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Old 12-05-2001, 12:56 PM
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Reading the Earth Abides thread has starting me thinking about great books that are extremely difficult to find. A favorite of mine that I had to search for a long time to find was The High Crusade by Poul Anderson. What others would you suggest as being well worth reading but difficult to find?
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Old 12-05-2001, 01:03 PM
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Despite the relatively high number of Dopers who seem to have read it, I would nominate Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon, an epoch-spanning work which influenced Arthur C. Clarke most visibly in Childhood's End and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
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Old 12-05-2001, 01:21 PM
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That's definitely the kind of work I'm thinking of Knead. Hopefully we'll get more responses and suggestions.
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Old 12-05-2001, 01:38 PM
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One that was available in my small town libary in the 50s and took me a lot of time to find recently was Eric Frank Russell's Three to Conquer. Its an almost film noir take on a natural telepath who is the only one able to detect that three astronauts returned from Venus are infected with an alien life form bent on conquering.

The 50s were a hotbed of "psi" stories, and many of them are hopelessly dated. But this is a great adventure story worth hunting down.

EFR's output in general did not get the attention over the years that it has deserved, IMHO. He's has a fine sense of pace, a flair for dialogue and a wicked sense of humor. Part of the Good Old Stuff that is too often overlooked.
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Old 12-05-2001, 01:51 PM
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Uh, all of Burroughs' Mars series (11 in total, many out of print), plus the 5 in his venus series. Also, there are a few threads with long lists of must-read Sci-Fi books through the decades, i don't have links off-hand, i am sure someone will come along.....
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:01 PM
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How many people out there have actually read The Martian Chronicles? No? Didn't think so.
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:17 PM
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Pretty much anything by Jack Vance. I can't believe how few young (as in younger than me, of course) fans have never read Vance.

Other individual titles:
Haldeman's The Forever War
Farmer's The Lovers
Sturgeon's More Than Human
Dick's Man in the High Castle
Piper'sa Little Fuzzy

Not classics but they should have been and everybody who reads this should track them down and read them right away:
Wolfe's Three Novellas (also published as The Fifth Head of Cerberus)
Crowley's Engine Summer (with Beasts and The Deep gettingg honorable mention. Pick up all threee in the omnibus collection and you will thaank yourself later.)
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:22 PM
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I've got a copy of Earth Abides. It is, I agree, a little-known and hard-to-find work of sf. I first read it in hardcover, and was surprised when it came out in paperback circa 25 years ago.


The entire The Best of ___________ series that Ballantine books (laster Del Rey) put out between 1973 and 1979 was excellent, and all are now out of print (except for The Best of Lester Del Rey, which was recently republished). Absolutely superb series highlighting the short fiction of writers from the 1920s through the 1960s. I never would have known about the work of folks like Raymond Z. Gallun, Stanley G. Weinbaum, or Edmund Hamilton otherwise.



Other works -- heck, a lot of good SF from the 1960s through the 1970s is long out of print, even by "big name" sf writers. Try and find most of Asimov's prolific output these days. Ace books published a lot of Jules Verne's work back in the 1960s, but try and find The Purchase of the North Pole or The Village in the Treetops or The Begum's Fortune now. Or H.G. Wells's In the Days of the Comet, or The Food of the Gods or Star Begotten.
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:28 PM
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A read an interesting little book by Czech writer Karel Capek IIRC called war with the newts.

He was the guy who coined the term robot in his 1920 work called R.U.R. Rossum's Universal Robots which I haven't read yet.
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:33 PM
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Oh, and I can't believe I missed the chance to remind everyone that your ability to read a rare book is not limited by your ability to find it for sale. Public and academic libraries have a service available to their users known as inter-library loan, by which you can obtain things you might never have thought possible, often for no cost.

Just a handy thing to keep in mind when reading this kind of thread. I used ILL to get a copy of the Stapledon book I mentioned back when I read it 10 years ago.
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:37 PM
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H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy books are good, as Spiritus suggests, but I bet it's harder to find his Four Day Planet and Lone Star Planet which are also a lot of fun.

And there was a coooool book by Harry Harrison about a heavy gravity world where EVERYTHING tried to kill you, called Hellworld or Deathplanet or something like that.

Can we do fantasy recommendations too? How about Three Hearts and Three Lions? A great retelling (by Poul Anderson I think) of the Oliver saga.
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Old 12-05-2001, 02:45 PM
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War with the Newts is back in print; I just bought it from Amazon.

I read some of EFRs stuff back in the 60's and loved it. I wish someone would bring back Men, Martians, and Machines; my copy fell apart.

I'd also like to see some of Zelazny's stuff back in print besides the Amber stuff.

I read the The Martian Chronicles when I was in high school, about 30 years ago.
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Old 12-05-2001, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eonwe
How many people out there have actually read The Martian Chronicles? No? Didn't think so.
i read it in high school as well, and at least one other person did, since she was asking questions on my views of certain things when i gave my report on it.
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Old 12-05-2001, 03:30 PM
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You can get a few of Edgar Rice Burroughs' finest right here. Forgotten classics make for great e-books, and you haven't lived until you've read A Princess of Mars on your Palm Pilot.

Also, Jules Verne, and all the Oz books.

All public domain these days.

Oh, and in the more recent category, John Wyndham's Day of the Triffids.
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Old 12-05-2001, 03:42 PM
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Edgar Pangborn's "Davy."

In addition to "The Day of the Triffids," there's Wyndham's "The Kraken Wakes" (aka "Out of the Deeps").

Tom Reamy's "Blind Voices" and "San Diego Lightfoot Sue."

Alfred Bester's "The Stars My Destination" and "The Demolished Man."

A.E. Van Vogt's "Slan."

Kate Wilhelm's "Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang."

"Replay" by Ken Grimwood.

And, of course, "Staroamer's Fate" by Chuck Rothman
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Old 12-05-2001, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
And there was a coooool book by Harry Harrison about a heavy gravity world where EVERYTHING tried to kill you, called Hellworld or Deathplanet or something like that.
It's Deathworld. There were two semisequels, and they were sold bound as one volume, The Deathworld Trilogy.
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Old 12-05-2001, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
And there was a coooool book by Harry Harrison about a heavy gravity world where EVERYTHING tried to kill you, called Hellworld or Deathplanet or something like that.
It's Deathworld. There were two semisequels, and they were sold bound as one volume, The Deathworld Trilogy.

Quote:
Alfred Bester's "The Stars My Destination" and "The Demolished Man."
These are back in print, as well as two more volumes of Besteriana (one entitled Redemolished. I just bought them over the past two years.
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Old 12-05-2001, 03:53 PM
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Thanks Cal, I knew someone would come through!

Thanks Cal, I knew someone would come through!

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Old 12-05-2001, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eonwe
How many people out there have actually read The Martian Chronicles? No? Didn't think so.
Me, for one. Just reread it this summer. Seems a bit dated now, but still cool.

I remember one called "Moon 02" about a broken-down lunar pilot and a pretty, young girl who look for her murdered brother on the moon and get caught in a corporate conspiracy. Sort of a 1930s detective story set on the moon. I lost the book a long time ago, and have never seen it since, so maybe it's not as classic as I would believe.
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:03 PM
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Isn't Olaf Stapledon still in print in those nice twofers from Dover Publications? As I recall, LAST AND FIRST MEN was paired with STARMAKER, and ODD JOHN (a personal favorite) came with SIRIUS.

The aforementioned Sturgeon and Bester books -- MORE THAN HUMAN and STARS MY DESTINATION -- are newly reissued in nifty trade paperback editions.

...I'M pissed that you can't find a nice in-print edition of Charles Finney's THE CIRCUS OF DR. LAO, or Fredric Brown's MARTIANS GO HOME. (As you can tell, I like my SF on the lighter side.)
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:07 PM
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Originally posted by Eonwe
How many people out there have actually read The Martian Chronicles? No? Didn't think so.
I read them. I actually enjoyed tham.
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by Spiritus Mundi
Other individual titles:
Haldeman's The Forever War
<snip>
Dick's Man in the High Castle
Jeez, I know those books are in print, I've seen them in the bookstore recently. I distinctly recall being impressed by new cover artwork on both books. The Usenet legend James "Kibo" Parry once told me he was doing the artwork for the new PKD volumes (yes, Kibo was being serious for once, he told me this via email).
Now if you want a really hard to find SF, try to locate some of Rudy Rucker's early books like "Spacetime Donuts" "The 57th Franz Kafka" or "The Meaning of Life." Some of these books are tied up in a dispute with a bankrupt publisher that holds the rights, and may never be printed again.
There's a whole bunch of early cyberpunk that is out of print. Most if it is too recent to be reprinted yet, although a few classics (like Rudy's "White Light") are starting to appear. I noted one SF publisher (forgot who) is reissuing important classics in paperback, with titles recommended by SF authors. I've seen some great titles appearing over the past few years.
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:21 PM
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All of Clifford D. Simak's novels are out of print.
I picked up some of them in used book stores, and some of them are dated, but still good.

I also bought The History of the Science Fiction Magazine, Vol, 2, 1936-45 in a used bookstore. It has some of the best short science fiction stories I have read.
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:40 PM
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I was thinking of putting this in my thread, but it fits this one much better. The book "the moon is a harsh mistress" was a fav of mine, even had a character named "Comrade Clayton", hehe...
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:47 PM
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How about: Under Pressure by Frank (Dune) Herbert.
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Old 12-05-2001, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eonwe
How many people out there have actually read The Martian Chronicles? No? Didn't think so.
[oneupmanship]
Read it when it was called "The Silver Locusts".
[/oneupmanship]

Heh.
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Old 12-05-2001, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eonwe
How many people out there have actually read The Martian Chronicles? No? Didn't think so.
I have, and it's one of my favorite books. Didn't know it was hard to find, I'm glad I have my copy.

I wouldn't know what is hard to find, but I bet Asimov's "Nightfall" (short story) is up there. Come to think of it, the anthology I have is probably pretty rare: "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame". It has some landmark science fiction shorts in it.
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Old 12-05-2001, 08:53 PM
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We, by Vevgeny Zamyatin. It's one of the best of the "dystopian" sf genre along with Brave New World, 1984, or Anthem. I've never seen it in print; at the local library I had to go to the special archives to find it. And it's still a pretty good story too.
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:15 PM
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Mudshark wrote:

Quote:
I also bought The History of the Science Fiction Magazine, Vol, 2, 1936-45 in a used bookstore. It has some of the best short science fiction stories I have read.
Was that the one that had "Magic City" in it?

(I swear, "Magic City" had to have been the inspiration for the TV cartoon series Thundarr the Barbarian.)
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:17 PM
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And speaking of books that inspired TV serieses


Another hard-to-find SF novel is Martin Caidin's Cyborg. It was the basis for The Six Million Dollar Man -- although the TV series switched Steve Austin's bionic arm from the left side to the right side of his body, and made his artificial eye much more useful.
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Old 12-05-2001, 09:42 PM
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Wow, Lao Tsu, I read "Earth Abides" eons ago - I had all but forgotten about it. I loved it - I think this was the book that turned me onto Apocalyptic Fiction. And A.E.Van Vogt's "Slan" - another lost classic. How about his "Null-A" series?

I didn't know Clifford D. Simak's books were out of print - I've read everything I can get my hands on of his. I got a big bonanza last summer - I found a couple dozen old sci-fi books at a garage sale. Bought every last one of them. There were some real beauties in there ("Day of the Triffids" was one of them.)

Balduran, I just finished reading a book that is somewhat linked to the two you mentioned - "Too Too Solid Flesh" by Nick O'Donohoe. The hero is an android Hamlet, who is looking for the murder of his "father", a scientist named Capek. The R.U.R. book is also mentioned in this book.

(ps - yup, read "The Martian Chronicles" too - how about "The Majipoor Chronicles" by Silverberg? Now, those were classics!)
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Old 12-05-2001, 10:04 PM
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Let's see...just off the top of my head and trying not to duplicate anyone's suggestions...

Dark Universe by Daniel Galouye, a post-holocaust novel set entirely in pitch-black caverns.

James White's non-Sector General novels, like The Escape Orbit and All Judgement Fled, and especially The Watch Below.

The Twilight of Briareus by Richard Cowper is a fine British disaster novel.

I'll just start listing authors now...Barrington J. Bayley, Edward Bryant, M.A. Foster, Chad Oliver, Edgar Pangborn, Keith Roberts.

Also, Frank Herbert's Dune books are easy to find, but his other novels are also pretty good. Hellstrom's Hive and The Santaroga Barrier I would recommend.
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Old 12-05-2001, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tracer
Mudshark wrote:

Quote:
I also bought The History of the Science Fiction Magazine, Vol, 2, 1936-45 in a used bookstore. It has some of the best short science fiction stories I have read.
Was that the one that had "Magic City" in it?

(I swear, "Magic City" had to have been the inspiration for the TV cartoon series Thundarr the Barbarian.)
Magic City is not in the book. I have heard of that story, just never read it.
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Old 12-05-2001, 10:23 PM
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The Martian Chronicles? Everybody's read them.

Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is the best science fiction book I've ever read, nobody here has mentioned it yet. Written in Polish and translated into English. It is about another world that is completely alien.

I would also recommend anything written by the late great Phillip K. Dick
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Old 12-05-2001, 11:19 PM
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Lost classics? All of these books:

Earth Abides
Childhood's End
2001: A Space Odyssey
Last and First Men
The Martian Chronicles
Burroughs' Mars series
The Forever War
The Lovers
More Than Human
The Man in the High Castle
Little Fuzzy
The Fifth Head of Cerberus
Engine Summer
Beasts
The Deep
War with the Newts
Three Hearts and Three Lions
Men, Martians, and Machines
The Day of the Triffids
The Oz Books
Blind Voices
The Stars My Destination
The Demolished Man
Slan
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
Replay
The Deathworld Trilogy
The Circus of Dr. Lao
Spacetime Donuts
The 57th Franz Kafka
The Meaning of Life
White Light
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame
Under Pressure
The Twilight of Briareus
The Watch Below
Solaris

are on my bookshelves. Seriously, most of these books are in print. Most of the others are easy to find in libraries or used bookstores. These days it isn't that hard to find the rarer ones using online booksellers.

TPWombat writes:

> Read it when it was called "The Silver Locusts".

It was only called _The Silver Locusts_ in the early British editions. The American editions were always called _The Martian Chronicles_.
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Old 12-05-2001, 11:42 PM
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It has been awhile since I've seen a copy of The Man in the Maze, and the last time I read The Star Kings I had to get it on interlibrary loan.

If juvenile sci fi counts, the collected works of Alan E. Nourse (Star Surgeon*, The Universe Between, Rocket to Limbo, The Mercy Men, Raiders from the Rings, Psi High & Others, etc.) seem to have disappeared from the stacks without a trace, which is really sad.

*PS-whatever happened to the poster named Dal Timgar?
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Old 12-05-2001, 11:48 PM
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Frank Herbert wrote *non-Dune* books? No way!

I read Martian Chronicles when I was about 11. It freaked me out seriously... if it hadn't been for Anne McCaffrey it probably would have turned me off of SF forever. Of course, looking back on it I can see how good it was... but it was just so sad, with everything falling apart and all the people dying and stuff... although the last chapter *Chronicle?* was pretty cool. I have that in an anthology somewhere.
I read three of the ER Burroughs Marsbooks. Where could one find, say, all of these at???
And Earth Abides is one of the most awesome books of all time.
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Old 12-06-2001, 12:50 AM
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The first title that came to my mind was Walter M. Miller, Jr's A Canticle for Liebowitz, but my Yahoo search comes up with nearly two hudred fifty hits, so how lost could it be, nu?
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Old 12-06-2001, 12:57 AM
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In the same vein as A Canticle for Liebowitz, but more obscure and much harder to read due to its "future English", is Russel Hoban's Riddley Walker.

We had to read this book for our undergraduate Science Fiction Literature class at UCLA. The professor absolutely gushed over the book. Which means it was really deep and literary and symbolic and boring.. (Well, except for the part where the dogs ripped the guy's nuts off. That was pretty cool.)
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Old 12-06-2001, 06:18 AM
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[crotchety old coot hat on]

Actually, when I go into the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of a bookstore today I am astounded at how little of it I've read and am familiar with. A lot of "classic" science fiction is just gone. Almost all of Heinlein's stuff is stiull in print (that argues for the quality and popularity of his writing). An awful lot of Arthur C. Clarke's still is, and (oddly, to my mind) Philip K. Dick. But most of Asimov's books are out of print. Okay, a lot is non-sf, and a lot is long outdated, but a lot of his SF stuff is unobtainable. Frank Herbert's non-Dune stuff, as has been pointed out, ain't there either (The Green Brain, Dragon in the Sea, Eyes of Heisenberg, White Plague). And a huge number of classic SF writers are not there at all, or are represented by only one or two books:


Doc Smith
Hal Clement
Jack Williamson
L. Sprague de Camp
Henry Kuttner
Catherine L. Moore
Poul Anderson
Jules Verne
H.G. Wells
Fredric Brown
Robert Sheckley
William Tenn
James Blish
Murray Leinster
Stanley G. Weinbaum
Cordwainer Smith
Clifford D. Simak
Lester Del Rey
Harry Harrison
Eric Frank Russel

and a lot more I could name. Some of these are classics, whose stuff isn't dated at all. And look at how few of books by many popular writers aren't on the shelves: Ursula K. LeGuin, Jerry Pournelle, Jack L. Chalker. We've had discussions about good sf, but people just starting to read it today probably can't even get hold of copies of these unless they lives near a science fiction library, or live near a public library with a good SF collection (most libraries are awful about keeping sf on the shelves), or spend a bundle through Alibris and other used book venues. I think the New England Science Fiction Association is still publishing Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia, for instance, but you're not likely to find it in your average Waldenstuff.

[/crotchety old coot hat off]
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Old 12-06-2001, 07:50 AM
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tracer:

You ever have one little detail that throws off an entire book for you? Re: _Riddley Walker_, I could not get the question out of my head of where they were getting the tea. It doesn't grow in the British Isles, and I doubt that they had much trade with the tropics...

(I don't know why The Wife thinks I obsess over trivial details.)
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Old 12-06-2001, 09:39 AM
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Henry Kuttner!!!!

I cherish my copy of "Robots Have No Tails."

your humble TubaDiva
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Old 12-06-2001, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by AHunter3
It has been awhile since I've seen a copy of The Man in the Maze, and the last time I read The Star Kings I had to get it on interlibrary loan.

If juvenile sci fi counts, the collected works of Alan E. Nourse (Star Surgeon*, The Universe Between, Rocket to Limbo, The Mercy Men, Raiders from the Rings, Psi High & Others, etc.) seem to have disappeared from the stacks without a trace, which is really sad.

*PS-whatever happened to the poster named Dal Timgar?
Shipped out with Tiger on a Hospital ship...


A lot of these books are real good, but aren't lost. Now NO Simak or Smith is bad.

Burroughs is heavily online. Read The Land Tiem forgot and the other 2 in the series at work. Had 'em on a floppy. Recommended the Barsoom series to TruePisces when she borrowed the Dream Park sequel (Was it Barsoom Project?)and gave her links to Princess of Mars. Long live the Gutenberg Porject and the like for the oldies.
  #44  
Old 12-06-2001, 09:44 AM
Spoke is offline
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H.G. Wells- The First Men in the Moon.

Hugely entertaining- more so than any of his other works except War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. I've never understood why The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Invisible Man (both of which put me to sleep) are so highly regarded while The First Men in the Moon (fast-paced and engrossing) is neglected.
  #45  
Old 12-06-2001, 10:15 AM
Jonathan Chance is offline
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I'll second Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy series. And don't forget there were three of them.

But I'll throw a shout out for Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen novel. It's a compilation of three novella's in Piper's 'Paratime' universe.

Wonderful stuff about a Pennsylvania State Trooper who slips into an alternate reality.

But really...most of those mentioned here shouldn't be considered lost. I could obtain many of them in an hour if I wanted. That's hardly 'lost' status.
  #46  
Old 12-06-2001, 10:34 AM
Lao Tsu is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by CalMeacham
[crotchety old coot hat on]
...Actually, when I go into the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of a bookstore today I am astounded at how little of it I've read and am familiar with. A lot of "classic" science fiction is just gone. Almost all of Heinlein's stuff is stiull in print (that argues for the quality and popularity of his writing). An awful lot of Arthur C. Clarke's still is, and (oddly, to my mind) Philip K. Dick. But most of Asimov's books are out of print. ...
[/crotchety old coot hat off]
This post reminded of a series of anthologies by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg called Isaac Asimov presents the Great SF Stories. Volume 1 started in 1948 and included only stories from that year. Nice little intro before each story. I discovered so many of the authors listed in Cal's post. ( I would add C. M. Kornbluth, BTW, though his work is limited.) There are 20 plus of these books, all great, all out of print as far as I know.
About the same time I found these anthologies, I found a list 100 SF classics. Most are not in print. It's always a coup when I find one. I'm thrilled to hear that The Stars My Destination is available. That's a must buy, at least so I hear.

Of course, I've read the Martian Chronicles. Absolutely fantastic, I break it out every couple of years. At least this and The Illustrated Man are still in print.
  #47  
Old 12-06-2001, 10:49 AM
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Book of the Month Club had a 4 volume Bradbury set as its main selection about 3 months ago. Illustrated Man, Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way comes (my pesonal favorite) and something else.

A second vote for anything by Allan E. Nourse.

The Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrison.

The Compleat Werewolf by Anthony Boucher.

Short Story "The Marching Morons" by C. M. Kornbluth (I think)
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