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Unashamedly elitist science fiction



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December 13th, 2015

Lucifer’s Hammer

barbarella jane3
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Lucifer’s Hammer is, quite rightly, considered to be a classic of post-apocalyptic science fiction. There are two distinct strands in post-apocalyptic SF. The pessimistic strand sees even mere survival as just barely possible and usually assumes that once civilisation has been wrecked the descent into barbarism will be unstoppable. Lucifer’s Hammer belongs to the optimistic strand that assumes that perhaps civilisation might eventually be rebuilt.

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November 5th, 2015

The Midwich Cuckoos

Pilot X
Although John Wyndham had written several novels in the 1930s (such as Stowaway to Mars) it was the publication of The Day of the Triffids in 1951 that established him as a major figure in the world of science fiction. The Day of the Triffids was followed by The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids and then in 1957 by what is arguably his masterpiece, The Midwich Cuckoos.

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November 2nd, 2015

Star of Ill-Omen

Der Hexer
Dennis Wheatley was famous for his immensely popular occult thrillers but he write straightforward thrillers as well, and even some science fiction. His science fiction output includes the 1952 novel Star of Ill-Omen.

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September 29th, 2015

My own country started as a penal colony. If space travel ever became a truly practical proposition I guess this is an idea that might well appeal to some of our political leaders as an ideal solution to the problem of crime.

So I’m looking for science fiction stories dealing with penal colonies in space.

September 24th, 2015

I’ve read several of Poul Anderson’s fantasy novels but only one of his SF books, Tau Zero. That particular book impressed me tremendously so I need to read more of Anderson’s SF. Anyone want to offer some recommendations?

September 23rd, 2015

humorous SF

barbarella jane3
Science fiction has many virtues but as a genre it isn’t exactly noted for its sense of humour. To some extent that’s understandable - if you’re shooting for a “sense of wonder” it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of humour since it will tend to undercut that “sense of wonder” somewhat.

Anyone have any favourite humorous SF stories or novels?

September 9th, 2015

I recently read a glowing review of James P. Hogan’s 1977 novel Inherit the Stars. I haven’t read anything at all by this author. Should I take steps to remedy this omission? and is Inherit the Stars really that good?

August 22nd, 2015

Post-apocalyptic SF is an ever-popular sub-genre. Most such novels concentrate on the apocalypse itself, or on the catastrophic consequences and the grim struggle for survival afterwards. There are a few, like Lucifer’s Hammer, which deal with the first faltering steps towards recovery.

What I’m interested in is post-apocalyptic SF that deals convincingly and in detail with the process of rebuilding civilisation. Any recommendations?

August 21st, 2015

E. M. Forster thought that the 1966 TV adaptation of his 1909 science fiction classic The Machine Stops was better than his original story. My review of the TV version can be found at this link.

August 18th, 2015

The Machine Stops

Der Hexer
When we think about the pioneers of science fiction E. M. Forster is not exactly the first name that springs to mind. He wrote just one science fiction short story, The Machine Stops, published in 1909. It is however one of the greatest science fiction short stories ever written. It has been credited as being the first story to predict the internet, and social networking. And with some justification. It is also an uncannily accurate prediction of most of the characteristics of early 21st century life.

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