Best Sci-Fi Novels

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flaggETERNAL
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by flaggETERNAL »

Fat Old Git wrote:
Mat the Expat wrote:The Nights Dawn Trilogy is a separate Universe to the Confederation one. They are NOT related.

Greg Mandel is his best work I think. Gritty.



You are getting the Confederation and the Commonwealth mixed up.


The Nights Dawn trilogy is set in the Confederation universe.
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Fat Old Git
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Fat Old Git »

flaggETERNAL wrote:
Fat Old Git wrote:
Mat the Expat wrote:The Nights Dawn Trilogy is a separate Universe to the Confederation one. They are NOT related.

Greg Mandel is his best work I think. Gritty.



You are getting the Confederation and the Commonwealth mixed up.


The Nights Dawn trilogy is set in the Confederation universe.


Correct. With misspent youth, Pandora's star and the void books etc being set in the Commonwealth universerse, although in 3 different periods.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by maori-sidestepper »

'The Martian' on Kindle by Andy Weir is an amazing read - and only 0.77p. Story based on a stranded astronaut's battle to survive on Mars and the mission to recover him. Quite a lot of hard science but an absolutely thrilling story.

Devastated for Iain M Banks - and the fact that we won't be getting any more Culture; 'Look to Windward' was my introduction to the series and remains my favourite sci-if book.
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Boobs not Moobs
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Boobs not Moobs »

Welcome to Arc - a futuristic collection
of fact, fiction and opinion from the
makers of New Scientist. Each
quarter, we prospect the future,
gathering stories, speculation, witness and
opinion from the very best writers we can find.
Arc is your entertaining, provoking,
infuriating, wildly unreliable and deadly
serious guide to tomorrow. Each stunningly
illustrated, book-length digital collection runs
to around 160 print pages.
This sampler brings together some of our
favourite pieces from our first year of
I n t r o d u c t i o n
publication.


PDF http://www.arcfinity.org/1x

EPUB http://www.arcfinity.org/1x/Arc1_x.epub
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flaggETERNAL
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by flaggETERNAL »

Has anyone here read a sci-fi novel called Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith? It's the first sci-fi book I remember reading. Re-read it pretty much every year. Along with Dune.
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Jeff the Bear
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

This is probably the best place to put this. Just finished Iain M Banks' 'Use of Weapons', and given that it is probably his most lauded book, with the 'great' twist at the end, I have to to say I am most disappointed. The twist, for me, doesn't work on pretty much any level, and ruins what was rapidly working towards greatness but ends up not as good as Consider Phleabus or Look to Windward.

Does anyone agree? Below I state why (major spoilers. Seriously, if you don't want to know how the book ends don't hit the spoiler button)

Spoiler: show
For those that don't remember, the ultimate reveal at the end of the book, literally the last paragraph, is that for the vast majority of the book, although you think you have been following the exploits and thoughts of Zakalwe, you have in fact been following the emotional journey of his cousin, half-brother and long term nemesis, Elethiomel, who stole his name.

But it just doesn't stack up.

From flashbacks and through the narrative of the last parapgraph, Elethiomel can be best described as cocky, borderline incestuous, power hungry, conniving, sadistic and psychopathic/sociopathic (he does, after all, skin one man alive and then make a chair out of his sort-of-sister, who he has shagged)...and yet, by reading through the life of the fake Zakalwe we are supposed to believe that that is the same person who goes on to find sex a 'violent' congress, takes prisoners and ends up feeling sorry for them, tries to give it all up and take up poetry, happily does the bidding of the Culture, and although still sociopathic and conniving, is constantly troubled by the nature of good and evil, and his role within it. Essentially, he is painted as a good natured sort who just happens to kill for a living and sometimes struggles with that dichotomy (like umpteen other spys in umpteen other books before and after him)

And that just doesn't tally in any way shape or form. And in structuring the book so that the final reveal is pretty much the final thing you read, Banks also cheats us of direct contact with what is in fact the most important part in the book, and the most important thing in the main protagonists life, that being the killing of his half-sister, turning her into a chair, and then the near miraculous conversion from someone who could kill his half-sister and turn her into a chair to an inward looking brooding type constantly wondering about his place in the universe. Without describing that process, the book has little to no weight in my opinion.

Finally, and this is technical point, I'm sure there are several references made to the mark close to the heart of the bone fragment from his sister. I assume that if I read it back, Banks will have cleverly made it look during the flashbacks that it was Zakalwe that took the bone fragment when in fact it could just as easily be read that it was Elethiomel...but it still seems odd, although it would constitute an almighty continuity error, so I doubt Banks would have been caught out by that.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by JM2K6 »

The twist upset quite a few people, but you're wrong to say it doesn't stack up at all. On re-reading the character path is actually a lot easier to grasp. No continuity errors either.

There's some good discussion after this review: http://wrongquestions.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... banks.html (the reviewer thinks much like you, thought he doesn't think it ruins the book like you do).
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

JM2K6 wrote:The twist upset quite a few people, but you're wrong to say it doesn't stack up at all. On re-reading the character path is actually a lot easier to grasp. No continuity errors either.

There's some good discussion after this review: http://wrongquestions.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... banks.html (the reviewer thinks much like you, thought he doesn't think it ruins the book like you do).


Ruins the book may be a bit harsh. It is still a good book, and is inches from greatness...

Spoiler: show
...but I just can't tally the actions of the man as described in flashbacks and the penultimate chapter with the man we follow throughout the rest of the books. They appear, to me at least, like two totally separate people with only a tenuous link between their character profiles (they are both very good soldiers who fundamentally understand the best 'Use of Weapons').

Simply put, the whole book turns on a period that is never shown to us, and given that the character change is seemingly so massive (on reading that blog, some people don't seem to consider the act of the chair making as sadistic and malevolent, but I just don't see how you can't see it that way), it really needed to be explored a lot more to make the rest of the book 'make sense'.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by village »

It's steampunk rather than pure Sci Fi but I am reading James Blaylock's Ignatious Narbondo / Langdon St Ives novels at the moment and they are outrageously good.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by JM2K6 »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:The twist upset quite a few people, but you're wrong to say it doesn't stack up at all. On re-reading the character path is actually a lot easier to grasp. No continuity errors either.

There's some good discussion after this review: http://wrongquestions.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... banks.html (the reviewer thinks much like you, thought he doesn't think it ruins the book like you do).


Ruins the book may be a bit harsh. It is still a good book, and is inches from greatness...

Spoiler: show
...but I just can't tally the actions of the man as described in flashbacks and the penultimate chapter with the man we follow throughout the rest of the books. They appear, to me at least, like two totally separate people with only a tenuous link between their character profiles (they are both very good soldiers who fundamentally understand the best 'Use of Weapons').

Simply put, the whole book turns on a period that is never shown to us, and given that the character change is seemingly so massive (on reading that blog, some people don't seem to consider the act of the chair making as sadistic and malevolent, but I just don't see how you can't see it that way), it really needed to be explored a lot more to make the rest of the book 'make sense'.


There is no way you read that review and the discussion in that time. :)
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Brazil »

JM2K6 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:The twist upset quite a few people, but you're wrong to say it doesn't stack up at all. On re-reading the character path is actually a lot easier to grasp. No continuity errors either.

There's some good discussion after this review: http://wrongquestions.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... banks.html (the reviewer thinks much like you, thought he doesn't think it ruins the book like you do).


Ruins the book may be a bit harsh. It is still a good book, and is inches from greatness...

Spoiler: show
...but I just can't tally the actions of the man as described in flashbacks and the penultimate chapter with the man we follow throughout the rest of the books. They appear, to me at least, like two totally separate people with only a tenuous link between their character profiles (they are both very good soldiers who fundamentally understand the best 'Use of Weapons').

Simply put, the whole book turns on a period that is never shown to us, and given that the character change is seemingly so massive (on reading that blog, some people don't seem to consider the act of the chair making as sadistic and malevolent, but I just don't see how you can't see it that way), it really needed to be explored a lot more to make the rest of the book 'make sense'.


There is no way you read that review and the discussion in that time. :)


Who are you to disagree with Jeff that a book that everyone else thinks is awesome is "inches from greatness", hmm?
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

JM2K6 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:The twist upset quite a few people, but you're wrong to say it doesn't stack up at all. On re-reading the character path is actually a lot easier to grasp. No continuity errors either.

There's some good discussion after this review: http://wrongquestions.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... banks.html (the reviewer thinks much like you, thought he doesn't think it ruins the book like you do).


Ruins the book may be a bit harsh. It is still a good book, and is inches from greatness...

Spoiler: show
...but I just can't tally the actions of the man as described in flashbacks and the penultimate chapter with the man we follow throughout the rest of the books. They appear, to me at least, like two totally separate people with only a tenuous link between their character profiles (they are both very good soldiers who fundamentally understand the best 'Use of Weapons').

Simply put, the whole book turns on a period that is never shown to us, and given that the character change is seemingly so massive (on reading that blog, some people don't seem to consider the act of the chair making as sadistic and malevolent, but I just don't see how you can't see it that way), it really needed to be explored a lot more to make the rest of the book 'make sense'.


There is no way you read that review and the discussion in that time. :)


I flicked through the discussion, didn't read the review as you already said it was agreeing with me. I'm looking for counter-arguments to my points. Still haven't seen anything on there that sways me though. Would still consider 'Consider Phlebas' and 'Look to Windward' as better, but this is probably better than the likes of Excession and Surface Detail, even with the twist I don't like.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by JM2K6 »

There are multiple strong counter-arguments to your points in that discussion.

Never mind. :)
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by zzzz »

For me the most interesting thing about The Culture is that, despite being a complete leftie, Banks builds it on some arguably fairly right wing economics. e.g the aim of economic activity is to consume and jobs are the cost that allows that and not a benefit so a truly wealthy society is one were people can consume w/out having to work to afford it.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Brazil »

JM2K6 wrote:There are multiple strong counter-arguments to your points in that discussion.

Never mind. :)


The most interesting thing about that is less the analysis itself, but just how much readers want to be spoon fed back story. It'd be a f**king dull book if every last detail of the main character's back story was filled in, and ruin the ending. Some plum have no imagination.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

Brazil wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:The twist upset quite a few people, but you're wrong to say it doesn't stack up at all. On re-reading the character path is actually a lot easier to grasp. No continuity errors either.

There's some good discussion after this review: http://wrongquestions.blogspot.co.uk/20 ... banks.html (the reviewer thinks much like you, thought he doesn't think it ruins the book like you do).


Ruins the book may be a bit harsh. It is still a good book, and is inches from greatness...

Spoiler: show
...but I just can't tally the actions of the man as described in flashbacks and the penultimate chapter with the man we follow throughout the rest of the books. They appear, to me at least, like two totally separate people with only a tenuous link between their character profiles (they are both very good soldiers who fundamentally understand the best 'Use of Weapons').

Simply put, the whole book turns on a period that is never shown to us, and given that the character change is seemingly so massive (on reading that blog, some people don't seem to consider the act of the chair making as sadistic and malevolent, but I just don't see how you can't see it that way), it really needed to be explored a lot more to make the rest of the book 'make sense'.


There is no way you read that review and the discussion in that time. :)


Who are you to disagree with Jeff that a book that everyone else thinks is awesome is "inches from greatness", hmm?


It's called a personal opinion...I wasn't aware that you had now appointed yourself as Chief overseer of all of my personal opinions, but I'm glad you feel you have the time for such endeavours. Although I must warn you that I have a mountains-worth of opinions, and this may take up a fair bit of your time.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Croft »

Rendezvous with Rama.
The Foundation series.
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Jeff the Bear
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

Brazil wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:There are multiple strong counter-arguments to your points in that discussion.

Never mind. :)


The most interesting thing about that is less the analysis itself, but just how much readers want to be spoon fed back story. It'd be a f**king dull book if every last detail of the main character's back story was filled in, and ruin the ending. Some plum have no imagination.


But it's not just 'backstory', it's the story! The whole book, twist and all, hangs on whether you can believe that everything that happens off camera is plausible. I say in this instance it is not, because the actions of the character at the beginning of the story (chronologically speaking) do not match those of the character we come to know throughout the rest of the book (*WARNING FOR BRAZIL, THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT!*)

With regards to JM's point:

Spoiler: show
They have? The only thing that is discussed in relation to my question is statements on why Banks did it (personal opinion) and what he is trying to show (personal opinion once more). Now I don't disagree with the opinions of why Banks did it (the consensus being that he is showing that your man Elethiomel was tactician who was able to use whatever at his disposal, even killing and making his lover/sister into a chair, to get the job done), but that doesn't answer the plausibility issue of whether he was actually capable of such things given how he is portrayed in the rest of the book. We don't see him do anything even remotely similar in the future passages, and neither you, nor they on that blog, put a cogent argument together as to how he got from the actions on the ship to the man in the rest of the book other than 'he just snapped and decided to run away'.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by JM2K6 »

:lol: I've put together virtually no argument at all, as I think I'd rather pull my own eyes out with a rusty fishing hook.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Brazil »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
Brazil wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:There are multiple strong counter-arguments to your points in that discussion.

Never mind. :)


The most interesting thing about that is less the analysis itself, but just how much readers want to be spoon fed back story. It'd be a f**king dull book if every last detail of the main character's back story was filled in, and ruin the ending. Some plum have no imagination.


But it's not just 'backstory', it's the story! The whole book, twist and all, hangs on whether you can believe that everything that happens off camera is plausible. I say in this instance it is not, because the actions of the character at the beginning of the story (chronologically speaking) do not match those of the character we come to know throughout the rest of the book (*WARNING FOR BRAZIL, THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT!*)

With regards to JM's point:

Spoiler: show
They have? The only thing that is discussed in relation to my question is statements on why Banks did it (personal opinion) and what he is trying to show (personal opinion once more). Now I don't disagree with the opinions of why Banks did it (the consensus being that he is showing that your man Elethiomel was tactician who was able to use whatever at his disposal, even killing and making his lover/sister into a chair, to get the job done), but that doesn't answer the plausibility issue of whether he was actually capable of such things given how he is portrayed in the rest of the book. We don't see him do anything even remotely similar in the future passages, and neither you, nor they on that blog, put a cogent argument together as to how he got from the actions on the ship to the man in the rest of the book other than 'he just snapped and decided to run away'.


Yeah but it's a bollocks personal opinion, so doesn't count.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

JM2K6 wrote::lol: I've put together virtually no argument at all, as I think I'd rather pull my own eyes out with a rusty fishing hook.


Champion...I'm wrong and you are right, but you are not willing to state your case. Well, I'll take that as a win for team JTB. :thumbup: :o
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by JM2K6 »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote::lol: I've put together virtually no argument at all, as I think I'd rather pull my own eyes out with a rusty fishing hook.


Champion...I'm wrong and you are right, but you are not willing to state your case. Well, I'll take that as a win for team JTB. :thumbup: :o


For an added bonus, feel free to do the same every time our paths cross :thumbup:
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

Brazil wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
Brazil wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:There are multiple strong counter-arguments to your points in that discussion.

Never mind. :)


The most interesting thing about that is less the analysis itself, but just how much readers want to be spoon fed back story. It'd be a f**king dull book if every last detail of the main character's back story was filled in, and ruin the ending. Some plum have no imagination.


But it's not just 'backstory', it's the story! The whole book, twist and all, hangs on whether you can believe that everything that happens off camera is plausible. I say in this instance it is not, because the actions of the character at the beginning of the story (chronologically speaking) do not match those of the character we come to know throughout the rest of the book (*WARNING FOR BRAZIL, THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT!*)

With regards to JM's point:

Spoiler: show
They have? The only thing that is discussed in relation to my question is statements on why Banks did it (personal opinion) and what he is trying to show (personal opinion once more). Now I don't disagree with the opinions of why Banks did it (the consensus being that he is showing that your man Elethiomel was tactician who was able to use whatever at his disposal, even killing and making his lover/sister into a chair, to get the job done), but that doesn't answer the plausibility issue of whether he was actually capable of such things given how he is portrayed in the rest of the book. We don't see him do anything even remotely similar in the future passages, and neither you, nor they on that blog, put a cogent argument together as to how he got from the actions on the ship to the man in the rest of the book other than 'he just snapped and decided to run away'.


Yeah but it's a bollocks personal opinion, so doesn't count.


Ah well, I'll rest easier now knowing you have passed judgement on my opinion, given that that now appears to be your job. While you are about, do you want to cast your eye over any other personal opinions I have on other subjects?
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

JM2K6 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote::lol: I've put together virtually no argument at all, as I think I'd rather pull my own eyes out with a rusty fishing hook.


Champion...I'm wrong and you are right, but you are not willing to state your case. Well, I'll take that as a win for team JTB. :thumbup: :o


For an added bonus, feel free to do the same every time our paths cross :thumbup:


Great...and if you'd stop responding to any of my posts with snarky comments from the sidelines, but then refuse to actively engage, that would be just super as well. :thumbup:
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Brazil »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
Brazil wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
Brazil wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:There are multiple strong counter-arguments to your points in that discussion.

Never mind. :)


The most interesting thing about that is less the analysis itself, but just how much readers want to be spoon fed back story. It'd be a f**king dull book if every last detail of the main character's back story was filled in, and ruin the ending. Some plum have no imagination.


But it's not just 'backstory', it's the story! The whole book, twist and all, hangs on whether you can believe that everything that happens off camera is plausible. I say in this instance it is not, because the actions of the character at the beginning of the story (chronologically speaking) do not match those of the character we come to know throughout the rest of the book (*WARNING FOR BRAZIL, THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT!*)

With regards to JM's point:

Spoiler: show
They have? The only thing that is discussed in relation to my question is statements on why Banks did it (personal opinion) and what he is trying to show (personal opinion once more). Now I don't disagree with the opinions of why Banks did it (the consensus being that he is showing that your man Elethiomel was tactician who was able to use whatever at his disposal, even killing and making his lover/sister into a chair, to get the job done), but that doesn't answer the plausibility issue of whether he was actually capable of such things given how he is portrayed in the rest of the book. We don't see him do anything even remotely similar in the future passages, and neither you, nor they on that blog, put a cogent argument together as to how he got from the actions on the ship to the man in the rest of the book other than 'he just snapped and decided to run away'.


Yeah but it's a bollocks personal opinion, so doesn't count.


Ah well, I'll rest easier now knowing you have passed judgement on my opinion, given that that now appears to be your job. While you are about, do you want to cast your eye over any other personal opinions I have on other subjects?


Depends, are they as risibly ill-thought-out as this one and your views on driving? If so it's probably just best if I dismiss them out of hand.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by JM2K6 »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote::lol: I've put together virtually no argument at all, as I think I'd rather pull my own eyes out with a rusty fishing hook.


Champion...I'm wrong and you are right, but you are not willing to state your case. Well, I'll take that as a win for team JTB. :thumbup: :o


For an added bonus, feel free to do the same every time our paths cross :thumbup:


Great...and if you'd stop responding to any of my posts with snarky comments from the sidelines, but then refuse to actively engage, that would be just super as well. :thumbup:


I linked you to an excellent review I thought you'd appreciate, and an in-depth discussion of exactly the topic you were trying to find conversation on.

That's more useful than 95% of your posts, so feel free to go and fudge your own face :thumbup:

(p.s. I almost always actively engage with you, and it's almost always a hilarious yet depressing experience)
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

Brazil wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
Brazil wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
Brazil wrote:
The most interesting thing about that is less the analysis itself, but just how much readers want to be spoon fed back story. It'd be a f**king dull book if every last detail of the main character's back story was filled in, and ruin the ending. Some plum have no imagination.


But it's not just 'backstory', it's the story! The whole book, twist and all, hangs on whether you can believe that everything that happens off camera is plausible. I say in this instance it is not, because the actions of the character at the beginning of the story (chronologically speaking) do not match those of the character we come to know throughout the rest of the book (*WARNING FOR BRAZIL, THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT!*)

With regards to JM's point:

Spoiler: show
They have? The only thing that is discussed in relation to my question is statements on why Banks did it (personal opinion) and what he is trying to show (personal opinion once more). Now I don't disagree with the opinions of why Banks did it (the consensus being that he is showing that your man Elethiomel was tactician who was able to use whatever at his disposal, even killing and making his lover/sister into a chair, to get the job done), but that doesn't answer the plausibility issue of whether he was actually capable of such things given how he is portrayed in the rest of the book. We don't see him do anything even remotely similar in the future passages, and neither you, nor they on that blog, put a cogent argument together as to how he got from the actions on the ship to the man in the rest of the book other than 'he just snapped and decided to run away'.


Yeah but it's a bollocks personal opinion, so doesn't count.


Ah well, I'll rest easier now knowing you have passed judgement on my opinion, given that that now appears to be your job. While you are about, do you want to cast your eye over any other personal opinions I have on other subjects?


Depends, are they as risibly ill-thought-out as this one and your views on driving? If so it's probably just best if I dismiss them out of hand.


Risibly thought out? There are several other people who appear to agree (on't that blog), and I have put forth cogent reasoning for my point...which is infinitely more than you have been able to manage in any of our recent encounters, which has begun and ended at 'You're wrong', and then when proved that you didn't know what you were talking about you moved onto 'well my mate says you are wrong, so I think you are wrong'.

Talking of which, have you actually read this book?
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

JM2K6 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
JM2K6 wrote::lol: I've put together virtually no argument at all, as I think I'd rather pull my own eyes out with a rusty fishing hook.


Champion...I'm wrong and you are right, but you are not willing to state your case. Well, I'll take that as a win for team JTB. :thumbup: :o


For an added bonus, feel free to do the same every time our paths cross :thumbup:


Great...and if you'd stop responding to any of my posts with snarky comments from the sidelines, but then refuse to actively engage, that would be just super as well. :thumbup:


I linked you to an excellent review I thought you'd appreciate, and an in-depth discussion of exactly the topic you were trying to find conversation on.

That's more useful than 95% of your posts, so feel free to go and fudge your own face :thumbup:

(p.s. I almost always actively engage with you, and it's almost always a hilarious yet depressing experience)


Yes, it was useful, and I thank you for that...but if I wanted to talk to people on another bored/blog, I'd do that, however I want your opinion, and others opinions on here.
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JM2K6
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by JM2K6 »

Best of luck with that.
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Jeff the Bear
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

zzzz wrote:For me the most interesting thing about The Culture is that, despite being a complete leftie, Banks builds it on some arguably fairly right wing economics. e.g the aim of economic activity is to consume and jobs are the cost that allows that and not a benefit so a truly wealthy society is one were people can consume w/out having to work to afford it.


I think the whole notion of Contact/Special Cirumstances is very right wing, mimicking the secret services of various Western societies with the mantra 'We do what we do to protect our way of life/your way of life, and to help you to become more like us'...and using that for justification of pretty much everything they do, no matter how bad.
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A5D5E5
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by A5D5E5 »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
zzzz wrote:For me the most interesting thing about The Culture is that, despite being a complete leftie, Banks builds it on some arguably fairly right wing economics. e.g the aim of economic activity is to consume and jobs are the cost that allows that and not a benefit so a truly wealthy society is one were people can consume w/out having to work to afford it.


I think the whole notion of Contact/Special Cirumstances is very right wing, mimicking the secret services of various Western societies with the mantra 'We do what we do to protect our way of life/your way of life, and to help you to become more like us'...and using that for justification of pretty much everything they do, no matter how bad.


Well apart from the bit about the Culture being Communist Utopia of course.


Re Use of Weapons, I don't remember the story that well, but I do remember when I finished it thinking "wow, what a great book". Personally, I think Excession is his best Culture novel. Look to Windward, Hydrogen Sonata and Surface detail also very good. Didn't like Matter and found Consider Phleabas a bit too much like a "Culture 101" primer (though there are some awsome bits in it of course). Am half way through Transition at the moment (which although it is an Iain Banks book in the UK, is an Iain M Banks book in the US and is very good).

Re Night's Dawn. I loved the first book and possbly most of the 2nd. When it became clear how it was going to be resolved though I rember thinking "that is just cheating". The Greg Mandel books and the Commonwealth series are much better in my humble opinion.
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Jeff the Bear
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

A5D5E5 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
zzzz wrote:For me the most interesting thing about The Culture is that, despite being a complete leftie, Banks builds it on some arguably fairly right wing economics. e.g the aim of economic activity is to consume and jobs are the cost that allows that and not a benefit so a truly wealthy society is one were people can consume w/out having to work to afford it.


I think the whole notion of Contact/Special Cirumstances is very right wing, mimicking the secret services of various Western societies with the mantra 'We do what we do to protect our way of life/your way of life, and to help you to become more like us'...and using that for justification of pretty much everything they do, no matter how bad.


Well apart from the bit about the Culture being Communist Utopia of course.




I'm not saying that the Culture is a right-wing construct overall (although pinning Communism to it would be hard as well I would say. It is a post scarcity society, so there is no need for any of the 'workers' to work, so although you have reached a 'moneyless' society, you have got there through differing means than those proposed by Communism. Moreover, it is a liberalised society as you are free to do, say and feel what you like, which is the very antithesis of Communism. I would ultimately say that the Culture is Libertarian in nature, which in fairness is usually more right than left wing)...however, I'd say that the way the fringe elements of the Culture treat other cultures is very much in line with the Hawkish rights view of other cultures in the World today, i.e, any fiddling in their own affairs is done for their own good (and the good of the country doing the fiddling)
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A5D5E5
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by A5D5E5 »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
A5D5E5 wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
zzzz wrote:For me the most interesting thing about The Culture is that, despite being a complete leftie, Banks builds it on some arguably fairly right wing economics. e.g the aim of economic activity is to consume and jobs are the cost that allows that and not a benefit so a truly wealthy society is one were people can consume w/out having to work to afford it.


I think the whole notion of Contact/Special Cirumstances is very right wing, mimicking the secret services of various Western societies with the mantra 'We do what we do to protect our way of life/your way of life, and to help you to become more like us'...and using that for justification of pretty much everything they do, no matter how bad.


Well apart from the bit about the Culture being Communist Utopia of course.




I'm not saying that the Culture is a right-wing construct overall (although pinning Communism to it would be hard as well I would say. It is a post scarcity society, so there is no need for any of the 'workers' to work, so although you have reached a 'moneyless' society, you have got there through differing means than those proposed by Communism. Moreover, it is a liberalised society as you are free to do, say and feel what you like, which is the very antithesis of Communism. I would ultimately say that the Culture is Libertarian in nature, which in fairness is usually more right than left wing)...however, I'd say that the way the fringe elements of the Culture treat other cultures is very much in line with the Hawkish rights view of other cultures in the World today, i.e, any fiddling in their own affairs is done for their own good (and the good of the country doing the fiddling)



I don't disagree - my comment was somewhat tongue in cheek. It is however an interesting thought experiment to consider how would a communist society develop if resources were plentiful.
Tim13
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Tim13 »

cant remember if I have posted on this thread or not and cant be bothered to check tbh, but the greatest work of imagination pretty much of all time IMO is Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon. I do recommend it if you haven't already read it.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Nolanator »

A5D5E5 wrote:Re Use of Weapons, I don't remember the story that well, but I do remember when I finished it thinking "wow, what a great book". Personally, I think Excession is his best Culture novel. Look to Windward, Hydrogen Sonata and Surface detail also very good. Didn't like Matter and found Consider Phleabas a bit too much like a "Culture 101" primer (though there are some awsome bits in it of course). Am half way through Transition at the moment (which although it is an Iain Banks book in the UK, is an Iain M Banks book in the US and is very good).

Re Night's Dawn. I loved the first book and possbly most of the 2nd. When it became clear how it was going to be resolved though I rember thinking "that is just cheating". The Greg Mandel books and the Commonwealth series are much better in my humble opinion.


I thoroughly enjoyed all the Culture books, full on Iain M. Banks fanboi here.

They were all very different. For pure Mind interactions and scheming Excession is excellent. The others all show different aspects of the Culture's meddling society. What I liked about Surface Detail, Hydrogen and Consider is that the main protagonists aren't Culture civilians themselves. Sure, the Culture features prominently, but the fact that they're the enemy in Consider and just another equiv-tech civilisation in Hydrogen gives a nice change of perspective than the usual Minds and SC agents.
Actually, thinking about it, Look to Windward gives a good perspective of the Culture from outside of their own bubble too.
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Brazil »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
Risibly thought out? There are several other people who appear to agree (on't that blog), and I have put forth cogent reasoning for my point...which is infinitely more than you have been able to manage in any of our recent encounters, which has begun and ended at 'You're wrong', and then when proved that you didn't know what you were talking about you moved onto 'well my mate says you are wrong, so I think you are wrong'.

Talking of which, have you actually read this book?


You never put forth "cogent reasoning", you present your opinions as fact and then ignore anything that contradicts them. the fact that you couldn't be arsed to read the link that JM2K6 put up proves this. That you are oblivious to the fact is only more hilarious.
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Jeff the Bear
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

Nolanator wrote:
A5D5E5 wrote:Re Use of Weapons, I don't remember the story that well, but I do remember when I finished it thinking "wow, what a great book". Personally, I think Excession is his best Culture novel. Look to Windward, Hydrogen Sonata and Surface detail also very good. Didn't like Matter and found Consider Phleabas a bit too much like a "Culture 101" primer (though there are some awsome bits in it of course). Am half way through Transition at the moment (which although it is an Iain Banks book in the UK, is an Iain M Banks book in the US and is very good).

Re Night's Dawn. I loved the first book and possbly most of the 2nd. When it became clear how it was going to be resolved though I rember thinking "that is just cheating". The Greg Mandel books and the Commonwealth series are much better in my humble opinion.


I thoroughly enjoyed all the Culture books, full on Iain M. Banks fanboi here.

They were all very different. For pure Mind interactions and scheming Excession is excellent. The others all show different aspects of the Culture's meddling society. What I liked about Surface Detail, Hydrogen and Consider is that the main protagonists aren't Culture civilians themselves. Sure, the Culture features prominently, but the fact that they're the enemy in Consider and just another equiv-tech civilisation in Hydrogen gives a nice change of perspective than the usual Minds and SC agents.
Actually, thinking about it, Look to Windward gives a good perspective of the Culture from outside of their own bubble too.


And Consider Phlebas. In fact, I'd say that that one is the primary source of us-against-them dynamic from all the Culture novels, with the Idiran's being the exact opposite of the Culture with their anti artificial intelligence stance, and Horza taking their 'organic' side, even though he is sort of human.

It is a clever way that Banks sets out his Culture stories. I don't know of any other Sci-Fi 'universe' that is created by it's writer, and then is continually referenced from the outside looking in. It gives a far better perspective on things.
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Jeff the Bear
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Jeff the Bear »

Brazil wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:
Risibly thought out? There are several other people who appear to agree (on't that blog), and I have put forth cogent reasoning for my point...which is infinitely more than you have been able to manage in any of our recent encounters, which has begun and ended at 'You're wrong', and then when proved that you didn't know what you were talking about you moved onto 'well my mate says you are wrong, so I think you are wrong'.

Talking of which, have you actually read this book?


You never put forth "cogent reasoning", you present your opinions as fact and then ignore anything that contradicts them. the fact that you couldn't be arsed to read the link that JM2K6 put up proves this. That you are oblivious to the fact is only more hilarious.


I did read it, and then stated that I did not agree with what they were saying...which when called on by JM as you are doing now, I went into great detail in the post after, if you bothered to look.

I'm also getting the feeling that you haven't read the book at all, and probably even the series. Please tell me you have, as otherwise you've got to start asking yourself some tough questions as to why you are even in this conversation.
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happyhooker
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by happyhooker »

fudge reading this thread.

i'm going to speed round the north circular
Nolanator
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Re: Best Sci-Fi Novels

Post by Nolanator »

Good god, the nerds are fighting. :uhoh:
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