SF Sunday: hmmm

Having been away on hols all week, I haven’t really thought this SF Sunday through. I did read at least halfway through my collected stories from James Tiptree Jr though (and caught up with the latest Torchwood eps), so does that count? I’m also rather impressed by this replica raygun, available from Rayguns ‘R’ Us (of course).

Luckily, other people have still been thinking and writing about SF while I have been slacking off. I missed a good thread on women and sci-fi a few weeks ago from Legal Eagle on Skepticlawyer, where a link in comments led me to this satirical gem from John C Wright on WHAT IS SCIENCE FICTION? The final, complete and exhaustive definition! (definitely worth reading in its entirety for the pulp-covers alone).

So, three questions:

  1. Anyone else read any good stuff online about SF lately?
  2. Which classic SF authors have you always meant to catch up on but never quite managed? (Or only just managed recently?)
  3. Which new(ish) SF authors have you recently discovered and would recommend?

I always used to use the Marion Zimmer Bradley edited anthologies, Sword and Sorceress, to discover new fantasy authors who wouldn’t annoy me by only writing plastic caricatures of women. Many of the authors whose short stories featured in those anthologies went on to publish full novels (and series of novels) that have become staples of the genre, although I am no longer quite as keen on fantasy as I used to be – I’m not discovering much fantasy that seems new any more (is there someone I really should be reading?). I never found a similar equivalent filtering anthology for hard SF, sadly. Is there such a thing?

Categories: fun & hobbies

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9 replies

  1. Hey if you find any good books let me know! I must say that I haven’t found many good fantasy books lately…
    Have you read Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy? I discovered them a few years back and love ‘em.

  2. More fantasy, but I am re-reading the second book of Robin Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy, and the issues she addresses (and attempts to address the complexity of) are striking me even moreso than the first reading: fat hatred and sizeism, colonialism and expansionism of nations, sexism and the suffocation of “correct behaviour/roles” for women and men.
    I’d really love to see Hobb write more books that aren’t about young male protagonists and set in ‘traditional’ style fantasy worlds, but I like that she does take on the ‘based on historical cultures’ style of gender-segregated societies and gently nudges her reader towards considering if these are really fair or even right.
    The Abhorsen books were ruined for me when I met Nix at a CBC lunch as a teenager and he was incredibly rude and acted as though it was a chore to be there.

  3. I keep telling myself I’m going to read the entire Foundation series by Asimov one of these days.
    I also have a brand-new copy of Olympos by Dan Simmons sitting next to me, awaiting the completion of the essay I’m procrastinating on.

  4. Blogs are the new anthologies, tigtog!
    Try this post:
    Jeff and Ann Vandermeer are anthologists (as well as authors) and their own books are well worth a look but also this post!
    And Feminist SF – The Blog! is a great resource:

  5. Very late to the game on this one, but I’m slowly and quietly enjoying Lois McMaster Bujold.

  6. Thanks for those recommendations, all. I hadn’t heard of Hobbs, and Nix is one of those ones I keep on meaning to read. I haven’t read any Simmons for a few years, will have to catch up. The Feminist SF Blog is indeed all shades of marvellous, and I like the idea of blogs as anthologies.
    Glad to see you’ve finally been Bujolded, Lauredhel. A definite fave. I do recommend catching up with the Foundation/Robots cycle in toto, QoT. I sometimes get annoyed by Asimov’s galoots of protagonists who bumble from one crisis to another, but the series is still full of simply huge ideas.

  7. Of course there is such an SF sister anthology to Sword and Sorceress — the new Warrior Wisewoman published by Norilana Books which has also resurrected the Sword and Sorceress series.
    See here for more info:

  8. Thank you Vera! I will have to track it down.

  9. I would also recommend Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite- bit hard to get hold of but worth it!

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