Anti-heroes. Specific themes. Help.

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by paradoxical, Sep 21, 2011.

  1.  
    paradoxical

    paradoxical New Member

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    Hey, I'm Michael; new here. I'm a Ph.D research student in Australia. My thesis focuses on science fiction, specifically in context to its depiction of antiheroes and how they offer new insight into areas such as morality or more broadly, how we understand notions such as good and evil.

    What I'm looking for is science fiction which features a central antiheroic figure for its primary protagonist. Richard Morgan's Kovacs of Altered Carbon is a good example. Alan Moore's V for V for Vendetta is yet another one, as are most of the characters in Watchmen.

    At the moment, I'm looking for science fiction written in the late 50s to very early 80s. Cyberpunk chapter is already done, so not looking for much in regards to the mid-1980s. Sorry guys. Also searching for anything more contemporary, say from 1990 right up until today.

    Things I have already considered in regard to the previous:
    All of Richard Morgan's works.
    Life During Wartime
    Stars my Destination
    Odd John
    More than Human
    Slan
    Dying Earth
    Man Plus


    If you would like to make a suggestion, please, if you can, include authors name, title and publication date (again only if possible). Another than that, let's just talk antiheroes, limited to science fiction, of course. Cheers.
  2.  
    Quokka

    Quokka wandering

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    Richard Matheson's I Am Legend is 1954 so not quite in your timeframe but it fits the criteria.. depending on your point of view :).

    I'm reading The Invisible Man by HG Wells at the moment, again from what I've read so far it would fit your criteria nicely although published in 1897 it's more than a little early.
  3.  
    Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Moved from Book Search to General Book Discussion, where it's likely to get more satisfactory responses. Book Search is for trying to locate the title of a specific book, and it appears that what you are looking for here is discussion, and of many books.
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    How about Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas? Bora Horza Gorbuchul was quite the anti-hero if i interpreted him correctly.
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    Abernovo

    Abernovo Accident-prone, allegedly

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    One that comes immediately to mind is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick (1969), filmed as Blade Runner. Quite a bit of Dick's work is dark and ambiguous, so possibly a good source.

    I agree with Quokka that the Wells' Invisible Man is a good example even if outside your timeframe, perhaps a historical context reference?

    Rodders suggestion of Iain M Banks is good. Banks' Culture novels in general are good for questions of morals. I would also recommend Banks' Use of Weapons (1990).

    Good luck with the PhD
  6.  
    Quokka

    Quokka wandering

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    Another one I was thinking of was Stephen R. Donaldson's The Gap Cycle (1991-1996). I know one of the initial ideas behind the series (or at least the first book) was to take the three traditional roles of victim, villian and rescuer and write a story where three characters moved between these roles.

    It's been a long time since I read them and there were other story arcs as well so I'm not sure how relevant it would be but maybe worth checking out.

    Not that it's an issue for a uni phd but I can never recommend Donaldson without adding that it's also quite dark in places similar to Donaldson's Thomas Convenant fantasy series.
  7.  
    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    Actually, the Player of Games would be a great one as you have the juxtaposition of the Culture and the Empire of Azad to show morale extremes.
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    crooksy73

    crooksy73 Riding the trails

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    Stephen R. Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant?
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    Vince W

    Vince W Member

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    I would suggest Alistair Reynold's Revelation Space (2000).
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    Tillane

    Tillane Left-minded

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    For an anti-hero with a capital A, I reckon you could do worse than have a look at Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange (1962).
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    hitmouse

    hitmouse Member

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    You want New Wave.

    Pretty much anything by JG Ballard. Suggest Drowned World for starters. Then try The Drought, High Rise, Crash, and my favourite book of SF short stories Vermilion Sands.

    Then the Cornelius quartet by Michael Moorcock, starting with The Final Programme. Most of Moorcock's lead characters are antiheroes, in some sort of tango with entropy.
  12.  
    paradoxical

    paradoxical New Member

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    This are great suggestions guys. crooky: I just knew someone was going to bring that up. It's more high/low fantasy that science fiction. Plus I don't really see him as an antihero, as such, more an non/un-hero if you get my drift.

    This Iain. M. Banks sounds like he is worth a look. Cheers guys. Keep them coming. I'll add more to my list of things already examined as I remember them. As I look at some of the suggestions, I realize I might have left a fair few off the list.
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    Rodders

    Rodders |-O-| (-O-) |-O-|

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    I'd second the Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynolds. But if you want Anti heroes then you can't been Tanner Mirabel from Chasm City or Ilya Volyova from Revelation Space IMO. I'd also check out his short story collection Galactic North.
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    Vince W

    Vince W Member

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    I forgot about Galactic North. Good call there. You might also include Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days.
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    Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian New Member

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    The Book of the New Sun. The protagonist, Severian, makes for a good antihero. In some ways he is a direct perversion of the classic fantasy hero. He barely makes your criteria time-wise; the New Sun books were published 1980-83 I believe.
  16.  
    paradoxical

    paradoxical New Member

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    Yeah, I've got most of the things from Dying Earth already down. Jack Vance was a good writer. Seldom does Ballard's characters provide enough depth to warrant examination. The social realities in which his novels take place are a different thing altogether, but from what I have read, the characters themselves provide little to work with.

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