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A very accessible book by which to begin reading Banks, an author whose core franchise/setting appears impenetrable.While its plot can be considered a simple adventure or mystery, Banks' real strength is in realising a genuinely alien futuristic society which at the same time uses elements of the contemporary world, at times exaggerated, in unfamiliar or extreme ways.

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Indeed, don't think any film version of Dick has really captured his tone properly.I was 14 when I first read Neuromancer, one of the first generation to grow up hooked in to the computer-generated realities that Gibson so presciently explores.For me and for millions of others who live in the modern reality of computers and the internet, William Gibson's imagined future is closer to the truth of now than any work of realist literature.It is a novel of discovery, but also a novel of compassion and hope. Despite some dubious plot points Perdido Street Station features one of the most mesmerising and terrifying monsters I've ever come across.Described with a stunning, fluid, dreamlike intensity, in a wonderfully rendered world, the Slake Moths made Perdido Street Station the most memorable sf novel I've read. Banks novels are great because you have to think quite hard to understand them while you're reading them.While not as evidently prescient as Huxley or Orwell, Zamyatin explores a potential extrapolation of the Soviet ideal.

Some may call it a reductio ad absurdum but ultimately it highlights the dangers of the worship of technology, the establishment of systems and rules and progress - while it is full of allusions to the early Soviet state, it has a universal message which is certainly interesting - furthermore, its relatively inconclusive ending evades traditional dystopian SF tropes of the revolution or regime change per se.

Iain M Banks, Alastair Reynolds), but was arguably the first novel to imagine a plausible posthuman solar system, riven by ideologies and wild economics, teeming with conflict and graft, and packed with moments of pure sensawunda.

Best of all, apart from the handful of short stories set in the same fictional universe, Sterling never felt the need to cash in on the critical success of Schismatrix with sequels; the end result is a novel that still reads as fresh and powerful to this day, more than a quarter of a century after its initial publication.

Put very simply he recognises that when something or anything is looked at more closely reality and consciousness will change ultimately meaning that both are unstable.

In Dicks books this manifests itself firstly in paranoia and then to transcendence.

One of the most visionary, ambitious and influential explorations of the universe ever committed to paper, Stapledon's novel elevates SF to the level of a sacred text. The story is rich and satisfying in every detail, the characters are unforgettable, and the language is so good that you want to read every sentence twice.