Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by IIIIIIIIII, Sep 10, 2015.
Except From :
- Isaac Asimov
- Frank Herbert
- Orson Scott Card
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How do you define "brainy"?
Personal favourites, in no particular order:
Use of Weapons - Iain M Banks
The Player of Games - Iain M Banks
Stainless Steel Rat - Harry Harrison
Bill, The Galactic Hero - Harry Harrison
The Reality Dysfunction - Peter F Hamilton
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
War of the Worlds - H G Wells
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter Miller
Childhood's End - Arthur C Clarke
Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein
There are plenty of others, but these 10 more easily come to mind.
Thx for your list, I will definitely have a try on it.
To answer your question about "Brainy SciFi" I just wanted to try to avoid responses about things like "The Fantastic 4" Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!.
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Anything written by Robert Forward
The Martian by Andy Weir
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Solaris..with George Clooney.
Pi...by Darren Aronofsky
Invasion of the Body Snatchers..the original.
I especially liked "Moon" from your list with the Original Soundtrack from Clint Mansell is awesome...
Those look fun Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
2001: A Space Odyssey. [2010: The Year We Made Contact.]
The Day the Earth Stood Still: 1951 version.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind:
Forbidden Planet: 1953
Mission To Mars:
War of the Worlds: original 1953 version.
Blade Runner - watch the Final Cut - it's the only one Scott had complete control over.
Only one comes to my mind:
It brings a lot of thought about cultures, societies and religions, nicely wrapped in the form or tales from other planets. But while it often seems to be ridiculous, it is rather a look into a mirror, to see how weird and sometimes idiotic our conceptions look, if we are able to see them from a distance.
I think it is also a nice example of how criticism of sciety can be packaged, so that the reader will recognize it, but it flies under the radar of cencorship.
A even more brainy one (in the sense of being delivered in a more serious tone) from the same author:
I'm going to suggest 'Inherit the Stars' by James Hogan.
While it isn't very well written from a literary standpoint, it's very brainy from a philosophical standpoint. It involves a lunar expedition discovering a mummified corpse in a spacesuit on the lunar surface, thinly buried by lunar dust. The book goes into all of the scientific controversies about this body, as it is discovered that the spacesuit is of unknown and mysterious manufacture and the body is dated at 50,000 years old. All kinds of hypotheses are advanced and tested. Is it a space alien? The skeleton is anatomically human, so there's lots of discussion of the likelihood of convergent evolution. Is it a product of an unknown technically advanced civilization from the ice age? The likelihood of such a civilization remaining undiscovered is discussed. More evidence of ancient technological activity is discovered and eventually it is revealed that the whole history of the solar system and the human race is radically different than people thought it was.
Another book of Hogan's that's pulpy from a literary standpoint but nevertheless fairly brainy is 'Code of the Lifemaker'. This one imagines exploration/mining robots sent out by an unknown alien civilization millions of years ago to explore the universe and to gather resources for the aliens. The robots in question pass too close to a supernova and are damaged. They forget their initial purpose but continue to mine for resources and reproduce, eventually ending up on Saturn's moon Titan. Hogan then imagines an entire evolutionary process where the robots behave like animals, competing and evolving by natural selection to fill countless ecological niches and eventually evolve self-conscious intelligence. A human expedition encounters them and the book explores their interactions.
Two more very brainy suggestions are from Greg Bear. The first, 'Hardfought' exists in several versions, ranging from a short story to a novella (a short novel). The longer one is the best. Bear calls this the best thing he ever wrote. The protagonist is a young woman, something of a cyborg designed to fly space fighter planes in a war against a civilization spanning the entire universe, every galaxy, that's existed for more than 10 billion years since right after the big bang, an incredibly ancient and vast culture that's totally committed to exterminating new life forms like us. These aliens are composed of light elements and they realize that if beings like us get loose in the universe, the older beings are doomed. So they exterminate every appearance of our kind of life out of self-preservation. They have already destroyed several human off-world colonies but don't know where we originated. Humanity is forced into fighting for survival in a war that will never end against the entire universe. The only way we can survive is to make the aliens' fears come true.
It turns out that our physically mature protagonist is only 4 or 5 years old and is an engineered clone. She's still human though, if naive (she treats her mission like a video-game) and falls in forbidden love with a young man from military intelligence. He fills her in on what the situation is, and on how humanity is struggling to retain its own humanity in the face of such an overwhelming challenge.
The longer novella fills us in on more of the aliens' psychology, as our heroine raids one of their bases. (The aliens inherit billions of years of memories of their ancestors biologically and are almost buried by it, making them slow to adapt.) Eventually a battle forces her to approach the speed of light and time-dilation puts her in her own future. Where she encounters and is immediately exterminated by the surreal things that quick-adapting humans have become in that interval. Nothing human about humans any longer, exceedingly strange and almost angelic in their beauty, but totally without compassion, perfect killers.
Another brainy Greg Bear novel is the recent 'Hull Zero Three'. This one is a totally new take on the generation starship theme. It's a strange and a little haunting. Our protagonist wakes up from what he believes is a cryosleep chamber, with memories of his life on Earth and the loved ones he had to leave behind. The Earth was about to be destroyed by some cataclysm (a nova or something) and this star ship was designed to take selected humans to a nearby star with an exoplanet believed to be suitable for life. But he didn't expect to be woken up until they got there, and he quickly discovers that something is very wrong. The ship is cold and dark, torn by signs of battle. A little girl who seems to know what's going on (but won't tell) collects him, and directs him to seek out the control room. On the way he meets several sorta-humans, one a birdlike humanoid, all friendly and psychologically human. He encounters spectres like ghosts who give him information and advice. Most notable are the monsters, the ship is infested by the most horrible monsters imaginable, all teeth and claws and blades and horror. On the way he discovers that he isn't who he thought he was at all, that his memories of Earth and his loved ones are all fake, and that he is really a clone that's already been endlessly repeated for some unknown end. (He finds a meat locker filled with dead bodies of himself hanging from hooks.)
The brainy part is where the mysteries are gradually explained and when the protagonist learns how the doomed humans on Earth planned the survival of the human race. He meets the AIs that ran the ship, one the Captain who controls its flight and the other the surrealistically fertile Mother intended to seed the new planet with organisms engineered for survival there. We learn about the Catalog which contains the genetic information of every organism on earth, and what Mother was programmed to do with it if the destination planet wasn't habitable by earth organisms (and if the planet already had intelligent occupants). And we learn why the Captain decided to fight her, even if it meant the end of Earths biological heritage, and why Mother is so determined to do anything to protect her (seriously strange) young.
I'm reading everything by Alastair Reynolds. If you like Ian M. Banks, you will love Reynolds!
I'd also suggest the "two faces of tomorrow" by Hogan. Great low-level description of how AI might come to be, and the problems it might cause (_and_ solve.)
The Man from Earth
The Perfect 46 [high acclaim from the academic community]
Other than Dune , just a fantastic series
The Childe Cycle ( Dorsi series ) BY Gordon R. Dickson ; The Final Encyclopedia. Fantastic series
I really liked Pushing Ice - generally I like most First Contact stories - but I don;t think I've read any other Reynolds or Banks books.
A Clockwork Orange
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Ralpha_Boulevard OK this one is not brainy, but mind boggling Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
I only thought of these 3 as my favorite: Close Encounters of the Third Kind , The Star Diaries and Galaxy Quest.
Separate names with a comma.