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The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: The Greatest Science Fiction Stories of All Time
by Robert Silverberg
Edition: Paperback
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Rise and Passage of the Golden Age, June 12 2004
This book takes you on a journey through the Golden Age of science fiction, and into the first steps of the New Age. It isn't true that this contains the "greatest science fiction stories of all time," because it only contains work prior to 1963 (this anthology was first published in 1970).
A few of the stories will seem campy by today's standards. "Martian Odyssey," by Stanley Weinbaum (1934) will show you just how far today's authors have come in terms of storytelling and prose styling. From those humble beginnings, the genre takes off like a rocket.
John Campbell's "Twighlight" (1934) show many of the themes and ideas--alienation, wonder, potential misuse of science--that would often define the Golden Age. "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov (1941) is probably the best of the early stories, showing perfect plotting and construction, combined with scientific ideas and thinking. As time marches on, we encounter such stories as "Scanners Live in Vain," by Cordwainer Smith (1948) which shows us a future society without burying us under the type of exposition that previously weighed-down other work; by 1954, we have "Fondly Fahrenheit," by Alfred Bester, a head-spinning, poetic, tour de force of a tale. "Flowers for Algernon" (1959) is one of the best-plotted, most poignant tales of the Golden Age. The book ends with "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," rife with the poetic, experimental style that would become a theme for much of the science fiction literature of the New Wave.
Unfortunately, a few of the stories don't age that well--and it is necessary for readers to realize that science fiction has continued to evolve in the decades since this book's publication. Nevertheless, it contains a large number of wonderful stories and--and serves as a schematic for the genre's development over four decades.

Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
by Carl Sagan
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 15.16
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Wonder of Science, the Courage to Disbelieve, June 11 2004
Carl Sagan wrote many fine things in his life. Cosmos, filled with his awe for the universe, was one of the first things I read as a child that got me excited about science. I also enjoyed his novel, Contact. As good as those things are, I predict that THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD will live on as a testimony to the wonder of the natural world, combined with the tools--and reasons--to question everything.
Sagan debunks myths regarding UFOs, alien abduction and other supernatural events. The mantra here is to believe nothing; instead, weigh evidence. Ask questions.
Chapter 12, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection" should be required reading in logic, philosophy and introductory science courses. People could gain a lot by getting exposure to these thinking tools.
Sagan does an excellent job of combining historical accounts alongside the lessons in skepticism. His passion for science spills out of the page, showing that one does not need superstitions to make the world interesting and exciting.
Towards the last few chapters, politics become an increasing theme within his essays. Unfortunately, I think this distracts from the overall message of the book. Nevertheless, even this can not lessen its overall strength.
THE DEMON-HAUNTED WORLD is a wonderful, vibrant and hopeful giant of a book.

Science Fiction 101: Where to Start Reading and Writing Science Fiction
Science Fiction 101: Where to Start Reading and Writing Science Fiction
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful Collection, June 3 2004
This is a superb collection of some of the finest short works of science fiction.
Some of my favorite stories are included here:
"Fondly Fahrenheit," Bester, one of science fiction's most beautiful examples of rhythm and poetic styling.
"Hothouse," Aldiss, an example of a future Earth that will fill you with awe.
"Day Million," Pohl, the classic boy-meets-girl story of the distant future.
The others are good as well, but the above tales are worth the price of the book alone. Add in Silverberg's commentary, and you've got a treasure-trove.

Schismatrix Plus
Schismatrix Plus
by Bruce Sterling
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 12.64
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Primordial brain-soup for the cyber-swimmer, May 10 2004
This review is from: Schismatrix Plus (Paperback)
Why is this book classed into the cyberpunk genre? I have no idea, because it is pretty distant from the likes of Gibson or Stephenson. If you've been turned off by the amoral bladerunneresque computer-noir of the typical cyberpunk novel, you won't find it here. What you will find is an epic comprising the 150+ year journey of a man through the social and technolical changes spawned by advanced biology, human-machine integration and life extension therapy.
In the universe of this book, there are two factions vying for control of mankind's destiny. First is the Shapers, who disdain machines and focus on the biological sciences and improvement of man through genetic engineering. The other is the Mechanists, who utilize computers and machines to enhance and extand their capabilities.
While it isn't the most stellar prose in terms of plotting or characters, it is chock-full of gooey, sweet ideas. He admits to writing in a "crammed prose" style in the introduction; but unlike Gibson, he does so without putting you to sleep.
After the novel there are a set of short stories also set in the Shaper/Mechanist universe. These are excellent. Other reviewers liked them more than the novel itself, and I'm inclined to agree.
One of the reviewers on the back cover calls Sterling "better than drugs," and I have come to appreciate the comparison: I feel like I'm having idea-flashbacks even now. This is good stuff!

Neuromancer
Neuromancer
by William Gibson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 8.09
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 Idea-rich but weak storytelling, see below for alternatives, May 10 2004
I have a love-hate relationship with this novel. On the one hand, its got so many damn-good ideas, and it's worth reading for that alone. I won't spoil the fun of uncovering the ideas, because that's the meat of the book--unfortunately, Gibson does not prove to be as strong a storyteller as he is an idea-man. The ideas are buried between dense prose that mesmerizes one into a fugue-state. The plotting is weak at best, often leading one to think that the places visited exist solely to showcase the technologies of the story. Character motives defy analysis. It is told from the viewpoint of an anti-hero, which is not bad in itself, but you are often left wondering what the point is--does he really learn anything?
The story is really a means of exposing Gibson's ideas about future societies, computers and biological science. In that, it truly shines. Fortunately, the book is fairly short and thus it is saved from itself. Neuromancer gets very high marks for originality and subject matter, but low for the craft of storytelling.
If you are interested in this genre, then Neal Stephenson does the best job in SNOW CRASH. Bruce Sterling does an admirable job in SCHISMATRIX as well (although I'm uncertain about applying the cyberpunk label to it). Lastly, Philip K. Dick deals with similar material in DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP (the film upon which Bladerunner was loosely based). He wrote it before the emergence of the "cyberpunk" term, although critics probably would have included it had he written it during the early nineties.

Snow Crash
Snow Crash
by Neal Stephenson
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 12.27
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Best of the "Cyberpunk", May 10 2004
This review is from: Snow Crash (Paperback)
Cyberpunk is a term that defies strong definition. Most people agree it is a subgenre of science fiction, that it has something to do with the relationship to man and his machines, and that it tends towards an idea-rich, "crammed" prose style. Bruce Sterling and William Gibson are the two other others most often associated with this field. Neal Stephenson, in Snow Crash, does the best of all. He proposes many futurist ideas without sacrificing the storytelling, and his characters are amongst the most memorable. If you were turned off to this genre due to the weak plotting and dense prose of Gibson, it's time to give it a second chance with this novel.

The Robots of Dawn
The Robots of Dawn
by Isaac Asimov
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 10.82
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Pinnacle of Asimov's robot storytelling, May 10 2004
The robot novels were always my favorite of Asimov's work. This book was written by the science-fiction master well into his career, demonstrating a significant improvement in his powers. This builds on the characters introduced in Caves of Steel and Naked Sun. You should read those before venturing into this novel.
Asimov combines the mystery genre and many of his futurist ideas together in this series. Not only do you get to experience a great mystery-adventure, but you're also exploring the social consequences of near-human robots. Daneel Olivaw, the robot partner to detective Elijah Baley, is one of the most memorable characters in the field of speculative fiction.
This is the best place to start reading Asimov. The sequel, Robots and Empire, is excellent as well. After reading the Robots books, try the Foundation series, which starts slower but gets very good--and ultimately rewards readers of the Robot books by tieing it all together.

The Naked Sun
The Naked Sun
by Isaac Asimov
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 10.82
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Continuing SF-detective tale is great fun, May 10 2004
The only reason I've rated this book only four stars is because some of Asimov's later books in the same series, written later in his career (e.g., Robots of Dawn) get even better. I found that there was a linear improvement in Asimov's writing through all of the robot novels.
Not only do you get to experience a great mystery-adventure, but you're also exploring the social consequences of near-human robots and the continued urbanization of the Earth along with man's push into space.
Daneel Olivaw, the robot partner to detective Elijah Baley, is one of the most memorable characters in the field of speculative fiction.
This is the best place to start reading Asimov; however, you should begin by reading the first novel in the series, Caves of Steel. If you enjoy these two, you will absolutely love the sequels. After reading the Robots books, try the Foundation series, which starts slower but gets very good--and ultimately rewards readers of the Robot books by tieing it all together.

Philip K Dick Reader Paper
Philip K Dick Reader Paper
by Philip K Dick
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 17.29
24 used & new from CDN$ 8.81

4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Best Dick, April 25 2004
Some of Dick's best stories are in this volume. We'll Remember it for your Wholesale and Minority Report are simply great stories. I would give each of those stories five stars, and many others are excellent as well, although perhaps not as consistent.
I feel that Dick shined as a teller of short-stories, and these exceed his longer works.
One of the pleasures of reading Dick's short stories is that they seem to turn into a feature film every couple of years. It's fun to see a movie preview, and within a few seconds say, "That's a Dick story!" even though the ultimate film doesn't always measure up.

The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle
by Philip K. Dick
Edition: Paperback
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 Thought-provoking, but..., April 25 2004
Dick takes us on a journey through one of the most unthinkable "what if" scenarios: Germany has won World War II. Through tidbits along the way, we learn of some of the factors that contributed the the defeat of the United States. It's a well thought-out alternative history.
Without spoiling anything, I'll tell you that there is a "book within the book." When you read about this, ask yourself exactly what Dick is satirizing--what is he getting at?
Unfortunately I found the ending unsatisfying. However, the book is memorable, and a good reminder of a possible world that was prevented by the actions of the Allies in WWII.

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