Forgotten Classic Sci-Fi

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by starman03, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. starman03

    starman03 Registered User

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    Hello gang. I recently came across an old thread in the fantasy forum where members discussed good fantasy books that have undeservedly been forgotten. So I thought it might be useful if we did a similar sort of thing here. I know a lot of people on these forums are very widely read and have been reading the genre for 40 odd years.

    So, with this in mind, has anyone got any recommendations? For me, personally, I enjoy contemporary science fiction but I'm also interested in older works. I've read quite a few of the Sci-Fi Masterworks, and have been reading various older stories on my kindle. So if there are good neglected works by well known authors or authors who have simply been forgotten, then let me know:)

    By the way, I'm not imposing any strict criteria on what counts as 'classic'. I'm specifically thinking of works from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, just because I feel that publications from these times may have been forgotten. Basically, all I'm after is some good old sci-fi that deserves to be passed on to present fans :)
     
  2. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

    I just reread that because it was mentioned in a list on io9 of things people claimed to have read.

    I didn't remember the title, author or cover. But I had read it way back when. I even found the cover that I had seen back then.

    I think it should be better known than A Canticle for Leibowitz.

    psik
     
  3. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

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    I think Logan's Run, as a novel, fits into this category.

    Yeah, we had the film and the TV show decades ago, and a recent comic series based on... something (movie?), but the book itself is a pain in the butt to find at any sort of reasonable price. You'd have thought that a book like Logan's Run would still be in print.
     
  4. kged

    kged Gloriam Imperator

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    I hope no-one is sick of me recommending this book ~

    Wasp, by Eric Frank Russell. A brilliant, darkly comic novel set in a future war against an alien race, this book is just ripe with allusions to the paranoia and conformity of life during wartime. It's a scandal that no-one in Hollywood has thought of filming this in the last few years - it would have been a perfect response to "The War On Terror". Despite being from the 50s, it could have been written for our times.
     
  5. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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  6. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    There's a lot of old sf that's eminently avoidable, even ones by the really big name authors. But there are a plenty of gems. Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination is one. Also Rogue Moon by Algis Budrys. The Undercover Aliens by AE van vogt is one of my favourites, though I suspect not everyone will see its appeal. Some early Aldiss is worth a go - I especially like Equator. Brackett has been mentioned, and her planetary romances are definitely worth a go. CL Moore is also good. James Tiptree Jr wrote some excellent short fiction. From the 1970s, my favourite authors include DG Compton, Keith Roberts, Michael Coney and Richard Cowper. Joanna Russ' The Female Man is a definite classic. Marta Randall's Islands is quite good, and I liked Sally Miller Gearhart's The Wanderground. There's Le Guin, of course, though I suspect she doesn't need mentioning. Forgotten authors such as Mark Adlard, Barrington Bayley, Leonard Daventry, Edmund Cooper, DF Jones, Christopher Hodder-Williams, Rex Gordon and Arthur Sellings wrote some good novels. As did Doris Piserchia, Phyllis Gottlieb, Judith Moffett, Jo Clayton and Suzette Haden Elgin.
     
  7. starman03

    starman03 Registered User

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    Thank you all for your replies so far. There are some really good suggestions here and I have already added a few to my to-read list. As ian_sales suggested, there is a great deal of older sf that is "eminently avoidable", so it is good to have some guidance to steer me towards the good stuff :)
     
  8. MMerle

    MMerle Registered User

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    Mockingbird by Walter Tevis -- I'm ALWAYS recommending this book to people, but even a lot of SF fans haven't read it (despite it being re-published --finally--in the SF Masterworks series). It's a beautiful novel and Tevis's style is lovely: so unadorned and graceful.
     
  9. Hobbit

    Hobbit Administrator Staff Member

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    Wasp is due for a rerelease in the SF Masterworks in May 2013.

    [​IMG]

    The one I'm trying to save up for are the new Library of America SF from the 1950's.

    [​IMG]
    Some interesting choices. The nine novels included are:

    *Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
    *Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
    *Leigh Brackett, The Long Tomorrow
    *Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man
    *Robert A. Heinlein, Double Star
    *Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
    *James Blish, A Case of Conscience
    *Algis Budrys, Who?
    *Fritz Leiber, The Big Time

    Not all first rank: Heinlein's done better (and worse!) but it's not a bad selection at all.
     
  10. Tommaths

    Tommaths New Member

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    A Voyage for Arcturus by David Lindsay, published in 1920.

    I am to propose a new title for my University's publishing house to produce. I was considering a new edition of David Lindsay's seminal scifi novel, 'A Voyage to Arcturus' (a forgotten classic!) I'm conducting some research to inform future decisions. If you could fill in this survey, it would be greatly appreciated. The survey is anonymous and solely for academic purposes. Thank you very much!
    p.s. you don't have to have read the book to complete the survey :)

    http://obsurvey.com/S2.aspx?id=d5a29a38-5817-451e-a24e-bdd356556b6a
     
  11. ian_sales

    ian_sales Registered User

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    A Voyage to Arcturus was published in the Fantasy Masterworks series several years ago, so it's not that forgotten a book.
     
  12. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/32256/32256-h/32256-h.htm

    Why read science fiction? What does it have to say?

    *Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
    *Leigh Brackett, The Long Tomorrow

    I consider The Space Merchants to be the most socially prophetic SF ever done. Look at the American economy today. What will going passed peak oil do along with global warming.

    Leigh Brackett never explained why the war happened but there were only 3 billion people on the planet back then and no peak oil. So The Long Tomorrow could be prophetic and there are thousands of more nukes now with more precise delivery systems.

    psik
     
  13. Ropie

    Ropie Member of the Month™

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    Michaela Roessner - Vanishing Point
    Barrington Bayley - Soul of a Robot
    Philip Jose Farmer - The Unreasoning Mask
    Bob Shaw - A Wreath of Stars

    :^)
     
  14. Pennarin

    Pennarin Registered User

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    Eight Keys to Eden (1960) by Mark Clifton was a short and fun read. Next, The Green Planet (1960) by J. Hunter Holly
     
  15. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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  16. ebusinesstutor

    ebusinesstutor Star Gawker

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    Another good Eric Frank Russell one is Sinister Barrier. "Why are the greatest scientists in the world running and screaming in terror from something that no one else can see? And why did all of them paint themselves with Iodine, and take mescal, and methylene blue? Gave me the creeps when I read it as a teenager.
     
  17. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    There are lots of other choices.

    I'm late arriving in this thread, but as to a reprint of Arcturus, as has been noted it is not in urgent need of one.

    A few other ideas might start with Lindsay's even less-known works, which include:

    • The Haunted Woman
      [*]Sphinx
      [*]The Violet Apple
      [*]Devil's Tor
      [*]The Witch
    While Lindsay is often mocked for his supposedly turgid prose, there are some thoughtful reviews around that suggest that at least a couple of those (Haunted Woman, Violet Apple) have some imaginative merit.

    Then, the collected works of Robert Aickman are in need of reprinting (though many of them are available in a number of disparate collections, the complete works collected are very rare and expensive, hundreds of dollars, and he is a writer of a stature deserving a collected set, though they make two volumes, which might be a problem).

    Then there's Douglas Jerrold: in his day, he, Dickens, and Thackery were a triumvirate in the mind of the British literary public, but his star has (unwarrantedly) dimmed while those of the other two have not. To choose from, there are:

    • Whimsical Tales of Douglas Jerrold
      [*]A Man Made of Money
      [*]The Chronicles of Clovernook
    Another thought is Leonora Carrington; other than The Hearing Trumpet (itself little known), her works seem scarce and expensive today.

    If, as I hope, you are open to foreign writers (in English), Leena Krohn's work could use some attention:

    • Tainaron: Mail From Another City
      [*]Dona Quixote and Other Writings
      [Dona Quixote and Other Citizens plus Gold of Ophir]
    Also, while i don't know how rare (or common) their works are, but the two Powys brothers, John Cowper Powys (with his half-dozen "Wessex" novels) and T. F. Powys (Mr Weston's Good Wine and a few more) deserve some consideration; besides all else, both are said to be superb stylists.

    And last but very far from least, that amazing oddity, Maurice Richardson's Exploits of Engelbrecht, urgently needs reprinting.

    Oops, I said "last" but I forgot Vincent Starrett's Seaports in the Moon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  18. gljones

    gljones Registered User

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    How about "Inherit the Stars" by James Hogan. Loved that book, the follow up sequels were pretty good to.
     
  19. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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  20. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    I never knew Clarke said this:

    “The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.” This may sound like the pronouncement of some bong-smoking anarchist, but it was actually Arthur C. Clarke.
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

    I wonder when?

    psik