Science Fiction

rynner2

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I seem to recall that there was some kind of compensation mechanism on the Ringworld, but as these systems were breaking down, the Ringworld was becoming unstable.
That's covered in the Errors I posted above.

The 'compensation mechanism' was only added in a sequel after the initial stability problem was pointed out.
But adding rocket motors to Ringworld probably introduced more problems than it solved. Where would the fuel for these rockets come from? Etc...
 
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That's covered in the Errors I posted above.

The 'compensation mechanism' was only added in a sequel after the initial stability problem was pointed out.
But adding rocket motors to Ringworld probably introduced more problems than it solved. Where would the fuel for these rockets come from? Etc...
I liked the sequels as well but The Ringworld Throne was a bit weak.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
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Agreed ... I've often claimed Banks' Culture Series is the #1 SF series of the last couple of decades.

For what it's worth, I usually recommend newcomers start with The Player of Games. It's a very good standalone story that outlines the Culture scene and gives a workable taste for the series without forcing the newbie to wade through any of the bigger (and, frankly, more dense ... ) books.
 
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THE FANTASTIC URSULA K. LE GUIN

Politics has been obsessing a lot of people lately, and Ursula K. Le Guin is far from immune to bouts of political anger. In an e-mail to me last winter, she wrote that she felt “eaten up” with frustration at the ongoing occupation of an eastern Oregon wildlife refuge by an armed band of antigovernment agitators led by the brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy. She was distressed by the damage they had done to scientific programs and to historical artifacts belonging to the local Paiute tribe, and critical of the F.B.I. for being so slow to remove these “hairy gunslinging fake cowboys” from public property. She had been mildly cheered up, she added, by following a Twitter feed with the hashtag #BundyEroticFanFic.

If the Bundy brothers were in love with one side of the American dream—stories of wars fought and won, land taken and tamed—Le Guin has spent a career exploring another, distinctly less triumphalist side. She sees herself as a Western writer, though her work has had a wide range of settings, from the Oregon coast to an anarchist utopia and a California that exists in the future but resembles the past. Keeping an ambivalent distance from the centers of literary power, she makes room in her work for other voices. She has always defended the fantastic, by which she means not formulaic fantasy or “McMagic” but the imagination as a subversive force. “Imagination, working at full strength, can shake us out of our fatal, adoring self-absorption,” she has written, “and make us look up and see—with terror or with relief—that the world does not in fact belong to us at all.”

... She resists attempts to separate her more mainstream work from her science fiction. She is a genre author who is also a literary author, not one or the other but indivisibly both. ...

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/17/the-fantastic-ursula-k-le-guin
 
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Sounds like a follow on from Doctrow's novel Makers.

Post-Scarcity Punk: review of 'Walkaway,' by Cory Doctorow


It's got everything. Political philosophy, post-scarcity economics, makerspaces, designer drugs, bath-houses – even an arms race to achieve immortality. No specific mention of blockchains, but the idea of permanent decentralized storage is definitely implied. Basically every damn thing Cory Doctorow could cram into the biggest multi-generation epic on the near future that he has ever written.

Actually, let me qualify that. CD has written a lot more books than I was aware of, and I do not know page counts on all of them. I know him mostly from his short stories on Escape Pod or various “Best Of the Year” anthologies. Still, this feels like a Stranger In a Strange Land – level manifesto. Heinlein attempted to hit every single taboo in Western culture, as he saw them in the 1960s. SiaSL ranges across art, religion, sex, parenting, death, ritual cannibalism, and a whole bunch of other issues. Walkaway reads like that, but with more profanity and zeppelins.

The title is (I suspect) a reference to a Hugo-winning Ursula LeGuin story, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” about the need we humans have to look down on other humans. In our society, it's the poor we look down on. Whether they are an ethnic minority or out-of-work blue-collar whites, their main cultural role is to remind the rest of us what will happen to us if we don't behave and go to work every day. ...

https://steemit.com/scifi/@plotbot2015/post-scarcity-punk-review-of-walkaway-by-cory-doctorow
 

dr wu

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Any thoughts on Neil Stephenson....? Cryptonomicon, Snowcrash, Quicksilver, Anathem, .....?
Been interested in reading one of his for years now.....where should I start...?
 
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Any thoughts on Neil Stephenson....? Cryptonomicon, Snowcrash, Quicksilver, Anathem, .....?
Been interested in reading one of his for years now.....where should I start...?
If you like maths I would suggest Cryptonomicon or Anathem.

REAMDE is pretty good, an SF techno-thriller.

Theres a collection of essays: Some Remarks : Essays and Other Writing. I think someone has a review of it in the latest FT.
 

CarlosTheDJ

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If you like maths I would suggest Cryptonomicon or Anathem.

REAMDE is pretty good, an SF techno-thriller.

Theres a collection of essays: Some Remarks : Essays and Other Writing. I think someone has a review of it in the latest FT.
Not sci-fi, but I would recommend diving straight into the epic Quicksilver, then the rest of the Baroque trilogy. They lead very nicely into Cryptonomicon (there's are some strands that carry through from the trilogy).

Snow Crash is great, and a scary amount of its predictions have already come true...
 
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Not sci-fi, but I would recommend diving straight into the epic Quicksilver, then the rest of the Baroque trilogy. They lead very nicely into Cryptonomicon (there's are some strands that carry through from the trilogy).

Snow Crash is great, and a scary amount of its predictions have already come true...
Very true!

The Baroque trilogy does lead into Cryptonomicon.
 

dr wu

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If you like maths I would suggest Cryptonomicon or Anathem.

REAMDE is pretty good, an SF techno-thriller.

Theres a collection of essays: Some Remarks : Essays and Other Writing. I think someone has a review of it in the latest FT.
Thanks for the suggestions......went to the library this morning and picked up Snowcrash.....I'll try that one first then Reamde. I hear that Cryptonomicon and Anathem can get to be a bit overwhelming at times.
 
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Thanks for the suggestions......went to the library this morning and picked up Snowcrash.....I'll try that one first then Reamde. I hear that Cryptonomicon and Anathem can get to be a bit overwhelming at times.
They can be a bit heavy but are worth the effort.
 
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Thanks for the suggestions......went to the library this morning and picked up Snowcrash.....I'll try that one first then Reamde. I hear that Cryptonomicon and Anathem can get to be a bit overwhelming at times.
My review of Some Remarks:

Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson.

WilliamMorrow Paperbacks (2014).

PB: 336 pp. $15.99. ISBN: 9780062024442.


Some ask: where are the flying cars?

Stephenson asks: Where's my donut-shaped space station? Where's my ticket to Mars?

Known for the SF novels Snowcrash and Anathem Secret History Cryptonomicon and the Historical Novel Cycle The System of the World, Some Remarks gathers together 16 pieces: Stephenson's journalism, meditations, interviews and a short story.

In articles ranging from 1993 to 2012 he muses on the development of rocketry in Locked In; early e-Money in The Great Simoleon Caper; academic snobbery in Everything and More Foreword.

In a wide ranging Q&A, The Salon Interview (2004), he expands on the historical background to The System of the World, the quarrels between Newton and Leibniz, the development of Calculus, Puritanism, the reconciliation of Science, Religion and Alchemy both Leibniz, Newton and other savants of their time, and the links between System and Cryptonomicon. Perhaps of equal importance is how the System novels turn the birth of modern banking into entertainment!

Some of the same territory is covered and updated to the 21st Century in Metaphysics in The Royal Society 1715 - 2010.

A book within a book, is Mother Earth, Mother Board, (118 pages). This collects Stephenson's Hacker Tourist articles on under-sea telecommunications cable-laying in the 1990s. Introducing divers, engineers who calls themselves cable trash and who lay the modern cables it also provides a history of the art. And Art it is as every hill, dip, and shallow has to be taken into account. Read how Lord Kelvin invented the mirror galvanometer, a new improved compass and a depth sounder, making a fortune from each.

While some of the material is dated it covers the development Stephenson as an SF writer and the adolescence/growing to adulthood of the World Wide Web. 8/10.
 
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Sci-fi stories envisage Iraq in 100 years

A Chinese-run hive of digital development dependent on "water trains" from Europe. A hi-tech destination for a new generation of religious pilgrims. A dried-out wasteland with little left to trade but corpses and sand.

When the award-winning Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim and British publisher Ra Page asked Iraqi writers to imagine their homeland in 2103, 100 years after the US-led invasion, a plethora of haunting, dissonant - and sometimes uplifting - versions of the future emerged.

The resulting anthology, Iraq +100, published in the UK this week mixes science fiction with other genres including fantasy, fairy tale and satire.

The aim was to overturn literary traditions Mr Blasim felt had become staid under decades of censorship and violence, and create a platform for a generation of younger writers shaped by the internet and modern technology.

The opening story envisages Iraq divided into the "Islamic Empire of Wadi Hashish", run by extremists who eschew all digital media, and the fortress-like "American Annex of Sulaymania".

'Badass underdog'
The border of the American-controlled zone is "kind of like Calais... everyone wants to cross the fence," says its London-based writer, known only as Anoud for fear of repercussions for her family in Iraq.

The story's central character, Kahramana, is a reference to Ali Baba's slave girl in One Thousand and One Nights.

A statue of her has stood for years at a Baghdad roundabout, gracefully pouring boiling oil into metal pots in which, according to the tale, 40 thieves are hiding.

Anoud's Kahramana escapes a marriage to "Mullah Hashish", leader of a so-called Islamic State-style "Empire", only to find her fortunes fluctuating wildly at the mercy of bitterly caricatured humanitarians-cum-immigration officials and Western TV reporting. ...

Human remains
Eight of the nine writers are from the Iraqi diaspora, moving between Iraq and world cities such as Madrid, London, Brussels and Los Angeles.

Only one, Diaa Jubaili, lives permanently in Iraq, in the southern city of Basra.

His story, The Worker, portrays a grisly future, his home city littered with technological detritus and human remains after the oil, gas - and even uranium - have run out. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37687739
 

sherbetbizarre

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VALERIAN NEW PICS COULDN’T BE MORE LUC BESSON
Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne and more stand revealed in the first Valerian pics



1 / 5

We couldn’t be more excited about Luc Besson’s Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. Yep, we said it. Besson is one of the few remaining purveyors of flamboyant and unashamedly space operatic sci-fi, and it’s good to see the latest results of his return to the big screen. Marmite he may be, but we suspect that fans of The Fifth Element are going to be in for a treat if these new pics, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, are anything to go by.

For those who have forgotten, the synopsis is as follows:

Rooted in the classic graphic novel series, Valerian and Laureline- visionary writer/director Luc Besson advances this iconic source material into a contemporary, unique and epic science fiction saga.

Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner- blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him. ...

http://www.scifinow.co.uk/news/valerian-new-pics-couldnt-be-more-luc-besson/
 

Analogue Boy

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I saw Arrival yesterday. It's even more monochromatic than Cruise's 'Oblivion' but it does make you think. I wasn't sure what to make of it on leaving the cinema but it all clicked into place afterwards. Worth a look.

I'm really looking foward to Valerian. Angel A is one of my favourite films.
 

FrKadash

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I wanted to share this unusual TV series I just discovered and couldn't decide where to post it so I've put it here.


The Hellstrom Chronicle is an American film released in 1971 which combines elements of documentary, science fiction, horror and apocalyptic prophecy to present a gripping satirical depiction of the Darwinian struggle for survival between humans and insects. It was conceived and produced by David L. Wolper, directed by Walon Green and written by David Seltzer, who earned a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for his screenplay. Green later called it "almost yellow-journally but good. We were giving the audience an elbow to the ribs every third line."[1]

Several cinematographers photographed this film using stop-motion photography with microscopic and telescopic lenses. The trailer resembled an announcement for a science fiction movie. The film provided the inspiration for Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Hellstrom's Hive.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hellstrom_Chronicle


 
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CIXIN LIU ON DEATH’S END, THE HUGO AWARDS AND THE FUTURE
Death’s End author Cixin Liu on concluding the Remembrance Of Earth’s Past trilogy

When you think of science fiction in literature, you think of the greats like Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne and Frank Herbert. For Europe and North America, these are home-grown authors who are able to provide a sense of familiarity to their otherwise fantastical worlds built. Science fiction in China derives from these imported giants and for Cixin Liu, author of The Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, it was always natural for him to have been inspired by these legends.

Liu seems adamant to remain a traditionalist, drawing on his passion for science fiction classics like 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea as one of the core reasons for his change in career path from a power plant engineer to a science-fiction author. He holds up his first edition signed Arthur C Clarke novel with great pride when we first meet him in London.

His first book in the trilogy, The Three-Body Problem, was a Hugo Award winner for Best Novel – the first translated novel to win the ward and also made Liu the first Chinese writer to win Best Novel in the prize’s sixty-year history. The last book in the series, Death’s End, was released in its translated form in September 2016, and The Three-Body Problem is now being made into a film and a game, too.

With that much praise to his belt, it would be easy to assume that there’d be a sense of well-deserved ego in Liu. Instead, Liu is evidently very modest and relaxed. ...

https://www.scifinow.co.uk/news/cixin-liu-on-deaths-end-the-hugo-awards-and-the-future/

* Edited to fix url.
 

mr_nic

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High Rise: A suicide jumper from the Tower hits a car bonnet and windscreen in slow motion, Tom Hiddleston roasts the haunch of an Alsatian (dog) he had earlier treated as a pet, wild orgies. Yes its a faithful adaption of the Novel. Jeremy Irons lives on top of the Tower in a Garden of Eden roof garden, literally playing God. His wife (dressed as Beau Peep) keeps a black sheep and a horse in the garden, both of which meet the same fate as the Alsatian when supplies run low.

Is an allegory of the state of British Society in the 1970s? Class War certainly breaks out in the the Tower as the lifts malfunction and electricity blackouts occur. Not an easy film to watch, I'll be thinking about it for a while to come, I'l probably see it a second time over the next week. 9/10.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0462335/
Saw this yesterday as it's now streaming on Amazon Prime. Absolutely loved it - as you say, it's not an easy watch but it's one that stays embedded in your mind. Great soundtrack too.
 
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The Iron Dream: Why “Hitler’s” 1970s Sci-Fi Novel Still Matters
BY DAVID FORBES

A young man steps off a ship into a crowd of aliens. He's an exile, raised in another land but finally returned home with his dead father. All is not right in the futuristic country to which Feric Jaggar has returned. Psychic enemies weave plots, breed terrible mutant armies in their far off fortresses, and it looks like the few remaining “true” humans may never recover from the nuclear holocaust that left them facing the monstrous hordes. Ahead, Feric will gather comrades, find a legendary weapon, crash through enemies, face treachery and survive plot twists as he remakes the world to ensure a future for humanity.

In 1972, Norman Spinrad wrote a novel, The Iron Dream, which begins just like this. The prose is a bit purple, but not in a way unusual for sci-fi, especially of a particular time now dubbed “classic.” It won't win any nods from the literati, and the gore gets a bit much, but it’s a page-turner — all in all, the sort of book that, if penned in the ‘50s or early ‘60s, would've won praise for its “imagination” and “controversial politics.”

Before Star Wars, before The Lord of The Rings movies, before first-person shooters full of exploding bodies, professional HALO players and drone strikes, Spinrad nailed a very, very dark strain in the way we view heroism, conflict and enemies. Regrettably, The Iron Dream was forgotten, and while it won plenty of acclaim in its time, Spinrad's work slipped out of print for decades. This was unfortunate, because it has one important kicker, one key element that adds a blood-cold shiver to the usual pulp antics even critical media consumers have become so accustomed to: It reads “By Adolph Hitler.” ...

http://airshipdaily.com/blog/06052014-the-iron-dream
 
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