The Sword and Laser discussion

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I need a life changer

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message 1: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments Every once in a while, you read a book that changes your outlook on life or at the very least, makes you want to do nothing but sit and read for hours on end. I have read 25 books this year but I haven't read one that I can honestly say that I will remember for the next 10 years.

So here is where I need your help. If you could look back on your life and pick that one book, what would that one book be? Hopefully I haven't read all of the ones you list. (here's where I make it challenging) It has to be a sword or laser book.


message 2: by Colin (new)

Colin | 278 comments The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper.
I am fairly certain that I had read that before the Narnia books. Mythology, magic, King Friggin' Arthur...blew my 7 year old mind wide open. Otherwise it would have been random collections of children's watered down King Arthur stories that "changed my life".


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

This probably doesn't count, but it's the first book that actually struck me that way: Shogun

Read it in junior high and remember the ideals of honor and duty and all striking the right chord.

Not fantasy , but it's got swords! So, you know...


message 4: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments The Crystal Shard, the Legend of Drizzt book four, not the book in particular, but the character of Drizzt, what such a great character, that changes and teaches with everyone of the books in the series, also one of the more different plot structure in fantasy.


message 5: by Sandi (last edited Feb 23, 2011 07:07PM) (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments If you're going to narrow the field to SF&F, I'll have to put in a recommendation for either The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell or Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Yes, I know that Margaret Atwood claims she doesn't write science fiction, but that's what Oryx and Crake is. Both books have really stuck with me.

If you take away the genre restriction, my #1 life-shaper would be To Kill a Mockingbird.


message 6: by Abraham (new)

Abraham | 33 comments I agree with the sentiment on Shogun, as a young person reading that, it was inspiring to be presented with a cohesive world that was different than ours. While not a recommendation, the book that shaped much of my thought was Dune. Yep, you don't know how many hours i tried to get just my little toe to move. but it opened me up the the multispectral world of inner thought, politics, interpersonal power, and historical narrative that all flow through individual events. Failing to find inspiration in either of those, then i would suggest the wyrd sisters by Pratchett, because, its a good laugh.


message 7: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments I loved Dune too and I also tried to get the toe to move. Not a fan of Pratchett though. I have read Shogun and To Kill a Mockingbird. Crystal Shard is a good one.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2859 comments I completely agree with Sandi - The Sparrow and Oryx and Crake. The Sparrow is the only book that has made me cry actual tears, not just feel sad.


message 9: by Ed (new)

Ed (edwardjsabol) | 170 comments The Sparrow has some truly wonderful and memorable characters, but the way Russell writes the specifics of an interstellar mission is laughably bad. Read it and enjoy it for the characters, but it's lousy science fiction. (Sorry.) That said, I read the sequel because I had to see how it turned out for the characters.


message 10: by aldenoneil (last edited Feb 28, 2011 08:10AM) (new)

aldenoneil | 1000 comments Though it wasn't my favorite book of all time (but is a favorite), The Years of Rice and Salt made me look at things differently. The thread running through the novel is a small group of people who travel through reincarnation together. Someone who is a character's sister in one life would be their mother in the next, for example, or their tailor.

Interesting since we only carry so many people in our social network at one time in life, and you see archetypes all over.

I can't say I believe in reincarnation, but I'd be up for it if it happens.


message 11: by Linda (new)

Linda (lindawilkins) Brad wrote: "Every once in a while, you read a book that changes your outlook on life or at the very least, makes you want to do nothing but sit and read for hours on end. I have read 25 books this year but I ..."

Well, sadly I don't have a recommendation in the S&L genre, but I have to say you bring up a really good discussion topic. There is always that one book that we can look back on as a life changer. I'm new to sci-fi & fantasy books having spent so much time on mysteries and other fiction, but so far I'm loving some of these new S&L books that I've been reading. Also, I wanted to mention that the book that changed my life was "To Kill a Mockingbird", but more importantly it was the teacher that recommended it that made such a huge literary impact on my life.


message 12: by Alotor (new)

Alotor | 18 comments 1984 was an eye-opener for me. I don't know if I've read something live-changer.


message 13: by Curt (new)

Curt Taylor (meegeek) | 107 comments aldenoneil wrote: "Though it wasn't my favorite book of all time (but is a favorite), The Years of Rice and Salt made me look at things differently. The thread running through the novel is a small group o..."

My thoughts exactly on this book. I still have my copy on my shelf (after clearing out 80% of my books recently). It has been awhile since I read it, but think I am going to read again soon.


message 14: by Curt (new)

Curt Taylor (meegeek) | 107 comments I know this may seem a bit strange to some, but in the early 90's I began reading the Chung Kuo: The Middle Kingdomseries. Given where I was in my career, the impact these books had was significant, as by 1998 I was on my way to spending the next 8 years working and China and other Asia Pacific countries. After reading this series, then seeing the explosive growth all around me (especially in the market space I was in) these books were like a wake up call. Recently read the reviews, here on Goodreads, and they range all over the place (as you would expect). Looking at where China is now, this series should be reconsidered and possibly, read again.


message 15: by Al (new)

Al | 159 comments I'd suggest this: Holy Fire.

Also just stumbled upon theis while clean out a shelf: Becoming Alien. I'm thinking I might read the series again since I remember it doing a great job of actually communicating an alien perspective.


message 16: by Boots (new)

Boots (rubberboots) | 499 comments I wouldn't call it a life changer but if you haven't read it the Harry Potter series is certainly a quick fun read and I find I still think about the world itself every once in awhile.

The Shannara series by Terry Brooks if you're willing to put the time in. http://www.goodreads.com/series/43574


message 17: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado | 217 comments The Years of Rice and Salt looks fascinating, I am going to try that one.


message 18: by Patrick (new)

Patrick (halfadd3r) Just after a really bad breakup I read Circuit of Heaven and found it really meaningful. Not sure if it would be as "big" to someone else, but thought I'd mention it.


message 19: by Dan (new)

Dan (daniel-san) | 101 comments Cool discussion. It's always hard to say what changes your life in significant ways since there are so many inputs and variables that most of us deal with on a daily basis, but if I had to pick some books (can't settle on one), I would start by echoing the Dune series, and not just the first book. I would also lump the Foundation trilogy in there as well. When I had first read those, however, I was much younger and more impressionable, so I don't know how they would impact me now if I hadn't already read them. I'm sure Fahrenheit 451 would be on my short list too.

Of books I've read more recently as a 30-something, I would say Childhood's End and Ender's Game had just enough in them that they made me consider things I hadn't prior to reading them. Many of the classic sci-fi novels have something really special in them, which is why I often go back and read them from time to time.

Besides Tolkien, I have a hard time thinking of "sword" life-changing books, even though I usually have a blast reading them.

Looking back through the S&L list though, we've really read some cool stuff!


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