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  1. #161
    Deadlock Deadlock is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Finbar10 View Post
    OK, will do (though it may be a month or two until I've gotten around to reading that).
    Sweet! Thanks - I appreciate that!
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  2. #162
    O'Quisling O'Quisling is offline
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    I’m gonna cheat here and suggest a film.

    A Science fiction film with a political theme
    Albeit inspired by a short story.

    They Live

    This 1988 American science fiction horror film was directed by John Carpenter, director of Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), and Starman (1984).

    “They Live” is a critique of consumerism, conformity, and the commodification of everything that went into 5th gear in Ronnie Reagan’s America.

    On its opening weekend “They Live” was number one in the box office in the US and worldwide. The film was nominated for two Saturn Awards. “They Live” has since become a cult film.

    The film was based on the 1963 short story, "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" by Ray Nelson.

    Ray Nelson was a lifelong friend of Philip K. Dick , author of “The Man in the High Castle” (adapted into a current series on Amazon Prime), “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (adapted into the film Bladerunner), “A Scanner Darkly” (adapted into a film starring Keanu Reeves), "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (adapted into the films Total Recall), “Minority Report'' (adapted into a film starring Tom Cruise and Colin Farrell), “Paycheck” (adapted into a film starring Ben Affleck), "The Golden Man" (adapted into the film “Next” starring Nicolas Cage), “The Adjustment Bureau” (adapted into a film starring Matt Damon”), and the 1958 novel ''Time Out of Joint'' is the inspiration for Jim Carey’s ''The Truman Show''.

    Any of Nelson's or K. Dick's books are thought-provoking.
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  3. #163
    Black Swan Black Swan is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by statsman View Post
    squarebracket backslash link close squarebracket ?
    I just put a space in advance of pasting a link now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Degeneration X View Post
    Scalzi's Redshirts was interesting, not great but interesting.
    I haven't read that one. I mostly read/listened to the 'Old Man's War' novels.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritzbox View Post
    I'm reading Lovecraft at the moment, he's very good. He has been an inspiration to a lot of other writers - Stephen King comes to mind.
    My earliest recollection of the 'Weird Fiction' genre was through the anthologies of Helen Hoke and the novels of Stephen King in my late childhood.

    I discovered Lovecraft in my late teens.

    The core entries in the Lovecraft canon (in my opinion) are 'Call of Cthulhu', 'The Shadow out of Time', 'At the Mountains of Madness' and 'The Whisperer in Darkness' (among at least as many other supporting works).

    I didn't get back into fiction until my early 30's, but since then I have read most of Lovecraft's and King's works.

    This documentary is worth watching for those interested.

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  4. #164
    Degeneration X Degeneration X is offline
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    Interesting themes in BR.
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  5. #165
    Degeneration X Degeneration X is offline
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    "The Iron Dream" by Spinrad - it tells a fictional tale called "Lord of the Swastika", written by an alternate universe Adolf Hitler in which he became a Hugo winning SF author instead of a politician.
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  6. #166
    Degeneration X Degeneration X is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socratus O' Pericles View Post
    He's one of my favourites. Non-Stop, Greybeard, Report on Probability A, Helliconia and HARM are excellent as well as some of the great volumes of sf short stories ever.
    "Hothouse" is a good one by Aldiss. Though "Greybeard" is probably his best preempts what James did with "Children of Men" or Atwood with "the Handmaid's Tale" by several years, as all three deal with the possible end of human fertility in the not too distant future.
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  7. #167
    Degeneration X Degeneration X is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by owedtojoy View Post
    War of the Worlds is not a book you think of as a politically themed work, but such themes can be discerned. Wells was a trained scientist, understood evolution, and was also a gradualist socialist like GB Shaw.

    It is a cliche about a books being understood on many levels, but this one can be.



    On the simplest level, it is an adventure story with a happy ending, like Independence Day, or Spielberg's film with Tom Cruise. You can read and enjoy it that way - I liked Independence Day, while it was light enough. In his own film, Spielberg turns the story into that of a man searching for his family, of which there is a bit also in the book. But it was more Spielberg than Wells.

    On another level, it is about Imperialism, and the horrors of Imperialist wars, especially the strong advanced technological societies against the poorest of the world. The sight of giant super-weapons destroying London was both terrifying and horribly fascinating to the Victorians. But there was also the horrors of American aboriginals with weapons of bone and wood facing armoured men on horseback with steel swords and gunpowder cannon.

    In one of Conrad's novels, he recounts a French battleship bombarding West African villages - a disparity in power not far from what the Martians visit on London. In the years after the last great colonising effort, into Africa, such disparities were common, like British Maxim guns against Arab light horsemen.

    I am not sure if Wells' anti-Imperial message got through, it may be too well coded. But it is there for anyone who thinks about it. That white men were superior was an assumption of his era - and Wells may even have agreed with it. But he was also presenting what horrors could flow from it, and the challenge that was to humanism, and to Christianity. Though less of the latter, Well's poor opinion of religion comes across in his unsympathetic portrait of the clergyman, whose complacent faith is easily shattered.

    There is another level, there is a parable about evolution in the book. Wells explicitly says that we are to the Martians just like the tiny creatures that swarm under the microscope. He also seems to say that the Martians may be smarter than we can be - humans have not been able to reproduce Martian technology, in fact the attempts have led to disastrous accidents. Meanwhile, there are signs of the Martians colonising Venus.

    The irony is that the was those swarming microscopic creatures who defeated the Martians, by infecting them with diseases, not the humans. What does that mean? Wells says that our (relative) immunity has earned us the right to live here ... By the toll of a billion deaths man has bought his birthright of the earth, and it is his against all comers ...

    So perhaps Wells is pushing against the view of evolution as "survival of the fittest". Evolution works for you if you find and defend a niche. Humans survive by cohabiting with the bacteria that inhabits this planet, not by destroying them, like the Martians did on their planet. It is a strangely "green" view, and quite advanced and prophetic of the modern view of evolution.
    WOTW is a very political novel and the references to Imperialism are made quite explicit in the book, Wells likens the Martians on Earth to the British in Tasmania and says we shouldn't judge the Martians too harshly.
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  8. #168
    Degeneration X Degeneration X is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calculusmadeeasy View Post



    Darkness at Noon, The Iron Heel, 1984, We


    Most disappointing sci fi book, although I don't think it has political themes is Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Tiresome rubbish.

    The movie is far superior.
    Not a huge fan of Dick myself - I think "Ubik", "the Man in the High Castle" and DADOES are the only books by him I have read. Though there are parts of DADOES I do like always a lot of Gnostic themes with Dick.

    "We", "1984" and "Darkness at Noon" are always lumped together as a trinity of books as they deal with the same topic - the betrayal of Marxist idealism by Totalitarianism all three were written by disillusioned Marxists but only Zamityn had direct experience of life in the Soviet Union. "Darkness at Noon" is a bit of an outlier though as is not Science Fiction.

    I have never read "the Iron Heel" by London, I know it is said to be prophetic in many ways.
    Last edited by Degeneration X; 21st February 2018 at 08:48 PM.
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  9. #169
    Fritzbox Fritzbox is offline
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    I've just finished reading Liz Jensen's, 'The Uninvited', would recommend it.
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