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Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=784
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Author:  RobertWFranson [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

Any science fiction list is bound to be personal, but at least it should show evidence that the list-maker has read a lot of SF and has some insight into how it works and why people like it.

Certainly, general literature suffers from the same anti-quality list-makers as does science fiction; more so, even. Plot is a no-no, especially in anything written after World War One. Characters are deprecated, unless the utter vacuity of plot and theme turns them into helpless whorls of fate. Good style is not to include clarity, although archness and coarseness are plusses.

Author:  sakeneko [ Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

I've got a somewhat less jaundiced view of literary fiction than Robert does, apparently, but he's right about entirely too much of it in the 20th century. However, the century that produced so much plotless crap with miserable loosers as alleged protagonists and little to recommend it but snark -- also produced "The Great Gatsby", "The Master and Margarita", "The Grapes of Wrath", "Dr. Zhivago", "100 Years of Solitude", "Eva Luna", and so much other stuff that I think is as good as any literature ever written. And that's without even getting to the "merely good", and while excluding anything that isn't considered literary by most Lit types.

IMHO Theodore Sturgeon was right -- at least 90% of everything is crap. The thing is, time has winnowed out most of the smelly stuff from earlier centuries. When it comes to our lifetimes or periods of time within living memory, we're still wading through it or (hopefully) breaking out the shovels and cleaning up the mess. <wry grin>

Author:  RobertWFranson [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

Well, sure, there's plenty of great Twentieth Century literature. The difficulty with a lot of these lists is that they're subject to Sturgeon's Law themselves. That is, nine out of their Top Ten are likely to be random / miscellaneous choices as to quality: thus Sturgeon;s List Corollary (as I 'll call it) suggests that nine out of ten lists are worthless. (Percentages are approximate.)

Author:  sakeneko [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

Couldn't agree more. Mine, of course, is the tenth of those. Or will be if I ever get around to writing it. ;)

Author:  JamesGifford [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

Well, my lists go up to eleven.

Author:  RobertWFranson [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

sakeneko wrote:
Couldn't agree more. Mine, of course, is the tenth of those. Or will be if I ever get around to writing it. ;)
I'll leave a slot open on my lists.

Author:  RobertWFranson [ Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

JamesGifford wrote:
Well, my lists go up to eleven.
Sounds like a stack overflow
problem to me. For the non-programmers, that means fatal error, and one that can be annoyingly late to show up (post-testing).

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