What's Keeping Your Love of Old SF Alive?

  1. dannymcg

    dannymcg Raoul Mitgong won't help

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    Been looking through the SF Masterwork and, apart from two, I've got the lot, amongst heaps of others.
    I started reading Grass but lost interest about two thirds through it, back to the library and I never bought a copy.
    The other one is The Child Garden, never heard of it until I looked at the list.
    I wasn't aware of there being a set like that, my collection had just built up gradually. Does this mean I am 'Mr Average' in my reading tastes?
     
  2. Emphyricist

    Emphyricist Well-Known Member

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    I just looked at the list of SF and Fantasy Masterworks. What's interesting is that I haven't read the majority of either, but I have read and not liked two of the SF Masterworks. One is Babel 17, which I'll have to reread. At the time I read it, I was a strong opponent of Whorfianism and had difficulty divorcing my objections to the plot to my enjoyment of the book. I'll have to reread it.

    My objections to Bring the Jubilee are similar, a Confederate victory at Gettysburg leading to a Confederate conquest of California, a destitute US economy, and a Confederate conquest of every country in Latin America is just far too hard to swallow, and the plot isn't compelling enough to make me overlook it, or references to "the southern tip of Nevada," which was part of Arizona territory until 1866 and suggests the author had rather limited knowledge of the non-military history of the United States. It seemed like the whole point of the plot was just to have the "twist" at the end, and that works for short stories but not for novellas.

    That said, I've read about twenty of the SF Masterworks series, and most of the ones I liked I really liked. And several of the ones I haven't read I've been meaning to read for years, things like like Cities in Flight, Mission of Gravity, The Stars My Destination, and The Sirens of Titan.
     
  3. TL Walker

    TL Walker New Member

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    I agree. As a SF author myself, I strive to achieve the quality of old even as I strive to be original. Glad for this site to read about what fans think.
     
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  4. TL Walker

    TL Walker New Member

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    Wonderful points. I agree with them too.
     
  5. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    Welcome to Chrons.:)
     
  6. J-Sun

    J-Sun

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    Not unprecedented, in that Fritz Leiber's Hugo-winning epic disaster novel The Wanderer (1964), though shorter than Dune would be, was longer than most anything of modern genre significance that had come before, being 318 pages of small type. Doesn't sound like much now but it was when most books didn't crack 200. But, yeah, it and Dune (1965, 412pp) were very much the exceptions to the rule. Books gradually lengthened in the late 60s to 80s but maybe the late 80s (certainly the 90s) sounds about right to me, too, for the mega kakon really kicking in.
     
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  7. Tom Hering

    Tom Hering Rememberer

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    Last and First Men 355 pages (first edition hardcover, 1930).
    Earth Abides 373 pages (first edition hardcover, 1949).
    A Canticle for Leibowitz 320 pages (first edition hardcover, 1960).
     
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  8. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    Limbo by Bernard Wolfe . They just came out with a a Masterworks edition

    I would love to see them come out with a Masterworks edition of Stanton Coblentz's The Caverns Below.
     
  9. J-Sun

    J-Sun

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    I wouldn't count those first two as they were mainstream publications. I remembered Canticle being an awfully slow read but didn't remember it being literally that long. So, yep, that's an even earlier and longer precedent.
     
  10. Galactic Journey

    Galactic Journey The Traveler

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    Three main things:

    1) It's my job. I can't post links (yet), but some of you know what I do.

    2) Every woman character or author, every minority character or author, reminds me (and us) that marginalized voices were active and vital long before the "accepted" beginning of involvement. Recovering these lost voices, these hidden classics, is the most pleasurable archaeology.

    Not that many here haven't also discovered Henderson, MacLean, DeFord, early Russ and MacAffrey, Smith, Rice, Emshwiller, Wilhelm, and on and on and on... but say "classic" and people respond "Asimov (meh), Heinlein (mixed), Bester (bleah), and Clarke (good)." Of course, there's diversity even in that short list (Asimov a Jewish Atheist, Clarke was some flavor of gay). SF brings out those of us on the fringes, and back in the classic days, it was even more of a place apart. A refuge.

    3) There's plenty of good stuff! As a young friend of mine with a huge vinyl collection said, "It's not that I dislike new music -- I just haven't finished listening to all the old stuff!
     
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  11. AE35Unit

    AE35Unit ]==[]===O °

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    Possibly my disenchantment with modern SF which seems to exist under the delusion that everything has been done, and so we have to look inwards. We don't.
     
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  12. Connavar

    Connavar Well-Known Member

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    There is two answers to this question for me that i have often thought because SF is by far the most imporant field, genre in literature for me.

    1. So the avid genre reader in me thinks my mind, my world view is perfect for intellectual, serious SF that dominate my bookshelves, what i look for in the genre. I confess i find good, great old SF to be like classic literature there are many author in this fields history that wrote great novels in max 200 pages. Its like reading Camus, Hemingway, Achebe etc they dont need much space, filler pages to tell their story.

    2. The more important reason for me personaly i dont see the field as old SF or new SF, i just want to read important authors to me. It doesnt matter if the author im reading the book in 1950 like a Philip K Dick or Vance or Heinlein or Bester or CL Moore or Brackett. The classic SF great dictate what i read of new SF of course. If your fav wrote social sf like PKD or science fantasy like Vance thats what you will enjoy reading. The only minus of modern SF that i can take or leave is the way the publishing world has changed how big the books are. Unless you are telling epic space opera you dont need a SF novel that is 500+ pages.

    So whats keeping my love is simply the writers who wrote the stories and thanks to them there is no old SF feel, name to me because for example i have read 30+ PKD, 30+ Jack Vance books since 2010. Those are new SF reads to me !
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  13. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    And in the process the writer box themselves in.
     
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