From Way, Way Back in Your Reading Life

Vertigo

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From earlier in the thread I can see your point, Extollager, about suspecting more dissatisfaction from fantasy in so far as I think fantasy has changed more that SF over the years. For example all those sword and sorcery books feel a bit passé nowadays. However SF has changed a lot too and there is a lot of pulp SF written back in the mid C20th that I adored back then and I find frankly embarrassing now.

However here's a few re-reads I've done in the last 6-12 months:

The Dispossessed - Ursula K Le Guin - Just as good if not better on re-reading
H G Wells - the Time Machine - how could that ever disappoint?
The Chrysalids - John Wyndham - Again just as good. (I'll probably shortly be re-reading The Day of The Triffids - so I'll see how that one holds up).
The John Carter books - ERB - these I have found disappointing re-reads. Yes they are still great exciting adventures, but it is only on re-reading them (I've currently re-read the first three) that I've realised how sloppy the writing is from the perspective of consistency and plot holes. To be fair I'm not sure how much concentration I had back when I first read them! The REH Conan stories don't fair much better on re-reading!

So it seems I have just shown that the only re-reads I'm currently disappointed with are the fantasy ones :eek:. Though those are the sword and sorcery variety. Whereas last time I re-read the Lord of the Rings I did enjoy it just as much.
 

Extollager

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Giving Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword a third reading, last read 40 years ago in June 1974.
 

psikeyhackr

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I just reread On Basalisk Station by David Weber.

It is still not as good a Honor of the Queen but not as annoying as I remember it. But I have read a lot of Harrington stories since then. However it does seem that the character hasn't changed much in 20 years of her fictional life.

psik
 

Null_Zone

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I tend not to 're read books, I flight back to scenes but sit down and start at the beginning? Not for me. I have fond memories of books from the past and I am either really bad at my choices for 're reads or they don't hold up to memory.

There is just so much in the world.

Unless, say, Daniel Abraham has a new book out and I wish a refresher.
 

Wicke

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My ritual re-reads:

The Sword in the Stone, T. H. White, bought a paperback in the thrift shop at fifteen and fell in love with Merlin and Wart and their crazy adventures.

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, Bruce Coville - a middle school reader about a boy who adopts a dragon egg, but the darn thing grabbed me by the heart at fourteen and I never get tired of it.

Otherland, Tad Williams the whole thing, once a year or so. I basically neglect real life the swim in it for a bit.

The Stand - every three years or so. Ditto the neglect of real life obligations. Luckily my family's fairly understanding.
 

Extollager

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So it seems I have just shown that the only re-reads I'm currently disappointed with are the fantasy ones :eek:. Though those are the sword and sorcery variety. Whereas last time I re-read the Lord of the Rings I did enjoy it just as much.
Yeah -- I found Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword reasonably entertaining on my third reading -- 40 years after the previous one -- but I think it can be safely missed -- but on the other hand if anyone here hasn't yet read the same author's The Enemy Stars (magazine serial: We Have Fed Our Seas) -- I'll throw out a firm recommendation for it!
 

Extollager

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I have on hand for a few days an interlibrary loan copy of Damon Knight's 1965 sf anthology for the school market, Beyond Tomorrow. This feels like something from around ninth grade days. (For readers from outside the US, students in ninth grade would usually be 13 years old.) I have just reread, in this volume, Clifford D. Simak's famous short story "Desertion." I'll comment on it briefly at the Simak and Non-Conklin Anthologies threads.
 
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soulsinging

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I've read Jurassic Park probably 6-7 times. Love that book. I've read LOTR and Silmarillion 3 times apiece (though I'm oddly not a huge Tolkien fan) and the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends 4 times each I'd say. I'm actually rereading this one again now and curious to see how it holds up. I kind of want to re-read the old Star Wars/Thrawn trilogy for similar reasons.
 

soulsinging

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Yup, JP was early grade school, and the Dragonlance/Star Wars from way back in junior high. It's been a decade since I read any LOTR.
 

clovis-man

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Obviously way, way back means different things to different people. For me, it means not only Clarke and Heinlein, but also Leinster, Simak and Leiber (among others). However, more recently published tomes read in formative years can be tremendously relevant.
 

Bick

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I did this fairly recently (re-reading from way back...), it was To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Farmer. I loved it the second time. I'll have to work out the time gap. What is the required time gap to count in this thread? I guess I first read it in about 1984, so that would be 30 years ago. It's aged well (better than me).
 

Extollager

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What is the required time gap to count in this thread?
I was thinking in terms of time relative to how old a commenter was. If I were 25, a book I read ten years ago would have been from way, way back in my reading life. If I were 65, a book would need to be from perhaps 35 years or more ago. In each case, odds are good that one's experience of the book will be different than with the former reading. Often, that may be largely a matter of nostalgia in at least a loose and mild sense. The book might also prove to have more to offer than one perceived when one first read it. Other types of reflections too are possible.
 

psikeyhackr

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I was thinking in terms of time relative to how old a commenter was. If I were 25, a book I read ten years ago would have been from way, way back in my reading life. If I were 65, a book would need to be from perhaps 35 years or more ago.
This brings up that old saw about, "The Golden Age of science fiction is 12".

In my old age I think that the impact that SF or any books have on a person will relate to their age at the time. I read my first SF book at 9. It was really mind blowing for me. Star Surgeon does not seem nearly as impressive now, but how much did I know about anything at 9? And today it would be different anyway. How many 5 year-olds have not seen Star Wars already? Star Surgeon would probably be boring to today's 9 year-olds.

So the sci-fi environment is completely different from the 60s.

I can't understand how Harry Potter is better though.

psik
 

Extollager

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This brings up that old saw about, "The Golden Age of science fiction is 12".
OK, but remember that, for someone who's 65, something read at 35 could be "from way, way back." I'm not 65, but for me some sf books that kids hardly ever read, which I read as an adult many years ago, would be "from way, way back." If I wanted to reread, say, Disch's Camp Concentration, that would qualify; or Burgess's 1985, or Gormenghast, or Chesterton's Flying Inn, or Le Guin's The Dispossessed... all things I read more than 30 years ago and that I don't think would appeal to 12-year-olds.
 

Maximillian

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Ritual re-reads (up to 8 times re-read already)

Shogun - Clavell
Dune - Herbert
Sword of Shannara original trilogy (in my younger days)

Things that most affected me as a child (way way back, many of these in the 70s)
The Melniboneian Saga (Elric) -
The original Thieve's World trilogy R.L. Asprin editor.
Starship Troopers - Heinlein (every 15 yr old boy must read = )
 

Heather Myst

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I just re-read Jennifer Fallon's Second Sons trilogy. What I really love about this series is the hero who uses his brains instead of magic to solve his problems.
 

Extollager

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I think I'm about to reread one of these, last read in the 1970s or so: The Sword in the Stone (T. H. White -- does anyone read him any more?) or The Incomplete Enchanter by Pratt and de Camp. Have been thinking also about L. P. Davies (now there's someone you never hear about) and his Artificial Man, which I may have read as a real sf tyro in the late 1960s.
 

Dennis E. Taylor

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First full novel I ever read was The Lost Planet by Angus McVicar. There were two others, Return to the Lost Planet and Secret of the Lost Planet, but I never found them. That's what got me into SF. Never found the book again.

Another one from way back was Recall Not Earth by C C MacApp. Loved that book. Worst case of over-the-top exposition I've ever seen, though. He spent an entire chapter describing the basic premise of his inertialess drive and FTL.
 
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