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    Books that will be popular 50 years from now

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      Non-dune discussion

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    Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Syzygy » 05 May 2013 06:06

    Dune is the only book that I can think of that will still be popular 50 years from now.

    If you look at classic SF authors like Heinlein, Asimov and Philip K. Dick, I just don't get the impression that people pick up these books and read them anymore unless they are made into a movie.

    So I was wondering... which SF author (besides Herbert) do you think people will be reading 50 years from now?
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Naïve mind » 05 May 2013 11:09

    Hmm, I think all sci-fi novels are beginning to suffer from something best described by this blog post here. It's about Star Trek, but it makes some valid points that apply to all sci-fi, and it's definitely worth reading in full.

    As I watch everyone interact on the station, the lack of social media sticks out hugely to me simply because it is how so many of us interact with each other now--and especially over long distances. (...) We live in a world already where no one need come and see anything, a quick picture upload obviates the need for O'Brien to come squint at your shit in person. (...) In DS9, instantaneous information tech is available and evenly distributed, but the writers do not live in a world, yet, where anyone has begun to figure out what to do with it. So walkie talkies are still, in 1999, the model for communication. DS9 cares about physical presence in a way we are already beginning to leave behind.


    So, even if we're still nowhere near to having intelligent robots, or faster-than-light space travel, or flying cars, our daily lives have changed to a degree that would've been unimaginable to someone from the 80s. And that's just from our perspective--I assume most of us here became adults in the early 2000s, or earlier, before instantaneous digital communication became ubiquitous. Think about kids who are growing up today.

    And think about Jules Verne, or near-future SF like, say, Heinlein's "Solution unsatisfactory". Stories that were imaginative, even prescient in their day--but missed a ton of stuff that we now take for granted. A lot of sci-fi from the 1950s-1960s is going to "feel" like that for the generation that grows up now.
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Ampoliros » 05 May 2013 12:07

    I read "daily lives" as "data lives". I was talking to some friends (online ironically) about how it seemed like kids today had to try not to be douchebags, as opposed to a few days ago.

    I've been developing some very nasty misophonia in the last couple years, so it sickens me to no end when I see commercials advertising new phones with better speakers showing the owner playing a music video for his friends in a public place. Heck I can hear music coming from earbuds from 15 ft away.

    We also have a young kid who comes into our store after school to wait for his mom who both pisses me off and makes me feel sad for him, because he has literally no consciousness of the people around him, he's loud, swings his keys on a long chain and constantly asks us to find books/comics for him which we know he isn't going to buy. All that and I don't think he does it on purpose, I literally feel like he doesn't recognize other people as having their own shit to do.

    and now i have to run off to play D&D on a real table in the middle of a rant.
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Naïve mind » 05 May 2013 14:37

    Ampoliros wrote:I've been developing some very nasty misophonia in the last couple years, so it sickens me to no end when I see commercials advertising new phones with better speakers showing the owner playing a music video for his friends in a public place. Heck I can hear music coming from earbuds from 15 ft away.


    Good example of technology changing the 'texture' of our daily lives. My grandmother once said something like "it seems that young people need music around them all the time now" Of course, she grew up in the 1920s, when few families even owned a radio. Radio reduced live music to only a shadow of its former self; portable music players drive silence out of the last few quiet public areas remaining.

    Would a sci-fi writer from the 1910s imagine singing, as a pastime, all but replaced with repetitive, canned music? What a horrible thought!
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Robspierre » 05 May 2013 17:01

    William Gibson has commented that if today's kids read Neuromancer they would ask where are the cell phones.

    In my English classes we have been reading various non-fiction articles and several have focused on tchnology. In one class, 2/3 of the s tudents stated that they trust/believe data more if they learn it from a technological source, looking it up online versus a book. That class has also stated that they would prefer all their school work was 100% technology based even if there was no change in how the material was taught.

    The other English class I teach on the other hand, only 10% of the students wish all their school work was technology based. They also get along as a whole class and are not broken up into "exclusive" groups like the other class. One class has one student with a smart phone and the other class, 40%. You figure out which one has better social interaction :wink:

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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Sandwurm88 » 05 May 2013 18:47

    I think that the works of PKD will have lasting value, in addition to Dune, probably the big dystopia novels (1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Clockwork Orange) and maybe a few of the really big stories from Clarke, Heinlein and Asimov. PKD's ultra-pessimistic, cynical versions of the future seem to be getting truer by the day in some aspects. I think his work will only grow in terms of public appreciation ( and of course Hollywood cranking out movies of PKD's works always helps). Also, I'd recommend Mockingbird by Walter Tevis as a prescient work in terms of its predictions on the "dumbing down" of the average person due to electronics, technology etc. And, although I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner apparently predicted social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) back in the 60s...

    ...So I think the good SF will last to those who still read. Granted, a lot of people are pessimistic about the future of reading itself, as the OP appears to be about SF, but I think, in every generation, there's gonna be some numbskull assholes who are completely fucking oblivious --and there will also be some smart people. I'm 18 and I can vouch for the fact that my generation has produced hoards and hoards of douchebags without much going on in between their ears. But we've also (probably) produced scientists and engineers who will solve big problems and cure a few diseases. So yeah, rant over I guess.

    Personally, I've never owned an iPod or MP3 player of any kind, or a smartphone...still got the ol' Tracfone flip phone. I do have a nice Apple laptop though, which I spent a good three hours a day on.
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Serkanner » 06 May 2013 05:28

    H.G. Wells - War of the worlds
    "... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

    “There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

    Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
    and wrote a Dune Novel."
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Syzygy » 06 May 2013 05:55

    Naïve mind wrote:Hmm, I think all sci-fi novels are beginning to suffer from something best described by this blog post here. It's about Star Trek, but it makes some valid points that apply to all sci-fi, and it's definitely worth reading in full.

    As I watch everyone interact on the station, the lack of social media sticks out hugely to me simply because it is how so many of us interact with each other now--and especially over long distances. (...) We live in a world already where no one need come and see anything, a quick picture upload obviates the need for O'Brien to come squint at your shit in person. (...) In DS9, instantaneous information tech is available and evenly distributed, but the writers do not live in a world, yet, where anyone has begun to figure out what to do with it. So walkie talkies are still, in 1999, the model for communication. DS9 cares about physical presence in a way we are already beginning to leave behind.


    So, even if we're still nowhere near to having intelligent robots, or faster-than-light space travel, or flying cars, our daily lives have changed to a degree that would've been unimaginable to someone from the 80s. And that's just from our perspective--I assume most of us here became adults in the early 2000s, or earlier, before instantaneous digital communication became ubiquitous. Think about kids who are growing up today.

    And think about Jules Verne, or near-future SF like, say, Heinlein's "Solution unsatisfactory". Stories that were imaginative, even prescient in their day--but missed a ton of stuff that we now take for granted. A lot of sci-fi from the 1950s-1960s is going to "feel" like that for the generation that grows up now.


    Thank you for the blog link. I found the article very interesting. I actually found your thoughts most helpful though. Some ideas and concepts in SF are now outdated. If we feel that we've surpassed the content of those novels, then obviously a future audience would not have a reason to be interested in it. After all, it is SF - not alternative history. I also didn't think about the social networking aspect in SF. I wonder why? I mean it sounds so obvious, but I never thought to look at our contemporary setting and extrapolate from now. Hmmm.
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Syzygy » 06 May 2013 06:04

    Robspierre wrote:William Gibson has commented that if today's kids read Neuromancer they would ask where are the cell phones.

    In my English classes we have been reading various non-fiction articles and several have focused on tchnology. In one class, 2/3 of the s tudents stated that they trust/believe data more if they learn it from a technological source, looking it up online versus a book. That class has also stated that they would prefer all their school work was 100% technology based even if there was no change in how the material was taught.

    The other English class I teach on the other hand, only 10% of the students wish all their school work was technology based. They also get along as a whole class and are not broken up into "exclusive" groups like the other class. One class has one student with a smart phone and the other class, 40%. You figure out which one has better social interaction :wink:

    Rob


    It is interesting that you mention Gibson. I can imagine a much younger audience growing frustated with his work. I think that "The Matrix" (which borrowed heavily from Neuromancer amongst others) sums up my feelings on how SF stories sometimes just don't work after a while. Do you remember how excited people were when it came out? Now no-one even thinks about it.
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Syzygy » 06 May 2013 06:07

    Sandwurm88 wrote:I think that the works of PKD will have lasting value, in addition to Dune, probably the big dystopia novels (1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Clockwork Orange) and maybe a few of the really big stories from Clarke, Heinlein and Asimov. PKD's ultra-pessimistic, cynical versions of the future seem to be getting truer by the day in some aspects. I think his work will only grow in terms of public appreciation ( and of course Hollywood cranking out movies of PKD's works always helps). Also, I'd recommend Mockingbird by Walter Tevis as a prescient work in terms of its predictions on the "dumbing down" of the average person due to electronics, technology etc. And, although I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner apparently predicted social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) back in the 60s...

    ...So I think the good SF will last to those who still read. Granted, a lot of people are pessimistic about the future of reading itself, as the OP appears to be about SF, but I think, in every generation, there's gonna be some numbskull assholes who are completely fucking oblivious --and there will also be some smart people. I'm 18 and I can vouch for the fact that my generation has produced hoards and hoards of douchebags without much going on in between their ears. But we've also (probably) produced scientists and engineers who will solve big problems and cure a few diseases. So yeah, rant over I guess.

    Personally, I've never owned an iPod or MP3 player of any kind, or a smartphone...still got the ol' Tracfone flip phone. I do have a nice Apple laptop though, which I spent a good three hours a day on.


    I agree with some of your choices. I will definitely pick up copies of Mockingbird and Stand on Zanzibar.
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Syzygy » 06 May 2013 06:11

    Serkanner wrote:H.G. Wells - War of the worlds


    I agree. Wells and I would also say Verne are definitely the godfathers of SF.
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Omphalos » 06 May 2013 14:13

    Are you asking if any new book will be popular in 50 years? I think the books from the past that that remain popular today (like War of the Worlds, some of PKD's books, and others that have been mentioned) will remain popular, but I am having a hard time seeing that any of the crap that is being churned out these days will stand the test of time.

    I am pretty certain that the YA stuff - especially those that have been made into movies - will always sell well because that is just what the YA market does. So things like Harry Potter and those abominable vampire books and The Hunger Games will sell well forever and thus remain "popular."

    But will the books of authors like Charles Stross, Ted Chiang, David Marusek, Allen Steele, Jo Walton - to name just a few - stand out from other author's books? Doubt it. I hate to say things like this because I find it pretty saddening, but there really does not seem to be much of a reason for SF anymore. Granted I have not read too much lately, but it feels to me like the authors who are producing today just keep missing the mark. Nobody is talking about anything big anymore, at least nothing big that really matters. Maybe Banks is, but I think it's a no-brainer that his books will remain popular for a long time, especially after he dies an early death.

    The real visionaries are all dead. Long live the visionaries?
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    Re: Books that will be popular 50 years from now

    Postby Naïve mind » 06 May 2013 23:53

    Syzygy wrote:I agree. Wells and I would also say Verne are definitely the godfathers of SF.


    There's another example. If I read From the Earth to the Moon today, what fascinates me isn't that people travel from the Earth to the Moon. That's old hat.

    What fascinates me is that Barbicane, d'Artan and company all seem to be able to do fairly difficult calculations in their heads.
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