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Calling all old school sci fan/fantasy readers!

post #1 of 111
Thread Starter 
I've decided to jump into the 'classics' as there are a bunch of authors who I never got into, for some reason. So many of them have huge series that I don't want to get into unless they're worth it...What can you tell me about your favourites from the 80s/90s?

Terry Pratchett

Spider Robinson

Roger Zelazny

Charles de Lint

Orson Scott Card

Harry Turtledove

post #2 of 111
Oh, I am so jealous! You are in for such a treat!

Terry Pratchett is my favourite authour of all time (and A.S. Byatt's, too, I should add!). Very funny, and yet always has a deeper message. Incisively intelligent.

Spider Robinson I read when I was in my 20s and loved him then; not so much now.

Charles de Lint I still can't make up my mind about. He's really well grounded in all the myth and folklore, being a prof, and I love the blend of urban and fantasy, but I've never found his characters really believable or engaging. Still, nice reads.

Orson Scott Card. Oh, what can you say about Ender's Game? Riveting to pretty much all ages. I love his whole Ender series, although I'm finding I'm preferring Ender's Shadow. His other series -- Alvin the Maker and the like -- I could never really get into.

Don't forget Connie Willis. Her books are always fascinating and her collections of short stories will give you nuggets to chew on for days.

Also, another 'old-school' personal favourite is Lois McMaster Bujold. She's one a tonne of awards and very deservedly. Her Vorkosigan series is space opera at it's best and if you don't fall madly in love with her protagonist, I'd sadly say you had to get your head examined.

And if you're including Terry Pratchett as 'old school,' you need to visit Neil Gaiman, too.
post #3 of 111
Thread Starter 
Crittersmom Thank you thank you! That's just what I'm looking for! I normally browse books on amazon and goodreads, but it's nice just to get an overall 'author summary' from people who've read the books, rather than reviews of individual ones.

I went through a stage where I only wanted to read books by female authors (don't ask; it was a phase in university ) but I'm over that now, and I've obviously missed out on some gems.

I forgot to ask about Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan with their never-ending series that so many of my friends were fanatic about. Did you read them, and should I bother?

I picked up Dhalgren from the library yesterday - supposed to be a classic...
post #4 of 111
Terry Brooks' Shannara series is basically a LOTR rehash. Plus the plot of all those books is essentially the same...annoying imo. Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series has great characters, and its worth a read, but it just keeps going and going and going. In fact its still not finished and Robert Jordan is freaking dead Plus by the end you wish the main character would just get therapy or something.

ETA: My favorite fantasy series ever is Tad Williams' Memory Sorry and Thorn trilogy (there are actually four books in paperback).
post #5 of 111
Thread Starter 
post #6 of 111
I really loved Storm Constantine and her Wraeththu series.

I liked what I read of Robert Jordan and Lois McMaster Bujold too. I haven't gotten around to reading all of them though.

I should mention that I also went through a phase where I only wanted to read women authors as well. I think its a good phase to go through.
post #7 of 111
Kate Wilhelm's Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang.

Pamela Sargent's Venus of Dreams or Cloned Lives.

Tanith Lee is very odd, but I did like her Days of Grass.

Robert Heinlein's books have some great turns and twists.... including some freer sexual mores he hoped we'd see in the future.

M.K. Wren has one called A Gift Upon the Shore... one of my favorite end of the world stories from a female perspective.
post #8 of 111
Oh man, I thought from the title that we were gonna be talking about Asimov and Heinlein...

Spider Robinson is fantastic with the Calahan series. I am still wishing I could find that bar!

DeLint is something I have to be in the mood for, but when I am I get obsessed.

I love Bujold's Vorkosigan series. Love it!

It has been a while but I used to enjoy Anne McCaffrey (sp?) with the Pern series.

Love the Speaker For The Dead series.

I just read a series called the Dark Jewel series by Anne Bishop. I haven't been so obsessed to read more in a long time.
post #9 of 111
Anne Mcaffrey;

*books in the series I didn't read

The Rowan
Damia's Children
Lyon's Pride
The Tower and The Hive*

Powers That Be
Power Lines
Power Play

Freedom's Landing
Freedom's Choice
Freedom's Challenge*
Freedom's Ransom*

The Landover series from Terry Brooks, the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson by George Alec Effinger

If you go really old school, I read the Foundation series (Asimov) in the 90's. My mom was a member of the science fiction book club so I read a lot of sci fi/fantasy during my teen years.
post #10 of 111
I have not read the others the OP mentioned but I absolutely love Charles De Lint books! I just discovered him last year and he has become one of my favourite authors. I am reading his Newford series at the moment. What I like is he combines myths and folklore with urban fantasy and magical realism. Sex and violence is not overly graphic. His characters are usually really likeable.
post #11 of 111
Charles de Lint-I'm a little mixed about charles de lint. some of his stuff I found fantastic, amazing, life-view changing (the mystery of grace in particular), other's I've found so-so. The first time I read widdershins (without having read the onion girl or timeskip, in which the same characters feature, and which come first), I thought it was so so. the second time, it was completely riveting. Widdershins (a book of his short stories), I found a couple of them good (but not amazing), maybe one or two great, and quite a few downright boring/mediocre. I liked the blue girl a lot, it was very solid. I read it long enough ago and it wasn't SO amazing that it stands really strongly in my mind, so it might good, or great.

Orson Scott Card-I haven't read a thing by him I haven't totally adored. And I've read... 7+ books in the ender-world and all of the earth's memory series. He appealed to me in ender's shadow and ender's game when I was 12, and he appeals to me now as an adult. (side note, did the fact that earth's memory is refered to in various places as being a retelling of the book of mormon really make you want to check it out at the library to figure out how the **** it was possibly a retelling of the book of mormon? no, it didn't make me less inclined to read it, it doesn't feel... strongly mormon in an icky to people of other religions way. until I read it was, I didn't catch any mormon overtones at all) I highly highly highly recommend reading orson scott card. and I recommend buying/checking out books in the same series in sets of two or three, because you won't want to wait to get the next one.

Robert Jordan-I remember loving the ones I read. I just stopped after a while. It seemed like it just dragged on and on. there are those series where I'll quickly read through every single book (though I can't at the moment think of a true series as compared to sets of quartets or trilogies), and this is not one. I was so excited to read the second and third and fourth books but eventually it was like, eh, yeah, maybe if I run into it at the library. I think if he had wrote it as like a quartet or quintet, it would have been more amazing. (that said, he's still worth reading)

I've been meaning to read anne mccaffery (specifically the dragon___________ series), but the library only has the 2nd and third books or something and I keep forgeting to request the 1st from another branch.

and I've definitely gone through (and am in atm) mostly female authors phases.
post #12 of 111
I'm another another huge Card fan. I've recently gotten my nine year old into the Ender series - he wishes he could go to Battle School . If you know a lot about Mormonism, you'll catch some of the connections he makes (even in books other than the Memory of Earth series), but I was not at all bothered by it (even as an atheist!). (Also, he has a really fantastic historical fiction novel about the beginnings of the Mormon church and the spiritual roots of plural marriage that I just adored. I cannot remember what it's called, and it's clearly not sci-fi, but if you run into it's definitely worth a read. He also has fiction books based on women of the old testament. I only read one of them, but I enjoyed it).
post #13 of 111
robert heinein

frank herbert
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post #14 of 111
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress absolutely blew my mind when I was in my early 20's. I would definitely put it on a must read book for Sci-Fi "classics"
post #15 of 111
Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress absolutely blew my mind when I was in my early 20's. I would definitely put it on a must read book for Sci-Fi "classics"
Oh, I love that book. It is very cool look at a dystopia!

My hubby loves the Charles DeLint... I don't, I'm not into urban fantasy.

Anne McCaffery's Freedom series is a really great set of books. Aliens yank us to another world and strand us.. we humans have to survive by our wits and get along with each other. Naturally, it gets dicey once in awhile.
post #16 of 111
Thread Starter 
Thank you all! THis is amazing!

I really like when people recommend books and give a little descriptive sentence or something...it saves me a step from cutting and pasting into amazon

I'm a big fan of dystopian spec fiction and just finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (post-viral world, everyone dead except for main character, lots of genetic modification and 'Big Pharma out of control') - loved it, but that's what made me realize that there's a lot of great spec fiction out there that I haven't read...hence this thread

...and I still have a wee tendency towards female authors but have read some males who were fabulous with the depth of the females they wrote about, and weren't too extreme so that I couldn't identify at least a bit with the characters..
post #17 of 111
Anne McCaffery's Pern books are basically feel-good fantasy. A bit on the simplistic side, because you know that everything pretty much always turns out ok in the end.

Another good series is Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince and then Dragon Star books. Sort of a similar world to Pern in some ways but much darker. I love them! Again, another series with some great characters.

My favorite SciFi book of all time...seriously, it might be my favrite book of all time, is Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. The beginning is slow but OMG what a great book! It ought to be required reading for living.

ETA: You've read the Handmaiden's Tale as well then? Also a follow up to Oryx and Crake just came out...can't remember what its called....AHHA...its The Year of the Flood.
post #18 of 111
The only thing that bugged me about Orson Scott Card's books are the female roles. Was I being oversensitive, or did other people find that they are almost universally...maternal?
post #19 of 111
I was tired when I wrote my post last night, so I’d just like to add a few things regarding Charles De Lint. I much prefer his novels to his short stories. I also did not care for some his short stories.

The premise for many of his Newford series books are that mythological beings like the “First People” or “Animal people” of many First Nations (Native Americans) legends are still alive today. Many have intermarried with humans and live along side them. As well, fairies and other supernatural beings followed the first settlers from Europe to the New World. One of the PP mentioned his characters not being believable, and I have to agree that some of his supernatural characters are too over the top to believe, however I still enjoyed the stories. However his human characters are totally believable. Perhaps because CDL is also an artist and musician, his characters are often artistic, bohemian types as well as people living on the margins.

If you want to read the Newford series you could start with Memory and Dream http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/memory-desc01.htm
or Trader http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/trader-desc01.htm.
Someplace to be flying is also good http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/...ace-desc01.htm
the next I’ll read will be The Onion Girl
http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/onion-desc01.htm which I was advised not to read until I’d read some of the earlier Newford books. Same goes for Widdershins. http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/...ins-desc01.htm
I actually started with that book not knowing it was a part of a series, but noticed after a few chapters that I was missing a lot information so went back to the first.

A good book to start with to see if you like De Lint’s style might be the Mystery of Grace http://www.sfsite.com/charlesdelint/mystery-desc01.htm a beautiful story! It is a book on its own, not part of a series.

I have also been curious about Orson Scott Card but a bit turned off because I read his was extremely right wing. Do his political opinions show in his work?

Another author I’d like to try is Neil Gaiman. Anyone like him?
How about Alice Hoffman?
post #20 of 111
Thread Starter 
Anne McCaffrey and Mercedes Lackey took my fantasy/scifi virginity, so to speak. I was lost in the world of Pern and the dragons for a while, but I found thatboth just started to churn them out for the sake of churning them out - esp when they partnered with other wirters - the writing lost some of its depth.

The Ship Who Sang (about a rocketship that falls in love with the captain) still haunts me, as well as some of Tanith Lee's works, which were so surreal.

For something different - magic realism mixed with fantastical elements, I can recommend Nalo Hopkinson - Brown Girl in the Ring (dystopian Toronto future, full of voodoo) and Salt Roads (told from the POV of a slave girl, an African goddess and a 17th C black woman in France).

Also fabulous are the short stories by numerous authors in the Ellen Datlow (ed.) series, eg. Black Heart, Ivory Bones. There are about 6 of them (?) and some are simply amazing.

Oh - good female scifi (sorry, my only frame of reference ) was Terrorists of Irustan, about a colony on another planet - female dystopian (wearing veils, 2nd class citizens), with an offworlder who ends up helping the protagonist in a criminal investigation. Nice twist at the end.
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