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- View topic - Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
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Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers 
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Centennial Attendee
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Post Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
Someone has (grandiosely? foolishly?) composed a for people new to science fiction. Stranger In A Strange Land is the only Heinlein to make the list; someone suggested Starship Troopers in the comments.


Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:37 pm
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
Such lists please few, disappoint most, irritate almost everyone and provide no useful guide to the genre. They're often posted as a brainless blog-filler or by someone who was absolutely out of ideas for a column.

Any non-reader who plunges into a list is likely to hit as many books they dislike and consider reinforcing of what they dislike or misunderstand about sf as anything that will light them up. They either need to be very patient and accepting until they find the thread within the genre that appeals to them, or read books based on the considered advice of someone who knows both them and the sweep of sf.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:52 pm
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
Wouldn't it be nice if we had a version of Pandora for sci-fi?


Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:45 pm
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers


Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:04 pm
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
An idiosyncratic list, to say the least. I think friends and reasonable-length reviews are far better.

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Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:18 am
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
I read this list. Half the stuff on it is nothing I would suggest to a new SF reader. The other half is good, but missing too much. How could a basic syllabus for SF be missing.... The Moon is a Harsh Mistress? Dune/any mention of Frank Herbert? Any mention of Arthur C. Clarke? (No "Rendevous with Rama"?) :( Le Guin's "Left Hand of Darkness"? Any mention of Zenna Henderson/the "People"? Any mention of Manley Wade Wellman, Roger Zelazny, Harlan Ellison, Orson Scott Card (no "Ender's Game"?), Kim Stanley Robinson....

It's probably hubris to be utterly convinced that I could do a *much* better job than this. I'm also convinced that at least half the people here could as well.

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Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:51 pm
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers


Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:04 am
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
But ... but ... but ... it's the Science Fiction Universite. Didn't y'all take that into account? [/sarcasm]

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Sat Nov 06, 2010 7:55 am
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers

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Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:50 am
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Post Re: Syllabus and book list for new sci-fi readers
ROFL, Peter! Did you go to UC Berkeley, too? And take a literature class? From that professor? <VBEG>

I'm perfectly capable of putting together a syllabus and class for SF, would love to have the opportunity to teach such a class sometime. Mine would include fantasy as well as science fiction, of course. It would include a book originally written in a language other than English -- "The Neverending Story" by Michael Ende, IMHO the only fantasy writer who equals Tolkien in the 20th century. It would include "Starship Troopers", "Stranger in a Strange Land", "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", and "Time Enough for Love" at very minimum. It would include "Ender's Game", the Mars Trilogy, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", "Android's Dream" (Scalzi), and probably the first couple of Thieves World and Wild Card collections. It would not include Delaney's Dhalgren or any number of other books that I've never been able to finish, or finished only by forcing myself to slog through the literary muck.

It would doubtless expose me as a puerile reader who actually insists upon a decent plot, interesting and sympathetic characters, and entertainment value. <wry grin> No proper university literature department would *ever* let me in the door with it.

I expect a number of you could do the same, coming up with different lists of books except (of course) the large quantities of good Heinlein books, which would doubtless be the common factor. ;)

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Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:08 pm
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