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  #151  
Old 09-20-2008, 01:48 PM
Wendell Wagner is offline
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I don't find it embarrassing. I find it fascinating how memory works. I'd like to work out a general theory from threads like this what people remember.
  #152  
Old 09-20-2008, 03:32 PM
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I once read a story - I believe it was in one of the SF digests like Analog or Asimovs. It was about Robert E. Lee late in the Civil War when he was realizing he couldn't beat the Union. He received a visitor in the middle of the night who told Lee he was a time traveller and offered to supply Lee with advanced weapons so the Confederacy could win the war. Lee decided not to accept the visitor's offer (I don't recall the reason).

There are obvious similarities between this short story and Harry Turtledove's novel Guns of the South. For a long time, I assumed Turtledove had written the story as an alternate version of his novel. But I later had a chance to ask him and he said it wasn't his.

Anyone able to identify this story?
  #153  
Old 09-20-2008, 03:40 PM
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I once read a story - I believe it was in one of the SF digests like Analog or Asimovs. It was about Robert E. Lee late in the Civil War when he was realizing he couldn't beat the Union. He received a visitor in the middle of the night who told Lee he was a time traveller and offered to supply Lee with advanced weapons so the Confederacy could win the war. Lee decided not to accept the visitor's offer (I don't recall the reason).

There are obvious similarities between this short story and Harry Turtledove's novel Guns of the South. For a long time, I assumed Turtledove had written the story as an alternate version of his novel. But I later had a chance to ask him and he said it wasn't his.

Anyone able to identify this story?
"Quarks At Appomattox" if I'm not mistaken http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?49405 (I remembered the story, and that the time traveller mentioned Cape Canaveral as the location of the first moon flight, googled "Rober E. Lee" and Canaveral, found a reference that mentioned those works associated with Analog in 1983, then skimmed through Tables of Contents until I saw a title that sounded right - easy-peasy!)
  #154  
Old 09-20-2008, 05:15 PM
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A friend of mine and I are in the middle of an IM conversation about SF, and he just sent me a synopsis of a novella he read in college but can't remember the name or author.

The main character is this Aztec kid, running from the scene of a battle. He gets captured, and he's going to be sacrificed. When he sleeps, he has a dream of a huge city, men riding on contraptions that sound like giant insects, or inside self-propelled carriages. In the dream, he gets hit by a car and wakes up as his Aztec self. The story goes back and forth as the hour of his execution approaches,
asleep in one world and is awake in the other and vice versa.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  #155  
Old 09-20-2008, 05:36 PM
Wendell Wagner is offline
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Ask your friend for any details he can give, starting with when he was in college. Ask him if he read it in a book or a magazine. Ask for any details about the book or magazine he remembers.
  #156  
Old 09-20-2008, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post

Angel of Doubt, the question here has already been answered, but I'd like to know something. How could you only remember this particular piece of the novel? It's only one page in a 186-page novel. It was published in 1953, not in the 1970's. It's not a short story. I'm not asking out of any criticism of you. I've read a lot of these sort of "What was this novel or movie?" threads, and I'm fascinated by how things are changed in people's memories.
A few months ago, I read "Childhood's End" with a book group. Several people in the group had read it decades ago, and one remembered absolutely nothing after the first major spoiler
SPOILER:
The Overlords look like the devil
- I suspect that he had never read "Childhood's End" but that he had read the original short story that was expanded into the novel, since that story ("Guardian Angel") ends with that revelation
  #157  
Old 09-22-2008, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kolga View Post
A friend of mine and I are in the middle of an IM conversation about SF, and he just sent me a synopsis of a novella he read in college but can't remember the name or author.

The main character is this Aztec kid, running from the scene of a battle. He gets captured, and he's going to be sacrificed. When he sleeps, he has a dream of a huge city, men riding on contraptions that sound like giant insects, or inside self-propelled carriages. In the dream, he gets hit by a car and wakes up as his Aztec self. The story goes back and forth as the hour of his execution approaches,
asleep in one world and is awake in the other and vice versa.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Doesn't ring a bell for me, but I'll look into it. If your friend remembers any of the information Wendell asked about, please post it. Sometimes the littlest details help the most.
  #158  
Old 09-22-2008, 11:09 AM
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I have heard of a story about an Aztec boy awaiting sacrifice. It's called The Glass Knife by John Tully. I've not read it, so I can't tell you if it matches the rest of the description or not. Ask your friend if the hero's name Tio sounds familiar.
  #159  
Old 09-22-2008, 02:59 PM
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Ask your friend for any details he can give, starting with when he was in college. Ask him if he read it in a book or a magazine. Ask for any details about the book or magazine he remembers.
Unfortunately, my friend remembers very little detail other than what I provided. He stated that he read it back in college, so around 1990, and that the story included a description of a moped from the point of view of the main character (an Aztec or Incan boy), so that the story had to be relatively recent. He doesn't remember if it was a stand-alone piece, or a part of a compilation of Latin American writers, or something else.

Peter Morris, I will ask. Thank you, and thanks to anybody else who can provide suggestions!
  #160  
Old 09-22-2008, 03:12 PM
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Doesn't ring a bell for me, but I'll look into it. If your friend remembers any of the information Wendell asked about, please post it. Sometimes the littlest details help the most.
It reminds me a lot of a YA novel I read by Poul Anderson, but I can't remember the name of it. It was set in an alternate universe where the Black Plague killed 3/4 of the European population (the point of divergence was that the winter of 1347/1348 was not particularly cold so the rats did not die, and the plague lasted longer). Europe was taken over by the Ottomans, Shakespeares plays were written in Turkish, and North America was not discovered until the 17th or 18th century, by which time the Aztecs were more powerful and were never defeated. The main character is an English crypto-Christian teenager who is travelling on a sailing ship to the Americas in the 1950s, and I think there was an Aztec boy character. The Aztecs in this timeline were more advanced technologically than the Europeans (they had steam-powered automobiles) but the characters kept getting glimpses of our reality in visions. I read it a long time ago though and I'm not sure this is the one that is being talked about.
  #161  
Old 09-22-2008, 03:39 PM
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Wendell Wagner, yes, that's it.

pinkfreud and Andy Al, I guess that must be it, although the name didn't sound familiar, what I've found through googling seems to confirm it. Thanks, I'd never have found it on my own.

Another two then:
3. a series of short stories about a spaceship controlled by an in built human brain taken from a girl who was born severely handicapped. The girl is quite happy to be given the chance to actually do something instead of being stuck in her original body.

4. a series of short stories about a man with a telekinetic third arm. He lost his arm through an accident and then developed telekinetic ability which worked just like his original arm, then retained the ability after getting a new transplant arm. I think these were detective stories, but am not sure.
Tusculan I'm not sure the butterfly squashed by a hunter is the one mentioned above. I know there was a story where the person stepped on butterfly during a safari in the past. Opps I hope everything is all right. Nope it wasn't. The problem is the story is in my physical collection, not the searchable ebooks.
  #162  
Old 09-22-2008, 05:06 PM
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Tusculan I'm not sure the butterfly squashed by a hunter is the one mentioned above. I know there was a story where the person stepped on butterfly during a safari in the past. Opps I hope everything is all right. Nope it wasn't. The problem is the story is in my physical collection, not the searchable ebooks.

Harmonius - you're thinking of Ray Bradbury's famous "A Sound of Thunder" made into a terrific Simpsons episode and a pretty bad movie. But Tusculan specifically ruled that story out.
  #163  
Old 09-22-2008, 07:22 PM
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Harmonius - you're thinking of Ray Bradbury's famous "A Sound of Thunder" made into a terrific Simpsons episode and a pretty bad movie. But Tusculan specifically ruled that story out.
Yes that was it. I didn't realize it was.
  #164  
Old 09-22-2008, 08:10 PM
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It reminds me a lot of a YA novel I read by Poul Anderson, but I can't remember the name of it. It was set in an alternate universe where the Black Plague killed 3/4 of the European population (the point of divergence was that the winter of 1347/1348 was not particularly cold so the rats did not die, and the plague lasted longer). Europe was taken over by the Ottomans, Shakespeares plays were written in Turkish, and North America was not discovered until the 17th or 18th century, by which time the Aztecs were more powerful and were never defeated. The main character is an English crypto-Christian teenager who is travelling on a sailing ship to the Americas in the 1950s, and I think there was an Aztec boy character. The Aztecs in this timeline were more advanced technologically than the Europeans (they had steam-powered automobiles) but the characters kept getting glimpses of our reality in visions. I read it a long time ago though and I'm not sure this is the one that is being talked about.
This sounds like one of Anderson's Time Patrol series, but I can't find a guide to those stories at the moment. Annoyingly I can't find a summary of "The Glass Knife" either, so I can't confirm or eliminate that option either.
  #165  
Old 09-22-2008, 08:22 PM
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It reminds me a lot of a YA novel I read by Poul Anderson, but I can't remember the name of it. It was set in an alternate universe where the Black Plague killed 3/4 of the European population (the point of divergence was that the winter of 1347/1348 was not particularly cold so the rats did not die, and the plague lasted longer). Europe was taken over by the Ottomans, Shakespeares plays were written in Turkish, and North America was not discovered until the 17th or 18th century, by which time the Aztecs were more powerful and were never defeated. The main character is an English crypto-Christian teenager who is travelling on a sailing ship to the Americas in the 1950s, and I think there was an Aztec boy character. The Aztecs in this timeline were more advanced technologically than the Europeans (they had steam-powered automobiles) but the characters kept getting glimpses of our reality in visions. I read it a long time ago though and I'm not sure this is the one that is being talked about.
I checked Uchronia.com and found "The Gate of Worlds" by Robert Silverberg at the 1347AD divergence point, which fits the above description http://www.uchronia.net/bib.cgi/labe...=silvgateof#10
  #166  
Old 09-23-2008, 04:53 PM
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This one has been bugging me for some time. I'm sure it's not as good as I'm remembering it but...

There's this class on a planet where the sun shines only once every twenty years...

Just kidding about that. Really I read this in Omni in the late 80's maybe very early 90's. A pharaoh dies and once he's in the land of the dead he can't find any of the great stuff he was supposed to take with him to the afterlife. Instead he has to hitch a ride to Anubis on one of his servant's magnificent barge. It turned out that their icons worked as advertised while the real stuff buried in his tomb didn't do him any good.
  #167  
Old 09-23-2008, 08:29 PM
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This one has been bugging me for some time. I'm sure it's not as good as I'm remembering it but...

There's this class on a planet where the sun shines only once every twenty years...

Just kidding about that. Really I read this in Omni in the late 80's maybe very early 90's. A pharaoh dies and once he's in the land of the dead he can't find any of the great stuff he was supposed to take with him to the afterlife. Instead he has to hitch a ride to Anubis on one of his servant's magnificent barge. It turned out that their icons worked as advertised while the real stuff buried in his tomb didn't do him any good.
Here's a list of all the fiction published in Omni http://www.hycyber.com/SF/omni_index.html - it's possible that the title will ring a bell for you (I looked up a few titles that looked promising, and know several others - "Death in the Promised Land," "Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Home-Made Truly Eqyptian Mummy", "Petra", "Found!" "They're Made of Meat" "Galatea Galante, The Perfect Popsy" "Tangents", "Deep Breathing Exercise" "Fat Farm"
"Tower of Babel" or any of the Spider Robinsons) - hope that helps

The beginning of "There is no Dead" doesn't look promising, but it could be right http://books.google.com/books?id=RcQ...Ruiyw#PPT38,M1
  #168  
Old 09-23-2008, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by A shameful cracka... View Post
...It reminds me a lot of a YA novel... set in an alternate universe where the Black Plague killed 3/4 of the European population....
That's the premise of this book, too:
http://www.amazon.com/Years-Rice-Sal...2216463&sr=1-1
  #169  
Old 09-23-2008, 09:05 PM
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That's the premise of this book, too:
http://www.amazon.com/Years-Rice-Sal...2216463&sr=1-1
Yeah - I have to read that one sometime
  #170  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:13 AM
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Here's a list of all the fiction published in Omni http://www.hycyber.com/SF/omni_index.html - it's possible that the title will ring a bell for you (I looked up a few titles that looked promising, and know several others - "Death in the Promised Land," "Colonel Stonesteel's Genuine Home-Made Truly Eqyptian Mummy", "Petra", "Found!" "They're Made of Meat" "Galatea Galante, The Perfect Popsy" "Tangents", "Deep Breathing Exercise" "Fat Farm"
"Tower of Babel" or any of the Spider Robinsons) - hope that helps
I looked through the list but little jumped out at me and Googling story titles didn't help.

FWIW, "Tower of Babel" was an excellent story and rather surprising that a first short story sale for an author would go to Omni. That Ted Chiang fellow might just have a future with quirky short stories that have unique fantasy premises...
  #171  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:11 PM
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I looked through the list but little jumped out at me and Googling story titles didn't help.

FWIW, "Tower of Babel" was an excellent story and rather surprising that a first short story sale for an author would go to Omni. That Ted Chiang fellow might just have a future with quirky short stories that have unique fantasy premises...
Ted Chiang is great - my wife is just now reading his collection "Stories of Your Life and Others" - several of his stories online - check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Chiang for links. I recommend "Understand" and "Story of Your Life" in particular.
  #172  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:18 PM
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Ted Chiang is great - my wife is just now reading his collection "Stories of Your Life and Others" - several of his stories online - check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Chiang for links. I recommend "Understand" and "Story of Your Life" in particular.
Yeah, I was doing a bit of teasing there. His "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" was easily my favorite fantasy story of last year. I just wish that he'd write more often.
  #173  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:23 PM
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I checked Uchronia.com and found "The Gate of Worlds" by Robert Silverberg at the 1347AD divergence point, which fits the above description http://www.uchronia.net/bib.cgi/labe...=silvgateof#10
That sounds like the book...funny that I remembered it as being written a couple of decades earlier and by a different author.
  #174  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:26 PM
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Yeah - I have to read that one sometime
I read it, and it was interesting at first, but it got into some weird mystical reincarnation stuff that put me off.
  #175  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:52 PM
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I read it, and it was interesting at first, but it got into some weird mystical reincarnation stuff that put me off.
The "mystical reincarnation stuff" ruined "Years of Rice and Salt" for me, too. Particularly the way the book bogged down at the end.
  #176  
Old 09-28-2008, 01:37 PM
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Here's one I've actually never read, but it was mentioned in a Readings in Masculinity class I took last semester. I looked through my old notes, but I can't find the title or author. It would have been written around the turn of the century (20th, not 21st).

The idea was that a man traveled into the future by some mechanism and found a civilization of people who had evolved away from physical exertion, and were unable to move under there own power. I distinctly remember a picture of a guy on what looked like a segway, surrounded by blob-like characters. Like most things we read in that class, the point (a very common one at that time) was that civilization has a feminizing effect on men. I'd like to track it down and read it. Anybody got any ideas?
  #177  
Old 09-28-2008, 02:07 PM
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The idea was that a man traveled into the future by some mechanism and found a civilization of people who had evolved away from physical exertion, and were unable to move under there own power. I distinctly remember a picture of a guy on what looked like a segway, surrounded by blob-like characters.
Aside from the Segway bit, this could be any of about a zillion stories from the early years of the 20th century; this was a really common theme. And IMO most of those stories aren't particularly worth reading.

(I'd also question whether the theme was about the feminizing effect of civilization, but that's another discussion.)
  #178  
Old 09-28-2008, 06:26 PM
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Here's one that's bugging me...

This was a series of SF books; I'm pretty sure there were at least 3 of them. I think the writer was a woman and I read them in the early to mid 80s when I think they were newish.

The protagonist was female and lived on a future Earth that's ruled by a nasty dictatorship. The story starts when she's fairly young. She's put into a state school where sexual abuse is rife and trained to be a spy. When she's sent off-world on her first real mission she rebels and hooks up with a pirate starship captain. They go to some rebel world where they manage to become the rulers or something like that. Eventually they muster a fleet and return to Earth and overthrow the dictatorship.

Obviously there was more detail than that to fill a series of books, but that's the major arc as I remember it. Not sure why I was thinking of this one, but it popped into my mind and now I can't place it.
  #179  
Old 09-28-2008, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyyrewyyoae View Post
Here's one I've actually never read, but it was mentioned in a Readings in Masculinity class I took last semester. I looked through my old notes, but I can't find the title or author. It would have been written around the turn of the century (20th, not 21st).

The idea was that a man traveled into the future by some mechanism and found a civilization of people who had evolved away from physical exertion, and were unable to move under there own power. I distinctly remember a picture of a guy on what looked like a segway, surrounded by blob-like characters. Like most things we read in that class, the point (a very common one at that time) was that civilization has a feminizing effect on men. I'd like to track it down and read it. Anybody got any ideas?
The classic story with this theme is E M Forster's "The Machine Stops" which is online here http://emforster.de/hypertext/template.php3?t=tms, but in the wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Machine_Stops they reference a Mad magazine parody called "Blobs"
  #180  
Old 09-28-2008, 08:43 PM
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Here's one that's bugging me...

This was a series of SF books; I'm pretty sure there were at least 3 of them. I think the writer was a woman and I read them in the early to mid 80s when I think they were newish.

The protagonist was female and lived on a future Earth that's ruled by a nasty dictatorship. The story starts when she's fairly young. She's put into a state school where sexual abuse is rife and trained to be a spy. When she's sent off-world on her first real mission she rebels and hooks up with a pirate starship captain. They go to some rebel world where they manage to become the rulers or something like that. Eventually they muster a fleet and return to Earth and overthrow the dictatorship.

Obviously there was more detail than that to fill a series of books, but that's the major arc as I remember it. Not sure why I was thinking of this one, but it popped into my mind and now I can't place it.
For some reason I'm thinking of Anne McCaffery's Pirate Planet series, but it doesn't quite fit.
  #181  
Old 09-28-2008, 09:00 PM
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The classic story with this theme is E M Forster's "The Machine Stops" which is online here http://emforster.de/hypertext/template.php3?t=tms, but in the wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Machine_Stops they reference a Mad magazine parody called "Blobs"
As I think about it, though, "The Machine Stops" doesn't have a guy travelling into the future. That sounds a bit like John Campbell's "Twilight" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_(short_story), possibly mixed with Hamilton's
"The Man Who Evolved" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Evolved
  #182  
Old 09-28-2008, 10:07 PM
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This one was a short story in a collection that I'd borrowed from a friend in the mid 1980's, but the book was probably older. An agent has been smuggled onto the surface of a planet whose inhabitants have been banned from the rest of the universe because of their uncontrollably warlike and aggressive nature. The rest of the universe's civilizations have created an inescapable forcefield around the planet and left the race to it's own devices for hundreds of years.

But a new race has appeared, just as fierce and warlike, and is currently rampaging across space kicking ass. Thus the initial character's mission is to try to recruit the banned race of beings to help save the day. It's only at the very end of the story that we discover that this is taking place on our Earth and that we humans are the banned race.

The one scene that I sort-of-kinda remember is when the agent first encounters a member of the banned species, a youngster, just as a party of the raiding aggressors also happen to stumble on the scene. The agent is in hiding and watches first in horror at what seems about to happen to the helpless child, then in astonishment as the surrounding forest seems to come alive and destroy the raiding party at the child's command.
  #183  
Old 09-28-2008, 10:56 PM
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For some reason I'm thinking of Anne McCaffery's Pirate Planet series, but it doesn't quite fit.
I glanced at the description for that on Wiki. Nope, not it.
  #184  
Old 09-29-2008, 09:12 PM
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This one was a short story in a collection that I'd borrowed from a friend in the mid 1980's, but the book was probably older. An agent has been smuggled onto the surface of a planet whose inhabitants have been banned from the rest of the universe because of their uncontrollably warlike and aggressive nature. The rest of the universe's civilizations have created an inescapable forcefield around the planet and left the race to it's own devices for hundreds of years.

But a new race has appeared, just as fierce and warlike, and is currently rampaging across space kicking ass. Thus the initial character's mission is to try to recruit the banned race of beings to help save the day. It's only at the very end of the story that we discover that this is taking place on our Earth and that we humans are the banned race.

The one scene that I sort-of-kinda remember is when the agent first encounters a member of the banned species, a youngster, just as a party of the raiding aggressors also happen to stumble on the scene. The agent is in hiding and watches first in horror at what seems about to happen to the helpless child, then in astonishment as the surrounding forest seems to come alive and destroy the raiding party at the child's command.
I think this is "With Friends Like This" by Alan Dean Foster
  #185  
Old 09-29-2008, 09:29 PM
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I'm coming in way late here, but I wonder: Can I ask you to do it in reverse?

What is your recollection of the plots of Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up ?
  #186  
Old 09-29-2008, 09:55 PM
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I'm coming in way late here, but I wonder: Can I ask you to do it in reverse?

What is your recollection of the plots of Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up ?
I've read Stand on Zanzibar recently. It's... uh... Joycean.

Okay, there's two basic plots involving a company that decides to make the world better by buying out a third world country where no conflicts occur. There's another where a spy is infiltrating a closed communist country where they claim to have invented pre-natal genetic engineering. This claim has for some reason that I couldn't follow caused the entire world to freak out.

In between these arcs there's a lot of... um... "text" I guess is the best word that fills in details of the terminally overpopulated world with seven billion people in it (The Population Bomb being a recent best seller telling us how the world would be terminally overpopulated by the 1980's). These chapters are either annoyingly pretentious or brilliant writing depending on which side of the fence you fall on. They're certainly not coherent in any way.

I thought the main plot was okay but I hated the background chapters that interspersed them. I wrote a review for my blog if you want some more details.
  #187  
Old 09-29-2008, 10:01 PM
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Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up spoilers


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I'm coming in way late here, but I wonder: Can I ask you to do it in reverse?

What is your recollection of the plots of Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up ?
"Stand on Zanzibar" takes place in the near future where overpopulation is a desperate problem - people with more than two children are treated like pariahs and suspected of secret Catholicism, and people with genetic defects are also discriminated against ("bleeder" is a slur). The political order is upset when a scientist in a tiny nearly third-world nation reports that he can make sure that children are born genetically optimized. There are many subplots: one about the nation of Beninia in Africa where people seem naturally peaceful, one about a man who is drafted and trained as an assassin, and several about people just going crazy from the population pressure.

In "The Sheep Look Up" the problem is pollution.
  #188  
Old 09-30-2008, 01:08 AM
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This was a series of SF books; I'm pretty sure there were at least 3 of them. I think the writer was a woman and I read them in the early to mid 80s when I think they were newish.

The protagonist was female and lived on a future Earth that's ruled by a nasty dictatorship. The story starts when she's fairly young. She's put into a state school where sexual abuse is rife and trained to be a spy. When she's sent off-world on her first real mission she rebels and hooks up with a pirate starship captain. They go to some rebel world where they manage to become the rulers or something like that. Eventually they muster a fleet and return to Earth and overthrow the dictatorship.
I think that I might have read one of these. Was she surgically sterilized when she was first placed into government care, and then raped by one of the doctors?

If it sounds familiar, I'll go comb through my old SF novels to see if I still have it hanging around. I'm pretty sure that I'll recognize it from the cover, even though I don't recall the name or author.
  #189  
Old 09-30-2008, 04:44 AM
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This one's been nagging me for years. Probably a YA book; it's about a group of people who've built a mechanical 'mole' type machine and go for a journey underground. I have a vague memory that the machine had a French name; possibly "Tatou". All the travellers had their appendixes removed before leaving, just in case. As the journey proceeds, one of them gets claustrophobic, sleepwalks to the controls and throws the machine off-course so they end up lost, bursting out in some kind of massive cave system and unable to go further as the mole has been damaged. They get rescued when a man who's lowered a camera down a crevasse on a line sees a woman in his photograph.
  #190  
Old 09-30-2008, 09:42 AM
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I don't find it embarrassing. I find it fascinating how memory works. I'd like to work out a general theory from threads like this what people remember.
It really is a fascinating thing. I'd read all the Sherlock Holmes stories as a kid, and I've been going through them again - I remember almost none of the actual plots (except for some reason the one that involved fuller's earth and counterfeiting, and that's specifically because I had to look up what fuller's earth was) - but I remember almost most of Holmes' deductions from ordinary objects and a lot of the ordinary household scenes. I specifically remembered almost word for word his examination of Watson's watch, but NOTHING at all about the actual mystery and plot of A Study in Scarlet. I only really remembered anything about the plots of the most widely read ones, and I assume that's because I came into contact with them more than once or twice (The Speckled Band and The Hound of the Baskervilles.) I see this kind of thing all the time as a librarian, too.
  #191  
Old 09-30-2008, 07:14 PM
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I think this is "With Friends Like This" by Alan Dean Foster
Correct. And, as I remember it, the alien agent doesn't have to be smuggled in - his starship just lands. And there's no doubt from the outset that it's humanity which has been imprisoned on Earth; there's no "twist" in that sense.
  #192  
Old 09-30-2008, 09:35 PM
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Correct. And, as I remember it, the alien agent doesn't have to be smuggled in - his starship just lands. And there's no doubt from the outset that it's humanity which has been imprisoned on Earth; there's no "twist" in that sense.
BTW, Foster later wrote a trilogy with a similar theme - humans are the only species in the universe in which many individuals are willing to kill an intelligent being, so they are recruited into an interstellar war http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Damned_Trilogy
  #193  
Old 10-01-2008, 02:08 AM
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Hi there. It's been just about 4 years since I signed onto the SDMB, but I'm back. A few weeks back I helped out in this thread http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=476861 with a story identification (by emailing the answer to Wendell). If you've got a story you'd like me to try to identify for you, give a description (include a rough idea of when you read it, and as many details as you remember) and I'll give it my best shot.

Andy
I remember three stories. The first, I think was part of a novel. The "hero" was on a prison planet, where he was sent to harvest protein from a giant chicken heart, called "chicken little". He escaped.

The other two I have questions are short stories of the armageddon sort.

In the first, there are are a group who, after a holocaust, are given a drug which can take them into the pre-holocast past (ostensibly to teach them how to survive). One of the survivors is in charge of morale for the group. He steals the drug that & uses it to revive his own past passions.

In the second, there's a time when mankind can't procreate without this: a regenerated/recreated Janis Joplin concert happens. She self-destructs while her audience procreates.

Thanks, Phil
  #194  
Old 10-01-2008, 02:38 AM
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Here's one that's bugging me...

This was a series of SF books; I'm pretty sure there were at least 3 of them. I think the writer was a woman and I read them in the early to mid 80s when I think they were newish.

The protagonist was female and lived on a future Earth that's ruled by a nasty dictatorship. The story starts when she's fairly young. She's put into a state school where sexual abuse is rife and trained to be a spy. When she's sent off-world on her first real mission she rebels and hooks up with a pirate starship captain. They go to some rebel world where they manage to become the rulers or something like that. Eventually they muster a fleet and return to Earth and overthrow the dictatorship.

Obviously there was more detail than that to fill a series of books, but that's the major arc as I remember it. Not sure why I was thinking of this one, but it popped into my mind and now I can't place it.
I believe that you're talking about F. M. Busby's Rissa Kerguelen series. Busby is a guy, BTW. For more info, see http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/f-m-busby/ .
  #195  
Old 10-01-2008, 07:26 AM
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phil417 writes:

> The first, I think was part of a novel. The "hero" was on a prison planet, where
> he was sent to harvest protein from a giant chicken heart, called "chicken little".
> He escaped.

This is a piece of The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth.
  #196  
Old 10-01-2008, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
phil417 writes:

> The first, I think was part of a novel. The "hero" was on a prison planet, where
> he was sent to harvest protein from a giant chicken heart, called "chicken little".
> He escaped.

This is a piece of The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth.

Yep - the "prison planet" was Earth (South America as I recall)
  #197  
Old 10-04-2008, 03:09 PM
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I think that I might have read one of these. Was she surgically sterilized when she was first placed into government care, and then raped by one of the doctors?
I think you are remembering the same book. I had forgotten the sterilization detail, but your mention of it reminded me of it. And I don't remember that specific rape, but sexual abuse was something of a reoccurring theme, so probably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni
I believe that you're talking about F. M. Busby's Rissa Kerguelen series. Busby is a guy, BTW. For more info, see http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/f-m-busby/ .
Ah, yeah, I checked your link and that's definitely it. I think the specifics Risha mentioned happened in the first book Young Rissa. Looking at the reviews on Amazon I got more details wrong than just the author's gender, but that's usually the case with memory. Thanks.
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  #198  
Old 10-04-2008, 03:38 PM
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Well, since Lynn Bodoni stole Rissa Kerguelen from me...

I've been trying to find this story for yonks--I think I read it in one of the small format magazines, F&SF or Asimov's, late '80's. I'm thinking the title was numeric, a time stamp, something like "3:48" and it referred to the amount of time it took the Challenger passenger compartment to fall to the ocean, which was a pivotal plot point as well. I've gone through the archive lists of both magazines from about 1986 onward but have had zero luck finding the story. Anybody?
  #199  
Old 10-04-2008, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartAleq View Post
Well, since Lynn Bodoni stole Rissa Kerguelen from me...

I've been trying to find this story for yonks--I think I read it in one of the small format magazines, F&SF or Asimov's, late '80's. I'm thinking the title was numeric, a time stamp, something like "3:48" and it referred to the amount of time it took the Challenger passenger compartment to fall to the ocean, which was a pivotal plot point as well. I've gone through the archive lists of both magazines from about 1986 onward but have had zero luck finding the story. Anybody?
I checked the Internet SF Database and the online Locus magazine index and didn't find anything relevant (there was a narrative poem called "Challenger as Viewed from the Westerbrook Bar" which I remember reading). Here's a link to all the stories published from 1984 through 1999 that start with numbers http://www.locusmag.com/index/l1.htm, but nothing looks promising
  #200  
Old 10-05-2008, 01:06 AM
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Yah, it's a bear, ain't it? I'm pretty good with the Google-fu and I'm starting to wonder if I imagined the whole thing, except the story itself really impressed itself on me and since this is pre-internet I had no way of fact checking the story but I always wanted to. Figures I couldn't have an easily identified story... although there was this one, something about it only stops raining like every twenty years...
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