james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Can someone who has not read Russ, Tiptree or Butler truly consider themselves familiar with the classics of SF?

Date: 2014-03-30 03:35 pm (UTC)
wild_irises: (Joanna Russ)
From: [personal profile] wild_irises
I thought "classic" meant "written by men before 1970."

Date: 2014-03-29 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zxhrue.livejournal.com

there might be some quibbling about the use of the word "classics" due to the time of publication, but in a word, no.

Date: 2014-03-29 05:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sean o'hara (from livejournal.com)
Classics? A bunch of latecomers.

Nothing published after Welles started writing realistic fiction can be considered "classic SF".

Date: 2014-03-30 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gummitch.livejournal.com
Is that Orson Welles ;-)

Date: 2014-03-29 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shana.livejournal.com
Of course they can consider themselves familiar with the classics of SF. The power of self-deception is vast. Whether anyone else agrees with them is another question.

Date: 2014-03-29 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harvey-rrit.livejournal.com
Beat me to it. Well said.

Bester also belongs on the list.

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Date: 2014-03-29 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carloshasanax.livejournal.com
"The Grain Bay Pashkers."

Date: 2014-03-29 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ethelmay.livejournal.com
What if one has read Russ and Tiptree but bounced off Butler? (I did try, and will probably try again.)

Date: 2014-03-29 08:26 pm (UTC)
dsrtao: dsr as a LEGO minifig (current)
From: [personal profile] dsrtao
Similarly.

Date: 2014-03-29 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
What made you hold off on Butler?

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Date: 2014-03-30 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yhlee.livejournal.com
I did manage to read Butler's Xenogenesis twice, but I think my ability to appreciate it was damaged by inadvertently reading #2 in the trilogy first (I got confused figuring out which book was first) and doing so when I was in middle school before I had any clear idea what sex was, which made large portions of the plot completely incomprehensible. :/ The second time did go better but there's something about the way I first encounter a work that influences future readings.

Date: 2014-03-29 08:24 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Since I've read works of each of these, I choose to exclude those who haven't...

Date: 2014-03-29 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nancylebov.livejournal.com
Is there an objective answer to that sort of question?

To my mind, if you've merely read a book and don't remember much of it, you aren't familiar with it.

Date: 2014-03-29 08:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sean o'hara (from livejournal.com)
All questions have objective answers, and that is my answer, and if you disagree with my answer, you are a fool who shouldn't be taken seriously.
Edited Date: 2014-03-29 08:39 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2014-03-29 09:42 pm (UTC)
kjn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kjn
Depending on which defintion of classics, and which definition of SF?

I'm also firmly opposed to any and all attempts to make any author mandatory reading.

Date: 2014-03-30 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nathan helfinstine (from livejournal.com)
This, especially the second sentence. Defining a mandatory canon is a bad idea.

Date: 2014-03-29 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nelc.livejournal.com
Certainly, there is sport to be had in challenging someone who claims to have read all the classics by inquiring if they have read anything by well-known authors who happen to fall into a particular category.

Date: 2014-03-29 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] don-fitch.livejournal.com
The question is largely subjective, as is my answer. In a word, no. (That might not be the perfect word, but I decree that it's close enough for the likes of us.)

Date: 2014-03-29 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bruce munro (from livejournal.com)
Can one be an SF reader and be blithely unconcerned with whether one has read "the classics" or not?

Date: 2014-03-30 05:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] death4breakfast.livejournal.com
Sure, depending on where you draw the line chronologically. Although I wouldn't agree with them, I could certainly see someone drawing the line at to exclude "That New Wave Stuff" and classing anything John W. Campbell wouldn't have bought as not being "Classic" and that would absolutely exclude the authors you mentioned.

Similarly, I could see some of the surly sexist curmudgeons out there coming up with rules to allow in later work by manly-men SF writers, while finding a way to rule out anything with too many girl cooties on it.

On a slightly different subject though, just how much would you have to have read by a particular author to be considered "familiar" with them? I've read a handful of works by all three authors (I own single author antholigies by each of them, and have read other of their works in multi-author antholigies, and I might have read a novel or two.) you've mentioned and I've also read a fair amount *about* the authors. I'd be inclined to say that I'm "familiar" with them and their work, but I wouldn't say I've read them extensively.

Date: 2014-03-30 01:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mmcirvin.livejournal.com
I admit, I've read and enjoyed short stories/short novels by all three but I don't think I've read any of their full-length novels.

But I am better-read in short SF than in novels, in general.

Date: 2014-03-30 01:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mmcirvin.livejournal.com
...Tiptree was much more prolific at short length, of course. But Butler was primarily a novelist, and her work is definitely a lacuna in my reading.

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From: (Anonymous) - Date: 2014-03-30 10:51 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2014-03-31 02:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] harvey-rrit.livejournal.com
It suddenly occurs to me that "familiar with the classics of SF" is a wild boast in any case. It's on the order of "familiar with Imelda Marcos' shoes".

Date: 2014-03-31 11:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-09-09 08:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dbdatvic.livejournal.com
Can someone who has not read Duane, Jones (DW), Jones (J), Smith (D), or Smith (JD), be said to be familiar with the classics of SF and fantasy?

Dave, what about someone who has not read Travers, MacDonald, MacGregor, or Cameron?

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