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Iain M. Banks

Elsewhere

by Paul

Links Categories: Links

We’re about to take a break for the holiday, but we thought we’d leave you with a meaty selection of goodies found around the web. Let’s start with something historic and modern at the same time. Adam Roberts, author of The Real-Town Murders, is continuing his read-through of the entire works of H.G. Wells, and it […]

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How to Build Your SF Reference Library: Iain M. Banks

by Paul

The first book from Iain Banks, The Wasp Factory, was published on his 30th birthday in 1984. The last novel, The Quarry, came out just days after his death in 2013. In total he wrote 14 novels as by Iain Banks, many of which had science fictional or fantastic overtones; and 12 novels and one short story […]

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The greatest sf authors?

by Paul

There’s a post I’ve just come across (it seems to be a year old, but you know how these things disappear and resurface on the web) that claims to list “The Greatest Sci-Fi Authors of All Time“. It’s an interesting, if largely predictable list: Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frank Herbert, […]

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How to Build Your SF Reference Library: Modern Masters of Science Fiction

by Paul

There’s an academic term: monograph. Basically it means a study of one particular subject. Where that subject is a science fiction writer, we’ve been pretty poorly served up to now. There have been occasional biographies, though these have usually been restricted to the very best known authors and haven’t always been that good. And let’s […]

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A History of Space Opera in 5 Titles

by Paul

Space opera is big again, what with Tor promising a summer of space opera, and the fuss accompanying the announcement that Jo Walton’s new book, due in February next year, is a space opera, Poor Relations. But space opera hasn’t always been popular. In fact, since it first appeared, about 90 years ago, space opera has […]

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10 Essential SF Books of the 1990s

by Paul

This was the decade in which some right-wing commentators proclaimed the end of history, and to be fair that’s how it felt. The fall of the Berlin Wall had been the trigger that ended the Cold War, and throughout the early years of the decade we saw the gradual but inevitable disintegration of the Soviet […]

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10 Essential SF Works from the 1980s

by Paul

Our peripatetic history of science fiction brings us to one of the more momentous decades in the history of the genre. The 1970s had been a decade in which no more than a handful of great writers emerged. The effects of the new wave slowly ran down, and the most important event in the history […]

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The best sf to recommend to non-sf readers

by Paul

Every sf blog does a post like this eventually. And they all get it wrong. Because they are all about what turned the author onto sf, not what a non-sf reader might be looking for. You can see the thinking, time after time: oh Embassytown by China Mieville blew me away, so it’s bound to have […]

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Ways of not dying in science fiction

by Paul

Books, Lists Categories: Books

When I wrote about Zero K recently, I said that avoidance of death was one of the key themes that runs through the entire history of science fiction. So I thought it would be fun to look at some of the ways of not dying you can find in science fiction. Actually, the Culture novels […]

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6 challenging sf works and why you should read them

by Paul

The thing I’ve noticed, writing these blog posts, is how often when I’m writing about a book I really rate the word I reach for is “challenging”. I use it all the time. I use it far more than you see, because I notice the repetitions and look for a synonym or rewrite the sentence. […]

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