Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

RE: [modernsciencefiction2] new science fiction

Expand Messages
  • James Wallace Harris (jharris)
    I think the perfect length for science fiction is around the size of the novelette or novella. For example, The Time Machine. Most bookworms love long books
    Message 1 of 13 , Apr 1, 2010
      I think the perfect length for science fiction is around the size of the novelette or novella. For example, The Time Machine. Most bookworms love long books they can get into and stay awhile, but I think they love the vast vista of words because of story and character, and not for science fictional ideas. Great science fictional novels have to be about a lot of ideas to justify their length, at least to me.

      When just admiring a science fiction idea, I think the 10,000-20,000 word story is best. Most ideas aren't sustainable for longer lengths, even though some writers will beat an idea to death with a series of books. Taking a really good idea, like "Think Like a Dinosaur" or "Bears Discover Fire" or "The Menace from Earth" and making it into a jewel of story gives it more impact. All of those stories could have been 400 page novels, but they prove they don't have to be.

      Bill, I've read several of those stories, and heard of the most of the others. I'll try to read or read them when I can.

      Jim

      -----Original Message-----
      From: modernsciencefiction2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:modernsciencefiction2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Garthright
      Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 10:03 PM
      To: modernsciencefiction2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [modernsciencefiction2] new science fiction


      > If science fiction is getting this bad, maybe some of us need to get
      > to writing some new stories and books.
      >


      I don't know if I'd judge all modern science fiction by my opinions of these stories. I must admit that I'm not a big fan of short stories, anyway. And when I look back at favorite stories of the past, all too often they turn out to be novelettes or even novellas. An author is really limited by the short story length.

      Let's see,... looking back, I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read many of the recent short story winners of the Nebula Award, not one in fact since 1993. But in 1992, I loved "Even the Queen" by Connie Willis.
      But I wasn't crazy about Terry Bisson's "Bears Discover Fire," which won in 1990 (as I recall, it was still entertaining).

      I've done a little better with recent Hugo Award winners:

      2009: "Exhalation" by Ted Chiang - strange, but very good
      2007: "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt - very good
      2006: "Tk'Tk'Tk" by David D. Levine - my notes say "good," but I've got no memory of this one.
      1999: "The Very Pulse of the Machine" by Michael Swanwick - great hard SF story!
      1997: "The Soul Selects Her Own Society" by Connie Willis - very funny!
      1996: "The Lincoln Train" by Maureen F. McHugh - another excellent story, powerful and tragic.
      1995: "None So Blind" by Joe Haldeman - excellent hard SF.
      1993: "Even the Queen" by Connie Willis - as I say, I loved it.
      1992: "A Walk in the Sun" by Geoffrey A. Landis - nice, optimistic hard SF story.
      1991: "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson - already mentioned this one.
      1990: "Boobs" by Suzy McKee Charnas - an excellent fantasy.

      Well, if you go by these limited examples, I've generally been very happy with award winners. Of course, these are just the stories that WON their respective awards. Were there several good stories each year? Or was it more like the Nebula Award nominees this year, with only one good story (IMHO)?

      What about the rest of you? Have you read many award-winning short stories since 1990? As you can see, I missed a lot of them (especially the Nebula Award winners).

      Do you remember any of these stories I've mentioned?

      Bill

      http://garthright.blogspot.com/

      --
      It is well for people who think, to change their minds occasionally in order to keep them clean - Luther Burbank


      ------------------------------------

      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • Ann Baird
      I don t remember any of those.  And most of the better short stories seem to have been before the 90s.  Or am I just getting old?  Ann ... From: William C.
      Message 2 of 13 , Apr 1, 2010
        I don't remember any of those.  And most of the better short stories seem to have been before the '90s.  Or am I just getting old? 
        Ann

        --- On Wed, 3/31/10, William C. Garthright <billg@...> wrote:

        From: William C. Garthright <billg@...>
        Subject: Re: [modernsciencefiction2] new science fiction
        To: modernsciencefiction2@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 10:03 PM

         

        > If science fiction is getting this bad, maybe some of us need to get
        > to writing some new stories and books.
        >

        I don't know if I'd judge all modern science fiction by my opinions of
        these stories. I must admit that I'm not a big fan of short stories,
        anyway. And when I look back at favorite stories of the past, all too
        often they turn out to be novelettes or even novellas. An author is
        really limited by the short story length.

        Let's see,... looking back, I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't read
        many of the recent short story winners of the Nebula Award, not one in
        fact since 1993. But in 1992, I loved "Even the Queen" by Connie Willis.
        But I wasn't crazy about Terry Bisson's "Bears Discover Fire," which won
        in 1990 (as I recall, it was still entertaining) .

        I've done a little better with recent Hugo Award winners:

        2009: "Exhalation" by Ted Chiang - strange, but very good
        2007: "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt - very good
        2006: "Tk'Tk'Tk" by David D. Levine - my notes say "good," but I've got
        no memory of this one.
        1999: "The Very Pulse of the Machine" by Michael Swanwick - great hard
        SF story!
        1997: "The Soul Selects Her Own Society" by Connie Willis - very funny!
        1996: "The Lincoln Train" by Maureen F. McHugh - another excellent
        story, powerful and tragic.
        1995: "None So Blind" by Joe Haldeman - excellent hard SF.
        1993: "Even the Queen" by Connie Willis - as I say, I loved it.
        1992: "A Walk in the Sun" by Geoffrey A. Landis - nice, optimistic hard
        SF story.
        1991: "Bears Discover Fire" by Terry Bisson - already mentioned this one.
        1990: "Boobs" by Suzy McKee Charnas - an excellent fantasy.

        Well, if you go by these limited examples, I've generally been very
        happy with award winners. Of course, these are just the stories that WON
        their respective awards. Were there several good stories each year? Or
        was it more like the Nebula Award nominees this year, with only one good
        story (IMHO)?

        What about the rest of you? Have you read many award-winning short
        stories since 1990? As you can see, I missed a lot of them (especially
        the Nebula Award winners).

        Do you remember any of these stories I've mentioned?

        Bill

        http://garthright. blogspot. com/

        --
        It is well for people who think, to change their minds occasionally in
        order to keep them clean - Luther Burbank

      • William C. Garthright
        ... I ve been disappointed when I ve bought collections of modern short stories, but as I noted, I thought the Hugo Award winners were generally very good. And
        Message 3 of 13 , Apr 2, 2010
          > I don't remember any of those. And most of the better short stories
          > seem to have been before the '90s.
          >


          I've been disappointed when I've bought collections of modern short
          stories, but as I noted, I thought the Hugo Award winners were generally
          very good. And really, my reading of classic short fiction was generally
          in collections of the very best. If I'd read the "also-rans," would I
          have felt they were great, too? Maybe not.

          Bill

          http://garthright.blogspot.com/

          --
          There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant
          opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state as religion.
          Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be
          destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be
          destroyed. ... Those who made our Constitution saw this, and used the
          most apt and comprehensive language in it to prevent such a catastrophe.
          - Justice H.S. Orton, 1890
        • James Wallace Harris (jharris)
          I m more impressed when I hear new science fiction short stories. I just finished a collection, We, Robots that had seven stories in it, including one I had
          Message 4 of 13 , Apr 3, 2010
            I'm more impressed when I hear new science fiction short stories. I just finished a collection, We, Robots that had seven stories in it, including one I had read already from Asimov's I think. Remember when televisions were black and white and you got your first color set? That's how I feel about short stories when listening to them. It's like seeing them in color for the first time. Good readers add a tremendous amount to the experience, doing voices for the characters and reading with inflection that relates to the narrative. Did anyone listen to "Bridesicle" when I sent the link?

            I think there are still lots of great short stories coming out, and I assume in the same proportion as in the good ole days. Remember, we're reading old stories that are the survival of the fittest. If we read the average story from the 1940s or 1950s, or even the better than average, we'd be disappointed too. A great story might be 1 out of a 100, or even 1 out of a 1,000.

            And I'd define a great story as one that hits the mark with the most people.

            Jim

            -----Original Message-----
            From: modernsciencefiction2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:modernsciencefiction2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William C. Garthright
            Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 8:37 PM
            To: modernsciencefiction2@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [modernsciencefiction2] new science fiction


            > I don't remember any of those. And most of the better short stories
            > seem to have been before the '90s.
            >


            I've been disappointed when I've bought collections of modern short stories, but as I noted, I thought the Hugo Award winners were generally very good. And really, my reading of classic short fiction was generally in collections of the very best. If I'd read the "also-rans," would I have felt they were great, too? Maybe not.

            Bill

            http://garthright.blogspot.com/

            --
            There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state as religion.
            Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed. ... Those who made our Constitution saw this, and used the most apt and comprehensive language in it to prevent such a catastrophe.
            - Justice H.S. Orton, 1890


            ------------------------------------

            Yahoo! Groups Links
          • Ann Baird
            I finished it yesterday.  A good book.  I was a bit surprised.  From the beginning of it, I thought it was going to be boring.  But it got better and
            Message 5 of 13 , May 20, 2010

              I finished it yesterday.  A good book.  I was a bit surprised.  From the beginning of it, I thought it was going to be boring.  But it got better and turned into a decent read. 
              Anyone else finished yet?  When do we start the discussion?
              Ann B.

            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.