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  1. #91
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    Wish we had more.

    Regrettably, those four books--Circus, City, Magician, Ghosts--seem to comprise Finney's entire fiction output, or at least his entire fantastic-fiction output.

    He's hard to find information on, since it gets drowned in the flood of stuff about his namesake, the semi-famous preacher. He was mostly a newspapaper man his whole life long.

  2. #92
    Quote Originally Posted by JunkMonkey View Post
    I remember vividly the thrill I got discovering a collection of Finney's short stories called The Ghosts of Manacle in a car boot sale in Inverness. This was pre-internet days when getting your hands on long out of print, obscure American paperbacks in the middle of Scotland was not the easy Amazon/abebooks/eBay mouseclick away that it is today. I sort of miss that.
    I feel nostalgic about that time also but in truth it was hell. Just getting a complete list of a given author's books was a challenge, since each paperback would usually only have other stuff by that author from the same publisher. I literally waited years to find certain key volumes, and overpaid for a few at conventions. I read some series out of order simply because it wasn't possible to get a certain earlier volume. When traveling to other towns/cities I would check the yellow pages for used book stores, and hope that they weren't the type that was 75% harlequin romances (seemed to have been about half the pre-internet used book store volume). (edit - remember to include actually FINDING the bookstore. larger cities presented challenges, and smaller towns would not have maps and would present different challenges.)

    There certainly was a sense of adventure/discovery/etc. involved, but given the choice of that or 1 click for complete author bibliography, and 1 more click per book to buy his entire list at an avg price of 4-5 bucks each (amazon used), I know which one I prefer.
    Last edited by Woofdog2; May 20th, 2011 at 10:14 AM.

  3. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by owlcroft View Post
    There are several pages on the site listing selected books of a certain kind--overlooked, religious, for children, light-hearted--that are subjective lists and, more to the point, very hard to keep current. For lists posted here, I usually go to my master list of books and pick and choose by eye ad hoc.

    That being the way of it, my opinion on what is "overlooked" will likely vary from day to day, and may also depend on who I think the readership is. I set out once to code the master-list PHP with symbols that would allow auto-extraction of the specialty lists, but--as with so much I undertake nowadays--I ran out of enthusiasm and energy before finishing.
    Regarding long out-of-print material, do you have a general opinion on the quality of any publishers vs. any others, if one were to go that route in looking at authors not otherwise familiar to one? The target in this case is the first decade or so of Donald Wolheim's label, as I have found that, of the authors I *am* familiar with off his list, one I have not liked at all, a few I have been pleasantly indifferent towards (that is good), and some are among my favorites.

    Motivation for this was looking at DAW's first 5 years or so and realizing I was NOT familiar with most names they published from that time frame.

  4. #94
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    Sorry.

    Regrettably, no, not offhand. I rarely look at who has published a given book.

  5. #95
    Registered Uber megaphage's Avatar
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    Looking at various historical lists of awards (Hugo, Nebula etc) I don't see mention of "The Seedling Stars" by Blish. I guess you could say it's short stories centred on a theme, but I found that book amazing when I read it some years ago.

    Also I remember an ultra pulpy book i picked up in the Cinema Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, called "One Against Time" by Astron Del Martia, which was delightful fun.

  6. #96
    Registered User JunkMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megaphage View Post

    Also I remember an ultra pulpy book i picked up in the Cinema Bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, called "One Against Time" by Astron Del Martia, which was delightful fun.

    From a quick Google, Astron Del Martia appears to be one of the many pseudonyms for the prolific king of the ultra pulps John Russel Fearn.

    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/f/john-russell-fearn/

    It's just added to my list of books to look out for. Thanks.

  7. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by owlcroft View Post
    Can you recommend some things by [Stableford] to start with?

    I initially wrote a good bit on this, but decided it was getting to be an extended version of "read everything", so pitched it. I'd instead say, just start at the beginning. His writing did change a bit over time, but his early work is at least as good as the later things. The early work is often somewhat bleak, arguably even grim; his later work is at least a touch lighter. (But he is not humorless--far from it; there are some entire books with a light touch, especially the one in the emortality series, Architects of Emortality, in which the protagonists--U.N. Police officers--have to work together with what amounts to a reincarnation of Oscar Wilde (oh, and the cops are Detective Sgt. Charlotte Holmes and Inspector Hal Watson).

    Stableford's protagonists, even in his "space opera" series, do not get out of their troubles with blazing DeLameters or by swinging Valerian war axes: that doesn't work in the real world, and Stableford's worlds are very, very real. His somewhat world-weary protagonists get along with common sense, some brains, and a dose of grit.

    That, I suppose, is the bottom line: all his characters, including the supporting cast, are very real "cut them and they bleed" people; none are stereotypes, all are three-dimensional. No one reading a Stableford book is ever likely to pronounce The Eight Deadly Words.1

    1. "I don't care what happens to these people."
    Coming back to this 9 months later, I have read nearly all of Stableford's non-horror output, and am very glad you recommended him. Enjoyed everything he wrote in the 1970's, am still on the Emortality books (have read 2), enjoyed the Asgard series and his warhammer stuff, but just haven't been able to get into his horror-type novels (have tried to read two, serpent's blood and the empire of fear, and I don't get far).

    More generally, your list has been a gold mine of enjoyable books I would never have found otherwise.

  8. #98
    Quote Originally Posted by Pronghorn View Post
    To bring (my part of) the discussion back towards the thread title, here is a very good book I have not noticed anyone discuss on these boards:

    John Varley, Steel Beach

    The best Heinlein novel Heinlein never wrote. (Indeed, the best Heinlein novel ever written.) Most of Heinlein's obsessions are there, including the solipsism, but Varley makes them part of the structure of the book, and works to resolve them, while Heinlein left them alone like undigested lumps at the heart of his later work.

    Also on my list of best (somewhat) recent SF: Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age; Vernor Vinge, A Fire upon the Deep.
    Would add The Golden Globe to the varley list. Had read he was going to do another Hildy (was that her name? been years now) but haven't seen it.

    To recap -

    John Varley - Steel Beach and The Golden Globe, also the trilogy Titan, Wizard, Demon, though they seem a bit superficial compared to the above 2.

  9. #99
    Varley's long awaited revisit to the eight worlds series would have been called "Iron Town Blues."

    I put the odds low that it will ever be published.

  10. #100
    Webmaster, Great SF&F owlcroft's Avatar
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    But there's tons to choose from.

    Coming back to this 9 months later, I have read nearly all of Stableford's non-horror output, and am very glad you recommended him. Enjoyed everything he wrote in the 1970's, am still on the Emortality books (have read 2), enjoyed the Asgard series and his warhammer stuff, but just haven't been able to get into his horror-type novels (have tried to read two, serpent's blood and the empire of fear, and I don't get far).
    I haven't done those two yet (have Empire on the to-read sheff, along with an uncountable number of others--events in what we laughingly refer to as "the real world" have supervened and my reading is months behind). You might want to try the "Lydyard" trilogy; it's quite grim in some ways, but--like most or all of his other horror-style books--is really sf at bottom, werewolves and all.

    In just the last two or three years, he has flooded the market with titles. I wonder if many of those aren't "trunk" books, but I intend to read them all in the fullness of time.

  11. #101
    Science-Fantasy Zealot symbolhunter's Avatar
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    I think William Tenn {Philip Klass} is very much under-rated. Of him the SF Encyclopedia says: he "became one of the genre's very few genuinely comic, genuinely incisive writers of short fiction, sharper and more mature than Fredric Brown and less self-indulgent than Robert Sheckley". Speaking for myself, I find he displays a satiric gift which disguises a basically dark outlook. Of Men and Monsters and A Lamp For Medusa run quite counter to the celebration of humanity espoused by J.W. Cambell.

    You can get all of Tenn's works in two excellent volumes: Here Comes Civilization and Immodest Proposals. They are very much worth having.

  12. #102
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    What a great thread! I've read Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars series and liked the story. Each novel is a progression from exploration, to terraforming and settlement to the aftermath of colonization.
    I also agree that Stephen Donaldson's Gap series was also a great underated series.
    Someone mentioned Brian Aldiss earlier. Years ago I read his Helliconia trilogy which never seems to get mentioned. This story about a very distant planet inhabited by alien and human-type entities. Discovered by a deep-space exploration team at the very end of it's tether Helliconia is the only earth-like inhabitable planet. What follows is some great and imaginative storytelling.
    I also remember an old volume of short stories by Harry Harrison called One Step from Earth about matter tranmission (sort of like the "Gates" in Dan Simmon's Hyperion series) which I read back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Another very good and underated read!

  13. #103
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    The Door Into Summer-- Heinlein

    Dr. Futurity - Dick

    Flow my tears the policeman said - Dick

  14. #104
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    These underrated threads often make me giggle, especially when people throw out recommendations for award winners (Kim Stanley Robinson, John Varley, Heinlein), Giants of the field (Heinlein agaom, possibly KSR, Philip K. Dick), and writers who have awards named after them and/or have tons of films based off their work (again, PKD for the last two).


    Granted, Varley doesn't get discussed much nowadays, but he was a big name in the genre at one point in time. I've only read The Golden Globe by him and really liked it.

    Was that enough of me talking out of both sides of my mouth?

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