Poul Anderson

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For what it's worth, I'd recommend:

Brainwave (1954) A true classic of its time -- the Earth emerges from a cloud of cosmic dust it has been passing through for centuries and the level of intelligence of all life on the planet takes an abrupt leap forward.
Ah yes the only book of his I've read,pretty good stuff!
 

Fried Egg

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I've just finished The Enemy Stars and quite enjoyed it.

Ostensibly, this is about four men who visit a dying star for the purposes of scientific study when it goes horribly wrong and they get stuck there, cut off from the rest of humanity with no realistic hope of getting back alive. Then it follows their desperate and seemingly futile efforts to repair their ship, a race against time before their food and sanity run out.

Really though, this is about how each man comes to terms with himself and his place in the universe. It asks what is the point of space exploration, of scientific endeavour?

At around 140 pages, it is quite a short novel. Perhaps it might have been slightly more effective in engaging the reader with the characters had the author had more space to develop them?
 

Connavar

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I've just finished The Enemy Stars and quite enjoyed it.

Ostensibly, this is about four men who visit a dying star for the purposes of scientific study when it goes horribly wrong and they get stuck there, cut off from the rest of humanity with no realistic hope of getting back alive. Then it follows their desperate and seemingly futile efforts to repair their ship, a race against time before their food and sanity run out.

Really though, this is about how each man comes to terms with himself and his place in the universe. It asks what is the point of space exploration, of scientific endeavour?

At around 140 pages, it is quite a short novel. Perhaps it might have been slightly more effective in engaging the reader with the characters had the author had more space to develop them?
Isnt this the book where the men journey's to their goal is so long, more than many life times.

I think i know the title from fantasticfiction.

I must say your recent PA sf reads has got me excited for me own PA sf reading. Just today i got the omnibus with Planet of No Return,War of two worlds,World without Stars. Planet of No Return sounds like a synopsis for Alien like story so i choose to start with it.
 

Fried Egg

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Isnt this the book where the men journey's to their goal is so long, more than many life times.

I think i know the title from fantasticfiction.
No, I don't think so. The ship itself took many generations to get where it was but they have a teleportation device so that they can bring the pilots back and replace them with others whenever they like. They can basically teleport anywhere they have setup a receiving station but the ships have to reach them by normal travel first.
I must say your recent PA sf reads has got me excited for me own PA sf reading. Just today i got the omnibus with Planet of No Return,War of two worlds,World without Stars. Planet of No Return sounds like a synopsis for Alien like story so i choose to start with it.
I enjoyed "Planet of No Return". Not his best but definitely worth the read. I haven't read the other two.
 

GOLLUM

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Isnt this the book where the men journey's to their goal is so long, more than many life times
Are you referring to The Boat Of A Million Years perhaps? I've got that one and although I've not read it yet, it seems to relate to people who live on for millenia and chronicles their story through the centuries of human endeavour as "mannkind" begins to leave Earth and "conquers" space.
 

Connavar

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Yes it was The Boat of a Million years. Too many synopsis of PA to keep track in my head.

I wonder how smaller books can be in small paperback. I got 3 PA sf books that i mentioned in a 300 pages paperback. For the first time i feel its too short getting books that are 90-150 pages when its 3 at once. I have read many classic sf books that was 150-200 pages in small paperback.
 

Fried Egg

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I just finished "The Corridors of Time" and was a little disappointed with it but it was ok.

Poul seems to effect quite a range of different writing styles in his books, almost every book I read of his is written quite differently. This one I found quite abrasive and was a barrier to me getting into the story somewhat.
 

Tansy

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Just finished The Broken Sword - only work of his I have read and well in that kind of fantasy for me Vance wins :)

I was entertaining but a bit removed from the plot, felt like more of a synopsis than an in depth tale
 

Connavar

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Vance wins ?

I thought Broken Sword was written so elegantly that the plot wasnt a big deal really. I enjoyed the world,mythology.

Will you read more of PA ?
 

Tansy

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I enjoyed his use of language I just like my fantasy a lil more plot heavy :)

It was a sweet, easy read and yeah maybe I will pick up his other works when i see them :)
 

Connavar

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I enjoyed his use of language I just like my fantasy a lil more plot heavy :)

It was a sweet, easy read and yeah maybe I will pick up his other works when i see them :)

He did write other fantasy i have seen, i have seen you might not be a fan of SF.

Now i know what you mean with Vance wins(Fantasy recommendation thread post), i thought it was a typo :p
 

yngvi

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I read 'Shield' as a teenager and remember it as a fine novel. It involved a person on contemporary earth finding an alien? artifact which was a personal force-field generator as I recall.

I still think 'Three Hearts and Three Lions' is a better read than 'The Broken Sword' if you like stuff which is a bit more personal and romantic (which I do).

Slightly off the subject, what fantasy novels did Jack Vance write? (I've read quite a lot of his stuff but I wouldn't quite class any of it as fantasy).
 

Ian Whates

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Slightly off the subject, what fantasy novels did Jack Vance write? (I've read quite a lot of his stuff but I wouldn't quite class any of it as fantasy).
His wonderful Lyonesse trilogy are the purist example, though the Dying Earth books also vere more towards fantasy than SF, and there are others.
 

Connavar

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Dying Earth is more fantasy than SF. The setting sure SF but its written like fantasy,a very weird fantasy world but still. Weird compared to other fantasy famous fantasy worlds.

I hope Poul Anderson SF stories are as strong as his fantasy. It seems like he is most rated for Broken Sword and co.
 

Ian Whates

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I hope Poul Anderson SF stories are as strong as his fantasy. It seems like he is most rated for Broken Sword and co.
Certainly The Broken Sword is highly rated, but I think Anderson was always considered an SF writer first and foremost. Tau Zero is one of the great classics of the genre, and the earlier Brain Wave is still thought of in much the same light, not to mention shorter fiction such as the Hugo and Nebula winning "The Queen of Air and Darkness".

He produced a number of highly enjoyable SF romps such as Shield, High Crusade (medieval knights capture an alien space ship and go on to conquer the galaxy), The Makeshift Rocket (a space ship powered by beer) etc, but, most tellingly of all, was responsible for a sprawling future history charting the rise and fall of the Technic League. This encompasses the military space opera of the numerous Dominic Flandry books and the often ingenious and always entertaining David Falkayn/Nicholas van Rijn stories. Check out Satan's World some time.

Yes, Anderson deserves to be remembered for The Broken Sword etc (not forgetting the zany Shakespearean madness of A Midsummer Tempest), but don't rule out his SF, as this is where he really shone.
 

ghostofcorwin

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Poul Anderson (1926 - 2001) was one of the Golden Age greats. He was a prolific writer, and based on the fact the few novels and stories I've read are from various stages of his career, he was probably pretty consistent too. He was equally adept at hard sf, fantasy and a blend of the two. Standout works include Brainwave, Tau Zero and the Ensign Flandry series.

Anderson was a writer who, well into the 90s, could write SF the 'way it used to be' - the broad canvas, the interstellar adventure, the romance of space, and most of all that 'sense of wonder' - but still make it relevant, up-to-date and original.

Here's a bibliography: Poul Anderson

And an interview: Locus: Poul Anderson interview
Is it just me or does Poul Anderson look like a woman in that picture? (I won't mention the ugly plaid shirt or the pocket pen protector or the fanny pack :eek:). Perhaps it was just a case of low testosterone that comes with age...very low testosterone.... :D
 

Tansy

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I did actually read a Sf book this week and really enjoyed it Con :)

It wasn't Poul though - I might try some of his sf depending on the ratio of science to fiction. I prefer my sf science lite :)
 

Fried Egg

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Just finished The Broken Sword - only work of his I have read and well in that kind of fantasy for me Vance wins

I was entertaining but a bit removed from the plot, felt like more of a synopsis than an in depth tale
...
I enjoyed his use of language I just like my fantasy a lil more plot heavy :)
I don't think it lacks plot but you're not the first person I've heard who's said they felt distanced from the story by the writing style. One person I know remarked that it's as if the story is told at you rather than to you. I didn't feel that myself but I guess it's because, unlike much modern fantasy, he doesn't attempt to make you empaphise with any of the characters or make you feel that you are personally involved with the story.

For me though this is a strength and not a weakness. No need to pad the story to tripple it's length with pages of character development. Just concentrated on the story and prose.
 

Tansy

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It felt it was more a story told round a fire by the tribe elder to the children

to teach them of the old lore if you know what I mean, it wasn't an in your face gritty rendition, in fact part of the tale is totally omitted as he says it isn't part of the main thread, when skafloc comes back with the sidhe sea king from the ice land once the sword is reforged. just feels like a tale you would hear told in a larger tale, like a main character listening to a old folklore tale told by a wise old man by the fire on a ill omened night who later finds out it wasn;t just a fairy tale.

if this makes any sense lol

A lot happened but not in any great detail - it seemed we got the story arc not the actual story
 

j d worthington

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Tansy -- that's a fairly good summation of the technique Poul was using in that piece; especially as he was aiming for a blending of the modern novel and the original Icelandic sagas which so often inspired his work (and of which, in fact, he did some translations here and there....)

I personally didn't find it made me feel overly distanced, or that I was missing anything in the book; to me it gave a feeling of leanness and immediacy... and as for the characters... well, he did a very good job of capturing the bleakness of much of the worldview of the time; something you can easily see if you look at the poetry of the period....
 
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