Open Thread: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Speculative Stuff

(by chris the cynic)

Anything you like in the genres?  Dislike?  Whatever?



[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]

19 thoughts on “Open Thread: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Speculative Stuff

  1. depizan December 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I’m glad the harder stuff exists, but I like space adventure and fantasy adventure for the escape into a world that either is better, or becomes better, than reality. And for the power of friendship and hope that those sub-genres tend to run on.

  2. lonespark42 December 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I like it in general… given that 90% of everything is crap… and often racist misogynist, etc. crap at that…

  3. lonespark42 December 5, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I love space opera.

    I like Star Trek, but I looove DS9 (except the parts I hate!), and I’m looking forward to being able to watch it on DVD soon because my sweetheart gave me a DVD player.

    I also like crossover fanfic where people from other universes pass thru DS9…

    I like aliens. I like family. I really like everything represented by the existence of the Jr. officer by the name of Vilix’pran:

  4. WanderingUndine December 5, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    I like fantasy…most fantasy, really. Especially if it has the feel of historical fiction (the only other fiction genre I categorically like), though I’ve enjoyed some modern or totally AU fantasy too. Imaginary creatures are mandatory, the more the better, preferably including something aquatic, although I don’t like it when terrestrial protagonists turn aquatic. Interesting female characters are important, though I’ve read fantasy without them, i.e. The Hobbit. Romances generally annoy me, thiugh they’re fairly unavoidable and some are good. I almost always crush on villains, so their attributes are important. And everything is better when Mark Oshiro reads it.

  5. lonespark42 December 6, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    WanderingUndine, do you have any recs for aquatic creature stories?

  6. lonespark42 December 6, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Also that has made me think that a genetically engineered mermaid on an alien planet is an important part of Nahuatl by Tobias Buckell.

  7. lonespark42 December 6, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    oops posted too soon

    anyway, she is unfortunately not really a character with agency, and I really want to know her story before and after her bit in that story.

  8. lonespark42 December 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    I would really love more scifi stories dealing with oceans and marine life (also lacustrine, etc. etc…) on Earth and elsewhere. Of the top of my head I can only think of The Abyss and Seaquest, the latter of which I never saw.

  9. WanderingUndine December 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Hmm, lessee. The Folk Keeper (Franny Billingslsy) devastated me yesterday; it’s beautifully written and heavily involves selkies. In Great Waters (Kit Whitfield) is *all* about merpeople, but I’m ambivalent about it. Deep Wizardry is my favourite fantasy novel EVER, but it’s #2 in the mostly non-oceanic Young Wizards series (Diane Duane), though I happened to read it beforw book #1 the first time anx still loved it. Similar for Drowned Wednesday (#3 in the Keys to the Kingdom series, Garth Nix). Other books involve aquatic humanoids but aren’t predominantly *about* them, e.g. the Darkangel Trilogy (Meredith Ann Pierce) and The Hobbit/LotR. I’ve been repeatedly advised to read Child of a Hidden Sea (A.M. Dellamonica), but don’t wanna.

    I’m not sure I’ve read *any* science fiction worthy of the name, as even the interplanetary stuff I’ve read generally ignores scientific laws. Actually, some of the *fantasy* I’ve read is more scientific in its approach to magic, e.g. the Emelan books (TTamora Pierce).

  10. christhecynic December 7, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I am fully ready to accept that I’m an aquatic creature, but I want damned wings.

    Obviously water ready wings are a must. Which ones are slightly harder to work out.

    I like ducks, but their oil limits their underwater swimming ability. The Cape gannet interests me simply because it makes the transition from flying to swimming at speeds ranging from 25 to 75 miles per hour. (I’d be worried I’d break my neck and, in truth, some do.) The really colorful wings tend to belong to non aquatic birds, it seems to me.

    Anyway, I’m all up for being a winged merperson, but I don’t think they appear much in . . . anything. Which doesn’t really make sense; the desire to fly is in no way contradictory to the desire to be able to swim the deepest ocean, at the very least blatant wish fulfillment fic should feature them.

  11. WanderingUndine December 7, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Drowned Wednesday features a shape-shifting character who can be human-esque or a winged, flying shark. I’ve envied her for numerous reasons.

    At least one Xanth book involves a winged mermaid, but Xanth is more trouble than it’s worth.

    Ooh, I forgot Dear Dolphin (Herbert A. Kenny), which I guess is a children’s book –an underwater Alice in Wonderland, basically — but utterly wonderful and I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember.

  12. Firedrake December 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    chris, have you ever watched a turtle swimming? The way they flap and soar, they’re very clearly birds really (or vice versa). And then there are rays…

  13. WanderingUndine December 7, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve been fond of northern gannets ever since I visited their ginormous nesting colony on Cape St. Mary’s, in Newfoundland. Fog-shrouded cliffs, their sides covered in trilling birds…magnificent.

  14. lonespark42 December 7, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Rays!!! OMG, I need all the ray-based merpeople right freaking now!

    (and cephalapods, but we already knew that…)

  15. WanderingUndine December 7, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Ray are beautiful. And glassy smooth. And at least one of the skates at the New England Aquarium sometimes bounces up and down on the head of a cod which ignores it. Sadly, the only remotely-anthropomorphic ray I know of is Mr. Ray from Finding Nemo, who I like very much and aspire to emulate.

  16. lonespark42 December 8, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Do you live in New England, WanderingUndine?

    Ah, yeah, Mr. Ray. Well, that’s something. My daughter watches a lot of shows with mermaids (many are the sort who are sometimes or usually humanoids, and shapeshift…) so maybe I should pay attention in case of ray-people.

  17. WanderingUndine December 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Not currently, but I interned at the New England Aquarium in Boston, and also spent years on the Maine coast for college and then work. Sadly, the ocean there is too cold for much swimming without a serious wetsuit or drysuit, but big tides facilitate lots of intertidal exploration.

  18. christhecynic December 8, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    And then there are rays…

    Well of course I want a flying ray as my mighty steed in air or water. Who doesn’t? But I still want wings.

  19. lonespark42 December 8, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I feel compelled to mention that if you visit Mulop the colossal giant psychic octopus, you have to ride there on a big ray called The Kingray. But it’s not sapient, AFAIK. The Spirit Animals series is frustrating that way…and many other ways…

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