Star Haven: A Science Fiction Tale

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Nightfall is an example of how wonderful a "what if" story can be if handled by a born storyteller. I'll just say it - I'm not a big Robert Heinlein fan. Yes, I'm possibly the only science fiction fan who doesn't like Robert Heinlein. I've read a couple of his books, including Stranger in a Strange Land, and several short stories. While I found his ideas interesting - occasionally - his characters and writing never thrilled me. I'm told I haven't given him enough of a chance.

That's probably true. It's another time travel story. I still didn't like the main character. Heinlein's characters just don't do it for me. But at least this story is about a character, and not a society that doesn't seem real which is one of my complaints about Heinlein's stories. Reading the story is pure fun. The paradoxical logic was terribly clever.

And as the story unfolded, it became obvious that it was perhaps the best time travel story I'd ever read. As a bonus, it's re-readable, despite the fact that the ending is not exactly forgettable. It's like re-reading an Agatha Christie novel. You remember whodunnit, but you want to see how you were tricked. But why is it in the top 10 science fiction short stories? Because it was one of the first science fiction stories to explore the time travel paradox.

Because it did so to extremes. The story is a flawless, step-by-step execution of the time travel paradox. Under the pen name Cordwainer Smith, Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger wrote a series of related short stories taking place in a futuristic world that is drawn with an eerie combination of cool, clinical precision and fairy tale lyricism. Scanners Live in Vain , a story clearly inspired by Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and one of the first ever featuring a half-man, half-machine protagonist, was published in and remains his most famous short work.

I've read a few, though, and the one that stands the test of time for me is The Lady Who Sailed the Soul. Written with an almost poetical quality, The Lady who Sailed the Soul is a dark romance, a psychological study, a haunting space opera, a wildly inventive science and, in the end, a fairy tale. And one of the best sci fi stories ever.

Star Haven Science Fiction by Tubb John

Henry Bates wasn't just any Golden Age writer. He was the founding editor of the magazine that became Astounding Stories. His fiction went beyond the usual space operas of the time. Farewell to the Master was an important story, while in some senses it was typical of what made Golden Age science fiction great. But it did it so well. It was ahead of its time, delivering a postmodern lesson in the harm of self-importance that eventually became cliched, but at the time must have been awe-inspiring.

And in truth, it inspired awe in me reading it from the timeframe of the new millennium, cynic though I am. Like so many others on this list, the suspense of the story would be compromised with too much revelation of plot. But suffice it to say a man and a robot come to Earth. Something bad happens. The robot begins to do something scary. And in the end, something good happens. And bad. Which is bittersweet.

And powerful. In his day, author Will Jenkins, pen name Murray Leinster, wrote some incredible stories - in the good sense, not the bad sense - not the least of which was his most famous, First Contact , and arguably his most fun, A Logic Named Joe. If you love creative, entertaining and fascinating stories about early computers and their effects on society, then you might think A Logic Named Joe belongs on this list instead of Pipeline to Pluto , and you'd be right.

It does. It should be here. But I chose Pipeline to Pluto , because while more understated, it's more of a human story, with a larger-than-life lesson, and - are you sensing a trend - it's got a grand old twist. It's simply a more impressive literary feat. Pipeline to Pluto is a highly detailed and convincing tale of space travel. It's anything but a space opera filled with glamour and adventure, though. The story describes a prosaic world of blue-collar transportation - freight, in fact.

Like much Golden Age science fiction, the story, told through fast-paced narrative and dialogue, isn't concerned with conveying a political viewpoint or defending a special interest group. It's concerned with ideas: the concepts, possibilities, and ironies of a newly technological world unfolding for human beings possessed of universal flaws and compromised value systems.

It's the good-guys vs. It's essentially modern and optimistically heroic. It's righteous in a good way. It's better than T And all of this won't make any sense to you unless you read it. Suffice it to say that if stories like Pipeline to Pluto were written today, I'd be out there reading them instead of writing this. And it's not just because there's a [spoiler alert: do not read on if you don't want to know how it ends] happy ending.

This list wouldn't be complete without Flowers for Algernon , but I almost left it out. This Hugo-award-winning short story and literary classic is simply amazing. Unfortunately, it almost didn't make it onto my list of best science fiction short stories of all time, because I couldn't read it. I have no spine when it comes to Nazi stories, stories about human lab experiments, and stories about mental disability.

This one is not a Nazi story, but it has two out of three, and that's enough for me. But my husband insisted that if I wouldn't read it, at least it should go on this list. And so here it is.

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If you're stronger than me, and if you didn't already read it in school, read Flowers for Algernon. It's one of the few science fiction stories that have become famous in the mainstream, and with good reason. So what do you think about my selections? What are your favorite short stories in the science fiction genre, past or present?

Star Odyssey (1979) [Science Fiction] [Adventure]

Please leave a comment and, if you feel like it, say why you think it's the best. See the author's disclosure regarding compensation for this article. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. You had me at "By His Bootstraps", the very best time travel story of Needless to say, the rest of your selection is excellent. Sprague de Camp -- that last one being MY fave time-travel novella.

Great list, but misses a lot of classics. I like, e. A Canticle for Leibowitz, perhaps because of the irony involved. I like Nightfall as the premise is outstanding, but it is indeed a few page story pulled out to I enjoyed this hub and your selection of short stories. Of these authors however I only know Asimov and Heinlein. The trouble is I mainly read science fiction novels and not short stories. My favourite Heinlein novel and the first I ever read was "Glory Road" and I must have read it four times now.


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As Ender should be. The supporting cast, with a couple exceptions some of the kids are subpar Harrison Ford redeemed himself in my eyes this year with his role here and in this year's Viola Davis is amazing. Ben Kingsley is excellent, albeit a little underutilized. It was a thrill to see the Battle School come to life after all of these years. As a big fan of the book, it was just a dream come true to see those set pieces. I can't pick apart the major differences between the book and the film. It's been awhile since I've read it.

I know the broad strokes of the book, and they are all there in the film. The characters have to adapt to a visual medium, which means that only the actions and reactions are going to tell the story and the character arcs for us And yes, the action and fight sequences have to adapt to a visual medium. As I watched the film, something was still keeping me slightly at bay. I couldn't put my finger on it. The lead actors were great.

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The special effects were amazing. The pacing and editing was excellent. The music exceeded my expectations with an overpowering in the best of ways score. What was it? Now, if you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about. It's one of the most amazing endings I've ever read in a book. It made me want to be a writer at a very early age. I thought that they were simply going to give us the Hollywood ending. Or perhaps take that edge of the book out by changing things up to "attempt" to "increase" the stakes, or some other BS studio note.

Well, know that they delivered a true interpretation of the ending in the book. And if anything, they enhanced it in the best of ways. If you haven't seen the film now or read the book yet, don't read any reviews. Just go watch it as soon as possible. I loved this film. I really did.

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It's a different type of science fiction. There's a brutality to it, despite the presence of young trainees. A mistake that could have been made would be to shift the story focus to Harrison Ford's character. They didn't thankfully. And they really do set this up as a possible franchise in the end, and I am hopeful that the film is a success because I'd love to see more. If I had one single gripe, I'd say that I'm not sure why it wasn't offered in 3D. This flick would have been an amazing 3D experience. There's not much more to say. I can't agree with some of the negative things being said about the film here.

Film is subjective thankfully, so none of us are wrong. What I dislike most about movie reviews is that those reading them forget that. They forget that in the end, it's just one opinion. So please, just go see Ender's Game. You may hate it, love it, or be indifferent. But just go see it and don't let me or anyone else here on Quora, or especially any critic, or even your trusted friends and family, make that choice for you. That's cinema. The gamble. Go roll the dice.


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  8. There has been a movement to boycott this film due to his stance of Gay Rights and many other issues. Hate the man, not the story. Because this story is one of the greatest ever told in the science fiction genre. Or, better yet, don't hate the man, because life is too short and precious to question a person's beliefs. Beliefs that you will not change. No different than how he won't be able to change yours.