Focus on Vintage Sci Fi Month : “If you liked that, you’ll probably like this”. #VintageSciFi

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading.” Ray Bradbury 

Vintage Sci-Fi Month.jpgVintage sci fi is a month long, none challenge, event that takes place every January to celebrate, read and discuss science fiction.  This event is the creation of Andrea at the Little Red Reviewer who fostered the notion of getting people to read and discuss some of the older books that are already out there.

Science Fiction isn’t my comfort zone to be honest but thanks to this event over the past few years I’ve now read and loved quite a number of sci fi classics that I would otherwise have missed.  The only real criteria is to read and discuss during the month of January and for the books to be published on or before 1979.

If, like me, you need a bit of guidance about what type of book might suit you then you’re going to love today’s post.  Andrea is visiting my blog today to talk about books – and the whole gist of the post is ‘if you like ‘x’ then you might like ‘y’.  Some great advice in this piece – read on and prepare to discover some potential reads for this event in January 2020.

Firstly, hello Andrea.

I’m excited to read on so without further ado let’s get straight to it….

“If you liked that, you’ll probably like this”.

‘I learned a wonderful little trick a few years ago, about giving people book recommendations.  I was on a small panel at a local science fiction convention, and the panelists were book reviewers, book bloggers, book sellers. And we were supposed to be recommending books to the audience. An audience member would say something like “Recommend me a good fantasy book”, and us panelists were supposed to offer titles that we thought the person would like.

Some panelists just responded with their favourite titles.

One of the panelists, she worked at a bookstore (and I wish I remembered her name!), she’d respond to every request for a recommendation with a question of her own, asking something like “tell me what you enjoyed most about the last few books that you read”.  She was trying to tease out if the person was looking for an action story, or a family story, or epic fantasy or first contact or a love triangle or magic or urban fantasy or a long running series or a stand alone, or whatever.

I have no idea what that panelist’s favorite books were, because she never said.  Once she’d had her short back and forth with the audience member, she’d say “well, you’ve let me know that you like such and such, and this other thing, and that you prefer book that have XYZ, and knowing that, I think you’d love such and such author”.  I was in awe.

While the listing below does include many of my favorites, I have done my best to emulate the panelist whose name I never got, the woman who taught me how to make “give me a book recommendation!” about the person who was asking, and not about me.

Here is the Vintage Science Fiction version of “If you liked that, you’ll probably like this”.

If you like Han Solo,  you’ll like C.L. Moore’s Northwest Smith stories.  Smith is a pilot and smuggler, who has friends in every port. Always up for an adventure, he does make terrible decisions from time to time, but always with good intentions and usually a trusty blaster (or a friend with a blaster!) is around to help him out.

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If you like Lovecraftian weirdness and/or New Weird or any combination thereof, you’re sure to enjoy C.L. Moore’s Black God’s Kiss.  Hard to believe that story was written in the 1930s!

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If your favorite scene in The Traitor Baru Cormorant was when the economy gets purposely flooded and crashed, you might enjoy Nova  by Samuel Delany.  If you more enjoyed the conversations on the economics of colonization, A City in the North  by Marta Randall might be exactly what you’re looking for.  And speaking of Delany, if you enjoyed the movie Arrival, you’ll probably enjoy Delany’s Babel-17.

Looking for some fantasy adventure?  You’ll probably get a kick out of Leigh Brackett’s Skaith books, and Andre Norton’s Witch World books.

Do you enjoy having conversations about either a plummeting birth rate, or population out control? For the former, give Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm a read, for the latter track down a copy of The World Inside by Robert Silverberg.

If you loved The Good Place episodes that mentioned The Trolley Problem, you’ll get a kick out of The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin.  Fair warning, reading The Cold Equations will make you want to rewatch season 2 of The Good Place.

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Enjoy cozy mysteries, but also kinda like the Cylons from new Battlestar Galactica?  Try The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. You’ll have to be forgiving of some truly awful characterization, but the book is worth it to see what how people would react to a robot scare.  If you’ve ever said to yourself “why won’t this stupid machine do I what I tell it to do!”,  Asimov’s I Robot short stories are for you.

Oh, you’re a fan of Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora?  Give Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser stories and/or Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat books a whirl.

You’ve seen the anime Space Dandy (please, please tell me I didn’t hallucinate that show!) and are looking for something zany, but also more satirical?   What you’re looking for is Stanislaw Lem’s The Star Diaries. 

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Hard scifi more your thing?  Hal Clement is your guy, and no matter what you pick up of his, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Oh, you prefer your science fiction with a healthy dose of fantasy and mythology? (mayhaps you enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s American Gods?) Give Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny a try.

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If you enjoyed the TV show Farscape, and enjoy stories with lots of aliens and very few humans, Larry Niven’s Ringworld might work for you.

You want aliens, but not the friendly fuzzy kind, more like Peter Watts style aliens? Definitely read Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris.

Prefer something more epic, more sprawling, more world shattering?  If you’ve not yet read Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, now is the perfect time to pick it up.

Oh, you meant sprawling, epic Space Opera?  Dune by Frank Herbert.

Space Opera-ish, but shorter and lighter more your thing?  Anything by Cordwainer Smith will scratch that itch.

And if you’d like to cry at the end, try The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlien.

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The best way to find a Vintage Sci Fi Book that you’re most likely to enjoy is to start with finding a contemporary book you already enjoy. What do you enjoy about that book?  The characters were great? Or there was lots of adventure? Or the dialog had lots of banter? Or there were space battles and aliens? Or maybe incomprehensible aliens but it’s a fun ride?   Start with something you know you enjoy, and go from there.’

 

 

 

 

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And in other news…

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Hope you’re all making a great start to 2018.  I thought I’d do a quick post rounding up a few interesting blogging items that you all might like to see.

Firstly a new blog that you should take a look at –  The Fantasy Hive – a great collaboration of people with lots of interesting ideas – plus lets face it you can’t have too many people to discuss SFF with.  They’ve got off to a great start already.  If you enjoy taking part in Tough Travelling then please note this monthly meme has moved to The Fantasy Hive.  This month’s topic is elves and if you want to hook up the link is here.  You have the whole month to come up with your favourite elves.

Also, the FH have set up a monthly book club – the details are here.  I love the idea of this and I’m definitely joining in with this month’s book (The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan) as I already own a copy.  I think this will give me the extra motivation to read some of the books I’ve already bought and are currently stacked up on Mount TBR.  Check out the above link for upcoming months  and their book titles.

Which cover do you like best??  I’m going for the dark, moody version although clearly both are very good – because DRAGONS:

The New Year brings with it Vintage Sci Fi.  Established by the Little Red Reviewer a few years ago this is a great event that encourages us all to read and discuss older science fiction.  More information can be found here if you want to hook up and also for Twitter followers check out this and this .  Plus, Red Star Reviews are hosting a Dune readalong – details here.   Coincidentally, and if you love Sci Fi,  Vintage Sci Fi also runs at the same time as Stainless Steel Droppings Sci Fi Experience – the link is here if you want to take a look.  Neither of these are challenges – they’re very easy going, stress free, events and they have a cross over appeal – if you read a sci fi book that is vintage you can also post it for the Sci Fi Experience – voila.

The Bibliosanctum have posted an excellent piece with some upcoming 2018 book releases for the first few months.  Here is the link.  I’m very lazy and love it when people put together nice convenient lists – but beware: this post should come with a TBR health warning.

A link here to a readalong that’s due to start – Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7 by James S A Corey) – this is another sci fi book (so obvs if you join in you could post your review to the Sci Fi Experience!).  I wish I could take part in this because I love readalongs but I have yet to start this series and as this is no.7…….  If you’re uptodate then I would definitely encourage you to join in.  These are always great fun.

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The SPFBO (Self Published Fantasy Blog Off) is into the final stage and all 10 finalists are  now selected – the books are here.  I’ll be posting about my next books very shortly.

Finally, here’s my favourite books from 2017 – if you want to link up then drop me your url and I’ll make a list.

TTFN

‘Do not go gentle into that good night’

‘From that fateful day when stinking bits of slime first crawled from the sea and shouted to the cold stars, “I am man.”, our greatest dread has always been the knowledge of our mortality. But tonight, we shall hurl the gauntlet of science into the frightful face of death itself. Tonight, we shall ascend into the heavens. We shall mock the earthquake. We shall command the thunders, and penetrate into the very womb of impervious nature herself.’ 

ssd2017That’s right, we’re going to hurl and ascend, mock, command and .. okay, that all sounds utterly exhausting, maybe we’ll just stick to reading some sci fi eh!  The 2017 Sci-Fi Experience hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings has now taken off in search of wondrous reads.  So buckle up, jump aboard, beam up, crack the door of the Tardis, don your spacesuit and get searching your shelves for more sci fi reads.  (Well, not just reads to be honest, films, series, games – anything goes really – in fact if this event was any more laid back it would be horizontal!)

I loved taking part in Sci Fi 2016 during the month of November hosted by Rinn Reads and Over the Effing Rainbow but I didn’t manage to read everything I wanted.  Of course I can still pick up those books – but there’s nothing like a bit of incentive to push me on and what could be better than another event that celebrates everything sci fi and brings together lots of people all wanting to chat?  So, as the saying goes, as one door closes, another opens  – hopefully not unto a black hole.  And, in fact, two doors are opening right here because Vintage Sci Fi hosted by Little Red Reviewer also takes part and crosses over for the month of January with the 2017 Sci Fi Experience.  If you love classics then this is a great opportunity to read some from your list, a bit of Shelley or Wells, and not just classics from way back when.  Basically, if it was published 1979 or before then it counts.  Check out Stainless Steel Dropping and Little Red Reviewer‘s sites for details – they express all of this in a much more eloquent way than I ever could do so go take a look.lrrvsf

Rant, rave, shout scream, laugh, cry, be amazed be scared.  Be all of those things.  But remember that in space nobody can hear you scream so don’t sit in your own little vacuum thinking and pondering – be involved and be heard.  Simples. 😀

 

‘Beam me up Scotty’: Sci Fi Month 2016 #RRSciFiMonth

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That’s it folks.  Sci fi month 2016 ends today – and what a great month it’s been.  I’ve had a great time and I hope you all have too!  I was determined to write, post and watch lots of sci-fi (well, lots in terms of my own normal posting) and I managed to do so so I’m all coloured happy. I watched a few films, particularly enjoyed Jurassic Park.  Read and reviewed three books and managed to highlight 4 sci fi books that I’m looking forward to as part of my Waiting on Wednesday posts.

I have to give a great big hand of applause to Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow for doing such a stella job of hosting and I have to say that I hope they do so again next year as I’m actually going to formulate plans next time around!  That’s right – there are actually going to be PLANS (although in fairness, I probably said that same thing last year – however, this time there really are going to be plans)!!

So, as one door closes, another usually opens.  We currently have a readalong about to start for Becky Chambers A Closed and Common Orbit – starting literally in the next couple of days but if you’re interested in joining in you could easily catch up as it’s a nice gentle pace (and when I say catch up I mean jump on board because we’ve not started yet – details here).  Also, in the New Year, the Little Red Reviewer will be hosting her annual Vintage Sci Fi month – so dig out your old vintage sci fi books, films, covers, tv – whatever, and join in.  Lots to still look forward to people.

Finally, just in case you needed a little pick me up – here – just for you:

Live long and prosper 😀

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Vintage Sci Fi: A buffet of covers

The final day of Vintage Sci-fi over at Little Red Reviewer.  You may have noticed that I set myself a small challenge to post covers – for books I’ve read – that fall into the vintage category.  For the final day of the challenge I’m showcasing a smorgasbord of some of the book covers I’ve highlighted:

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