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Science-fiction book recommendations?

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25 Mar 2010 20:04 #58404 by Spanish Inquisition
Here's a correction that's actually useful: It's PIRX the Pilot.

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25 Mar 2010 20:11 #58405 by ubarose
You are both correct. As a reader, knowing that Lem was ethnically Polish, and of Jewish ancestry, living and writing under the Soviets puts his work in context.

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25 Mar 2010 23:17 #58407 by Ancient_of_MuMu
ubarose wrote:

You are both correct. As a reader, knowing that Lem was ethnically Polish, and of Jewish ancestry, living and writing under the Soviets puts his work in context.

What's wrong with you uba? You can't settle a dispute like that here, trying to be a mediator, making sure everyone feels like they won. This isn't a kindergarten. We settle things with chainsaws and nukes here. No-one is happy until one person is lying bleeding on the floor, humiliated for all to see.

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26 Mar 2010 02:09 #58411 by scissors
I didn't presume to correct you - someone else did so already before - nicely - and you still insisted in spouting bullshit. If you still haven't gotten it, being a Soviet-ERA author and Soviet are two different things. But whatever, have it your way champ.

Oh, and THX Uba, I understand what you're saying...

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26 Mar 2010 02:18 - 26 Mar 2010 02:36 #58412 by Turek
Who's from Poland?
I'm from Poland!

Lem's books are set in future, there is nothing really soviet about them (except for Astronauts). In some of them economics are more utopian, kind of communism like (no rich and poor, everybody needs are taken for).
Pirx himself is working in private space businesses, often is short of cash, other people in book are mix of nationalities - I don't see anything soviet in that.
Of course Lem couldn't write anything that would suggest that communism don't fare too well in future either.

Lem is of Jewish ancestry but was atheist. My dad was born in Lvov too, and his family was resettled to Poland shortly before 1960.

It`s a shame Lem decided before fall of communism to not write science fiction anymore.
Last edit: 26 Mar 2010 02:36 by Turek.

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26 Mar 2010 02:35 #58413 by Turek
For good read from communist Russia I recommend Strugatsky Brothers books, if you can get your hands on english translation.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strugatsky_brothers
Roadside Picnic (Stalker is based on it), Monday Begins on Saturday, and books from Noon universe - they are set in communism future, but are pretty great and not very positive, grim and dark even.


Today's best polish sf writer is Jacek Dukaj, but I don't know if anything was translated to english. This guy ideas are outstanding, and writing very good.

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26 Mar 2010 07:31 #58414 by Notahandle
Seconded. Monday Begins on Saturday is worth tracking down.

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26 Mar 2010 09:17 #58416 by Spanish Inquisition
Tales of Pirx the Pilot (Stanislaw Lem) - “Soviet Era” space stories written in Polish by a man who was ethnically Polish, and of Jewish ancestry, living and writing under the Soviets, and often using Science Fiction as a means of expressing social and political ideas despite the “Soviet Era” oppression and censorship he was forced to endure . . . with a dry wit.



“I didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition”

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26 Mar 2010 15:15 #58437 by iguanaDitty
We by Yevgeny Zamiatin (spelling varies) is another nice Soviet-era sf book. It was the inspiration for 1984 by Orwell and in many ways is superior to that more famous book.

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20 Apr 2010 12:00 #60331 by Columbob
Nice thread! Was away from here for a while because of the new baby, so I'm somewhat resurrecting it.

Anybody who's serious about SF needs to do themselves a favor and read this wonderful collection of short stories by Ted Chiang: Stories of Your Life and Others. Awesome stuff. Too bad he's not any more prolific, as people would have heard more about him by now.

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20 Apr 2010 13:13 #60346 by Shellhead
I just finished reading Market Forces, by Richard K. Morgan. It's a savage and absurd critique of investment bankers. They back both sides in third world conflicts, selling weapons to both sides and manipulating regional markets. And they claw their way up the corporate ladder by fighting lethal highway duels with each other in armored luxury cars. The only reason the story works is because Morgan absolutely commits to the ludicrous idea, 110%, and because he makes the effort to dig into the personalities and relationships of the principal characters. In the hands of a lesser writer, I would have laughed and tossed the book away by the end of the first chapter.

It reminded me of another savage look at capitalism , in K.W. Jeter's bleak novel Noir. That nasty work had white collar managers cybered to derive near-orgasmic pleasure from shaking hands with each other, and one sad character was haunted by his late wife's undead self until he could pay off her debts and put her to rest.

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