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Topic: World Building

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Subject: World Building
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 624
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Does anyone have any suggestions on books leaning towards colonization/world building? I know a few, but since I'm relatively new at branching out with my reading tastes (I literally read about 3 authors until a few years ago), I was hoping to get some help with this.

Also, I would love to read some good 1950's era sci-fi. Any ideas? I'm already turned on to Asimov and Clarke, and I'm not a fan of Niven (didn't like Ringworld, maybe I should give him another chance).

By the way, my name is Sarah, and I'm really new to PaperBackSwap. I'm an avid reader (obviously), and I'm getting my Masters in Library and Information science. Not surprisingly I want to go into Medical/Science Librarianship.

Thanks for any help in advance!

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Robert Heinlein is definitely my favorite of the older SF writers.  Many of his books mention colonization, though often with established colonies.  Farmer in the Sky has more of a world-building aspect than the others. 

I found Ringworld hard to get into as well, but I consider The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle to be one of my all-time favorite books.  It's not about colonization, though.

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2008
Posts: 174
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Here's some worlds I like ...

Bova, Ben    Mars
Bova, Ben    Return to Mars
Bova, Ben    Colony

Czerneda, Julie    Survival
Czerneda, Julie    Migration
Czerneda, Julie    Regeneration

Harrison, Harry    West of Eden
Harrison, Harry    Winter in Eden
Harrison, Harry    Return to Eden

May, Julian    Many-Coloured Land / Golden Torc

Pohl, Frederik    Gateway

Steele, Allen    Coyote
Steele, Allen    Coyote Rising
Steele, Allen    Coyote Frontier

Varley, John    Titan
Varley, John    Wizard
Varley, John    Demon

Suggestion - pick up a few anthologies - good way to find authors you want to read more of. (one suggestion would be Space Inc, edited by Czerneda)

Old stuff ... Pohl Anderson, Christopher Anvil, Alfred Bester, Leigh Brackett, Ray Bradbury, ALgis Budrys, John Christopher, Jo Clayton, Hal Clement, L. Sprague de Camp, Gordon Dickson, Philip Jose Farmer, Randall Garrett, Zenna Henderson, Frank Herbert ....


Last Edited on: 2/17/09 8:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 9:15 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 624
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Wow. That is quite a list! Thanks you two. I'll definitely be checking them out.

Date Posted: 2/18/2009 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,392
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Some of the Anne McCaffery books deal with the colonization of Pern - I think it's Dragonsdawn?  I haven't read all of the later books in that series, but I liked the earlier ones in the series that I did read and it was interesting then to read how it all started, which is a mix of technology and fantasy.  Just a thought.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Dragonsdawn is an excellent SF colonization book...though it's from the '80s and I thought Sarah was looking more for vintage stuff. 

Date Posted: 2/18/2009 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2009
Posts: 20
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If you want some to read some great sci-fi from the 1950's, check out Andre Norton.   Many people love her Witch World series.  I prefer her stand alones or her space travel stories.  She was a prolific author so I am sure you will find some of her books of interest.


You might also check out the Dune books by Frank Herbert.

Last Edited on: 2/18/09 4:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Isn't the term World Building used as a writing term dealing with making a well rounded created world?  Which would be different than colonization?  I think of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series as a well build world.   But it definitely doesn't fit your requests.

The Martian Chonicles by Ray Bradbury. 

Ursula LeGuin's colony books  (Not the YA Tomb books) such as Left Hand of Darkness

And Dune.

Date Posted: 2/18/2009 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2006
Posts: 786
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McCaffrey's PERN series is about colonization, athough in some of the books about the dragonriders, the residents don't know they come from colonists.

She has another series called Freedom about abducted humans who are dropped as slaves on a planet and end up wanting to colonize it.

I've found some new authors by reading sci-fi anthologies. You don't have to invest as much time with short stories to find out if you like an author.

Subject: Darkover
Date Posted: 2/19/2009 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
Posts: 385
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The Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley might fit your request.  One of my old time favorites. 

Date Posted: 2/20/2009 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 624
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Thanks for the advice! I already LOVE Anne McCaffrey- I've been reading her since I was about 8. Her books are great as YA books as well as for adults. Her Freedom series is my favorite, then the Brains&Brawns, then Pern. But that's besides the point. I just ordered Space, Inc by Czerneda, based on one of these suggestions, was it yours Karen? I am definitely more interested in vintage stuff right now, but will gladly take any suggestions, because it's always good to expand your horizons. A little explanation though, I'm researching for a book about colonizing a planet. It starts on Earth as a recruitment effort and training, etc then moves off world. I'm interested in seeing how other writers handle it, and maybe find a little inspiration. Thanks again!
Date Posted: 2/20/2009 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2009
Posts: 20
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Based on your 2/20/09 post, you should definately check out C.J.Cherryh and her book Cyteen. Along with that story is a very interesting and a little weird story of hers called, Forty Thousand in Gehenna....Both are about colonization. 





Date Posted: 2/21/2009 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2008
Posts: 54
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I recently asked the same question and got this response: 




Paul H. (PaulH) - ,
Date Posted: 2/22/2009 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 146
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My favorite colonization books are Ben Bova's "Grand Tour" series, about exploring and colonizing the planets in our own solar system.  What I love is he uses actual data our probes have collected about the planets, as well as NASA plans/ ideas, as springboards for his stories.

You can get a complete list of the books on benbova.net.

Last Edited on: 2/22/09 3:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2009 3:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I'd second the recommendation of C.J. Cherryh; many of her novels deal with colonization or terraforming in one stage or another, and she is a classic sci-fi author (not quite 50s, but like 60s or 70s). However, I found Cyteen really hard to get into. I prefer the Hammerfall/The Forge of Heaven duology, though the second novel does more with terraforming than the first.


The Kim Stanley Robinson Mars novels are really heavy on the science of terraforming (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) and feature a fair amount of politics, if that's your thing. They are modern sci-fi, however.


Sheri S. Tepper has a number of novels dealing with the impact humans can have on alien planets and their ecologies, though I haven't yet read one that is specifically about the process of terraforming; she is a beautifully lyrical writer, and one I always recommend to people, though again, a modern writer.


Anne McCaffrey's early (chronologically) Pern books do feature some terraforming and genetic engineering, but I didn't think the Freedom's Landing series did -- that one it seemed like they were just adapting to the world, which was already pretty close to suitable for human life. But her Petaybee books (starting with The Powers That Be) were a kind of interesting series in terms of how the humans affected the planet and vice versa. The Pern novels started in the 70s, but the ones about terraforming were from the 80s and the other series were from the 90s.

Date Posted: 5/28/2009 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,556
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It is more like world rebuilding, but a definitely different twist on the subject is Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy where aliens decide humans are a hopelessly flawed species who will inevitably destroy themselves and Earth [tell me about it]. So she/the aliens regenders the species. And, paraphrasing her very slightly, "something is always lost when something is gained."