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Old 20th December 2006, 12:06 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

All but 8. The Pastel City - M John Harrison. All (for me) good reads, though occasionally I'd prefer different books from the same author.
I'd hate to try and reduce my selection to ten books, but a list of fifty might be a little difficult to read through.
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Old 20th December 2006, 06:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

I've read eight of them (as follows):

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlen
Tiger! Tiger! (The Stars My Destination) - Alfred Bester
Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Fire Upon The Deep - Vernor Vinge
Neuromancer - William Gibson
The Dispossessed - Ursula K Le Guin
Stand on Zanzibar - John Brunner (not "Brummer")
Babel-17 - Samuel R Delany

I haven't read anything by M. John Harrison. And I've read John Sladek, but not the book on the list.
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Old 17th February 2007, 10:31 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

I've read them all, liked them all, collected 7 out of 10 in first edition.

Still looking for 1st editions of Tiger! Tiger!, Hyperion, Neuromancer

It's a nice broad contrast in writing styles.
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Old 27th February 2007, 10:58 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

I have read all but 2: The Muller-Folker Effect and The Pastel City. I liked the other 8 pretty well, so I will put these on my hunting list.

I like space operas a lot, but I have not read anything by Banks yet. I am working on collecting his Culture series though. I expect to start reading them sometime this year.

Last edited by Razorback; 27th February 2007 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 28th February 2007, 05:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

Hi There

Have read Neuromacer and Fire Upon the Deep.

Neuromancer was good, I read it quite recently it is a very strange book in the respect that it forcasted some things quite well and other's not quite so well.

Space exploration hasnt taken off like it was supposed to but the web has become while not quite as intrusive as pictured in the book, not far off it,also its getting more acurate by the year. More and more 24 hour news channels more and more channels full stop. A good book though.

A fire upon the deep was quite an interesting read too, caught it by chance in my local Library. Quite a heavy book but can see who influenced him!
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Old 10th April 2007, 03:15 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

Out of the ten, I've only read 'Neuromancer' and 'Stand on Zanzibar'...but I do like Ian M Banks's stuff, so maybe that gives me brownie points?
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Old 20th June 2007, 03:42 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabitha View Post
According to Untitled Document


I haven't read ANY of these. In fact several of them I have never even heard of! I think I will probably read the Heinlein one in the near future, but as for the others I don't know.

I sort of expected Larry Niven's Ringworld to show up, though...
Have read them except 1, 7 and 8

Neuromancer, love Gibson - did my dissertation on it ( compared it with the Drowned World by J. G. Ballard)

All the rest well worth reading tho my favourite has to be the Hyperion series, brilliant, Alfred Bester, Vinge and Brunner, class
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Old 2nd August 2007, 12:58 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

Interesting list. A couple of surprises given its originator.

1. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein.

As a young lad without a wisp of beard upon my face I read this and thought it was wonderful. I marvelled at the technology, found the poly-amorous moon society intensely erotic. I read with careful devotion the pontifications of the master. As I grew to my teenaged years I began to appreciate that many of Heinleinís political and societal ideas were unhealthy if not positively fascist. I decided the book was a sack of shÖ. (whups canít use rude words in this forum), a large bucket of steaming odure. Having grown older still (though I am not yet J. Arthur Prufrock) I have come to the conclusion that whilst the book does indeed contains quite a lot of steaming odure it is still a damn satisfying read. I wonder what I shall think of it when I start to wear my trousers rolled? Frankly, I am amazed that a lefty liberal Scots nationalist would have this as his number one SF book but then Iím a lefty liberal too and as I say despite its failings I quite like it.
2. Tiger! Tiger! - Alfred Bester.

I thought this book was wonderful, poetic somehow and its reference to Blakeís poem in the title is one of the most appropriate I can think of. I also think that you can read echos of Gulley Foyle in some of the optional M.ís characters, although I could be talking out of my backside here.
3. Hyperion - Dan Simmons.

I love this book but I feel I only understand a tiny part of it. I consider myself to be fairly well read and I am convinced I have only recognised a tiny fraction of the literary references and allusions that Simmons uses. He seems to be saying so much more than that which comes out as plain text. On top of all this a Pope is named for my name sake (either in this or the sequel). Wonderful book.
4. Fire Upon The Deep - Vernor Vinge.

This would be in my top 10 and close to the top. Slightly flawed but a trans-humanist master piece. High questions and pulp themes and adventures, I ate this one up. The doggie pack aliens were good the Xmas trees in kiddie carts as the agents of Satan sublime!
5. Neuromancer - William Gibson.

This would also be in my top ten and even closer to the top. I cannot express what an incredible impression this book made on me when I first read it. I was in an isolation hospital with toxin food poisoning. I spent a long weekend wired up to drips and heart monitors. I was continuously sweating and sitting on a commode. During the course of the weekend I lost more than 10% of my body weight. I was in considerable pain and discomfort and yet, I was not there at all I was away with Gibson in his chrome in the rain world of strong AI, Yakuza and mega-corporations. This was a total breath of fresh air, a completely new SF. It was amazing. I read it again a couple of years ago it has lost much of its power because so much of the Gibson world is now part of the Zeitgeist.
6. The Dispossessed - Ursula K Le Guin.

This is the only overtly left wing title in the list, a libertarian book in the old European sense. This is a book for making youth think, it is very powerful in that respect. All I can add is, excellent choice Mr. Banks and go! Mrs. LeGuin Go!
7. The Muller-Fokker Efect - John Sladek.

I have not read this book but I have liked other works by Sladek
8. The Pastel City - M John Harrison

I have read this book but I failed to remember anything about it as at all. I had to have a quick flick through to remind myself what it was about. Rather sad but I thought this book neither good nor bad, it simply made hardly any impression on me at all.
9. Stand on Zanzibar - John Brunner.

See my recent post in the overrated books thread in general discussion.
10. Babel-17 - Samuel R Delany.

I have not read this book and have had little exposure to Delanyís other works.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 02:26 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

I have read "Neuromancer" and "Disposessed".

I found Neuromancer to be chronically overrated. I really don't see the attraction.

As for Dispossessed, I am quite suprised that j. d. worthington found it "didactic". Given that Ursula Le Guin is/was an anarchist, I thought she did quite a good job of portraying many of it's potential flaws and pitfalls.

The only bit that irked me was when Shevek decided, after reading some economic texts, that economics was nothing more than a skewed "logic" for defending an exploitative capitalist system. I think she portrayed her own lack of understanding of economics when Shevek came to that decision.

Not to mention that she also grossly underestimated the problems associated with an absense of markets (the inability to make economic calculations). Still, an admirable book in my opinion.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 04:56 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

I have read only Hyperion so far in that list and i thought it started good but it was a very uneaven book. Didnt like much it overall. Some interesting characters. But most of the time it was too much storytelling and little interesting stuff happening. Sure i liked some of the tales alot but the rest of the book...meh.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 06:33 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

I have read about half of those, but no Iain M. Banks' actually. I've just gotten my hands on Against a Dark Background. I'll get to it next.
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Old 3rd August 2007, 12:18 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

Golly I think I am missing something, I have not read any and have heard of maybe two of them. Is this a good list? Are they good books?
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Old 3rd August 2007, 12:21 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

If you've not heard of any of them, then I'd say you were missing quite a bit...
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Old 3rd August 2007, 12:43 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

Hehe thats almost an understatement

I have these three waiting for me to read them.


The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein
Tiger! Tiger! - Alfred Bester
Neuromancer - William Gibson


The Muller-Fokker Efect - John Sladek is the only book of those ten i havent heard of before and hadnt decided to read.


I have enough respect of the best writers of yesterday to atleast try them and see if i like them.
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Old 7th September 2007, 04:37 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Iain M Bank's top ten SF novels - how many have YOU read?

I've read all of these but the Sladek (read others books by him but not this one). It's an interesting list....

(1) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein.

I have rather a problem with Heinlein now and haven't read any for a long time though I quite liked it in my teens. I agree to a large extent with Tielhard. I'm afraid I've finally been put off forever by the wordy pontifications and preachy, teeth gratingly trite, "pearls of wisdom" with which his later bloated novels and series are littered. That, the shallow libertarianism and the very odd sexual politics (die hard reactionary masquerading as hip evolutionary biology) just annoy me so much I find it hard to be fair to some of the earler work which I know to be quite interesting (in and of its time). To be honest it is more than twenty years since I read this particular book but I do remember it as an entertaining read... I still feel that Heinlein is one of the most overrated authors in the genre ever though and it wouldn't be in my top ten.

(2) Tiger! Tiger! - Alfred Bester

It's OK... At the risk of offending the sensibilities of those who consider it a genre classic (which I know it is widely considered to be) I don't really understand what all the fuss is about. Perhaps I should re-read it as again it has been a long time....

(3) Hyperion - Dan Simmons

Great series of books which I really like. I think the last two are actually better than the first ones. My only criticism of Dan Simmons is a style over substance one. The style is good, but when you think back on the coherence of the plot you tend to see some holes (more so actually in his more recent Illium and Olympos books which I think are deeply flawed, but some of the same faults occur in Hyperion). Nevertheless, despite my reservations Hyperion is a "must read" and would probably be in my own top 10.

(4) Fire Upon The Deep - Vernor Vinge

A super piece of science fiction in the classic mold. Several great ideas welded togther in a very neat story - not over long - a fault of much science fiction and fantasy, but really well told and thought provoking. Thoroughly recommended.

(5) Neuromancer - William Gibson

This has almost achieved the "inspired a genre" status of Lord Of The Rings and as such it is a little hard to separate the original from the many imitators. Groundbreaking in its time, but I think if you've read cyberpunk since you might find the edge has been taken off the story.

(6) The Dispossessed - Ursula K Le Guin

I did find the book quite intersting when I first read it but not a page turner... For me it sacrifices a little too much story to the desire to put over ideas but again, it is a long time since I read it and perhaps I need to read it again....

(7) The Muller-Fokker Efect - John Sladek

The only one I've not read. Loved Tik-Tok though which is the only Sladek I have read so I think I will try to get hold of this and give it a go...

(8) The Pastel City - M John Harrison

M John Harrison is one of my favourite if not my favourite authors ever in any genre. This isn't his best book in my opinion but it is perhaps one of the easiest to get into, because it follows the relatively conventional lines of a fantasy book. Some of the later books in the Viriconium series are stranger and less accessable (although better in my opinion once you've got into the author's writing style). I actually would recommend starting with The Pastel City but if you stop there you'll miss the best. Carry on to "A Storm Of Wings", "In Viriconium" and "Viriconium Knights" (a set of short stories). Some of the later ones will be a bit "abstract" for everyone's taste perhaps but I think they are masterpieces.

(9) Stand on Zanzibar

Stylistically interesting in the way it is pieced together from a series of short stacatto chapters and invented newspaper clippings all following the theme that the world is going to hell in a hand cart because of a population explosion. I found it quite provocative when I first read it, but I think it's somewhat dated now. Not my favourite John Brunner (which is the lesser known Jagged Orbit) but still worth reading.

(10) Babel-17 - Samuel R Delany.

Can't remember a lot about this but I do recall it being a fun ride with lots of literary flourishes and pazzaz. It's a relatively uncontroversial book when compared with some of Delany's later work, such as Triton which I think is hard going but just about worth it in the end (though I can totally understand people hating it and wouldn't necessarily recommend it) and Dhalgren which I think is even harder going and not at all worth it in the end... (and I definitely wouldn't recommend!)

A common theme for all these books? Stylistic experimentation to get away from genre cliches I reckon (apart from 4 which is just a damn good tale).

I can see why that appeals to a writer. For me, some of these books have surivived the test of time beyond their initial novelty value and some haven't.
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