[FRIAM] Science Fiction Books

Frank Wimberly wimberly3 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 3 21:46:40 EDT 2023


Frank C. Wimberly
140 Calle Ojo Feliz,
Santa Fe, NM 87505

505 670-9918
Santa Fe, NM

On Sun, Sep 3, 2023, 3:21 PM Frank Wimberly <wimberly3 at gmail.com> wrote:

> At one point, maybe still, the largest mass shooting took place in
> Norway.  Correct me if I'm wrong.
> ---
> Frank C. Wimberly
> 140 Calle Ojo Feliz,
> Santa Fe, NM 87505
> 505 670-9918
> Santa Fe, NM
> On Sun, Sep 3, 2023, 3:16 PM Jochen Fromm <jofr at cas-group.net> wrote:
>> Well, I still believe there is a gun problem in the United States, yes.
>> Definitely. Just recently a police officer fatally shot a pregnant Black
>> woman in the parking lot of a grocery store in Ohio after she refused to
>> exit her car. And Ohio is not even a red state, right? It is also well
>> known that the US has substantially more mass shootings than other
>> countries. This is one reason why I do not want to travel to the USA at the
>> moment - South Africa also does not feel safe to me after various reports
>> in the last months about missing tourists.
>> The other is the lack of good food. In Europe and Asia there is such a
>> variety of good restaurants and healthy food. In Germany and Great Britain
>> not so much, except in the larger cities, but in the Mediterranean
>> countries like Spain, Italy, Greece and Israel the food is awesome. In
>> South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan as well.
>> -J.
>> -------- Original message --------
>> From: Steve Smith <sasmyth at swcp.com>
>> Date: 9/3/23 8:59 PM (GMT+01:00)
>> To: friam at redfish.com
>> Subject: Re: [FRIAM] Science Fiction Books
>> Jochen -
>> I thought of you more than few times on my long walkabout through
>> Red/Purple-state 'murrica...  mostly your concerns a year or two ago about
>> traveling to the US "because gun violence".   I was in the heart of "gun
>> country" through this trip and saw a few artifacts of that which would
>> naturally be *very* disturbing (methinks) to someone not already innured to
>> it... but not nearly as many as you might expect.  On the other hand I just
>> saw a news item that Canada and many other first-world countries have in
>> place "travel warnings" for not the US proper, but many of the more
>> egregious "red states".   I believe you may have already made your
>> 'murrican sojourn so the point may be moot... but I couldn't help thinking
>> "how would Jochen see this?" as I stumbled through a landscape of bison,
>> hay bales, corn fields, motorcycles, strip malls, and gun shows.
>> I have read "Highway of Eternity" from Clifford D. Simak this weekend,
>> one of the books from the golden age of science fiction which is comparable
>> to "The city and the Stars" from Arthur C. Clarke and "The end of eternity"
>> from Isaac Asimov. Both belong to my favorite books. Modern authors don't
>> write like this anymore. Their books are often gloomy and depressive, and
>> do not span millions of years. What is your favorite science fiction book?
>> Will the AI breakthrough in large language models lead to more optimistic
>> science fiction books again?
>> Back on topic:  I grew up on a lot of "Golden Age" works/authors which
>> includes Simak/Clarke/Asimov of course.   I would claim that this time was
>> naturally one of "Utopianism" that came with the rapid development of
>> industry/technology/science.  I think the Dystopianism ramped up with
>> PostModernism and Cyberpunk.   I'm a big fan of Cyberpunk (esp..
>> Gibson/Sterling/Stephenson/Cadigan/etc.) and *some* post-Apocalyptic
>> works... now almost exclusively "CliFi" (Climate Fiction), but I get your
>> yearning for "the good ole days".   I'd say Elon Musk grew up on "too much
>> Utopian SF" as well and (unlike me) hasn't outgrown it?
>> My *favorite* golden-age author is Jack Williamson
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Williamson> who I've mentioned here
>> before and had the distinction of being somewhat elder when he published
>> his first work at age 20 (1928) in Hugo Gernsback's first-of-kind Amazing
>> Stories (1926).   I feel like he hit his stride after WWII where he had
>> been a (civilian, not military due to age) Weatherman in the Pacific and
>> reacted to a dawning self-awareness of the flip side of techno-Utopianism
>> (exemplified by Hiroshima/Nagasaki)...   His (re)entry into publication
>> after a long hiatus (during/after WWII) was With Folded Hands
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_Folded_Hands>, a reflective
>> dystopian view of techno-utopianism as well as work presaging Asimov's
>> Robot series as well as a plethora of concepts like
>> Borg/Cylon/Replicant/Terminators/Cybermen/Sentinels, etc...   and of course
>> all of this was preceded by Lem's Trurl and Klapaucius (wizard-robot
>> constructors) and the Hebrew Golem (and Frankenstein's Monster and... and
>> and.)  He wrote over 50 novels ultimately in his 98 year long life as well
>> as myriad short stories, novellas and a 3 year run of a comic strip (early
>> 50s)... He also penned a reflective autobiography late in life (70s) but
>> with nearly 20 years worth of career following that!  He taught writing at
>> Eastern NM University well into his 90s as well.
>> For the most part I'm thankful to be beyond the flat-character
>> cardboard-cutout, misogynistic, stoicly independent/capable (white-male)
>> hero-worship classic SF tropes but I hear your interest in more positive
>> grand narratives that the Golden Age also carried.  For the seminal
>> Epoch-spanning humanity I offer Olaf Stapledon's "Last and First Men"
>> (1930) and "Starmaker" (1933).  The former spans 2 billion years and 18
>> human species...
>> Robert Heinlein is the avowed Master of Human Chauvanistic
>> technoUtopian/Libertarian fantasies which even satisfies some of us
>> reformed/anti-Libertarians sometimes.   Many of his more minor novels are a
>> fun romp in near-future techno-utopianism (e.g. Moon is a Harsh Mistress)
>> as well as epoch and dimensional spanning works such as *Time Enough for
>> Love *and *Job* (respectively).   *Stranger in a Strange Land* stood up
>> well next to Herbert's *Dune* in the 60s to satisfy Hippies and
>> non-Hippies alike.
>> Larry Niven's *Ringworld *series are pretty
>> far-flung/futuristic/optimistic epochal.  He does post-Apocalyptic well too
>> (e.g. *FootFall*, *Mote in God's Eye*)
>> I did enjoy Simak's work "back in the day" and his 1968 "So Bright the
>> Vision" gestured toward what ChatGPT is today.
>> A.E. Van Vogt offers some great classics as well...  *The Worlds of Null
>> A *and *Weapons Shops of Isher* stand out.
>> Poul Anderson simultaneously created/celebrated and lampooned the
>> canonical pulp hero with his Nicholas van Rijn characters in a series of
>> works and his *PsychoTechnic League* is a Future History to rival
>> Asimov's *Foundation* series.
>> I know you asked for "*A* favorite" but I'm not so good at narrowing
>> such things down...  hope you made it through my romp of recommendations
>> and at least one is useful!   If you lived closer (same continent?) I would
>> bequeath you a few boxes of pulp from that era <grin>...
>> - Steve
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