 or so stories, not the novelization of the Wil Smith flick. Many of his ideas are the foundation of the science of robotics & inspirations to scientists today.

He was a prolific writer & seemingly wrote in every category in the library. (Look it up, it's close.) His short book on weights & measures is really good. His mysteries were OK, but his YA books (Lucky Starr) are awful.


message 17: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments I have read some of Asimov's essays in his magazine and elsewhere. But never got around to any of his fiction, largely because I expect him to be quite conventional and I like weird stuff. But someday I should give him a go.


message 18: by Leo (new)

Leo | 237 comments Ed wrote: I've still never read that. In fact, I don't know whether I've ever read anything by Asimov."
It's a good thing we can confess things like that here. Next month I'll read my first Heinlein ever.


message 19: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Leo wrote: "It's a good thing we can confess things like that here. Next month I'll read my first Heinlei..."

What are you planning to read, Leo? (I think you wrote about this, but I'm hazy today - pneumonia.) His 40s & 50s works were his best, IMO. Mostly excellent short stories & well edited YA novels.


message 20: by Leo (new)

Leo | 237 comments Take it easy & get well Jim. I saw in our poll that Starship Troopers wil be our next month read. So that will be it. Of course there's a lot of other material, I think I would choose The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Stranger in a Strange Land to start with, because I know the titles. But you think his older work is better. I've got a lot of his books so I will take a look for the earlier ones.


message 21: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Leo wrote: "I saw in our poll that Starship Troopers wil be our next month read. So that will be it. ..."

I was hoping that wouldn't win. I don't think I'll read it.

I have enjoyed Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Puppet Masters, which I read when I was probably too young for it.

I recently ran across The Rolling Stones in a little free library. I was intrigued by the cover illustration featuring a spaceship full of strangely flat cats. But I decided to leave it alone and just googled it instead. It turns out that the flat cats may, or may not, have been the inspiration for the tribbles on Star Trek.


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
The Rolling Stones isn't bad. It's interesting both for the flat cats (very much the inspiration for tribbles) & for Hazel Strong since this book was published in 1952 & The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was published over a decade later with a younger version of her in it. Her older self makes some references to this younger story, too. Both are decent first novels to read, though.

I'd recommend Have Space Suit—Will Travel, Farmer in the Sky, or Tunnel in the Sky for a first Heinlein novel. They're YA, part of the Signet Juveniles which he wrote a book a year for over a decade. These 3 epitomize what I & so many others loved about them as kids & can appreciate as an adult. Fun adventures that teach some good principles & logic. The main character is an older Boy Scout, literally in the first 2, who faces a challenge & needs to do some real thinking to get out of it & stick to their guns.

Starship Troopers is a little rough reading today. It has a lot of the post WWII patriotism & unflagging belief in government that was at its height back then & has been so battered in the past decades. Any new reader needs to look at the book through the old eyes to really appreciate what Heinlein was saying or it's just too easy to dismiss.


message 23: by Buck (last edited Nov 22, 2017 06:38PM) (new)

Buck (spectru) | 748 comments I've read a lot of Heinlein and Asimov. Heinlein's juveniles are good old fashioned science fiction adventures. My favorite Heinlein novels probably are Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. These express his libertarian and free love attitudes but don't get out of hand like some of his too-long later novels.

I was an Asimov addict in my younger days and I've reread most of his major SF novels over the last few years. I like his robot novels, Caves of Steel, Naked Sun, etc. featuring Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw. Daneel also appears in his Foundation sequels.

IMO Asimov's short stories were generally better that his novels. His writing style is plain and inelegant. His stories depend on logic. There's not much weirdness.


message 24: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments I don't understand how the flat cats can be both flat and pregnant at the same time. But cats are apparently masters of weird quantum mechanical tricks.


message 25: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "I don't understand how the flat cats can be both flat and pregnant at the same time. But cats are apparently masters of weird quantum mechanical tricks."

True! Heinlein seems to have been a cat person. Several were stars of his books over the years. He used flat cats as a lesson in geometric growth & responsibility, a very entertaining one.


message 26: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
I just listened to Security by Poul Anderson. It was a really good short story that I found for free on Librivox. I reviewed it here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 27: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Jim wrote: "I just listened to Security by Poul Anderson...."

Hmmm. Looks like the topic is still relevant.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Jim wrote: "I just listened to Security by Poul Anderson. It was a really good short story that I found for free on Librivox. I reviewed it here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/..."


Will check this one out. Thanks Jim.


message 29: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it.

I got through the second chapter of Forrest J Ackerman's World of Science Fiction last night. It is composed of short bio/bibliographies of some of the great SF authors. Nothing complete, some are just a short paragraph while Orwell got several pages, but much of that was pictures of book covers. I've now got a long list of authors & stories to look for on Gutenberg & Librivox.


message 30: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 231 comments I just started Starship Troopers by this guy Robert A. Heinlein. I like it a lot so far.


message 31: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Inside Earth was incredibly good for a novella from 1951. It was originally published in Galaxy SF magazine, but I listened to the audio version from Librivox. I gave it a 5 star review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 32: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 145 comments I am reading a compilation of short stories, The Seeds of Time, by John Wyndham.


message 33: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Jim wrote: "Inside Earth was incredibly good for a novella from 1951...."
Thanks, I think I'll give it a try.


message 34: by Jo (new)

Jo | 1046 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I am reading a compilation of short stories, The Seeds of Time, by John Wyndham."

Are you enjoying them? I read this a few years ago and really liked it. I'm not always a fan of short stories but these were really well developped. In general I do really like John Wyndham so I might be biased.


message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley was a really weird & wonderful read. A GR friend of mine says in his review that, "...Sheckley reads a bit like PKD sans the drug-fueled, reality-warping plot aspects for which the master was known." I found this far better written than anything I've read of PKD's, but there certainly is a resemblance. I gave it a 4 star review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 36: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 145 comments I enjoyed most of them, some of them quite a lot. I am big fan of Wyndham's work, especially his use of language. He is very witty.


message 37: by Leo (new)

Leo | 237 comments Jim wrote: "Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley was a really weird & wonderful read. A GR friend of mine says in his review that, "...Sheckley reads a bit like PKD sans the drug-f..." I read quite a few of Sheckley's books and liked almost all of them, once I got used to his humor. Only in Journey Beyond Tomorrow I could not stand his style, I dnf'd, which is very rare for me.


message 38: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Good to know, Leo. It's been decades since I read anything by Sheckley. My father left me with several, but they fell apart over the years. I don't remember any of his books wowing me, but I think I liked some of his short stories. I didn't like Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming, the first of 3 books he wrote with Roger Zelazny. After reading this, I'm going to look for more of his work. Perhaps I was too young when I first read him. I'll avoid 'Journey', at least push it down the list.


message 39: by Leo (new)

Leo | 237 comments I didn't give a 5-star either, but it's entertaining enough and very original. I think for the short stories I can advise Pilgrimage to Earth and Untouched By Human Hands.


message 40: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Thanks. Denis turned me on to his works on Librivox. A lot of short stories, but a few novels are available there.
https://librivox.org/author/741?prima...

That link also contains an "X Minus One" collection - stories that were used to make the Old Time Radio (OTR) program. That's a real find for me. I love those & spent years collecting them. I used to catch them or similar ones occasionally on the radio as a kid in the 60s & 70s. I had most when Archive.org finally published them all.


message 41: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 478 comments Jim wrote: "..Sheckley reads a bit like PKD sans the drug-fueled, reality-warping plot aspects for which the master was known."

I think PKD's drug use is highly exaggerated. And some of Sheckley's plots are close to the level of weirdness of PKD.

I have read quite a few Sheckley stories and novels. I loved some, and disliked some. But since I read them before I started keeping track of things on this site, I easily forget which ones are which!

I didn't much like his most successful story Seventh Victim. It is not a bad story, but he kept re-writing versions of that story and I got tired of stumbling on those by mistake.

It was made into a Italian film called "The Tenth Victim" which had some nice campy sets and costumes. It also had fun little easter eggs in the subtitles, if you can understand some basic Italian. Since the film version changed "seventh" to "tenth" in the title, whoever did the English subtitles had fun with numbers. Any time a number was mentioned in the dialog, the subtitle used a different number.


message 42: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments Nice!


message 43: by Buck (new)

Buck (spectru) | 748 comments Jim wrote: "Inside Earth was incredibly good for a novella from 1951. It was originally published in Galaxy SF magazine, but I listened to the audio version from Librivox. I gave it a 5 star re..."

I just started Inside Earth from Librivox. I'm surprised that on Goodreads there are only five ratings and two reviews (including yours, Jim), and they show a generic cover image. I would have expected that anything by a well known author like Poul Anderson wold have gotten more notice.


message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
I agree, Buck. Poul Anderson doesn't seem to be getting the love he deserves any more. I wish more beginning authors would read On Thud & Blunder.

He's done a lot of what-ifs that would make fine, updated stories. The structure & relatively short way he presented them always captivated me & stuck in my head far longer than many other books.

Brain Wave is a good example. What-if we're in a field that slightly slows down our thoughts. Then Earth moves beyond it & everyone is suddenly 100 IQ points smarter? Shield is another. What if someone developed the perfect shield? Neither book is long & some of the tech is now laughable, but the basic ideas & way he presented them are still fantastic. Well, in the first case, anyway. I reread it not too long ago. It's been decades since I last read Shield, but I still remember bits of it pretty well.


message 45: by Gregg (new)

Gregg Wingo (gwingo) | 216 comments One of my favorite authors.


message 46: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Soldier Boy by Michael Shaara, an author I'd previously only known for a US Civil War book about Gettysburg, did a credible job writing short SF stories. Most are SF war, but not all. I gave it 4 stars in my review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 47: by Susan (new)

Susan Budd (SusanBudd) | 72 comments Next on my SF reading list is Solar Lottery (1955), PKD's first published SF novel and the last book on my PKD 1950s reading list.


message 48: by Randy (new)

Randy (hawk5391yahoocom) | 231 comments I finished Starship Troopers and gave it 3 stars. It's probably my favorite Heinlein but then again I don't think Heinlein is one of my favorite authors so take that for what it is. It got off to a nice start, then slowed down an awful lot.


message 49: by Leo (new)

Leo | 237 comments The Players of Null-A, #2 in the series of 3 Null A. it's quite like The World of Null-A, our recent group read. The story makes a bit more sense - but only a bit. Most things still seem to happen to our Gilbert Gosseyn without much logical reason. Still don't understand the Null-A principles. Despite all this enjoying the story.


message 50: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 1309 comments Mod
Med Ship Man by Murray Leinster was quite good for a pulp story. I gave it a 4 star review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


« previous 1
back to top