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Old 08-19-2008, 04:22 PM
Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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Accessable Science Fiction/Fantasy for my mother.


My mom in her 70s, and will be laid up for several weeks after surgery.
I'm trying to think of a few sci-fi or fantasy books that I can use to introduce her
to the genres, and give her something new to help get through the recovery.

She reads quite a bit. Not romance, not much mystery. She's enjoyed several of the Philippa Gregory historical fiction books. She liked Kite Runner, and a number of the historical biography books I have. She like National Geographic and Archaeology Magazine.

I was tempted by some Heinlein, but he can be rather macho. Maybe Asimov's Foundation books?

Any suggestions? Something less focused on space battles or teenager-discovers-they-have-magic-powers would probably be best.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:26 PM
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Temeraire maybe?
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:26 PM
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Douglas Adams?
Alan Dean Foster?
Roger Zelazny?
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:31 PM
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Are you looking for something only in print form? Or is video acceptable as well? If video is ok, how about Babylon 5? I got my wife to watch it (and enjoy it) by saying it was like a book on TV.

Last edited by Hirka T'Bawa; 08-19-2008 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:32 PM
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Rendevous with Rama might be different enough to give her a treat (don't tell her that there a sequels though )
If she is recovering from surgery, then she should probably stick to light reading. Songs of Distant Earth, also by Clarke, is easy to read (it's about romance though, so that mightn't suit).
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate
Maybe Asimov's Foundation books?
That was my first thought.
  #7  
Old 08-19-2008, 04:35 PM
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The Hobbit
Andre Norton's Solar Queen juveniles.
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  #8  
Old 08-19-2008, 04:36 PM
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Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog is a wonderful recovering-from-surgery novel. I first read it when I was bedbound, and I had a wonderful time. The plot involves time travel, Victorian romance, pets, destiny, and many clever twists. I've never met anyone who read this novel without liking it.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:44 PM
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Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar series is a great mix of space opera, sci fi, mystery, and swashbuckling. I recommend it highly to people of all ages and proclivities.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkfreud
Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog is a wonderful recovering-from-surgery novel. I first read it when I was bedbound, and I had a wonderful time. The plot involves time travel, Victorian romance, pets, destiny, and many clever twists. I've never met anyone who read this novel without liking it.
I was going to recommend Connie Willis. I recently got a collection of her short stories (which is the form I prefer for her) titled Winds of the Marble Arch and I've been enjoying it quite a bit.

My mother has enjoyed Neil Gaiman's novels. She thought she had made this amazing discovery when she recommended American Gods to me. I told her as gently as I could that I had been a Gaiman fan since the 80's.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:56 PM
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My grandmother loved the Dragonriders of Pern books. She also liked Asimov.

My mother, who reads mostly romance and mystery, has dipped into sci-fi for Connie Willis. I'm trying to get her to read Bujold.
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:58 PM
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Women love Zenna Henderson, who writes more fantasy than science fiction but still in that genre.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laudenum
Songs of Distant Earth, also by Clarke, is easy to read (it's about romance though, so that mightn't suit).
I'd consider that one of Clarke's better works. Alternatively, a short story compilation of his would be good--lots of variety and his style is better suited to that than novels.

I'll also toss in Anne McCaffery. She's veered more and more towards pure SF in recent years, but her style might be easier to get into than someone who leans towards 'hard' sci-fi. Her Dragonriders of Pern series is the best known, but I'll suggest the Rowan and Pegasus series' also.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:04 PM
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OK, it's not sci-fi, but has she read any Michener? That was what came to mind when you described her likes. My favorite was probably Chesapeake, but she might do just as well to pick based on a part of the world that attracts her as any particular story. Space is sciency and fictiony, but not really science fiction. I also remember liking Hawaii and The Source, not so much The Drifters. In terms of dollars per pound, Michener is an excellent reading value.

I also enjoyed Brave New World. Not exactly light reading, but engrossing and not space battles and magic powers.

And am I the first to mention the Discworld series? I'm not nearly the biggest Pratchett fan on here, but a search should bring up extensive recommendations.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:21 PM
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Perhaps the Straight Dope tpb collections?
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:51 PM
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I find Robert Silverberg very accessible (I recently re-read his "Majipoor Chronicles" and loved them again). I'll second Anne McCaffrey, too. Her books are a tad on the juvenile side, but I'm always caught up in them. Heck, throw some Harry Potter at her, too. My 66 year old non-sci fi reading mother is loving them.
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:57 PM
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How 'bout Jennifer Roberson's Sherwood books? If she likes historical fiction, they might be right up her alley. Lady of the Forest is the first one, and it's very similar in writing style to Philippa Gregory's popular works.
  #18  
Old 08-19-2008, 06:26 PM
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Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow is a wonderful novel, especially for those who might not read a lot of SF. It's the story of a Jesuit priest and his friend, an astronomer who discovers evidence of extraterrestial life. It's beautifully-written, very compelling and a very interesting exploration of faith and the different ways in which it can be tested.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkfreud
Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog is a wonderful recovering-from-surgery novel. I first read it when I was bedbound, and I had a wonderful time. The plot involves time travel, Victorian romance, pets, destiny, and many clever twists. I've never met anyone who read this novel without liking it.
This is a great suggestion.

Another book that I just read and really enjoyed is Michael Flynn's The Wreck of the River of Stars. At first glance, this looks like typical hard science fiction. But once you get into it, you realize it's not really about spaceships at all. It's a lovely character study of the crew of a doomed ship--their inner demons, their secret desires, and the odd but curiously touching little community they create. It could just as easily be set on a sailing ship in the 1700s.

Last edited by burundi; 08-19-2008 at 06:30 PM.
  #20  
Old 08-19-2008, 07:00 PM
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Ender's Game
  #21  
Old 08-19-2008, 07:17 PM
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Give her the address of the Baen Free Library. Maybe she will find something she enjoys.
  #22  
Old 08-19-2008, 07:18 PM
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Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Charles Sheffield.

It's a love story at heart but has some very hard sci fi elements (having to do with open vs closed universe, big bang stuff).

So good.
  #23  
Old 08-19-2008, 07:19 PM
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One of my introductions to fantasy was Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, beginning with Assassin's Apprentice. It's very accessible and reads like a fairy tale. It's not particularly violent, there's no sex, and there are dragons and villains and heroes. She wrote two other trilogies set in that world, if it turns out your mom likes it.

A couple of SF books I read recently and enjoyed are Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (already mentioned for another book) and Hunter's Run, a collaboration that included George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Those two are a bit more thought-provoking than Hobb's books, but again, there's no explicit sex or violence.
  #24  
Old 08-19-2008, 08:16 PM
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Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier.

I forced my bookgroup* to read this (wah wah wah, we hate fantasy novels) and they all loved it. It's a retelling of the Irish myth of the 7 swans.

There are two sequels, which aren't as good but are still worthy reads (and are wholly original stories, not based on myths/legends, but still connected to the same characters).


*actually I had to bribe them with free copies of the book.

Last edited by Hello Again; 08-19-2008 at 08:17 PM.
  #25  
Old 08-19-2008, 09:42 PM
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Go find pretty much anything by Judith Merkle Riley. Historical fiction, fantasy, and a good dose of wicked humor to boot. Fabulous stuff, especially the Margaret of Ashbury books.

ETA: My mother was the one who originally recommended these to me, so there you go! She's 71.

Last edited by SmartAleq; 08-19-2008 at 09:44 PM.
  #26  
Old 08-20-2008, 05:39 AM
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When my mother was in hospital with cancer I got the chance to make her read all those books she said she'd happily take my recommendations on when she had the time (although she was in her early 50s so maybe a slightly different mind set). Anyway, I would recommend Dune by Frank Herbert, any of the books by Ursula Leguin ("the Dispossessed" and "the Left hand of darkness" are her best books, IMO), Pterry and his Discworld back catalogue (good one to start on would probably be Mort or Wyrd Sisters), agree with suggestions of the Rama books as I loved them as a teenager, Neil Gaiman's books are good too (probably "American Gods" would be a good one).
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Old 08-20-2008, 11:36 AM
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Julian May's Pliocene Exile books might do the trick, if they're still in print.
  #28  
Old 08-20-2008, 12:58 PM
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Thanks all for the suggestions.
There are some here that I personally love, but don't click with what I think Mom would like. The Hobbit (kind of daunting as a first book), the Pern novels (the series that hooked me on the genre, but a bit juvenile), Douglas Adams, the Barrayar books (love them, but they can get a bit bogged down in "Space Battle" mode).

I've read The Sparrow, and while it was almost riveting, the story line takes some twists I don't think I want to introduce to Mom.

Don't know what I didn't think of Clarke and LeGuin. Good stuff there. I'll have to dig out what I own.

And lots of stuff I now want to check out on my own. Maybe if she's good, I'll end up loaning her some of the stuff I'm about to discover.

Last edited by Tastes of Chocolate; 08-20-2008 at 12:59 PM.
  #29  
Old 08-20-2008, 01:00 PM
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For light reading, Piers Anthony's Xanth or Incarnations of Immortality would be good.

And you just can't go wrong with Pratchett's Discworld.
  #30  
Old 08-20-2008, 02:06 PM
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O really like Prince Ombra for non-traditional fantasy.
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