TALK STORY

The Greatest Science Fiction Masterpiece Of All Time

POSTED BY: PEACEKEEPER
UPDATED: Thursday, October 1, 2009 13:48
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VIEWED: 1198
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009 12:30 PM

PEACEKEEPER

Keeping order in every verse


I have got to rave about "Downbelow Station" by C.J.Cherryh.Written in 1981,it is, for me the forerunner of all modern humanity based sci-fi(including Firefly).I would not be surprised if Joss himself hasn't gleaned one or two ideas from it.
The story is set about 300 years into the future. Earth's resources have been wearing thin over the preceding centuries and space exploration has been at the forefront of economic policy in order to find planets that can provide extra mineral resouces(although humans still live on Earth as a viable homeworld).
Space travel is funded by the powerful "Earth Company", which makes incalculable profits from its' activities. Dozens of stars have been discovered that can provide minerals and resources and space stations have been built in these systems in which workers and their families have set up permanent home.From these bases,humanity expands even further and eventually finds an habitable planet in the Pell system and builds a station orbiting it.Humanity eventually expands so far out that Earth has less and less influence over the affairs of the outlying systems.However,The Earth Company is still adamant that it still wants the outlying regions of space to be controlled directly by them,despite the fact that the systems run themselves without Earth intervention.Eventually,a breakaway organisation forms the "Union", and rejects paying any profits into Earth Company funds. Earth retaliates and builds 50 supercarrier warships to take back control of the outlying systems.A war of attrition ensues until the 7 remaining carriers make a last desperate stand at Pell Station which may see Union obliterate the Earth Company influence over the universe forever.
Caught in the middle of the War are the Merchanter class ships that are the lifeblood of trade between all systems.They form their own Merchanter Alliance and attempt to gain leverage by blockading trade between the warring factions.
Each citizen of the system is forced into taking a side,including the Captain of one of the most powerful carriers in the Earth fleet.
This story is one of epic proportions,examining the economic and political dilemmas facing the human race with the expansion into the stars,and of course the effects on all those caught in between.It is a story of military supremacy and planetary independance and is a thoroughly cracking read.I recommend it to all Flans.


Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009 3:28 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


While I agree that Downbelow Station is a great book, and so is Cyteen, I wouldn't go so far as to say it is the greatest. My opinion of that varies from time to time, but it usually revolves around Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama.

ETA: Oh, and all the SF written by Cordwainer Smith (one novel and about thirty short stories).



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Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:12 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Sounds like a historical review of the British Empire (as Earth Company) exptrapolated into space.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:58 PM

FREMDFIRMA



Opinions differ, Nadi Peacekeeper, although the work in question is quite good, else I might have filed Intent.

-F

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009 9:04 PM

PEACEKEEPER

Keeping order in every verse


A Foreigner connoisseur I see.lol

Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009 10:00 PM

FREMDFIRMA


Oh indeed, and I am quite fond of Banichi, who's effective job, much like mine is.. "What if ?"

Sadly though, I must admit over the last couple books the story itself seems to be running out of gas, so I hope it gets wound up and tied off rather than dragged out a'la Robert Jordan *wince*.

I cannot for the life of me think of an "all time" greatest, but I tellya one I would put forth for "Masterpiece".

Margaret Weis - Star of the Guardians

If one should read all four, and truly, fully, understand the motivations of Warlord Derek Sagan, they'd really understand why.

-F

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 5:31 AM

RALLEM


I will look for this book and buy it. Thanks



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 5:55 AM

RALLEM


Is it really a forerunner if it was written in 1981? Didn't Isaac Asimov cover a story like this with the Foundation Series even though that series had robots and empires in it?



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 3:52 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

Originally posted by ecgordon:
While I agree that Downbelow Station is a great book, and so is Cyteen, I wouldn't go so far as to say it is the greatest. My opinion of that varies from time to time, but it usually revolves around Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama.

ETA: Oh, and all the SF written by Cordwainer Smith (one novel and about thirty short stories).





I might add Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's The Mote In God's Eye to that list. Really makes you wonder how long we've been here, and how many times we've boomed and busted...

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 3:59 PM

PEACEKEEPER

Keeping order in every verse


Would be nice for a quick synopsis of these other works guys.

Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:13 PM

PEACEKEEPER

Keeping order in every verse


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
Is it really a forerunner if it was written in 1981? Didn't Isaac Asimov cover a story like this with the Foundation Series even though that series had robots and empires in it?



http://www.swyzzlestyx.com/index.html

Fair point Rallem.Maybe "forerunner" is the wrong choice of word.I see it as a forerunner to Firefly,if you will.Humans seek other worlds to further the species,big corporation tries to centralise it all.Marginers rebel and contribute to an interplanetary war.Ring any bells?

Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:27 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

Originally posted by peacekeeper:
Would be nice for a quick synopsis of these other works guys.

Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!



Ask and ye shall receive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mote_in_God's_Eye


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendezvous_with_rama


Mike

The percentage you're paying is too high-priced
While you're living beyond all your means;
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:32 PM

CHRISISALL


Of all time? That would be The Forever War (Joe Haldeman) & Serenity (Joss Whedon).


The laughing Chrisisall

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:34 PM

PEACEKEEPER

Keeping order in every verse


Quote:

Originally posted by Kwicko:
Quote:

Originally posted by peacekeeper:
Would be nice for a quick synopsis of these other works guys.

Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!



Ask and ye shall receive:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mote_in_God's_Eye


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendezvous_with_rama


Mike

The percentage you're paying is too high-priced
While you're living beyond all your means;
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams

Fair enough, I suppose I could have done that myself.Just thought a review in one's own words would be a little more personal.

Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 5:05 PM

ECGORDON

There's no place I can be since I found Serenity.


I have stated quite a few times that I think it possible that Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker is the best book I have ever read. That is not to say it is the most entertaining, in fact I am sure it would not appeal to the majority of readers, even avid readers of serious SF. There is very little narrative involved, it's more like a documentary look at the entire universe, almost like a thought experiment. It essentially is what all serious SF should be about - ideas. Here's how I described it in my essay on Stapledon.

http://templetongate.net/stapledon.htm
Quote:

Star Maker can in some ways be considered a sequel to Last and First Men (or vice-versa), in that it takes the perspective of history away from the narrow scope of humanity and focuses it on the grander scale of the entire cosmos. The tale is related by an English gentleman who inexplicably begins an "astral" (out-of-body) journey which takes him high above the Earth's surface. At first fearful of his plight, he slowly becomes aware that he can will his movement through space by mere thought. After an immeasurable amount of time he encounters another spirit such as himself, and they discover they can combine the powers of their minds to travel faster through the infinities of space. Eventually they are joined by countless others as they observe many forms of civilizations on other planets in far-flung solar systems, some quite human-like, others so alien as to defy comprehension. Each of the travelers must also face the fact of their own race's pitifulness when they encounter the Star Maker itself, "the supreme moment of the cosmos."


The trade paperback copy that I currently have is approximately 250 pages. I think you could tear out each of those pages, give them to 250 different writers, and there would be enough ideas to sustain at least 250 new books.



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Wednesday, September 30, 2009 5:31 PM

PEACEKEEPER

Keeping order in every verse


Just to maybe follow Kwicko's lead (because wiki does give a pretty good account of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downbelow_Station

Peacekeeper---keeping order in every verse!!!

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Thursday, October 1, 2009 1:48 PM

KWICKO

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)


Quote:

Just thought a review in one's own words would be a little more personal.


Oh, you're right, of course; I just don't think I have the words adequate to describe reading either of those for the first time. Or even to describe reading them for the fourth time. :)

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