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discussions > Jack McDevitt/Distant Futures

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message 1: by Hugh (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Hugh (hughbehm-steinberg) I've been reading Seeker and I'm not sure why it won a Nebula. Too much of the plot depends on problems of data storage you'd think we'll solve in fifteen years, let alone in ten thousand. McDevitt portrays a distant future that's hardly different at all from now (This is one of the problems I have with Bujold's Vorkosigan novels as well).

This strikes me as a waste of imagination -- why set a book in the unimaginably distant future if you're not going to be inventive about it, use it as an opportunity to really cut loose?

Two more questions: Is this a problem just with Seeker, or is there a better McDevitt novel worth reading?

And who in SF does distant future really well -- my faves are Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality stories, Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series, and Iain M. Banks Culture novels.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

How distant? Niven does it pretty well, although it could be considered more of a "different timeline of now" thing.


message 3: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Rindis | 80 comments The point may be to have a setting that is interesting on its own terms, rather than technically excellent. I also feel with Bujold et al that the point is that no matter what you do, it'll look outdated someday, so why bother with lots of extra details that'll just keep people from enjoying the story?

I'm sure the real point with Bujold, Webber, Piper, Asimov and many others is that no matter what the future holds, people will be the same.

As far as 'cutting loose', how about David Brin and Vernor Vinge?

Larry Niven is also a good one to look at, especially with the State books (A World out of Time, The Integral Trees, The Smoke Ring).

message 4: by Jamie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) | 12 comments I think Dan Simmons (the Hyperion series) and Peter F. Hamilton (the Night's Dawn Trilogy) do far future pretty well.

message 5: by Emily (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Emily (cosmicvagabond) | 4 comments I read "Omega" this year by Jack McDevitt and felt much of the same disenchantment. His plot focused on another world rather than our own, which I found boring.

Hamilton or Reynolds could easily fill the future gap when it comes to Earth and humanity.

message 6: by Reads with Scotch (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Reads with Scotch  | 38 comments Peter f hamilton does really well, see " Pandoras Star" And "judas unchained"

message 7: by Ainsley (last edited Feb 07, 2008 05:18AM) (new)

Ainsley I have to agree with Hugh - Gene Wolfe's Sun stories (particularly the "New Sun" stories) have jaw-dropping imagery of the distant future. Other far-future books I rate: The City and the Stars- because Arthur C Clarke is amazing, Jack Vance'sTales of the Dying Earth- I don't get the humour, but hey - the sun is about to go out like a candle, Neverness- because Humans have evolved so far they no longer know where Earth is, and the daddy of them all, Dune. Isaac Asimov's later Foundation Novels are also a great read. Looking forward to reading some of the other books listed here.

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