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Topic: science fiction recommendations requested for ten conceptual themes

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Subject: science fiction recommendations requested for ten conceptual themes
Date Posted: 10/4/2011 11:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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Hi.  I'm trying to build a science fiction reading list, with recommendations that encourage philosophical thought, and have discussion potential, on ten themes.  I'm not looking for any particular slant on these themes.  The reading can support or oppose the concept, develop multiple perspectives, or simply give a plot example of it.  The only thematic direction I'm giving is the single word below, whatever it means to you.  Please give title and author of novels or shorter works.

  1. Exploration
  2. Justice
  3. Compassion
  4. Wonder
  5. Vision
  6. Transformation
  7. Courage
  8. Universality
  9. Gratitude
  10. Community

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 10/4/11 11:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/4/2011 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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These are just my initial thoughts...

 

  1. Exploration -- Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 A Space Oddyssey
  2. Justice -- Bradbury's Farenheit 451
  3. Compassion -- On the Beach
  4. Wonder -- Stranger in a Strange Land
  5. Vision -- Brave New World
  6. Transformation -- Bradbury's short story "There will come soft rains" from The Martian Chronicles
  7. Courage -- Ender's Game
  8. Universality
  9. Gratitude
  10. Community
Date Posted: 10/6/2011 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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  1. Exploration - Ringworld, L Niven; The Dark Beyond the Stars, F Robinson
  2. Justice - The Line of Polity, N Asher; Rule 34, C Stross; City of Pearl, K Traviss
  3. Compassion - short story comparing the story of a lost and stranded space traveler being rescued by more advanced beings to moving an insect (ant?) off the sidewalk and back to the safety of the grass.  I cannot remember the name of this short story nor the author, but it always struck me.  Sturgeon?? Niven??
  4. Wonder - Rendevouz With Rama, A Clark
  5. Vision - Foundation, I Asimov
  6. Transformation - Rite of Passage, A Panshin
  7. Courage - Dune, Herbert
  8. Universality - hmm, I dunno, maybe  - Learning the World, K Macleod
  9. Gratitude
  10.  Community - Dragonriders of Pern (series), A McCaffrey


Last Edited on: 10/6/11 12:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 6
Date Posted: 10/7/2011 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
Posts: 723
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@Elizabeth - "There Will Come Soft Rains" was one of the most influential stories I read as an impressionable kid. It's not the kind of transformation I was initially thinking of, so thanks a lot for that one (and the others too, but that one especially). If you think of more, please feel free to add them.

@Alison - Excellent suggestions, as always. Rule 34 is on my tbr list; good to see it deals with a topic like justice (or injustice). And that story, you know, it sounds like a vaguely familiar concept to me, but I have no idea where I read it.

So, now that the thread is started, I'll throw in my own 2 cent suggestions.

  1. Exploration - Passage, by Connie Willis
  2. Justice - The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
  3. Compassion - Four Ways to Forgiveness, by Ursula LeGuin
  4. Wonder - Contact, by Carl Sagan
  5. Vision - The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
  6. Transformation - Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card
  7. Courage - The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
  8. Universality - "Enemy Mine", by Barry Longyear
  9. Gratitude - Startide Rising, by David Brin
  10. Community - "The Persistence of Vision", by John Varley

-Tom Hl.



Last Edited on: 10/7/11 9:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/8/2011 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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<<short story comparing the story of a lost and stranded space traveler being rescued by more advanced beings to moving an insect (ant?) off the sidewalk and back to the safety of the grass.>>

This seems vaguely familiar to me as well, and I cannot place it. I've been digging through synopsis of Niven and Sturgeon's works, haven't yet found anything.  Anyone have additional details?

Tom, "There will come soft rains" also had a great impact on me at a young age, leading to a lifelong fascination with nuclear post-apocolyptic fiction.  I'm glad you like it as well. ;-)

Subject: additional details
Date Posted: 10/8/2011 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Well, I think my short story was small talk at a "bar" (like Draco Tavern)- people comparing their stories over drinks.



Last Edited on: 10/8/11 10:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: another lead on the story
Date Posted: 10/9/2011 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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And MrsTomHl said the concept sounded like something from James Tiptree.  So I took a look at "The Screwfly Solution".  That's definitely not it, but rather an analogous concept, where they aliens use a gender-based insect extermination technique on humanity.  I think I'm going to put "The Screwfly Solution" on the compassion topic, but as in lack-of-compassion.  Ugh.  Shiver.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 10/10/2011 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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<<Well, I think my short story was small talk at a "bar">>

Could it be some of Spider Robinson's Callahan series? I've only read a couple of them so far.

Subject: Callahan
Date Posted: 10/12/2011 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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Yup, it sure could.  I traded away most of my Callahan paperbacks.

Date Posted: 1/22/2012 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
Posts: 266
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I haven't read Rite of Passage in years...thanks for the reminder.

 

  1. Exploration: The Galactic Gourmet James White
  2. Justice:  Anne McCaffrey Crystal Singer Series (the second book in the series specifically)
  3. Compassion: The Rowan Anne McCaffrey
  4. Wonder
  5. Vision
  6. Transformation:  Anne McCaffrey Crystal Singer Series (the first book in the series specifically)  I can never remember which one that is.
  7. Courage
  8. Universality: Sector General Series by James White (the first book would probably describe universality best I think.)
  9. Gratitude:  Anne McCaffrey Crystal Singer Series (the first book in the series, the scene with monsook and later with the guild master.)
  10. Community:  Again Anne McCaffrey Crystal Singer Series ( here I would suggest the entire series)

I'll have to dig through and probably reread some to see what else I can add to the list.  This is an interesting Idea for the topic.