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The science fiction thread

Discussion in 'GMD Social Forum' started by Cythraul, Apr 5, 2020.

  1. challenge_everything

    challenge_everything Active Member

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    I had no idea this was a movie! The book is by the Strugatsky brothers, who were also the original authors of Roadside Picnic, on which Tarkovsky based Stalker.
     
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  2. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Have you read any of VanderMeer's work? I know you've seen Annihilation, but the Southern Reach trilogy actually gets weirder the further you get into it.

    But if you want some seriously transporting, surreal sci-fi, check out his novel Borne. It's set in an indeterminate time/place (maybe another planet) in which an anonymous "company" has ecologically devastated the environment, and the characters have to survive in a landscape replete with biologically mutated lifeforms. The main character finds a blob of life that can assume various forms, and takes it into her care. It's a really weird book, but definitely checks the "otherworldly" box. His most recent book, Dead Astronauts, is set in the same universe; I'm about sixty pages in, and it's less accessible than Borne.

    In all his works, the prose assumes a surreal distance from the narrative world. So, you get a vague sense of something happening or whatever has happened, with occasional spurts of specificity. It creates a very unnerving atmosphere for readers, I think.

    I'd also recommend China Miéville's Embassytown. Otherworldly story, fascinating narrative, kinda tough read--but excellent, I thought.
     
  3. challenge_everything

    challenge_everything Active Member

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    Have you read Hyperion by Dan Simmons?
     
  4. challenge_everything

    challenge_everything Active Member

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    Dune movie set for November release, assuming cinemas are open
     
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  5. CiG

    CiG Harbinger of Metal

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    Hopefully they stream it early if the sitch is still a mess by then. Fingers crossed it doesn't suck balls.
     
  6. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    So good. It's really too bad that all his follow-up projects seem to be falling through the cracks. Not sure if he's difficult to work with (wouldn't surprise me), or if his reach is exceeding his financial grasp (also wouldn't surprise me--sounds like this is what happened with A Topiary).

    Glad to see someone else mention this, I thought it was a really cool low-budget film.
     
  7. challenge_everything

    challenge_everything Active Member

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    Recently watched What Happened to Monday.

    Pretty cool premise - world has adopted a one child policy and unauthorised siblings are cryogenically frozen until population reduces. Our protagonists are identical septuplets (played by Noomi Rapace) each named for a day of the week, and share a single public identity and career, with each sibling only allowed outside the house on her allotted day of the week when she assumes the shared persona of Karen.

    There was a lot of potential here in issues like morality of population control and the tension between the siblings about the direction of Karen's life. Unfortunately it devolves quite quickly into standard futuristic thriller fare with unnecessarily over the top violence for its style.
     
  8. Vegard Pompey

    Vegard Pompey ALLY TO GOOD, NIGHTMARE TO YOU

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    I just finished this. As soon as I realized I was reading a telepathic espionage thriller, I was inexorably in love. I also thought it felt incredibly fresh, because it hasn't been absorbed into the pop culture subconsciousness the way that many sci-fi classics have. At least I personally am familiar with neither adaptations of the novel nor works that wear a Ubik influence on their sleeve. I haven't begun to unpack everything that happened in it but I'm sure this novel will live on in cold-pac in my head.
     
  9. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Glad you enjoyed it!

    It is really fresh, I agree--and that's despite being published in 1969! The entire narrative is organically strange; there are so many twisted and unexpected elements, but they don't feel forced. It just feels like Dick's paranoid schizo brain on overdrive. I had to re-read certain sections twice to make sure I understood what was going on (especially the shit with Runciter's wife!).

    Ubik is also a favorite among Dick scholars. The more widely-known books tend to be Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream, along with the adapted short stories: "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" (Total Recall), "Minority Report" (epon.), "Second Variety" (Screamers), etc. But Ubik is a favorite despite its notorious unfilmability.

    There's something really fascinating going on with objects in the book too--partly due to whatever entropic phenomenon is taking place, but due to the way use value changes for objects (this actually begins to happen even before the characters cascade through time, if I recall). Joe Chip contemplates using a utensil from his kitchen, but comments on it in a weird way, and other objects undergo weird changes. The novel also uses this phenomenon to explore the interior dynamics of subjectivity, and the intersections between knowledge of an object and the subject as an object. It's actually a pretty unsettling book at its philosophical core.
     
  10. Blind Guardian

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    I've read Neuromancer three times along with almost all other Gibson novels, so I guess I'm a big fan of his. I can still understand why some of you find him off-putting and hard to get into, as sometimes he tries waaay too hard with the hip hardboiled style of prose. Being descriptive and artistic is fine, but it has to be at the right time on the right topics. If you stuff every page with pointless details it can become pretty grating to read. Here's a location with no importance to the rest of the story:

    He can even spend half a page going over the minutiae of making a cup of coffe.


    Neal Stephenson is probably my favourite sci fi writer, anyone a fan?
     
  11. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    I've only read Snow Crash and Anathem, but both are great. Cryptonomicon is on my shelf, but I'm not sure when I'll get around to it.
     
  12. challenge_everything

    challenge_everything Active Member

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    Love Snow Crash. Only other one I've read is Diamond Age which had some fascinating world building based on different applications of nanotech but was a bit all over the place.
     
  13. Blind Guardian

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    You're in for a treat when you get around to it, Cryptonomicon is awesome. That book predates digital currencies but gets so much right. Though, I would say that one is more speculative fiction / alt history than sci fi.

    Anathem is the only one I haven't read yet besides The Big U. I've heard it's really good.

    Yeah, I think that's both the upside and the downside with Stephenson. He has a very deep imagination but he could use someone to filter him sometimes. If you want something more focused and low key you might want to read Interface, which he co-wrote with his uncle.
     
  14. spikes77

    spikes77 Member

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    Agreed with most of the book recommendations in the thread (Chiang, Gibson, Embassytown etc.) The altered carbon graphic novel is good if you like the books, as well as the blade runner 2019 comic series (so far). Some I have not seen mentioned:

    Rapture of the Nerds by Doctorow/Stross (dense, and heavily techy in places--but really fun)

    Riverworld series by Farmer (Especially the first 3 books) sci-fi from the 70's where all of humanity is reborn in a simulation type earth with historical figures such as richard burton, mark twain, a viking king, herman goring, king john, the author himself, as some of the main characters --There was actually a tv adaptation on scifi channel in 2010, looked terrible.

    Surprised this hasn't been mentioned but the Transmetropolitan comics by Warren Ellis--Spider fuckin jerusalem---a 23rd century hunter s thompson type journalist rooting out corruption by any means necessary!

    Ein, check your pm's please.
     
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  15. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Just started reading this:

    [​IMG]

    Any other Kim Stanley fans? I've only read Forty Signs of Rain, which I liked--but it was really slow (which I think was the point). The Mars trilogy is probably his best known work. He's a pretty strong anti-capitalist, but his futures feel really palpable.
     
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  16. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Giving this a go, even though I've seen The Expanse. Over 100 pages in, and it's really fucking good. I know the basic twists and turns of the plot, but it's like reliving the excitement of the series over again--this time with more detail.

    [​IMG]

    Haven't finished the Robinson yet, but it's not the first I've had two paperweights going at the same time. :cool:
     
  17. challenge_everything

    challenge_everything Active Member

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    Watched Coherence the other day. Great story, although the director did his best to fuck it up with the shaky camera, plus not really knowing how to build suspense.
     
  18. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Yeah, Coherence was a decent little low-budget flick. It's part of a growing tradition of low-budget sf films that try to emulate the aesthetic and critical success of Primer. Nothing has come close to that though, in my opinion.

    [​IMG]
     

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