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The SFF Chronicles Science Fiction & Fantasy Community

Sword in the Storm by David Gemmell

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What makes a story a story? Is it having a beginning, a middle and an end? Is it about a person changing? A struggle?

I ask because in many ways, you could describe Sword in the Storm as a fictional biography. Its clearly not but there's something about the grand arc and lack of clear antagonist or driving goal that gives it this feel. The story's prologue starts near the end of Connavar's life; the first chapter before he's even born. Barring the...

The wrong stars by Tim Pratt

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The Wrong Stars

A salvage and security spacecraft with an assorted crew of cyborgs and damaged people find an old cryoship near Neptune. It should be fifty light years further away. One female is revived who gasps out a warning about alien first contact before passing out.

The salvage crew break it to her that they've traded resources for technology with aliens for generations, the same species, known as Liars, everywhere in the galaxy.

It soon becomes...

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

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Imagine a Paris ruled by fallen angels. The city of lights controlled by creatures of blazing passion and power. Imagine it in the wake of a Great War, a place of faded elegance and damaged beauty and lurking danger.

This is the world of Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings and it just goes to show that she really does have the best ideas of the genre.

Into this picture comes Phillippe, an Annamite (that is to say, Vietnamese) Immortal whose...

Ray Bradbury World's Greatest Science Fiction Author?

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Recently, I saw Mr. Bradbury's name pop up on one of the other threads and it activated an old old annoyance in me. Many many many moons ago when I was new to sf I would see books by Bradbury with the blurb on the covers reading: Ray Bradbury World's Greatest Science Fiction Author. This would irk me because in the books I read of his I don't recall anything pertaining to space ships, ray guns...

Books that I have read more than twice.

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I'll put my number one first and then in order. Of course this does not include books outside of the genre, which I might include later in the thread if anyone is interested.
The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien. My favourite and most read, well over forty times.
Alice Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell.
2001, by Arthur C. Clarke.
The Foundation Trilogy (Foundation; Foundation and Empire; Second Foundation.)...

"Prognosis: Terminal" by David McDaniel

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It’s often said that science fiction writers are bad at predicting the future, but I don’t think that’s entirely fair. Accurate prediction has almost never been the primary goal of science fiction writers. Also, untold numbers of sf stories have been written over the decades. Given that output, it’s inevitable that somebody, somewhere, will nail a particular subject to an uncanny degree. This is the case with David McDaniels “Prognosis: Terminal” written for...

What is your single favourite novel?

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Apologies if this a repeated thread; I can find Top Ten's, favourite in a particular genre, best of [year], re-reads, but not "favourite".

So, here is my question:

What is your single favourite novel? (all genres)

I'm looking for a single answer (with or without a reason).

No lists. And no cheating by saying "hmm...difficult...could be That One, or maybe The Other One, but...

Evaluating the Poetry of JRR Tolkien

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Something I'd be interested in discussing is JRR Tolkien's contribution to poetry. Clearly he is a giant of English literature for his work Lord of the Rings. However, LOTR itself contains a lot of poetry - yet I can't recall coming across any discussion of Tolkien's contribution to the field of poetry within English Literature.

Is this because LOTR is seen as a niche work, or not mainstream literature? Or is it the case that Tolkien's poetry is too focused on...

Review: Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke

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The trouble with science fiction classics is that they tend to be vehicles for new ideas for their time, but over the years can become dated. Worse, the ideas they originate are easily absorbed into the genre mainstream, meaning they are no longer the surprise they once were.

First published in 1973, Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke is a science fiction classic for all of these reasons.

It's a surprisingly short book, and in terms of plot and...

Review: The Singularity Trap by Dennis E. Taylor

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This is a book that I would put in the "must read" category for anyone who loves Science Fiction or just literature that tells good stories and asks big questions. This is a "Classic Science Fiction" book, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Classic Science Fiction is the kind that tells a great story, while asking important social and personal questions at the same time. Dennis E. Taylor's Singularity Trap checks those boxes emphatically. This story had...

How to Write About Long Distance Space Travel?

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Hello!

I’m currently working out the details for a 3 part novel series, and I am having a hard time trying to decide how to go about explaining how long distance space travel is accomplished in my story. Here is my quandary:
- I need to move a large ship across vast distances within a time period of around 70-100 years. Think Alpha Centauri and several light years distance.
- The ship is headed for a planet that is in the process of being terraformed and that...

Accountability with creative writing

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I've seen a few folk state beliefs or theories to the effect that lack of writerly creativity wouldn't be such a problem if it was like a job and there was the same external pressure you get with a job to get it done. I've been one of them.

Now, I wouldn't want to overegg this theory. But there's summat to it. And I think one part of it is that when we don't do the work, there's not a lot of repercussion. Different for those of us with agents/publishers who...

Space News: Mega roundup!

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It's been a while since I posted a Space News roundup!

A number of major stories have already been posted to the Science & Nature section of the forums, not least New Horizons Pictures of Ultima Thule, China lands on the dark side of the Moon, and...

Which Ideas to Keep and Which to Chuck?

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So we've had a lot of threads about creativity recently, and this is one of the aspects of it that I find most interesting.

And that is filtering through the ideas. Deciding which ones have merit and which ones don't. Both in the sense of fleshing out stories, and deciding which stories to write to begin with.

How do you go about doing this? How much do you test new story ideas before deciding to write them? At what point do you know whether a new story idea is...

Writing two different novels at the same time?

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I've made a good, solid start to the third book in my trilogy, and I don't want to lose momentum. The only problem is, something new showed up to the party, and it wants out. I started jotting down an opening scene a week ago, just so I wouldn't lose the idea, and I'm already 14k words in to the new unplanned thing.

I really REALLY want to work on this. But I also don't want to lose the good start to the other WIP, and have to get back into it later. Since...

Exercising imagination

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This is a follow-on from HareBrain's thread about critical choice and the eight-point arc for a story. Several people expressed the opinion that this kind of analysis interfered with their creativity or imagination. So my question is, how do you go about stretching, exercising and pushing the boundaries of your imagination?

I find consideration of plot elements, character types, scene structure and such to be a good tool for identifying what I've done In a story...

Wish-fulfillment and writing

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It struck me a while ago that perhaps the most fun way to write a book would be to have the characters do things you wish you could do, but experience hardship and danger while doing so.

There's a bit of this in Goddess Project, with the freediving in ancient ruins and so on, but not a lot. I made it more of a conscious thing in the YA I wrote recently, and it seemed to speed the writing up and make it more involving, though that might have been for other...

Critical choice and character agency

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I mentioned this in a crit this morning, and it got me thinking about my own writing, and writing in general.

Critical choice is one element of the eight-point arc, which, for those who don't know it, runs thus:

1. stasis
2. trigger
3. quest
4. surprise
5. critical choice
6. climax
7. reversal
8. resolution

This can apply to a whole novel, or a scene, and within the grand arc of a novel or series you will have major arcs, and within those, minor arcs, etc. The...

Music within Science Fiction films

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A lot of science fiction films include futuristic music, usually in bars, clubs and the like. I'm thinking of background music that the characters can hear, not the film soundtrack. Star Wars has the Mos Eisley cantina music, which sounds rather like old-fashioned jazz to me, the vaguely trip-hop "Chicken in the Pot" song from Solo and the band from Jabba's palace, who I think sounded rather like lounge music if I remember rightly.

In the prom...

January 2019 Reading Thread

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So I've got a number of archaeology books to read through, and the first I've picked up is Britain Begins by Barry Cunliffe, which covers the Paleolithic through to at least the Iron Age. I thought it would be just a general history, but he's also making an argument that the Celtic language group spread from Portugal and Northern France and along an Atlantic trading corridor which embraced Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and Western Scotland - before the arrival...
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