February 14th, 2011, 02:03 PM
Speaker for the Dead was a huge bestseller, etc., and I liked it better than Ender's Game. I do think that these days, though, it tends to get overlooked because it's not a military novel, like Ender's Game was, and because the third novel in that series was a bit of a mess.
The Gap Cycle was also a big bestselling series in the 1990's, and still sells, but again, these days I think Donaldson is better known for his Thomas Covenant fantasy series as he started it up again.
I would bring up Brother Termite by Patricia Anthony and her work in general. Brother Termite was very well received when it came out and she got a Clarke nomination for Happy Policeman, but she's a bit overlooked.
Also, Jim Crace's novel The Pesthouse, a post-apocalypse disease based SF story that came out around the same time as McCarthy's The Road, and so got partly overlooked, though it was decently reviewed.
And I also think that Maureen McHugh doesn't get enough attention. She does get nominated and has won awards, so she's not ignored, but her books really are beautifully written and interesting, with unusual, multicultural environments and her fame should be greater, I think. China Mountain Zhang, Half the Day is Night, Mission Child and Nekropolis are all great, distinctive books.
February 14th, 2011, 02:07 PM
Can I suggest Julian May The Many Coloured Land etc also.
have I already done that somewhere? I think I did..
Last edited by pox; February 14th, 2011 at 02:17 PM.
February 14th, 2011, 02:09 PM
trolling > dissertation
Agree. My Ender's Game-loving friends tend to despise Speaker for the Dead because they think it was wussy compared to the testosterone fantasy of Ender's Game.
Originally Posted by KatG
As for myself, I dislike both...Ender's Game disturbed me with seeming glorification of vengeful violence, and Speaker for the Dead unnerved me with its multiplicity of incestuous or quasi-incestuous relationships...
February 14th, 2011, 02:25 PM
Originally Posted by nquixote
February 14th, 2011, 08:14 PM
Can you recommend some things by him to start with?
Originally Posted by owlcroft
Everything on your list I have read I found excellent, so I am going to try to pick most of the rest up, but in this case just not sure what to start with by this author to try.
February 14th, 2011, 10:11 PM
Live Long & Suffer
I preferred Ender's Game. It was interesting from a psychological perspective in relation to child rearing/indoctrination. The politics of a government under pressure was also an interesting background. Then there was Peter and Valentine on the Net.
Originally Posted by KatG
Speaker for the Dead was less interesting but tolerable. The piggies were curious aliens but it is something that is just interesting while you are reading it and not anything to think about in relation to reality afterward.
February 14th, 2011, 10:53 PM
I have always been a big fan of the Amis men's books. That is, Kingsley Amis' The Alteration, an alternate history set in England where the Roman Catholic Churchnever lost sway, and his son Martin Amis' Time's Arrow, about the conscience of Nazi war criminal living it's life backward through time, observing first his host's attempts to reconcile his horrible past, then the war crimes, and finally his early life. Both are fantastic books, expecially Amis the younger's.
Tim Powers' Anubis Gates ia another. That one seems to get some cred now as an earlyish steampunk, but I remember when nobody had ever heard of it.
Im a great fan of the short fiction of Mark Clifton, even though it was all done as semi-pandering to Campbell during the worst of his psi-powers and para-science excesses.
The Black Cloud, by Fred Hoyle is another I love. Dry, and completely lacking in one area it should have paid attention (linguistics) but interesting nonetheless.
Most of Spinrad's production during the 60's and 70's.
Just about every word written by Octavia Butler. Despite the fact that she is dead, I think she is about to be "discovererd" by the masses.
Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee, Lot & Lot's Daughter, and Greener than you Think. Brilliant satier by a truly forgotten master.
James Gunn's The Listeners. This one did Sagan before Sagan was Sagan.
February 15th, 2011, 02:28 AM
I'd recommend The Walking Shadow. It's the only book by Brian Stableford that I've read, but I loved it and I think it is underservedly underrated.
Originally Posted by Woofdog2
February 15th, 2011, 03:12 AM
Webmaster, Great SF&F
How to choose?
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."
Last edited by owlcroft; February 15th, 2011 at 08:18 PM.
Reason: fix typo
February 15th, 2011, 02:59 PM
The Dark Side Of The Sun (the one he wrote before Strata) was quite enjoyable as well.
Originally Posted by owlcroft
February 15th, 2011, 03:40 PM
yeah, they're both really good!
February 15th, 2011, 10:12 PM
Liege Killer by Christopher Hinz. Did not find the sequels anywhere near as good, but this first book in the series was awesome.
February 17th, 2011, 07:04 PM
I enjoyed The Anubis Gate. Fans of time travel will find the book amusing.
Originally Posted by Omphalos
February 25th, 2011, 10:25 PM
My top underrated books are
1. Grant Callin
- A Lion on Tharthee
Brilliant two part series (1st book stands alone) that I came across. In the first book, in a background of political distrust between Earth an the spacers in our solar system alien artifacts are found in near Saturn. Both Earth and the Spacers rush to find them.
In the second book, people from our solar system travel to the home world of the aliens. One of the best alien cultures I have ever found.
Sadly, I can't seem to find more books by Callin.
2. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card
While I loved Enders Game and enjoyed many other of Card's books, Pastwatch is scary good. Couldn't put it down. Had the same effect on a friend I lent it to.
February 27th, 2011, 04:49 AM
Webmaster, Great SF&F
Staircase thoughts . . . .
It occurs to me that there are not a few sites designed to answer such questions:
- An initial list from M. John Harrison, plus ensuing reader suggestions from (remarkably knowledgeable readers); of immense value in suggesting little-known possibilities (I have yet to check out the several I am unacquainted with, but reckon most will end up here). See also his brief additive follow-up.
- The lists maintained by Jeff VanderMeer. The lists vary somewhat from time to time, but here is his comprehensive list as of 16 May 2006--once at the linked page, scroll down to the blog entry for Tuesday, May 16, 2006. As VanderMeer himself says, "There's stuff on this list that stinks up the place" (note carefully that the choices are by no means all his), but it's a valuable starting point for further research.
- The Curiosities series at The SF Site (to which, in full disclosure, I am one of the contributors).
- The Scriptorium, "featuring writers who have pushed the edges of their medium, combining literary talent with a sense of experimentation to produce some remarkable works of modern literature." This is a subdivision of the wonderful Modern Word literature site.
- The Complete Review, "A Literary Saloon and Site of Review", which has a Science Fiction and Fantasy sub-list. Their chief defect is that they are rather too generous in their ratings; for example: a novel of which they write "the writing is amateurish and formulaic, and the characterization often ridiculous" receives a B- grade. But their reviews are revealing, and they include an excellent cross-section of other critical opinions.
- My own Overlooked Gems of Science Fiction & Fantasy page.