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Recommendations and Lost Books > Sci Fi That Stands the Test of Time

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message 1: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
We were discussing in Moon is a Harsh Mistress how some books are incredibly difficult to read now, given the sexism, racism, homophobia etc. in just rampant in the book.

Obviously, that's sort of Heinlein's trademark. But are there works you feel stand up pretty well in today's society? Classics that have women and people of color, LGBTQIA+ people or those with disabilities and treat them with respect? What are they?


message 2: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 3405 comments Definitely some of the short stories of Theodore Sturgeon (40ies and 50ies). His topic always were the outcasts of society. His short story "The world well lost" (1953) is said to be the first positive depiction of homosexual relationship in SF.


message 3: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments Alexandre Dumas' books (The three musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, Madame de la Vallière, etc.). Dumas was himself of mixed blood and often suffered from racism because of it. His female characters were also persons of characters and no mere sexual objects.

Jules Verne was a great sci-fi author who, while his writings reflected a bit his time, treated with respect all his characters and he was not shy about denouncing the injustices of the time (like when telling the story of Captain Nemo in '20,000 leagues under the sea).


message 4: by Lars (new)

Lars Dradrach (larsdradrach) | 79 comments I actually enjoyed The Moon..., maybe because I don’t expect older novels to live up to today’s standard of political correctness, as long as the issues don’t overshadow the narrative it’s fine with me, maybe even a little refreshing at times.

Jules Verne, mentioned by another here, is one of the writers I have given up because of his racist representation of non Europeans.


message 5: by Monica (new)

Monica (monicae) | 482 comments Reread Dan Simmons Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion two years ago. These books are almost 30 years old and they could have been written today.

Also reread a couple of Arthur C Clarke books: Childhood's End and The City and the Stars. Though both come across a little dated (both are well over 60 years old), they are both so prescient that in my view they stand up to the test of time.


message 6: by Karin (last edited Aug 21, 2018 05:24PM) (new)

Karin | 773 comments I don't know about people of colour, etc, but one that I think stands the test of time well for other reasons is Fahrenheit 451.

There was at least one I read where there was someone with a disability treated with respect, but I don't remember which one it was, etc. The only one I remember with any non-heterosexual sex was a Heinlein novel, and it was clearly written from the enjoyment of a male viewer and I think it was in I Will Fear No Evil, but it's quite possible I'm mixing it up with another book, although I don't think so.

But the Politically Correct movement wasn't yet in existence, so you aren't likely to find books that fit in with something so contemporary. Of course there were books with this in it and not all were defamatory, but bear in mind that the general fiction readers wouldn't have embraced this. People's views have been reshaped over the past number of decades. Not everyone's, but the majority's has. Unless you lived in parts of San Francisco or certain other areas you really didn't see much out in the open, either.

It might be hard to imagine for Millennials and younger, because I find it hard to imagine what it was really like when my parents were young. Kids weren't exposed to nearly as much information as early for the most part, either. Bear in mind that I never heard or read the word homosexual until I was 10 and reading the San Francisco Examiner and then I had to ask my mother what it meant. We were living in California for 2 years while my dad was finishing his surgery residency--he'd been a GP surgeon in Canada prior to that. When is the last time anyone in the States or Canada went to a GP surgeon?


message 7: by Karin (new)

Karin | 773 comments Monica wrote: "Reread Dan Simmons Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion two years ago. These books are almost 30 years old and they could have been written today.

Also reread a couple of Ar..."


30 years ago isn't that long ago when it comes to some of this stuff because that was already in the 80s. I think the stuff from the 1950s and 1960s, and even into the 1970s isn't going to hold up to this sort of thing--there was a HUGE SHIFT during the 70s and 80s.


message 8: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 2526 comments How about the classic feminist SF like Left Hand of Darkness and The Female Man?


message 9: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments H.G. Wells is certainly a classic master of sci-fi. I don't know much about him but I am not aware that he was a racist, relative to his time.


message 10: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments Silvana wrote: "How about the classic feminist SF like Left Hand of Darkness and The Female Man?"

Having just read The Left Hand of Darkness, I can attest it absolutely stands the test of time. As does her other classic, The Dispossessed.


message 11: by Kateb (new)

Kateb | 893 comments john wyndham : triffids, chocky, trouble with lichen

AC Clarke


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