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Messages - Vinxlady

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Discuss books / Re: Why no YA in science fiction?
« on: May 01, 2012, 08:54:50 AM »
I've been pondering this for most of the day, with no definite answer springing to mind. I think that when I wrote the post about the Hunger Games, I was considering it as mild science fiction because you could read for a good while without realising that it was a science fiction book. So my thinking has been going in that direction - how long would it take a non-science fiction reader to realise that they were reading a science fiction book?

If it's set on a space station or off-world colony or spaceship the game is up straight away so on this basis I'd put people like Iain M Banks and Peter F Hamilton into the  hardcore category. I think I'd like to add that some serious science or basis in scientific fact should be used for books to fall into the hardcore category. I like to be able to go and look things up and say 'oh, this is what that technology might develop from' (read Asimov's original Foundation trilogy and then Philip Ball's Critical Mass to get an idea of what I mean).

With Pern novels, that you mentioned in another thread, I was convinced I was reading fantasy for a long time, and by a long time I think probably more than one or two books. These are books about dragons, they can't be science fiction, must be fantasy. Fools the casual reader pretty easily and it's only once you finally get to the computer parts of the story that you realise it's been science fiction all along.

Then perhaps you go to read The Man in the High Castle and could be convinced this is a history book, it's just speculating on what might have happened had real events turned out differently. That's not science fiction surely, just speculative fiction, and isn't all fiction speculative?

Taking this a step further, Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver won the Arthur C Clarke award, which recognises outstanding science fiction, and that definitely feels like a historical novel. Stephenson apparently argues that its science fiction because it's fiction about science, but I'd certainly class this as mild science fiction. I could probably give it to my Nan to read and she wouldn't notice that I'd tricked her into reading a science fiction book. To be fair, I didn't feel like I was reading a science fiction book either and found it a bit hard-going (Anathem on the other hand I loved from beginning to end).

So, to try and reach a conclusion. I think that hard science fiction needs to have a strong basis in real science and is immediately recognisable as being a science fiction book. Mild science fiction may have a science fiction setting but it is either not immediately obvious or other genres have a strong role in the book so that it's not immediately apparent that the story is science fiction.

I'm sure that other people would consider things differently, but that's how I consider it, and certainly the way my thoughts were heading when I posted that the Hunger Games was mild science fiction.


This has me slightly torn. On the one hand it would be great to see more recognition of science fiction (and fantasy) films, especially with so many of the big Hollywood films these days covering that genre. Star Trek, Avengers, Avatar, Prometheus to name but a few.

But, and this is a big, capital-letters all round kind of BUT... why should science fiction have to have it's own special category? Does this not immediately demean it and say yeah, scifi is less than other genres so will give it a separate category to make it feel good. Science fiction is every bit as good as the other films and it shouldn't need to have a special category made for it just so that occasionally it has a chance of winning a few awards.

And that's before you start in on the arguments of what actually constitutes a science fiction film.

And then you get the other genres saying "well hey, why don't we have our own category too?"

The more I think about it, the more I think it's a bad idea. I think that Hollywood is just going to have to get used to science fiction and other seemingly 'lesser' genres and change the way its critics think and  review films.


Feedback / Re: Live in the UK and fancy yourself as a reviewer??
« on: April 30, 2012, 09:14:08 AM »
I'll work on my style and try to send you a couple of sample reviews soon if you're still looking for reviewers. I definitely qualify for the 'book addiction' part of this and love fantasy possibly even more than science fiction...


Well, I wanted to answer yes just because of the creationists line but I do think it has to depend on the story. If we're going future humanity then yes, evolution should be respected but could be taken in new directions. Evolution of course is all about selection pressures so if the story takes humanity to some crazy other-world colony where the selection pressures are vastly different then future evolution has some interesting paths to take. Likewise, if we're talking about aliens that evolved on some other planet with different selection pressures then evolution could have taken a very different route. However, I think a good science fiction writer would probably consider the environment of a world when considering how the creatures native to that planet were presented - whether you consider that they've evolved to be that way or were designed to live on that world by a particular deity/higher power/supreme being doesn't really make much difference.


Anne McCaffrey's Pern books are Science Fiction not fantasy.

I think it takes a few books before that becomes clear though. I love this series, it's one of the sets of books on my mother's impressive science fiction shelf and I started reading them probably early in my teens. It's sometimes hard to convince people it's science fiction and not fantasy!

Discuss books / Re: Why no YA in science fiction?
« on: February 29, 2012, 02:41:20 PM »
I read the Hunger Games trilogy last month (and thought it was excellent). I thought of this thread as it's definitely in the young adult category and definitely a scifi series. I believe that it's in the process of being made into a film and could do great things for getting teenagers into the genre. Ok, so it's pretty mild scifi, future earth stuff with no spaceships or aliens to think of, and it's definitely a character-based story, but still, it's scifi.

I also remember when I was a teenager that the Point series of books (i.e. point horror, point romance etc.) ran a Point SF series and one book in particular that stands out was Obernewtyn by Isabelle Carmody. I never did manage to find the third book in that series but would still like to read it.


Discuss books / Re: Old Man's War - John Scalzi
« on: February 29, 2012, 02:36:24 PM »
I'll keep an eye out for it :-)


Discuss books / Re: Cross over
« on: February 29, 2012, 02:28:04 PM »
Have either of you read  The City and the City by China Mieville? That's a pretty good crossover novel, but this time merging a science fiction setting with a crime thriller. I've seen this on the crime shelves in my local library and I think that it could open a few eyes to a new genre if an unsuspecting crime lover picks it up. For me it's an interesting mix - you have the fully created world of a scifi novel and all the complexities of a twisting crime plot. I have a Jeff vanDerMeer one called Finch from the library at the moment and that looks to be a similar crime/fantasy crossover.

I'd agree that it's harder to write than  a very genre specific novel as you have two very different, and probably equally hard to please, audiences that your book could appeal to. However, in the same vein, this potentially opens up a good chunk of new readership for an author too. If you can get a couple of crime fans thinking that hey, this scifi lark isn't bad, then maybe they'll be willing to go out and try something they normally wouldn't have given a second glance.


Discuss books / Re: Any good non-medieval European style fantasy novels?
« on: February 29, 2012, 02:20:44 PM »
I remember enjoying Faerie Tale a lot when I read it, and most of the Charles De Lint books are worth a look - I most recently read Onion Girl, which was great.

I'm currently one book into the Soldier Son trilogy by Robin Hobb, and can't wait to get stuck into book 2. It's fantasy of course but if you were to parallel real world settings its most like a frontier tale, think settling the American West with indigenous cultures (other species here) and even some foreign plagues causing chaos a la smallpox. Maybe one to look at if you want fantasy away from the medieval setting. Robin Hobb in general is a great fantasy writer, and the Farseer trilogykept me up til the early hours when I read that.


Starfarer's Tavern / Re: Is there anybody out there?
« on: February 29, 2012, 02:14:10 PM »
Or we're all just too engrossed in the latest books...

Still here though!


Feedback / Re: Daisy sentient sentences
« on: January 16, 2012, 09:39:46 AM »
The silence speaks louder than the surrounding army.

(I'm not sure I've quite got the idea of this but I couldn't let you keep continuing your own story!)

Discuss books / Re: Beyond Armageddon by Anthony DeCosmo
« on: January 16, 2012, 09:28:43 AM »
Hi Andy,

I've not heard of this series before, but I'm always on the look out for new books and authors to try so I'll keep an eye out for this one.


Saying hello / Re: Hi
« on: July 13, 2011, 02:55:01 AM »
Welcome to the forums JamesRobert, it's always nice to see new faces around.

Why don't you let us know a bit more about your scifi/fantasy/horror interests? There are separate boards for books and tv/movies so head on over and start some discussions :-)


Saying hello / Re: Hi
« on: June 30, 2011, 02:31:29 AM »
Hi Jordan,

welcome to the forums :-)

Why not head over and start a thread about something you like?

Look forward to seeing you around!


Discuss SFcrowsnest articles / Re: The Raven
« on: June 23, 2011, 04:58:09 AM »
Hey Nickkhun23,

There's a forum called 'saying hello' over in the general section of these forums. Why not head on over and introduce yourself?

Hope to see you around here more in the future :-)


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