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Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

Let's talk about old science fiction. How did it change? Did it suck? Is it good? Or does it suck?

Let's go over some famous ones.



The War of the Worlds, 1897

Project Gutenberg link

The War of the Worlds is a good book that is a science fiction book and the aliens come and they're mean. None of the characters fuckin get any names!! arg

quote:

The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, first serialised in 1897 by Pearson's Magazine in the UK and by Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The novel's first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher William Heinemann of London. Written between 1895 and 1897,[2] it is one of the earliest stories to detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race.[3] The novel is the first-person narrative of both an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and of his younger brother in London as southern England is invaded by Martians. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon.[4]

Pick fucked around with this message at 06:33 on May 14, 2020

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Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost



The Description of a New World, Called the Blazing-World by Newcastle

Project Gutenberg link

This was written by Margaret Cavendish and is some of the earliest scifi ever. Some people claim it's the first scifi novel. Hard to say.

It's from 1666 so it's loving OLD. Also the literary conventions are odd now, but it's still completely coherent.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost




20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Project Gutenberg link

wiki link

quote:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: A World Tour Underwater (French: Vingt mille lieues sous les mers: Tour du monde sous-marin) is a classic science fiction adventure novel by French writer Jules Verne.

The novel was originally serialized from March 1869 through June 1870 in Pierre-Jules Hetzel's fortnightly periodical, the Magasin d'éducation et de récréation. A deluxe octavo edition, published by Hetzel in November 1871, included 111 illustrations by Alphonse de Neuville and Édouard Riou.[1] The book was widely acclaimed on its release and remains so; it's regarded as one of the premiere adventure novels and one of Verne's greatest works, along with Around the World in Eighty Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Its depiction of Captain Nemo's underwater ship, the Nautilus, is regarded as ahead of its time, since it accurately describes many features of today's submarines, which in the 1860s were comparatively primitive vessels.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost



Frankenstein

Project Gutenberg link

quote:

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley (1797–1851) that tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a hideous sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20.[2] Her name first appeared in the second edition published in Paris in 1821.

I super strongly recommend the "original cut", I like it considerably better.

quote:

On 31 October 1831, the first "popular" edition in one-volume appeared, published by Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley.[38] This edition was heavily revised by Mary Shelley, partially to make the story less radical. It included a lengthy new preface by the author, presenting a somewhat embellished version of the genesis of the story. This edition is the one most widely published and read now, although a few editions follow the 1818 text.[39] Some scholars prefer the original version, arguing that it preserves the spirit of Mary Shelley's vision (see Anne K. Mellor's "Choosing a Text of Frankenstein to Teach" in the W. W. Norton Critical edition).

So if you've only read the 1831 edition, I super super super super recommend reading the 1918 edition. This is actually a book I think is exceptionally good and it's too bad more people haven't read it.

Squizzle
Apr 24, 2008


“I’ll have to get you to excuse me, my friend, I ain’t no hat-rack.”

Fun Shoe

haha you think i need prompting to re-read barsoom books

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

I don't have an image for this so I'll just insert a cute one



The Machine Stops

.pdf link

quote:

"The Machine Stops" is a science fiction short story (12,300 words) by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909), the story was republished in Forster's The Eternal Moment and Other Stories in 1928. After being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965, it was included that same year in the populist anthology Modern Short Stories.[1] In 1973 it was also included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two.

The story, set in a world where humanity lives underground and relies on a giant machine to provide its needs, predicted technologies similar to instant messaging and the Internet.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost



Project Gutenberg link

wiki link

quote:

The Time Machine is a science fiction novella by H. G. Wells, published in 1895 and written as a frame narrative. The work is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle or device to travel purposely and selectively forward or backward through time. The term "time machine", coined by Wells, is now almost universally used to refer to such a vehicle or device.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

Squizzle posted:

haha you think i need prompting to re-read barsoom books

I've never read any of those. Are they good?

Squizzle
Apr 24, 2008


“I’ll have to get you to excuse me, my friend, I ain’t no hat-rack.”

Fun Shoe

Pick posted:

I've never read any of those. Are they good?

theyre good like a stuffed pepper. its not fancy, but it takes a lil bit of craft to get it right, and its deeply satisfying. you wouldnt wanna eat a stuffed pepper every fuckin day, but you wouldnt complain if you had something as decent as a stuffed pepper almost every day.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

I genuinely liked the period when sci-fi was like "woah what if a submarine fought a squid!?"

I think there was a genuine love and enthusiasm in that.

That's not saying that all older stuff is less grim than new stuff. I do consider Frankenstein quite grim and think it counts as sci-fi. Actually, I'd say it's a very regretful book.

One of my top memories of Frankenstein was reading a -review- of Frankenstein that suggested it was about men working to reproductively supplant women and that was the real horror of the time, and I thought it was a dumb review then, but looking back it made some really good points. I still don't know if I fully agree but good points were made.

paragon1
Nov 22, 2010

FULL COMMUNISM NOW


Grimey Drawer

So does anyone know what country it is that Captain Nemo is supposed to hate so much that he attacks a war ship at the end? I don't think it's explicitly stated in the books. Could be wrong, I read it in middle school.

paragon1
Nov 22, 2010

FULL COMMUNISM NOW


Grimey Drawer

It might not technically be science fiction, but I think I like Around the World in 80 Days the most of Wells' books.

Make that VERNE's books

paragon1 fucked around with this message at 17:31 on May 15, 2020

FunkyAl
Mar 28, 2010

Your vitals soar.


paragon1 posted:

It might not technically be science fiction, but I think I like Around the World in 80 Days the most of Wells' books.

Hot Air balloons were sci fi in the same way submarines were

RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.


The part in War of the Worlds where a battleship opens fire on some alien tripods trying desperately and fairly badly to defend a civilian transport is still real badass

Squizzle
Apr 24, 2008


“I’ll have to get you to excuse me, my friend, I ain’t no hat-rack.”

Fun Shoe

ive read that verne was not at all a fan of wells's work, because he was like, “you dont even explain how anything works!!! you cant just say that it does!! that is not science!!!!!” and wells was like “lmao. hes invisible, boom. the machine goes thru time. eat my rear end”

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

Squizzle posted:

ive read that verne was not at all a fan of wells's work, because he was like, “you dont even explain how anything works!!! you cant just say that it does!! that is not science!!!!!” and wells was like “lmao. hes invisible, boom. the machine goes thru time. eat my rear end”

i guess we know who was the star wars guy and who was the star trek guy

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

PICK CHALLENGE: READ A BOOK!

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Pick posted:

PICK CHALLENGE: READ A BOOK!

PICK A BOOK was right there smdh

Did anyone ever read Flatland? I had a copy ages ago but never got around to it. Seemed kind-of interesting as it was Victorian but equally unappealing in that way.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

mind the walrus posted:

PICK A BOOK was right there smdh

Did anyone ever read Flatland? I had a copy ages ago but never got around to it. Seemed kind-of interesting as it was Victorian but equally unappealing in that way.

my dad loves that book

The Moon Monster
Dec 30, 2005
THIS CUSTOM TITLE WILL COME IN HANDY WHILE LURKING


Pick posted:

I've never read any of those. Are they good?

I read something like first six (in one big volume I got from B&N for like $6) a few years ago and they're fun for a bit but SUPER formulaic. Basically John Carter finds the lost civilization of the [color] martians, gets tossed in their dungeon, escapes, dispatches the balance of the foemen, and either becomes their chieftain if they're good or destroys them if they're evil. It was an interesting read because the setting was very imaginative and was hugely influential to scifi, fantasy, and especially science fantasy, but they're sort of hard to recommend as actual good books. Also everyone is naked all the time.

mind the walrus posted:

PICK A BOOK was right there smdh

Did anyone ever read Flatland? I had a copy ages ago but never got around to it. Seemed kind-of interesting as it was Victorian but equally unappealing in that way.

It's been awhile, but IIRC it's one of those books where you get 90% of the value by reading the wikipedia page.

The Moon Monster fucked around with this message at 22:28 on May 16, 2020

Bogus Adventure
Jan 11, 2017

"When I started here all there was was lampshade warehouses and leather bars, the serious leather bars where you wouldn't get in unless you had a rubber ball stuffed in your mouth, the wine list was tattooed on the bartender's face. That kind of place."

-Bogus Adventure





I haven't read it, I'm sure it hasn't aged well, but it is such a ridiculously awesome setting and gave us Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris:





FunkyAl
Mar 28, 2010

Your vitals soar.


The MC in 20,000 leagues is truly amazed that you can eat seafood.

DivineCoffeeBinge
Mar 3, 2011

Spider-Man's Amazing Construction Company


paragon1 posted:

So does anyone know what country it is that Captain Nemo is supposed to hate so much that he attacks a war ship at the end? I don't think it's explicitly stated in the books. Could be wrong, I read it in middle school.

Nemo was revealed in The Mysterious Island - a Verne novel that was a sort of crossover sequel to both Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and In Search of the Castaways - to be... lemme just let Wikipedia explain.

quote:

On his death bed, Captain Nemo reveals his true identity as the lost Indian Prince Dakkar, son of a raja of the then-independent territory of Bundelkund and a nephew of the Indian hero Tippu-Sahib. After taking part in the failed Indian Rebellion of 1857, Prince Dakkar escaped to a desert island with twenty of his compatriots and commenced the building of the Nautilus and adopted the new name of "Captain Nemo".

The country whose ship he attacked was never explicitly given, but apparently "In early drafts of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas, Nemo appears as a Polish noble, a member of the szlachta bent on avenging the murder of his family during Russia's violent suppression of the January Uprising. However Verne's editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel feared that the book not only would offend the Russian Empire, a major French ally, but would also be banned from that country's bookstores. Accordingly Hetzel insisted that Verne revise the novel to conceal Nemo's background and political motivations.[2][3] Even so, one of the captain's remarks in the published book could hint at an East Indian ancestry: during the episode where he rescues a Ceylonese pearl fisherman in the Gulf of Mannar, Nemo describes the man as living "in the land of the oppressed, and till my last breath I'll remain a native of that same land.""

So my guess is England (in the latter; Bundelkhand was conquered by the British), even if Verne's original conception was that his grudge would be against Russia.

mind the walrus
Sep 22, 2006



Bogus Adventure posted:

I haven't read it, I'm sure it hasn't aged well, but it is such a ridiculously awesome setting and gave us Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris:




Thank you for reminding me of her. She was an underrated part of the movie. Definitely felt like someone doing her best to bring an actual performance to a character that is one of the original Fantasy bikini girls.

Bogus Adventure
Jan 11, 2017

"When I started here all there was was lampshade warehouses and leather bars, the serious leather bars where you wouldn't get in unless you had a rubber ball stuffed in your mouth, the wine list was tattooed on the bartender's face. That kind of place."

-Bogus Adventure



mind the walrus posted:

Thank you for reminding me of her. She was an underrated part of the movie. Definitely felt like someone doing her best to bring an actual performance to a character that is one of the original Fantasy bikini girls.

She loving ruled, and was the best part of that movie for me for a ton of reasons. She also seemed like the closest we would ever get to a Wonder Woman on screen, and I was hoping that Snyder would tab her as Diana for his now-defunct DC operatic universe. I think she would have ruled as an older, wizened Diana who teaches Clark and Bruce the ropes of what it truly means to be a hero.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011

STOP BEING EVIL.


I liked Edgar Alan Poe's story where a bunch of scientists and socialites are fooling around with a mummy (like people in the 19th century tended to do), and they manage to resurrect him, whereupon he tells them that everything they know about ancient Egypt was wrong and most of the wonders of modern science pale in comparison to the forgotten dead civilization.

Sombrerotron
Aug 1, 2004

Release my children! My hat is truly great and mighty.



(The) Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde remains well worth reading, I think. It takes a very materialistic approach to the human psyche, being able to manipulate it to extreme extents via chemistry, and really paints a kind of nightmare scenario for the kind of dependency on - and side-effects of - medication that has become commonplace in today's society. There's also clear parallels with later science-fiction that focuses on how the human body may be changed through technology, and how that might dehumanise us. Beyond all that, though, I think it's especially engaging because it raises questions about free will and culpability.

RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.


Sombrerotron posted:

(The) Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde remains well worth reading, I think. It takes a very materialistic approach to the human psyche, being able to manipulate it to extreme extents via chemistry, and really paints a kind of nightmare scenario for the kind of dependency on - and side-effects of - medication that has become commonplace in today's society. There's also clear parallels with later science-fiction that focuses on how the human body may be changed through technology, and how that might dehumanise us. Beyond all that, though, I think it's especially engaging because it raises questions about free will and culpability.

habituallyred
Feb 6, 2015


All this talk about 100 year old books and nobody brings up the Lensman series? The big Space Opera inspiration?

Killingyouguy!
Sep 8, 2014



habituallyred posted:

All this talk about 100 year old books and nobody brings up the Lensman series? The big Space Opera inspiration?

oh i watched a video on that anime

habituallyred
Feb 6, 2015


poo poo, I should have looked it up before I posted, started in 1949. 29 years off. I'll think of a way to make up for that mistake later.

Edit: Or 14 years if you go by the magazine date.

habituallyred fucked around with this message at 01:46 on May 19, 2020

Pick
Jul 19, 2009
mottled gecko

Nap Ghost

That's ok, I'm happy to learn more about Lensman. It's a series I know my dad liked.

The Butcher
Apr 20, 2005

and it was all going so well...


Nap Ghost

The extremely casual racism in the very old stuff is a bit of a trip. It's just like taken for granted, nobody calls it out or objects in any way.

Like "Ok, time to take this hot air balloon up to the moon, which is hollow, and might be filled with sexy moon ladies. Tell that lazy negro in the engine room to get to work."

Also exceedingly rare for a woman to have any other role or depth than just being a cardboard cutout sex object that the protagonist gets to bang at some point.

Early sci-fi authors were probably pretty weird dudes.

paragon1
Nov 22, 2010

FULL COMMUNISM NOW


Grimey Drawer

DivineCoffeeBinge posted:

Nemo was revealed in The Mysterious Island - a Verne novel that was a sort of crossover sequel to both Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and In Search of the Castaways - to be... lemme just let Wikipedia explain.


The country whose ship he attacked was never explicitly given, but apparently "In early drafts of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas, Nemo appears as a Polish noble, a member of the szlachta bent on avenging the murder of his family during Russia's violent suppression of the January Uprising. However Verne's editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel feared that the book not only would offend the Russian Empire, a major French ally, but would also be banned from that country's bookstores. Accordingly Hetzel insisted that Verne revise the novel to conceal Nemo's background and political motivations.[2][3] Even so, one of the captain's remarks in the published book could hint at an East Indian ancestry: during the episode where he rescues a Ceylonese pearl fisherman in the Gulf of Mannar, Nemo describes the man as living "in the land of the oppressed, and till my last breath I'll remain a native of that same land.""

So my guess is England (in the latter; Bundelkhand was conquered by the British), even if Verne's original conception was that his grudge would be against Russia.

Oh drat. Thanks!

Sombrerotron
Aug 1, 2004

Release my children! My hat is truly great and mighty.



The Butcher posted:

Early sci-fi authors were probably pretty weird dudes.
The implication that later sci-fi authors are not pretty weird dudes is, shall we say, debatable.

edit: Anyway, I've been rereading Hark! A Vagrant and I feel that I'd be remiss for not seizing the opportunity to link these:

http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=213
http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=231

FunkyAl
Mar 28, 2010

Your vitals soar.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvtWDIZtrAE

Everyone don't forget to watch Metropolis, despite it being only 93 years old

TheDiceMustRoll
Jul 23, 2018


Pick posted:

I've never read any of those. Are they good?

Like most pulp they are very repetitive, so spread out time reading. If you think Star Wars is getting a little tiresome with three death stars, imagine 9 star wars films where there's a death star as the main problem each time with slight model changes.

Hobnob
Feb 23, 2006

Ursa Adorandum


DivineCoffeeBinge posted:

Nemo was revealed in The Mysterious Island - a Verne novel that was a sort of crossover sequel to both Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and In Search of the Castaways

Incidentally The Mysterious Island is worth reading in its own right, quite apart from the Nemo reveal which doesn't happen until late in the book. Five prisoners of war escape the American Civil War in a hot-air balloon that takes them to an unknown island, which just happens to have enough resources to get them to a quite modern standard of living. It's kind of like a Minecraft playthrough.

There's some very dated stuff from the main character's black servant, but at least the book is firmly against the Confederate side in the war.

Speleothing
May 6, 2008

Spare batteries are pretty key.

Fun Shoe

Bogus Adventure posted:



I haven't read it, I'm sure it hasn't aged well, but it is such a ridiculously awesome setting and gave us Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris:







Read it. It's fine.

Red Martians lay eggs.

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grate deceiver
Jul 10, 2009


I've read The Night Land, and while it had an interesting setting and atmosphere, William Hope Hodgson couldn't write for poo poo. It's a terrible slog. Going on for literal pages about the dark things that darkly dwell in the dark darkness.

The guy was also really into the storytelling device where events aren't narrated as they happen, but instead it's someone telling you a story, or a dream, or something like that. In The Night Land, the narrator and MC is actually a person from like the 18th century, that astral projects into his future reincarnation, and is retelling what he saw there. There's also somehing about some woman he's into being reincarnated in that future because they're destined lovers or something. This pretty much never comes up after the intro is done and has no bearing on the actual story.

grate deceiver fucked around with this message at 09:56 on May 30, 2020

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