The Short Story Thread

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Fried Egg, Jul 22, 2009.

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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    No, this isn't a thread for you to reproduce your own short stories (I'm sure there's probably a thread like that elsewhere on the forum) but rather a place to comment on a noteworthy short story that you've just read. Be it noteworthy because it was very good, very interesting or just plain awful, post about it here explaining what was noteworthy about it.

    ---

    I'll start with a story called "Anniversay" by Isaac Asimov in 1959. It was in a collection of his called "Asimov's Mysteries".

    What I found interesting about this story his anticipation of the internet which he calls "The Multivac" (although I may have seen this concept used elsewhere in other stories he wrote). The Multivac is used by the story's characters to find out facts and information much as many people today use the internet to obtain information. There are several major differences of course. People have a Multivac outlet in their house which is essentially just a typewriter and a printer. You type in a question and an answer is printed out. And ofcourse it it a centralised network with a central supercomputer which stores the data and processes the queries. But given this was 1959, I think his errors can be forgiven.
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    Ian Whates

    Ian Whates Author and Editor

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    I think that's a key difference, FE; as far as I recall, Multivac, which appeared in many of Asimov's stories, wasn't used for communication in the way that the internet is, but you're right, some foreshadowing of the www can certainly be read into Mulivac, for all that it was one centralised computer rather than an interconnecting network of millions.
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    Pyar

    Pyar anticipating destiny

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    I just read a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin called "Intracom" and it is noteworthy because it was absolutely hilarious. It was pubslished in 1974 as part of her short story collection The Compass Rose. It is a trancription of the dialogue of several characters on the intracom of an interstellar spaceship. If you need to lighten up your day or have a good laugh read this story. Le Guin is a master of writing but it really surprised me that she can do humour so well!
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    icundell

    icundell New Member

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    Multivac was probably more akin to an AI system, though networked (it was a development of Univac, as in Sperry Univac).

    It was most brilliantly realised in his The Last Question (which if memory serves is collected in the Nightfall 2 anthology), which is on a par with Nightfall itself as his finest short fiction.

    Seriously: track it down is is a marvellous story.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Shambleau by CL Moore in the collection Northwest ofEarth.

    My first story of hers and i enjoyed it alot.
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    manephelien

    manephelien Transmural Feline

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    Heinlein's By His Bootstraps. Can't say much without giving away the plot, but it's definitely my favorite time travel story by any author.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey this is an interesting thread!

    I'll make sure I post any short stories I read from now on that I find of particular merit here.

    I have many single author collections and anthologies, so this could prove to be fun.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I have been reading short story collection by Vance. The story so far are great to good and at worst a decent story. A very good collection of stories.


    Assault on A City - for the world building, the city of Hant,
    Green Magic - was a quality,different fantasy story.
    The World Thinker - Not a Vance like story. Read like typical 1940s space opera that would be dated if there weren't for the usual weird Vance world.
    Seven Exist from Bocz- Gothic,revenge story with hard-boiled like wrting.
    Green Magic - a great urbane fantasy story that was so different,elegent.
    The Augmented Agent - a cool,intelligent Spy/SF thriller with political themes,set in Africa !
    Coup De Grace - an amusing SF mystery
    Chateau d' If - the longest story in the collection and the best. A very thrilling,epic,very weird story. It was so descriptive,vintage Vance heroes and world that i spent hours on reading it slow,enjoying to the max. Novella length but felt like a great novel with the time i spent in that world.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Can we post non-SFF short stories here or do we want to create a new thread?

    I happen to have a several interesting anthologies from Africa, middle-east, early America etc... some of which have a fantastic element but not all that may prove of interest to people

    Thoughts please.
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    Go for it. :) Any short story of note, whatever the genre, should get a mention.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I'm a fan of the short story of any type.

    Earlier this year i enjoyed Jorge Louis Borges's A Personal Anthology collection.

    The stories had a surreal,wierd feeling to them that i liked. One of them felt too much like a C.Augustine Dupin story to not be a homage to EAP.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Huh? you mean you've only now discovered the Master Borges? I'm a BIG fan of latin American fiction and have a lot of top quality stuff by people like Sarmago, Cortazar, Neruda, De Lorca, Fuentes etc....
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Well give me a litte break in that i have not even 5 years as a reader who actually reads more than a few times a year. Like i have said several times i feel like a kid book reading wise. The 1990s history of my homeland is my excuse.

    Its only genre greats of my fav genres that i have tried early.

    Borges i found my way to since i one day stumbled by mistake in Latin American shelf in the library ;)

    I plan to read more of him and other Latin American authors when i have less new books. Similar with African,east European,Asian authors.

    Thats why i dont read many series books like my brother who complains about why i dont read fantasy series after another like him. Too broad interest in different types of lit.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    No that's fair enough I was only joking....;)

    AH.....well let me know when you get to Asian, middle eastern and African authors and I may be able to help you out there. There's a lot of excellent writers Western audiences are not that familiar with. I'm talking both SFF and non-SFF. I've got a pretty large collection of "world literature"
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    I will let you know and im not looking for SFF only authors even if a arabic,african fantastic story would be cool to read.

    Culture wise we are pretty close to Arabic,middle east world so it was one of the first thing i thought to read when i became a reader along with African lit.

    Now back on topic post the short stories you promised ;)

    Would be interesting to see what short stories people read. My collections are by fav authors like REH,Vance,RAH.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Shall do.

    I can recommend the best way to get to know other "cultures" is by purchasing anthologies of individual countries or literary movements. A brilliant way of discovering new authors.

    E.g. I recently picked up a lovely edn. of Worlds Apart:Russian SFF from medieval to 1740-1957 (sputnik). Fantastic looking volume! Also got a non-SFF Leopard edn. recently of An Island Of Sound: anthology of Hungarian poetry and literature...not something you see a lot of plus Faber book of modern arabic/african literature (1927 - current).

    Really good stuff!!

    Cheers.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Several of those authors Conn publish SFF and are noble prize winners in literature to boot.
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    Connavar

    Connavar New Member

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    Plus there are 100s of those anthologies in the library. New looking books and not 100 years old ones.

    I have seen national anthologies From Native American fiction to anthologies from India.

    Its just moving on to the authors you liked enough to buy after that.
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    I read a great little tale by Lovecraft called "From Beyond" in which a mad scientist invents a machine that allows human beings to expand the range of their limited sense organs, and even tap into latent sensory organs, in order to "see" things that we can't normally see, from beyond. Strange monsterous beings become visible, the only problem is that the machine works both ways and they can now see us too...
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    MontyCircus

    MontyCircus Member

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    I'm reading The Science Fiction Hall of Fame (Vol. 1, 1929-1964)

    I've only read 9 of the 26 so far. I'll post a full review when I'm finished, but so far my favourite 3 are:

    The Roads Must Roll - Robert A. Heinlein
    Microcosmic God - Theodore Sturgeon
    Mimsy Were The Borogoves - Lewis Padgett

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