melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-07-18 05:51 pm

FMK #17: Humorous SF

Last week's winner was Enchantress From the Stars! Looking forward to it. From discussion in the comments, I think I attempted to write that story once when I was about twelve.

The loser on overall K votes was Pebble in the Sky, but I'm invoking the rule that says a K winner must also have a majority for K votes, which Pebble in the Sky didn't have, and giving it to the Stasheff instead.

(I also just noticed that I never announced a K for the LGBT-themed week. No book in that poll had a majority of K votes - or anything close to a majority, even - so I'm not calling a K. The overall most K votes was the David Gerrold book, but it had almost twice as many f/m votes as K, so I have added it to the F pile instead.)

Responses to Mélusine and Juniper Time coming later today, I promise.

This week, a friend assigned me Humorous SF, so here we go!

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week. That will leave me only four books behind, whoo.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)


Poll #18598 FMK #14: SF In Translation
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 41


Blood Lite III: aftertaste edited by Kevin J. Anderson (2012)

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F
4 (26.7%)

M
2 (13.3%)

K
9 (60.0%)

The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy II edited by Mike Ashley (1999)

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F
7 (41.2%)

M
5 (29.4%)

K
5 (29.4%)

Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille by Steven Brust (1990)

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F
12 (60.0%)

M
3 (15.0%)

K
5 (25.0%)

The Dragon & The George by Gordon R. Dickson (1976)

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F
13 (72.2%)

M
1 (5.6%)

K
4 (22.2%)

The Rapture of the Nerds by Cory Doctorow (2012)

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F
5 (33.3%)

M
2 (13.3%)

K
8 (53.3%)

The Light-Years Beneath My Feet by Alan Dean Foster (2005)

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F
7 (50.0%)

M
3 (21.4%)

K
4 (28.6%)

Bride of the Slime Monster by Craig Shaw Gardner (1990)

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F
9 (64.3%)

M
0 (0.0%)

K
5 (35.7%)

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines (2006)

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F
13 (61.9%)

M
3 (14.3%)

K
5 (23.8%)

Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynne Jones (1988)

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F
13 (46.4%)

M
14 (50.0%)

K
1 (3.6%)

Retief's War by Keith Laumer (1985)

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F
8 (47.1%)

M
5 (29.4%)

K
4 (23.5%)

In The Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez (2006)

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F
7 (53.8%)

M
3 (23.1%)

K
3 (23.1%)

Bad Prince Charlie by John Moore (2006)

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F
5 (33.3%)

M
3 (20.0%)

K
7 (46.7%)

The Hero Strikes Back by Moira J. Moore (2006)

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F
9 (56.2%)

M
3 (18.8%)

K
4 (25.0%)

The Artsy Smartsy Club by Daniel Pinkwater (2005)

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F
7 (46.7%)

M
5 (33.3%)

K
3 (20.0%)

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett (1992)

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F
15 (44.1%)

M
19 (55.9%)

K
0 (0.0%)

Callahan's Secret by Spider Robinson (1986)

View Answers

F
9 (42.9%)

M
2 (9.5%)

K
10 (47.6%)


isis: (Default)

[personal profile] isis 2017-07-18 10:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I adored the Retief books, and when I re-read one I found randomly not that long ago I still loved it. I vaguely remember a few of the other ones you have here, but not enough to recommend.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-18 11:59 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not convinced that you'd like Retief. My experience rereading one a couple of decades after I read and loved the books in high school (during the early 80s) was not the same as [personal profile] isis's. I found a large dollop of sexism and zero character development (there are only one or two characters besides Retief who recur). The villains are pretty cardboard. It's very Cold War.

The books are almost all collections of previously published short stories, and I think that that dictated a lot of the lack of character development because there was no back story to build on.

So I guess it depends on your tolerance for pulp SF humor.
rachelmanija: (Default)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-07-18 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Dark Lord of Derkhelm and Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille both have issues with clashing tones, in which extremely unfunny/grimdark events occur alongside of wacky hijinks. The sequel to DLoD, Year of the Griffin, is hilarious and the premise is great, so it's worth reading once if you like Jones. CFSBaG has some excellent prose but is a giant mess otherwise, with completely indistinguishable characters (which is especially a problem when they start tragically getting killed) and satire on prejudice against people with AIDS that just doesn't work. Overall, an ambitious disaster; worth reading once if you like Brust.

I would find a review of Callahan's Secret very amusing. I'm not sure if it's one of the earnest, sweet early ones, or horrendously awful (but still earnest) later ones. I somehow doubt that any of the series have aged well. Possibly worthwhile if you like earnest hippies, found family, and really elaborate puns.

I suspect that 90% of all short humorous fantasy is set-ups for elaborate puns. Kill with fire. Unless you like that sort of thing.
Lords and Ladies is wonderful.
rachelmanija: (Default)

[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-07-18 11:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Lady Sally. Yep. I had basically the same experience, at the same age.

If you haven't ever read Brust, for God's sake don't start with Cowboy Feng. It's his worst book by a million miles. I want to say it's also atypical, but it does take some of his usual preoccupations and stylistic quirks and dial them up to 11, but without any of his usual good qualities to support them. It would be incredibly off-putting as a first book.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-18 11:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Seconded on the Brust. It's worth reading but really shouldn't be the first (or second) book of his one reads. My main memory of Cowboy Feng's is that I stole a bit of it for a LARP I was writing around the time I read it. I remember nothing else at all about it, and that is not typical for me and Brust's books.
petra: Barbara Gordon smiling knowingly (Default)

[personal profile] petra 2017-07-18 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
The Jim C. Hines is written for people who love D&D. If you are not one of those people, it is skippable.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-18 11:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I think that the book still works for people who know the cliches of D&D moderately well. I suspect that a large portion of the humor doesn't work without that basic knowledge. Humor that satirizes or parodies particular genre conventions really, really breaks down without the right background.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-19 12:05 am (UTC)(link)
I haven't read this particular Pinkwater, but I've generally found his books worth reading. Lizard Music and the two Snarkout Boys books are the Pinkwater books that stick in my mind most strongly. There's a lot of weird to them that seems utterly normal in context, at least partly because because Pinkwater treats it all as normal.
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)

[personal profile] lannamichaels 2017-07-19 01:02 am (UTC)(link)
Bad Prince Charlie is excellent, I highly recommend it (and the other stuff I've read by that author)

I honestly can't remember much about Lords and Ladies other than "it's the Discworld book with the elves". tbh, the witches books aren't my fave.
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)

[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-07-19 01:25 am (UTC)(link)
I'm amazed that I'm not the only person here who's read Bad Prince Charlie! John Moore is local to me, and I see him at Texas cons. This one isn't the best humorous SF I've ever read, but it's far from the worst. He manages to walk the fine line between his characters being in character and being aware that they're characters very successfully.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-19 07:00 pm (UTC)(link)
I've been curious about John Moore's books, but I never read any of them because that's my father's name, too. I know that's a weird reason not to read something, but I just felt strange about it in terms of my emotional baggage (I love my father, but I do not like him much).
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)

[personal profile] lannamichaels 2017-07-19 06:51 pm (UTC)(link)

Yeah. I enjoyed the Tiffany Aching books (although I haven't read the last one yet). In terms of the Witches books, though, there was one book where I shouted out "FOR FUCKS SAKE, LET MAGRAT BE RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING FOR ONCE, EVER" when it turned out her female armor wasn't, or some shit like that. That that is the only thing I remember about that book, wellllll :P

evil_plotbunny: (stargazing)

[personal profile] evil_plotbunny 2017-07-19 02:24 am (UTC)(link)
I'd say Retief and Callahan both have the same issue which is that society is moved on and they haven't aged well. There are some things I really like about both, but each time I reread them it's harder to find those things.

The Hero Strikes back is the second book in the series. The series was good but I should have guessed at the time that they were headed into romance territory - it's not that I mind romance but they'd get romancy at the very points when I really wanted more plot/world building and I found it oddly distracting.
komadori: (Default)

[personal profile] komadori 2017-07-19 03:54 am (UTC)(link)
Hey, I just found your journal through a friend, so I'm subscribing because it looks interesting. :) I don't know any of these books, but this seems like a fun and inventive way to pick reading material. I also have Enchantress from the Stars on my to-read list, so I should hurry up and read it to compare thoughts.
rushthatspeaks: (Default)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-07-19 04:00 am (UTC)(link)
The Artsy Smartsy Club stands alone pretty well, but is third in its series after The Hoboken Chicken Emergency and Looking for Bobowicz, both of which I like better. Artsy Smartsy is a lot of fun, as with all Pinkwater, but gains what little emotional resonance it has from previous acquaintance with the characters.
rushthatspeaks: (Default)

[personal profile] rushthatspeaks 2017-07-21 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
That's fair-- they're cute books, but very slight. Artsy Smartsy is I think the slightest, which takes effort. It's a book I'd give a kid to try to get them interested in going to museums, though.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-07-19 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
I'm going to break with the majority here and say that I still do find pretty much all of the Callahan's series engaging and moving, even though I can't ind fault with any of the critiques being made. The earnest and sappily hopeful tone is right in line with mine despite the problematic assumptions and sweeping generalizations made along the way, I suppose.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-07-19 06:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Makes sense. There are the books I reread a lot - and the books I keep because if they were, now, the reading experience they were, then, THAN I would reread them a lot.

(And also the books I just haven't sent along to their next stop yet. Heh.)
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-19 06:55 pm (UTC)(link)
There are books I keep, in spite of knowing I'll never reread them, because when I look at them I get memories. Some memories of the story/characters but also (and more importantly) memories of where and when I read the book and what was good and bad about my life then.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-07-19 08:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes. That too. :.)
dhampyresa: (Default)

[personal profile] dhampyresa 2017-07-19 09:30 pm (UTC)(link)
I did not enjoy Dark Lord of Derkholm when I read it years ago. I couldn't keep track of all the characters and felt as if it were the 3rd book in a series I had read none of the others in.

Lords and Ladies is great fun, though!
birke: (Default)

[personal profile] birke 2017-07-20 04:06 am (UTC)(link)
Maybe it would be better either immediately following The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, or with TTGtF as a reference.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-07-22 06:05 pm (UTC)(link)
I read The Tough Guide to Fantasyland after Dark Lord of Derkholm and pretty much went, "Oh! This is a road map to that other book!" I suspect that I'd have liked both better if I'd done a first read of both at the same time, using The Tough Guide as a reference.

I adore The Year of the Griffin, though, and I think that's worth whatevers bits of Dark Lord of Derkholm I found to be a slog.
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)

[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-07-26 01:08 am (UTC)(link)
Psst... the "fmk" tag is missing from this entry.