The Fantasy/Scifi and other associated genres discussion thread

Tidal

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The relatively little-known New Zealand film 'The Quiet Earth' is not bad, it begins with a bloke waking up on Earth one morning to find everybody has apparently vanished, so he starts looking for other survivors..



SPOILER ALERT- his character is not a hollywood super-hero, he's just an ordinary bloke which adds to the realism.
I'd rate the closing scene of the film as one of the most dramatic in sci-fi filmology when he finds himself on a beach somewhere with Saturn rising over the sea..
 






Tidal

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'The Stone Tape' is worth a mention here, it's more of a ghost story than sci-fi but is so intelligently scripted it's highly entertaining.
(It explores the theme that stonework is like recording tape that holds images)
SPOILER ALERT- A high-tech electronics company rents an old country house to do scientific research, but quickly discover the place has a ghost, so they switch all their efforts into triggering/capturing it.

Clip 1- Enter the spook, a terrified victorian chambermaid-




Clip 2- their computer tries to warn them that their souls are in danger-



There's a chilling twist near the end when it becomes obvious they hadn't given any thought to what exactly made the terrified chambermaid die in the first place...

Full video-
 






amaranthine

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Does it have to be book? Can it be other forms of media like say video games or movies.

For sci-fi. I do enjoy the matrix trilogy.
I also got back into borderlands as far as gaming. Just something to get away from working out and my downtime from the wife and kiddos
Ha... I'm so late, but anything scifi/fantasy should be ok :) I really like the first Matrix, saw it at the cinema and had a blast.
 






amaranthine

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OMG!
John Crowley - Little, big.
I want to live on Old Law Farm!

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
A huge favourite book for me.

Anyone ever read 'Song for Arbourne' by Guy Gavriel Kaye?
It is kind of lovely, but I didn't like his other books so much.

Did anyone else have a huge Pern thing until her son took over?

I loved Zelazney's Amber, but I was very young when I first read them. I read them again a few years ago. They seemed a bit cheesey.
Yes yes! Crowley has a way of writing places that seem so inviting and mysterious, familiar and otherworldly at the same time.I did enjoy the parts of the novel set in the city, the Old Farm is indeed a lovely place, but kinda thought that the heart of it was at the Edgewood house.
Had a similar experience reading Beagle's Tamsin (one of my favorites) where the farm has a life of its own, apart yet including the humans living there.
Strange and Norrell... I am sad that she Susanna was unable to finish the sequel due to her illness. I've been meaning to read her latest work "Piranesi". Sounds intriguing.

Thanks for the recommendations. Song for Arbonne sounds pretty decent - been a fan of Occitan trobadour music since I can remember.
 






Cintra

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Yes yes! Crowley has a way of writing places that seem so inviting and mysterious, familiar and otherworldly at the same time.I did enjoy the parts of the novel set in the city, the Old Farm is indeed a lovely place, but kinda thought that the heart of it was at the Edgewood house.
Had a similar experience reading Beagle's Tamsin (one of my favorites) where the farm has a life of its own, apart yet including the humans living there.
Strange and Norrell... I am sad that she Susanna was unable to finish the sequel due to her illness. I've been meaning to read her latest work "Piranesi". Sounds intriguing.

Thanks for the recommendations. Song for Arbonne sounds pretty decent - been a fan of Occitan trobadour music since I can remember.
You may like song for Arbonne, then!

Piranesi is good.
Short, dreamlike, but good.
I need to read it again, but I can't yet forgive it for not being a sequel.

Oh, I agree! The heart was at Edgewood.
But old law farm sounded so cool.

I will look up Beagles Tamsin!
I don't know that one. thanks!
 






amaranthine

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I've yet to start on any of his novels but I do have a copy of Novelties and Souvenirs. Not strictly fantasy but still really good. Much to chew on, lots of erudite philosophical takes couched in gorgeous prose and from what I remember, The Nightigale Sings at Night and The War Between Objects and the Subects were my favorites (but I'm itching to reread it). I've only heard good things about Little, Big. My TBR list is ever growing but I'm pretty exited haha.
I have his short stories but still haven't read them! I slightly prefer Ka and Aegypt to Little Big but yeah most people prefer the latter. Can't go wrong though, Aegypt is more philosophy, freeform essays and thoughts with the story keeping them focused, while Ka is more focused on telling the story. Little Big seems somewhere inbetween.
 






amaranthine

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Earthsea.
I loved them!

Jacqueline Carey - Kushiel.
Unusual world.

Jack Vance - Lyonesse.
Weird stuff!

Gene Wolff - The shadow of the torturer.
Sort of sticks in my mind in a weird way.
Earthsea books were a joy to read, even if I did not like how they finished. My favorite was probably the Tomb of Atuan along with the first one. Still remember what bbc did to them with the horrible miniseries... Not to mention Ghibli...

Kushiel sounds interesting. What's the commentary on the whole pleasure in pain thing? Always find that stuff problematic.
 






amaranthine

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The Expanse is one of the best and most enjoyable tv series I've ever seen. Based on books, written by two authors in the same way Song of Ice and Fire is written (each chapter is from perspective of a different character and you start to see whole picture of the story only later), well written interesting characters, very realistic up to details (physics - passengers of spaceships affected by acceleration, fast maneuvers and multiple Gs, problems with logistics like food, water, air, recycling), politics, mad scientists, tactics, space battles and a mysterious disease from outer space.

(Almost) the only show that I am looking forward to each year.
 






amaranthine

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You may like song for Arbonne, then!

Piranesi is good.
Short, dreamlike, but good.
I need to read it again, but I can't yet forgive it for not being a sequel.

Oh, I agree! The heart was at Edgewood.
But old law farm sounded so cool.

I will look up Beagles Tamsin!
I don't know that one. thanks!
Short and dreamlike - just my thing!

Beagle wrote The Last Unicorn.
 






amaranthine

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I first read the LOTR trilogy 40 years ago but the film was a disappointment to me, I think that's because books paint pictures on the inside of our skull that no film can live up to.
My main gripe is that the terrain scenes were too bland and earth-like and I wish director Jackson had used subtle colour filters to give an "other-worldly" mysterious feel to them.
PS- some of the films music was nicely mysterious, I especially liked the bit below but it was sadly all too brief-

Agreed. The landscape and the scenery does not seem like middle earth at all to me. It does not feel ancient, nor alive, nor wondrous. Partly because of the direction and because of everything being in overdrive, partly because of the coloring. I think it shows that the films were rushed so attention to detail is lacking - especially in the mise en scene department and the direction of extras- with Minas Tirith scenes being the worst offenders. No place seems lived in. That's a common gripe I have with movies and shows in general though. I do really enjoy the LOTR movies but not as adaptations. Peter Jackson for all his passion still seems to me like the wrong choice to tackle the work, he seems to put too much thought into camera movement and not enough into what is present. The music is yes, very good most of the time, but then it wants to become a Pirates of the Carribean/Indiana Jones adventure, not to fault Howard Shore, it is just how the scenes are imagined. Somehow I enjoy many things in the old 1978 animated version (which altogether is more flawed than the PJ one), especially the acting, the direction of many scenes along with the characterisations and the general sense of impending catastrophe and terror (as well as hope) that is totally lacking in the PJ versions.
 






amaranthine

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Cause the films have to be a bit watered down into 3 hour boredom and filled with non canon action sequences for the sped people.
Haha yeah, I find movies where you don't get time to breathe and take in the emotions quite boring. My god how I loathe the scenes in the Return of the King with the Army of the Dead.
 






amaranthine

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The BIG question.

What do you really think of the Silmarillion?
I'll have to read it again. But from memory. It is hard to read, fabulous at times, confusing because of all the different lineages, has some absolute magical moments (I love every description of Earendil the Mariner). I bet it makes for a better reread which I will need to do very soon. Right after I read Children of Hurin.
 






amaranthine

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As time-travel movies go, 'The Final Countdown' was a big disappointment to me-


SPOILER ALERT-
Kirk Douglas and his modern super-duper aircraft carrier were somehow thrown back in time to just before Pearl Harbor, yet he did absolutely NOTHING to help defend the islands!
If i'd had my way he'd have been court-martialled and jailed for dereliction of duty.
I mean, presumably he'd taken the Navy Oath to "defend American lives and property", yet he chickened out in a shameful display of indecisive hand-wringing!
The Twelve Monkies is my favorite time travel movie. Has the most haunting scene I can think of. Pure movie magic.
 






amaranthine

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I like Michael Moorcock's Elric series quite a bit. Love that the character is sort of a deconstruction of the typical swords and sorcery protagonist. Rather that being a muscular, rugged powerful dude he's a skinny, sickly pretty boy that manages to be bad ass because of magic and cursed sword.

What I read of Glen Cook's Black Company is good.

I love Neil Giaman's writing, too. American Gods and Neverwhere are great books.

If we can count non-literature fantasy, I'm a fan of Berserk and Vampire Hunter D. Record of Lodoss Wars, too. Sandman, Hellblazer, and Books of Magic (the 90's Vertigo incarnation and the original mini-series) are good, too... Although depending, since they have some blending into superhero stuff, some folks might not count them as fantasy.

I'm not big on sci-fi literature. Too many shows/movies to list though.
I kinda like Neil Gaiman but his writing seems too cold for me. American Gods - I much prefered the short story added to the book that was set in Britain. The show was horrible :(
Berserk however (!) love it. Though haven't read all of it, mostly watched the old anime series, and read some chapters. Been meaning to read everything after it would be finished but alas... :( Vampire Hunter - love the style but only watched the Bloodlust movie. At least we'll have Elden Ring :p
 






Journeyman

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The BIG question.

What do you really think of the Silmarillion?
I found it a slog, but... with the benefit of hindsight, there's elements of it I can still recall well many years after reading it. The music of the Ainur is a superb way both of framing the subsequent action and also answering some questions on the metaphysics of Tolkien's worldview. The stories of Hurin and Turin are epic, that of Feanor tragic and there's a lot of wonder to be found in it, although by its nature it lacks the emotional hook of one or more central characters to take you through it.

A tough sell though to modern audiences. Unless you have that nerd/anorak streak buried deep within, you may find yourself closing the book before it really hits its stride. If you can finish it then the LOTR takes on a new level of grandeur, because you understand much better the world it takes place in, how everyone got to that position and that the epic events of the third age of Middle Earth are actually quite small scale in comparison with what's gone before.
 






Maes17

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Haha yeah, I find movies where you don't get time to breathe and take in the emotions quite boring. My god how I loathe the scenes in the Return of the King with the Army of the Dead.
Well another thing with film, it’s from the directors mind. So his/her imagination may very well differ from yours often leaving you disappointed
 






Tidal

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Agreed. The landscape and the scenery does not seem like middle earth at all to me. It does not feel ancient, nor alive, nor wondrous. Partly because of the direction and because of everything being in overdrive, partly because of the coloring. I think it shows that the films were rushed so attention to detail is lacking - especially in the mise en scene department and the direction of extras- with Minas Tirith scenes being the worst offenders. No place seems lived in. That's a common gripe I have with movies and shows in general though. I do really enjoy the LOTR movies but not as adaptations. Peter Jackson for all his passion still seems to me like the wrong choice to tackle the work, he seems to put too much thought into camera movement and not enough into what is present. The music is yes, very good most of the time, but then it wants to become a Pirates of the Carribean/Indiana Jones adventure, not to fault Howard Shore, it is just how the scenes are imagined. Somehow I enjoy many things in the old 1978 animated version (which altogether is more flawed than the PJ one), especially the acting, the direction of many scenes along with the characterisations and the general sense of impending catastrophe and terror (as well as hope) that is totally lacking in the PJ versions.

Yes, and incidentally I heard somewhere that the trustees of Tolkiens estate refused to allow LOTR to be filmed for many years (i don't know why), but apparently they finally relented and allowed Jackson to do it.
 






Cintra

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Earthsea books were a joy to read, even if I did not like how they finished. My favorite was probably the Tomb of Atuan along with the first one. Still remember what bbc did to them with the horrible miniseries... Not to mention Ghibli...

Kushiel sounds interesting. What's the commentary on the whole pleasure in pain thing? Always find that stuff problematic.
Yeah, they really messed up earthsea.
I loved all three, (and now the later ones too) but that map in Atuan...
It really did it for me.

Yes. There is that aspect to Kushiel.
She is a masochist priestess/prostitute type character, and she gets willingly abused a lot, with some detailed description of these events.
If that is a problem then it is better not read them, but they are beautifully written books. Very unusual, great world building.

I picked the first one up from a library, didn't know about that aspect until I started reading, and didn't know how far it would go until I finished the trilogy. But tbh, The Story of O didn't bother me, so this didn't either.
And unlike O, this isn't just a masturbatory fantasy, it is a story with interesting and well realised characters.

I always meant to read the second trilogy, but I never got round to it.
Now its been so long I can't remember enough of the first.
 






Cintra

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I found it a slog, but... with the benefit of hindsight, there's elements of it I can still recall well many years after reading it. The music of the Ainur is a superb way both of framing the subsequent action and also answering some questions on the metaphysics of Tolkien's worldview. The stories of Hurin and Turin are epic, that of Feanor tragic and there's a lot of wonder to be found in it, although by its nature it lacks the emotional hook of one or more central characters to take you through it.

A tough sell though to modern audiences. Unless you have that nerd/anorak streak buried deep within, you may find yourself closing the book before it really hits its stride. If you can finish it then the LOTR takes on a new level of grandeur, because you understand much better the world it takes place in, how everyone got to that position and that the epic events of the third age of Middle Earth are actually quite small scale in comparison with what's gone before.
I agree with every thing you say here.

I got it for christmas the year it was published. I wanted to like it so much.
But in the end it was a huge slog, and is every time I read it.
And after I read it, I forget it.
It won't stick in my mind properly.
Certain images do, but the narrative feels all broken up in my mind.

But yes! As background to LotR and world building, it can't be beaten.
And it did answer a lot of my nerd questions, like who the hell was Morgoth.
 






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