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I love the multilayered approach and the phonetic spelling, and then the main protagonist is such a nice kid! One of the great space operas. Some critics have said it's too complicated. The richest most complete creation in the whole genre. Comparisons with the contemporary Vietnam War aside, the book was quite simply un-put-down-able!

A great story of grunt soldiers training and fighting aliens over a possible misunderstanding with the added concept that the great distances they need to travel to the war zone means the Earth they know goes through changes they could not have foreseen. Classic ending. This is one of those novels that non sci-fi fans can read without having to think that they are reading a sci-fi story. In other words it is happy to be called 'speculative fiction'. It is funny, witty, insightful, harrowing and shocking and utterly gripping from the start to the finish.

This book displays the broad spectrum of humanity from our best to just how low and evil we can stoop. It moves through time from the past to an awesomely realised post apocalyptic future and back again showing a playful and excellent grasps of multiple literary styles along the way.

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This was the book I gave my girlfriend who is not a fan of sci-fi as the one example of this genre that she agreed she would read, mainly just to keep me quiet. She adored it. Well written, extremely good plotting and characterisation, and has elements which stay with you for years after reading it which is the whole point, isn't it?

A novel which focuses on how a military-run government would look. Also gives a good description of uber-cool space suits and fighting aliens. Really makes you think about how OUR world works by looking at another. Am almost completely realised universe, very smart and incisive.

I found the contrast between the connections of the culture through neural laces and the inhabitants of Yoleus to be very thought provoking, as it brought up a host of questions about the causes and effects of instant information through the internet. Also damned funny. I first read this book as a pre teen and found it an atypical examination of prejudice and the fear that inspires it.

It is however, a very enjoyable, well written read. I have read it in every subsequent decade of my life and found no less enjoyable. I would recomend it for young and old alike. By far my favorite John Wyndham book. All books of the Robotic series together with the Foundation Series. Alternate history squared, Spinrad posits a world where Hitler went to the US in the late s and became a science fiction writer of the golden age. A spoiler proof story and not actually a very good one, but the shock is realizing how close so much SF comes to it.

Spinrad includes an academic article criticizing HItler on a literary basis to help you process the experience. It has everything, hard Sci-Fi ideas, fantasy politics, religion, philosophy, romance Sprawling SF on a vast scale, violent and hilarious in equal measure, Banks' Culture Novels are peerless, and this is one of his best. Even non-sf fans like this. Heinlein probably created more libertarians with this book than Hyeck! The first of Smiths books and the first one I had read, picked up at random from a newsagents. From the first page you are hooked by the vivid imagery and shocking storyline.

It was a lesson in how you can put wild imagination onto the page and let it run away with itself. Despite it's complex concepts the vivid imagery and flowing dialogue reall lets you enter the Culture world for the first time with a great understanidng for me the best Sci fi book ever written. Best of the 'culture' novels. Games at multiple levels, very black and very entertaining. There was just something about this book and all the thought that author Clarke put into it that made it stand out for me. There was no wild imaginings just simple and logical prediction.

The only thing that was a little hard to believe was the physical size of Rama. Given the cost and complexity of building the ISS, one has to wonder how long and how much it took to be built and sent on it's way. A super read though. Bill is a pal of mine for starters. He was working on this book years before I met him. He let me read his rough draft when it was done and after that, I hope he will write more. I've downloaded his ebook and it's even better finished. He said that it's the kind of story he wantes to read about.

He's shared it with some other people I work with and everybody loves it. I think he had his brother make a video, but I'm not sure. He was talking about it. Bill can draw, too. I'm friends with him on facebook, and his characters are really cool so now you can actually see what his characters look like as he sees them. I would recommend this book even if Bill wasn't my friend, it's that good.

I thought it was too obvious, but apparently not, based upon the comments below. Dune, along with Stranger in a Strange Land, catapulted sci fi out of the "golden age", and re-defined the genre. These two books are to sci-fi what the Beatles were to rock. Everything after was different. This novel is set in a post environmental holocaust future with both a dystopia and a Utopia. It presents beautifully drawn characters in a technological wonderland with a hellishly corporate backdrop. The novel revolves around Shira and her quest to be reunited with her son - taken from her by the company she used to work for.

In her quest she is joined by a wonderful cyborg named Yod and the novel tells of their relationship and brings into question what it is to be human. The story is interspersed with the tale of the Golem in Prague which brings the questions around what is life into a longer history and gives it weight. As a science fiction novel it is so frighteningly possible - and in the not very distant future - but its real power is that we can already see how close we are to becoming a world in which corporations control private lives.

There's some really wonderful moments like when Shira and co hack into the company's computer system using their minds, but flying in the shapes of birds, and when Shira is trying to teach Yod to understand the beauty of roses. I don't want to give anything else away as there are also unseen twists. Plus there are kittens! Too dense, too pretentious, no likable characters and then for the last quarter Suddenly transformed to profound, disturbing, beautiful and lyrical.

As someone else on this thread says, "Quite unlike anything else i've read". Start with the creation of a mind then follow it on a post-human diaspora through the multiverse. Over 2 generations ahead of its time - Still a contemporary science fiction novel of the highest quality - the central tenet still stands the ravages of time as a truly inspiring and though provoking possibility.

An amazing gem. Not sure if it's SF, biography, satire, or a combination of all these and more, but it's a genius little book which I read over 20 years ago for the first time; I re-read it ocassionally, and it's still fresh to me. An amazing series detailing the interactions between a number of species includinfg humans on a grandiose scale. A must read for any true lover of SF. When the author tries to explain what a twelve dimensional planet might look like in an alternative universe it boggles my poor little four dimensional mind, but in that giddy, vertigionous way Stephen Hawking sometimes managed in a Brief History of Time.

Except theres no spaceships, aliens, virtual realities in Hawkings book, which makes this book quite a lot better. Diapsora is a novel of big ideas. From the birth of a gender neutral new mind in a virtual reality where most of humanity live in the near future AD to exploration of the galaxy and on to other universes of increasing multidimensional complexity to the ultimate fate of our species and others, all in a pursuit of a mystery - how does the universe hmm, multiverse really work?

How can we survive its indifferent violence? And where are the mysterious species who left microscopic clues behind in the structure of an alien planet warning of galaxy wide catastrophe? As the book progresses the relative importance of these questions and answers change. What happens when the answers are complete? Are they ever? It does take a while to get going particularly if you're not familiar with 'hard sci-fi' but there are no 'cheats' used in traditional sci fi. No transporters, FTL travel and the intelligent aliens are so utterly unlike the 'human' heroes they need several layers of 'relay-team' interpreters even to communicate.

I look forward to the day mind wipes become more widely available so I can read it again for the first time. Like the best science fiction, it portrayed a plausible world growing out of our present - and the central figure is a believable human being doing currently-unbelievable things who grows, over the course of the book. And totally gratuitously, it led to a number of sequels as rich and believable, in their way, as the first in the series was itself. Larry Niven is mainly know for his Ringworld series books.

Generally his books are set in "known space" - a universe not too distant in the future - or close parallels to this creation. In "World of Ptavvs", Larry brings an alien known in "known space" as being extinct for millions of years to the present day. The alien a Slaver had been in stasis and is unintentionally released and then sets about trying to enslave the earth. Fortunately Larry Greenberg, who had been trying to reach the alien telepathically whilst in stasis, is here to save the day.

Without giving too much away, humans are related to the Slaver race, meaning of course that the World of the Ptavvs is earth. Some Slavers that have lost all their family rather than committing suicide will decide to protect the whole Slaver species. If only Larry knew someone like that to protect earth from this Slaver What I like about the book is that the complete story spans from years into past and future. Space Opera it is not as the books are far too easy to read a couple hours to read this book but none-the-less Larry Niven creates a rich and compelling universe. It is prescient in its understanding of memes, no one else has come close.

Not neccesarily the best SF book ever-that would in my opinion be one of Iain M. Banks's 'Culture' novels-but quite possibly the weirdest. If you thought the end of Herbert's Dune series was getting a bit strange, it has nothing on this-truly out there WTF!

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By the way, are we including the Gormenghast trilogy in this? It's a beautiful balance of drama, speculation, humor, and the PKD's own special brand of paranoia. Well written, wll thought out, great plot develpoment, and all around awesome!!!! This book so beautifully demonstrates the point that what falls between two opposing, hard-held points of view is truth. Not science fiction by the contemporary definition.

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This novel deals with what has been coined "inner space" rather than the more outer-space oriented, Le Guinesque fantasies. JG Ballard was a prominent figure of the new wave of science fiction: a collective of novelists who emerged in the s and were mostly concerned with the birth of the space age and the atom bomb, for example. This was a time when events of the so-called real world began to seem stranger than fiction.

As a result, novelists of this era began to write about dystopian near-futures rather than settings vastly remote in time and distance. High Rise deals with the effects of the man-made, physical landscape, in this case an east London aparment block - on the physcology of the tenants. The rigidly defined social structure, too-easy access to amenities and desire of the tenants to resign from their lives as mindless functionaries, sets in motion a descent into a microcosmic catastrophe.

Ballard's ruthless imagination is on show here in all its glory. This book changed my life. Strictly not Sci-Fi, but a theological meditation on perception, sanity and counterculture. One of my favourite books, up there with Camus and Satre in my opinion. The protaginist is a man undergoing a nervous breakdown who interprets his psychosis as religious revelations.

Astoundingly well-written, profound and funny. Refutes the view of science fiction as 'Cowboys and Indians in Space. The author is a bit of a nutter, but the Mission Earth books are an excellent read. And, the hero grows up a little. Eurasia including Britain has been conquered by Bolshevism. All because Adolf Hitler emigrated to New York in to become a science-fiction writer. That's the framing story. LOTS tells of a mythologized Germany "Heldon" in a future post-nuclear world that rose up to defeat the evil mutant forces of Zind and their humanity-destroying rulers the Dominators.

The only reason it's not more popular is because it's too real in many respects. It lacks that warm and fuzzy Hollywood-like ending needed for today's pop culture. Still, it's a brilliant series of books. I recommend them all. Like all great science fiction Shikasta and its four companion volumes has a serious philosphical core; It is beautifully written, and is a cracking read.

It is plausible and utopic, offering a glimpse of a future of equality and sexual freedom with humankind and nature in balance, while pointing at the frailties of current reality and pertinently criticising organised religion, ideology, and colonialism. Lessing's imagination runs riot, and the fourth volume, although slim, has one of the finest takes on survival in a hostile environment I have ever read.

One of the most compelling compendium of five book s. Fast paced, excellently written and many thought provoking ideas playing merry hell with history, time, space and logic. Not to mention a great cliffhanger ending. This is not a book, it is a short story, a very short story, but it was the inspiration for Clarke And Kubrick's collaborative epic It sums up humanities constant desire to discover 'someone else, out there. We are so lonely, like a kid who has lost it's mom. So much SF is devoted to our quest for contact, but the original short sums up the anticipation so well.

This collection of short stories is full of wit humour and dystopian futures. Book bindings that rewrite books, aliens infiltrating society as four foot high VW mechanics and faulty time travellers taking part in their own autopsy and ticker tape parade. This book is the most imaginative i have ever read and i'm overwhelmed by its brilliance whenever I read it.

I have laughed, cried almost and felt almost every emotion in between and if one person reads it because of me i shall be happy. Most people read the dystopia - Brave New World, but Island was a utopian dream - one of the first books that really affected me. Also anything by John Wyndham - many of his books successfully made it to films, Day of the Triffids and Village of the Damned.

I also loved The Chrysalids - never understood why it didn't become a film. But the sci-fi crown must go to Peter F Hamilton - he has the ability to create entire universes and includes the entire shebang of sci-fi within each series - aliens, technologies, societies, superhuman abilities, etc. I'd just like to put in a moan about the way bookshops display Sci-Fi - they integrate it into Fantasy. I've nothing against fairies, elves and goblins, but this genre tends to look backwards to times when knights were armed and everyone else was nervous. Sci-fi generally looks forward to the future with technology or societies or takes alternative universes and extrapolates.

So why do bookshops display them together? Do they have no concept of either genre? Moan of the day over. Serves up visual imagery of technological advances that we have now attained or on the way to achieving. Corporate pervasiveness in holographic advertising projected anywhere, futuristic ways of engaging with celebrity idols, cosmetic surgery making people look like an amalgamation of famous stars, old technology lying around in scrap heaps in amongst hi-tech wonderment.

Its all happening. And who could forget the way Razor girl introduces herself to Case after hes just had in effect an organ transplant? Truly unbeatable. In mho, it marks the emergence of contemporary SF as Literature. And because Dan Simmons wrote such a beautiful novel back in , a generation of SF writers has emerged to compose a species of fiction unprecedented in the history of Literature, a species that thenceforth redefined the idea of the SF novel. That may be overstating the case, but the purity and overpowering poetical sensibility of Simmon's writing cannot be disputed.

And in no way to diminish the achievements of Gene Wolfe and Robert Silverberg - the grandfathers of literary SF - but I thihnk that Simmons was the first novelist to deliberately embrace the so-called literary canon and weave it into a profound and beautiful SF tapestry. But it is not simply a story well told, it is SF. And that means it is about ideas. They are, in point of fact, novels that provoke wonder - which is exactly what science fiction has always been about. Unknown to him or us early on in the story is that he is in fact helping the military intercept missiles fired at earth from rebels on a moon base.

Great little book! Wry observations on the military and humanity from the returning soldiers isolated from society by the effects of relativity on time caused by near to light speed travel. A great ending. A pacy read, sexy and like all good SF wrong on lots of details but contains many truths about mankind. In a near-future world where technological progress has been frozen by the all powerful peace authority, renegade scientists discover the secret of the bobbles used to cloak weapons, bases and even cities and turn the technology to their own advantage to bring down the peace authority.

At the local library when I was 17, I discovered the Uplift Saga. Starting with book 2. Star Tide Rising. I loved its exploration of conciousness with the idea of spreading sapience to other animals on earth - dolphins and chimps. I found it very positive about humanity as alien hordes threatened to destroy human cultures or humanity itself. I've not read many sci fi where despite flaws you get drawn into such a pro humanity narrative. The setting was enjoyable, marooned on a water world with a crew of dolphins.

I can easily imagine from his writings that such a place must exist. I would recommend the rest of saga but for me startide rising stood out. It completely changed my view on life, the universe and everything - literally: the absurdity and hilarious nonsense of being alive. Just absolutely, unequivocally a masterpiece of joyful reading. As madly inventive as anything Dick wrote.

From memory it has space travel, timeslips, psychics AND anti-psychics, half dead souls feeding off one another's life force in vats, inexplicable kinks in the nature of reality - but it's also tightly, economically constructed, which some of his books aren't. Plus it's hands down the scariest book I've ever read. Because it is one of the best novels I've read in the past four years, and I don't just mean SF.

It's based, when? It doesn't really matter it is so on the button that you just know that this is how things will be. Cyberpunks lost in the cities of the future with exactly the same angst and doubts that we here on earth suffer today. Gibson is at the height of the game in SF I simple can't think of anyone, with the exception of Michael Faber and his Under the Skin that comes anywhere near.

In a world heating up and regressing back to an ancient state, a man who lives in the lagoons above a flooded London struggles with the dying remains of old-world society and instead of heading north to safety decides to head south, towards the heat and towards the primal chaos the world is descending into. This is J.

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Ballard's second novel and possibly the clearest examples of his highly metaphorical science fiction novels. In The Drowned World we start see the J. Ballard use his objective, unemotional style that is a characteristic of his early short stories in a novel. Sci fi at its worst is nothing more than cheap thrills - an update on the penny dreadful.

At its best it offers nothing less than new stages on which to explore the nature of humanity. Le Guin's novel is at the best end of SF. It doesn't really matter that the setting is on some mythical planets; what is important is the people in the story, their struggles to make sense of life and society, their sufferings and their joys.

It is a deeply human book. Le Guin has a gift for looking beneath surface inessentials, even those connected with gender, and seeing through to the real. Finally, although this obviously won't appeal to all, it is the most faithful and gripping account of the process of scientific discovery I have ever read. A lovely, memorable book, not just a good SF book but a great novel as well. Frankenstein is the seminal novel that deals with the human condition versus the unknown. Shelley takes us on a finely detailed journey among science and what can be created from it even from back in the recesses of the imagination.

I first read Frankenstein when I was Shelley created a story where I hadn't felt such flow of sympathy between the creator and the monster. It compelled me to think of my own existence in an unsure world. What better way to start a SF journey such as with Frankenstein's monster's thirst for knowledge and acceptance in a society that only saw terror in the unknown. Russian precursor to Brave New World and , which are probably on everyone's list. His Master's Voice is one of the purest, most philosophical and accomplished SF novels I've ever read.

I'd recommend people read this because it's either, as Theodore Sturgeon said, "a literary landmark" or, as P K Dick claimed, "trash". Folk should read it and decide for themselves. I'm with Sturgeon. A compelling, complex speculative fictional work. One of the best examples of its genre combining nuanced social commentary and interplay of dystopian and utopian imagination.

Great ships, great robots and a knock-out plot from an author who takes general relativity seriously enough to work through its mind-scrambling implications. It proclaims the glories of science, technology and industry while at the same time reminding us of the poignancy of our own personal fragilities. That, I think, is the real experience of us all in the 21st Century, sci-fi aside. This novel speaks with a poet's voice, as well. As relevant now as it was when written in the 's. The themes of genetic engineering and mutations in crops were way ahead of their time.

A very British apocalypse, the first encounters of the man-eating plants are on Hampstead Heath. The rest of the book, often described as a 'cosy catastrophe', winds it's way through an eerily empty London and the English countryside. The now common theme of a motley band of survivors combing vacated cities for food and water has been copied endlessley. Alex Garland admitted that the first 20mins of 28 Days Later was an 'exact replica' of the opening chapters of Day of the Triffids.

Read it now if you haven't. Read it again if you have. Published in ; he was one of the founding fathers of Sci-Fi and helped lift the status of the genre from tacky cliche invasions, to a really rewarding choice of literature. Egan's book opens with an investigator looking into an odd abduction and takes us through a world where any ability TM can be uploaded into the narrator's head. The investigation leads him to a bizarre experiment with quantum physics--and the discovery that loyalty, too, can be installed in the human brain.

Egan plays with the idea of the quantum wave with deftness and assurance, and the way round the loyalty chip is a marvellous but logical twist in the tale. To continue along your lines, if all the fantasy books should burn in a cataclysm tomorrow, one which I would like to survive is "A wizard of Earthsea". A book which teaches you something about human nature is a wise book.

Sparrowhawk, an indisputably intelligent young man falls victim to his own vanity, causing great tragedy to himself as well others, and then goes trough great difficulties to make amends. Despite being a fantasy and the world is something you've never experienced before, nor will you experience it after , it is relevant, especially today, when a handful of young man and women admittedly less often have so much power bestowed upon them think Gates, the Google owners, then Zuckerberg.

On the bookshelf of my mind, it sits together with Mann, Beckett, Dostojevski, and Shakespeare. Unfortunately, today it is less know than many over-marketed, multi volume rainforest destroyers. This book kicks off one of the greatest SF story arcs of all time.

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Throw in the death of a beloved character in the Star wars Universe and the fultiliy of the events in the book What's different and great about The Sirens of Titan is that it's one of the few sci-fi novels to posit cock-up theory as the main driver for universal history, as it takes a sweeping, entertaining romp through the universe. As Dougas Adams observed, its seemingly casual throwaway style is in fact the result of very tight writing. Oh, and it's very very funny.

Technically SF as set in a postulated future as seen from , and very funny. It's a complex story with themes of religious fanaticism and patriarchy By the end there are, perhaps, as many questions raised as answered. But for me, it is the strength of the women. Their stories, lives and sacrifices. Thought provoking about how Society works and human foibles - incredibly prescient I fear as Climate Change begins.

But all the while, truly gripping as a straightforward adventure.

I would recommend this book as it covers a one-year period in the time-frame of the planet Heliconia, a period of some several hundred Earth years, and presents a fine analogy of the rise and fall of a human civilisation that in the end cannot help, due to a major seasonal change, fall victim to the weather itself and the rulers of the planet become those whom the humans enslaved and trod upon during the hot portion of the year. All the while, the planet is being observed from space by scientists who must endure their own evolution. I found the series to be well imagined and well written and have read it twice in the last 25 years, or so.

John Windham was in the happy position of being able to write good prose whilst at the same time being a terrific ideas man. The story about a group of weird children born into a rural English village after some rum doings asks big questions about competition, survival and who really is in control. It was made into a fairly solid horror film called Village of the Damned and the Hollywood remake wasn't too bad either. I know, it's not exactly SF but it's not even only an horror setting. There's the fear of unknown, the cosmic terror, the deep space and alien stars Gets right into the action without long-winded delving into the minutia of the fictional society's functioning; no moralizing on the superiority of the fictional society; doesn't rely on technology that wouldn't be available given current scientific understanding; fully-fleshed characters, especially female characters, the protagonist in particular; imaginative mirror society quirks.

A good antidote to the typical space warrior sub-teen crap We live in a time of possible nuclear war. Oil and other pollutants have caused irreversible damage to our ecosystem. This is great grown up and very prophetic sci-fi, written by a newly sober Walter Tevis The Hustler, Man who fell to Earth etc in the early 80s. Basically its the story of a bored and literally impotent millionaire as he stumbles through an energy starved future where the US can no longer afford to light its skycrapers and China is the number 1 economic power thanks to a strangely familiar form of capitalism, dressed in communist clothes.

It is so unbelieveably prophetic one of the key characters is a charming, well educated and articulate former Black president but the focus for Teavis is less on technology and more on political and economics, and people okay he still has something called the USSR bouncing around in the early s but he was an author, not Mystic Meg. There's also some wonderful stuff when Tevis' protagonist takes a trip to a very alien world to cure his boredom and lose weight read the book and it will make sense and accidently cures his impotence yes really! Tevis also manages to create real characters you can believe in with real personal problems, and that's not something you always get done well anyway in sci-fi or speculative fiction.

I'd recommend it to buy but its long out of print. I bought my tatty 2nd hand copy from a New York state library, via the tinternet. Regards FF. Neither the radio or TV versions have done any justice at all to this great, great book. Not only is every bit as funny as you'd expect for Adams, it also has one of the most fabulously cryptic plots you could hope for. I first read it a couyple of times in my late teens and enjoyed it enormously but it was three years later before it's true brilliance dazzled me.

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I sat in a university tutorial listening to the tale of Coleridge dreaming up Kubla Khan in a laudanum haze but being disturbed by the man from Porlock, before he could set it down. I gasped and embarrassed myself in front of my tutor as the penny dropped regarding one of the finer points of the plot of DG. I made my way home, ignored my course work and the godawful "two part prelude" I was supposed to be reading and launched into Dirk Gently once again.

Adams was not only one of the funniest writers about, he also managed to examine ideas and science with a skill and a level of understanding that is often not appreciated. I delight in this book still and reread it regularly. It is a masterpiece and I wish somebody would make a proper film of it and not bugger it up. The first Banks book I read, this is a stunning introduction to the universe of the Culture, his egalitarian, post-scarcity society. The book follows the journey of Morat Jernau Gurgeh, a cynical, arrogant, and brilliant game player to an imperialistic civilisation rife with inequality, sexual slavery and the brutal application of power.

It's filled with Banks trademark witty dialogue, discomfiting themes and vivid, brilliant imagination. A classic. I read it when I was a child. Lovecraft's descriptions of a meteorite's odd substance that feed on live, disseminate and has an indefinable color triggered my imagination and populated some nightmares.

It is a very imaginative, yet credible, tale of a lone human's impressions of two opposed alien civilizations. The portrayal of the human and non-human characters involved is extremely well done, and novel is thought-provoking throughout. Though the story is set in a post-apocalypse America, it breaks with the 'traditional' disaster scenarios usually portrayed. Instead there is a beautiful child-like quality to it, enhanced by the sufi-like 'the end is the beginning' conclusion.

I'd picked up Stephenson's "Baroque Cycle" trilogy before finding Cryptonomicon and was instantly swept away by the astonishing depth and breadth Stephenson achieved while still keeping me turning the pages as fast as I could. After finishing those first three books I felt completely bereft of Stephenson's world and went out to get Cryptonomicon as soon as possible.

Told in two time periods and with multiple protagonists not to mention graceful and fascinating infodumps on cryptology, mathematics, early computing, financial systems, corporate law Each characters is thoroughly drawn, each landscape evoked in vivid colour, and all the while it remains brilliant fun. This is a first rate example of the alternate history branch of science fiction. Brave New World is perhaps the most terrifying and relevant dystopian novel written. Social engineering and a mass produced society is counterpointed by the 'savages' outside, whilst stuck in the middle is John a reject from both societies.

Written fantastically, keeping the reader on the edge. Its suspense kept me going, amazing Sc-fi from the 60s. I choose this because it is a brilliantly non-sf, sf book. There are no guns, no super technologies, no obvious male heroes, no wars, etc. There is a spaceship but we never see it. All these cliches seem to be shunned as examples of very male-centric sf writing. The novel deals with themes of gender, sexuality, politics, religion and more. The inhabitants of the planet Gethen are entirely androgynous and visited by a male from the distant, more technically advanced planet Earth who tries to understand them.

The author seems to suggest that the duality inherent in the human race could be at he heart of negatives such as war Gethen has never known one as well as positives such as technological progress. I'll admit to not being a massiv fan of SF. This impressed because it is undoubtedly science fiction yet it drops nearly all of the conventions. A ship setting off to visit an alien world, unseen by most humans.

A narrator pondering his place withing his homeworld and his own society and speculating on the lives, motives and drives of the giant, unknowable, half unseen aliens he encounters, all explained in enthralling terms to an audience as unfamiliar with whaling as most modern readers are with the surface of Europa. Blew me away when I first read it and still holds up when I re-read. A highlight from the pulp age, and pre-Hitchhiker sf humour.

A Rat book was the first book I borrowed from the 'big' ie adult library and started a life-long love of sf. This trilogy is epic science-fiction at its best. Hamilton covers may characters and planets in a brilliant adventure through space, with the fate of the galaxy hanging in the balance. As ever, Hamilton's books are sci-fi marvels, and I can safely say Night's Dawn is the best trilogy I have read, of any genre.

Oberon, who is quarreling with his wife, Titania, uses the flower juice on her eyes. The two young couples join the royal couple in getting married, and Bottom rejoins his friends to perform the play. From the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Characters in the Play. Theseus , duke of Athens. Philostrate , master of the revels to Theseus. Nick Bottom , weaver. Oberon , king of the Fairies.

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A Fairy , in the service of Titania. Type of book will give more information e. To contain something, a way of keeping something safe or making sure something doesn't get out, such as an emotion or a secret. Opening it can be about you revealing some part of yourself see gift. Perhaps you're not getting acknowledged enough or you're trying to get too much acknowledgment? To take in something or to "breathe a sigh of relief. The connection between you and someone or something else.

When building a bridge, you may be trying to find a way to deal with something or someone. Something dead and gone, or not visible to the every day. It can also refer to your giving up responsibility for the direction your life is going. At a bus stop could be a metaphor for waiting for something to happen in your life, rather than taking charge of it however, if this is your only form of transportation then "the shared journey" aspect may be more appropriate.

It can also mean a "flighty" personality vs. Or do you just need help to get where you want to go? Do you want to simplify and enjoy the simpler things in life? What's in the cabinet can help with the interpretation. Is someone trying to stick it to you? Are you acting too self-protective by being prickly? It could also symbolize that something inside you is dead or is dying. This may be a symbol of your ambition s in life. Choice of things that can nurture you. Perhaps you're feeling powerless or inhibited. You might be caught in some relationship. What feelings are imprisoning you? Perhaps resentment or anger.

Maybe you need to share more? Maybe you're not getting your fair share? Some peoples lives seem to be run, or controlled, by the calendar. Often associated with the desert so it could symbolize lonliness, or barreness, or burdensomeness, in life. How does this look to you? It may also be similar to the eye in that it can represent point-of-view. Something that may be eating away your self-confidence.

A loss of personal control. The flame of the candle can represent life itself. Is the flame sputtering, has it gone out may indicate depression or impending failure? Has the candle melted down impending change or a softening of a position? A brightly burning candle may represent passion. For some Christians it can represent a prayer. Graduating from one stage and moving on to the next stage.

You may also be a powerful influence on something or someone. Are you trapped in your own denial of something? Held captive by your own beliefs, prejudice or ignorance? If someone else is driving, then they may be driving the direction of your life. A crashed car may indicate failure or self-destructive, or reckless, behavior if you are driving the car. Looking in the mirror could mean what you are seeing that you left behind. Running out of fuel could indicate weakening motivation.

With your headlights off, you may lack awareness of what is happening in your life. A parked car might suggest that you need to turn your energies elsewhere or to put your life in drive and get on with it whatever "it" is. The type of car can also aid in the interpretation e. Taking a chance or a risk on something or someone. What do you hope to win? Going nowhere in life or in some job or relationship. A fear regarding your sexual drive, or rejection especially by the opposite sex. See cat in the animal section. Has also been interpreted as female sexuality.

An entrance to the unconscious mind. What is it inside you that you want to explore? Also see telephone below. Note any emotions associated with the dream cemetery. During Halloween it can be seen as the place where the dead and the living can come together. What connects you with others. Does the same problem keep coming up again and again? Are you being bullied? If chasing; what are you pursuing? Something that is not right or a betrayal of trust. It can also refer to a sense of abandonment, or not being attended to.

Sometimes when there isn't enough romance in a relationship this image can show up. This may also be about your feelings or thoughts about your childhood and family relationships. In many myths and religions it is a child that reunites Heaven and Earth Man and God. There seems to be an universal urge to seek paradise either in the form of spiritual growth and transformation or as in the case of Shambhala, a physical world of perfection. To see either a child or heaven or paradise in a dream can suggest a seeking for innocence, or perfection of the spirit, or perfect happiness. You may also be trying to escape the difficulties that you're experiencing in life.

Christ: A powerful dream symbol not necessarily connected with the historical Jesus. It is a powerful influence on one's personality. It can also represent one's universal connection see archetypes. What is holy in your life? Also see synagogue below. Coming full circle. A mandala see mandala that might represent the soul or your inner self, positive change or inner peace. Concentric circles might represent layers of your inner self or of your own complexities or the complexity of some project, situation, or relationship see onion.

One's sense of community. If lost, you may be uncertain about your place in society or lost your direction or purpose see ruins. It can also be a challenge to aspire. Sometimes the standing at the edge of a cliff is to face your fears. What are you trying to get to or escape from? A sense of urgency or plenty of time could be interpreted through clocks or watches. The ticking of a clock could represent your life passing by or the beat of your heart. A stopped clock may indicate the death of something or if it is racing, a sense of urgency. It can also be about the restrictions we place on ourselves i.

It is our identity and our self-image. What we put on to the rest of the world see face. It is also what we put on to hide our real selves as well as a cover up or a symbol for hiding something. To put someone into a coffin might suggest that you want to get them out of your life. There is a feeling of neglect in this symbol, as in "being left out in the cold. The vitality of something or of the self. Color Chart. Something of great worth. Sometimes symbolizes the soul. Can also be an aggressive color as with anger. Understated confidence. Color meanings are a bit iffy.

You should be especially careful to interpret their meanings based on the resonance and meaning for you. Color interpretation is also cultural in nature. The above meanings are western in nature. The Theosophist, C. Leadbetter also created a chart in his book, Man Visible and Invisible that doesn't seem to follow any of the current cultural or western definitions. A similar color chart was used to interpret Auras, or what the Theosophist's Annie Besant and Leadbetter described as "Thought forms" believing that thoughts are things, radiating vibrations and floating forms.

These ideas were presented in their treatise, Thought Forms Though in all fairness their definitions were slanted toward his understanding of the spirit world and the concept of auras. My symbol interpretations tend to be somewhat more prosaic. Note that the musical scale is an ascending chromatic scale where the frequencies range from low to high on both the visual and auditory scale. The zodiac symbols don't follow a consistent pattern, however, in that there are many zodiac color wheels with all being different.

This attempt to coordinate color and sound to affect an emotional state is nothing new, both Isaac Newton and Pythagoras created their own scale. There is a story that Pythagoras noted a young man bringing hot coals to the door of his lover's house so as to burn it down as retribution of her having scorned him. A man playing a flute nearby was playing an energetic little song that seemed to be spurring the young man on. When Pythagoras asked the flutist to play another song that was much more soothing, the young man seemed to come to his senses and removed the coals.

It is highly probable that the Greek initiates gained their knowledge of the philosophic and therapeutic aspects of music from the Egyptians. Pythagoras realized the emotional and therapeutic aspects of both music and color. Also see "music" below. It is also a messenger and an awakening or something just passing through. Where are your decisions and choices leading you?

As yourself, you might be thinking about controlling your behaviors. There is a loss of control element herewith, perhaps an aspect of falling apart or going out of control. The cross has four points symbolizing the four cardinal directions, the four seasons, the four winds, the four archangels, and the four gospels. This symbolism is also seen in the Native American medicine wheel. In Christian tradition, the cross can mean resurrection as it does with the Egyptian Ankh. The noble side of yourself.

Your inner authority. A high achievement a 'crowning achievement. Sometimes if held back during the day, the dream can act as a pressure release. This can be a cleansing or healing. A place of hidden forces and perhaps a connection with the unconscious. Things feelings or thoughts "buried. A sense of weakness or being incapacitated. A cup, cauldron or the Holy Grail is a ritual object of feminine gender.

Bran's life-restoring cauldron and the Grail. In physical essence the cup in ritual is often crescent shaped. There are many symbolic references to the feminine, the Holy Grael being one of them. Though descriptions of the Last Supper of Jesus speak of a cup in which Jesus poured wine and offered it as his own blood and that they should drink it in remembrance, the famous painting by Leonardo DaVinci shows no cup on the table, only a plate, or dish. Was the plate, or dish the original Grael? Whether a dish or cup, both might represent the feminine aspect of nourishment.

It has a life restoring quality to it. The cauldron is the symbol for the goddess. To see a cauldron in your dream, may imply that you are undergoing some transformation, It could also indicate destiny or some magical, spiritual force. Consider the symbolism of what is in the cauldron and its importance. To see a cup in your dream, might also represent love, nurturance and the womb. The cup may also signify healing, rejuvenation, and healing. Alternatively, it could indicate transcendence into a realm of higher consciousness.

Is the cup half-full or half-empty? Do you see life from an optimistic or pessimistic point of view. To see a cup with a broken handle, suggests your feelings of inadequacy and anxieties of being unable to handle a particular situation. Perhaps you feel unqualified or inadequate in dealing with a situation. If the cup is a chalice, it could represent your need for spiritual nourishment. You are on a search, or quest, for your individual self and for a more meaningful existence. Can also represent a penis. In harmony with the world and ourselves. One's dance with life.

What is hidden to you? Dealing with grief of the death a loved one or your own future death and its inevitability. What has ended in your life? Death, suicide and murder could all fit under this symbol. Suicide and murder in a dream can symbolize the need for a conscious choice on the dreamer's part to make a change in their lives, their perceptions, reactions, and circumstances.

It's the "active" ending of something. It is the symbol for actively overcoming something. Caution: Some Dream Analysts claim that thoughts of suicide in the waking state are symbolically similar to the sleeping state and can be analyzed in a similar manner. These gestures, or "parasuicides" can, however, lead to accidental death or physical harm. A shocking statistic is that nearly half of all suicides began with suicidal gestures. Anyone spending too much time thinking about death should consider consulting a counselor, or should be referred to a counselor.

There's also the section Death and Resurrection on this website. If on you then perhaps you are feeling "shit on" or feeling you're not worth a 'shit' i. A feeling of being or having said something dirty, negative or undisirable. If you're trying to defacate and can't perhaps you are having difficulty letting go of something or perhaps you are too controlling. To find a bathroom covered in feces might suggest that there are some messy feelings that may need to be cleaned up. If it's a public toilet then perhaps you are worried how something may be looking to others see urinate.

It can also mean a loss of status or importance. Something hidden that needs to be revealed, some problem to be solved. Are you being too all knowing? How about the pun: "Do you dig it? If chased by one, are you feeling as if you're no longer needed? A recognition for something done, or done well.

Lost your power or direction in life? What part of your body is disabled see body? These people could also represent aspects of yourself that you have ignored and that are disappearing. If you're disappearing, are you being ignored, or overlooked? Thwarted intentions, or expectations. Emotional or spiritual healing.

Something needs patching up. With a large lock, it may indicate defensiveness or some hostility. Locking could also be about your feelings of self-worth what are you hiding? A very small door may be limiting access to yourself. An open door might represent accessibility and openness. The back door could represent your private life, the front door theefor might represent your public self, while going through the side door could be about escaping or avoiding.

Revolving doors could be about how your life is going i. A doorbell ringing could be like a knock at the door i. To be asleep in a dream might suggest that you need to wake up to something because you're not paying attention. A pain in the ear can symbolize bad news. If cut off perhaps you are tired of listening to others or of what they are saying about you or someone else. If they're turning red perhaps you're feeling shame, guilt or embarrassment? If someone is whispering in an ear perhaps you need to pay closer attention to something or perhaps there's a secret that needs to be told?

A fly in the ear may represent rumors or something that you don't want to hear or perhaps you've overheard something you shouldn't have? Are you turning a 'deaf' ear? Do you need some peace and quiet? Or are you isolating your self from something or someone? The image of earwax can also be a metaphor for this. If they are someone elses could they be a memory of that person or is it they that you need to listen to? Can be about listening carefully or that you're the only one who's getting the message or perhaps you're not being heard or it could be about listening to your intuitive sense.

Earth: One's roots; your connection with the physical world. A breakdown of anything, such as relationships, attitudes, or points of view. Literally a "shake-up" of your world. They can also represent renewal or the restoration of some aspect of the self. East as a direction : Ancient truths, one's beginnings, the mysteries of the unconscious, renewal, enlightenment, source of life, birth, religious aspect, and inner wisdom.

As with all directions, one might ask, "Where am I heading? What are you eating? Are you overeating or starving? A cracked egg may suggest a failure to achieve potential, or if a chicken is being born, it could suggest the beginning of something new see birth , pregnancy. This can suggest a lack of something in your life see death , or killing. Consider the pun "Know it all" smarty-pants or wise-guy. Anything that has the potential to change your life as you know it.

For example, leaving home, menopause, moving from adolescence to adulthoo, having children, loss of a job or someone you love. This can show up as an 'end' to anything such as an end to a path or road also look at trapped, death, west. What's the condition of the engine or motor? A part of yourself that you have not accepted and are struggling with. There may be some upheaval in your life. If going up then perhaps you are addressing emotional issues or moving through your spiritual journey, if down, then perhaps you are repressing or experiencing a setback.

The image may also relate to ones transformation or need for it. Ascending might also suggest attainment of a higher way of thinking or experiencing e. Are you refusing to face your problems? A failed escape might suggest that you're feeling trapped or feeling helpless.

If adapting then this image could be about how well you are adapting to some situation. ESP: perhaps you need to pay more attention to your intuition, hunches, and gut feelings? It could also reflect high energy. Be more objective in your evaluation of something or someone. Trying to destroy some aspect of the self that is unwanted. Missed exams can be about anxiety. If you just hear the sound then perhaps something is about to be exposed from your subconscious. Stand up to your weaknesses?

It can indicate seeing something unseen before or someone or thing watching. The early church in England used to place an eye above the entrance to ward off witches; Greeks created eye beads or amulets to ward off the evil eye. A closed eye or eyes could suggest that you are shuttng something or someone out see shutters. If your eyes you see in a dream are a different color, then perhaps you need to see something from a different perspective. If you're or someone else wearing an eyepatch perhaps you are being one-sided in your view of something i. There's a message in the fable, a lesson, a moral to be learned.

If you are living a fable perhaps you need to face reality more directly, face whatever situation that you need to deal with. If it's torn it could suggest that you need to mend or heal some situation or relationship. It can represent the masks we wear to hide and protect ourselves. The mask we put on to the world vs.

If it's flawed perhaps it's about erupting emotions. Perhaps there's a lie being covered up? Two faces might suggest being two-faced i. What we hide behind see clothes and mask. It can also suggest that you are feeling better about yourself. What is painted could also reflect your mood in your waking life. An old way of doing things e. Alternatively it could be about your productivity. An empty factory could be about leaving the meaningless monotony of your routine for something new.

Perhaps you're managing something badly? Perhaps you need to let your inhibitions go? Are any of the side shows reminiscent of parts or aspects of your personality e. If it's evil, then perhaps some part of yourself needs to be set free? The Celtics included elves and fairies in their concept of the Otherworld, the world of a new beginning, paradise. It is also a symbol for the feminine positive or negative. A fairytale might suggest that you are, or need to, explore your own limits. Do you need to show more of your true self? Some kind of deception? Someone not who they say they are? Perhaps you want to feel admired and are not?

It can also suggest a "falling out" in some relationship. The father is the authority figure representing your ability to manage and control the external world. He can also represent the negative by being dominant and aggressive. Your mother might represent your nurturing, emotional side, and relationship sides, though the negative aspect of domination through emotions may also be present.

Siblings, sons, and daughters often reflect aspects of ourselves. Grandparents in a dream may represent the role that traditions play in your life, though they may also represent the archetypes of the wise old man, or woman see archetypes. An unmet need for spiritual nourishment? Need for love and attention and emotional support? Alternatively the need to be more realistic or practical.

Perhaps it's a goal that you think can't be obtained? Perhaps you, or they if it's someone else, need to be more direct? Perhaps you need to look more within. To move something fastforward perhaps you need to slow down or look at the consequences of some planned action.

Perhaps you need to be more moderate in actions? Consider the pun, "It ain't over until the fat lady sings. Is it leaking or broken and running water is everywhere perhaps your emotions are out of control or you are losing control. Perhaps you are emotionally overwhelmed or drained? FBI: some feelings of guilt? Maybe you desire to be 'wanted'? If you're the agent perhaps it reflects your sense of honor and integrity, and ordiliness. Your own attitude about the FBI will add much meaning to this image as well. How much control of your emotions do you have? What are you afraid of?

What runs you? Sometime fear can represent unexpressed love. Anxiety, or fear is probably the most common emotion in dreams. All the events of the day that have vexed you can come up as fearful elements in the dream. Remember that every thing in a dream is an aspect of you. If you're being chased by some monster, it's yourself that you're trying to escape and given that you can't escape yourself you might as well confront this aspect and find out more about it. Start by defining the feeling so you can get clarity on what it is you're avoiding. Sometimes going over the events in your life that may be generating your fears in the waking world can help to difuse the emotion attached to them.

When working with both adults and children I used to have them relax into a meditative state and imagine that they were walking down a long, dark hallway. At the end of this hallway was a huge door of heavy wood and banded in iron. Imagine that behind the door there was the most frightening creature you have ever experienced and that you have to open the door and confront it head on.

I then instruct them to grab the handle and pull hard, swinging the door wide. What's there? Be with it, don't run. Defiantly ask it what it wants. Go into conversation with it and see what you get. This exercise works well as a guided meditation so having a trusted confederate lead you through it helps. If you're hungry during a feast perhaps you're putting others needs ahead of your own? Feelings about territoriality. If you're constipated it could be that you're being overly controlled, or controlling i.

Sense of independence, keeping ones self grounded e. Consider the pun, "putting you foot in your mouth" making a verbal blunder e. Washing someones feet or having your feet washed might be about forgiveness. Follow some feet might suggest you aren't taking your own path in life or in some activity. It's a metaphor for the walls you put up to protect your self or to keep others out, or even shutting your self out. Falling from a fence could mean you're over your head and fear failing with some endeavor.

Fences in water can symbolize emotional barriers water is often a symbol for ones emotional state. If the person is unknown it could be a conflict with your self. Spiritual transformation or alternatively something that is left undealt with will transform into something else, possibly even more negative. Absorbtion of knowledge food for thought. Or you're trying to escape the everyday. Freedom fgrom social pressure. A feeling state, or the general career you find your self in e.

Something lost then reintegrated into the personality or that needs to be. A desire to destroy or to be renewed. Desire to rid oneself of something hurtful to self or others. I recently had a friend talk of a dream where there were "walls of fire" that stood in his way from continuing down a road. Some of these walls he could overcome, but one was intractable. The "Wall of Fire" could be an event or a person that has become an obstruction to your forward progress. One can also be overwhelmed by circumstances and dream of floods.

He thought that dreams with roses were very spiritual in nature. Lilies might represent the Trinity or the Virgin Mary, Easter, rebirth, or royalty as in the fleur di lis. Flowers were used by mystics for metaphysical purposes. Lavender is a flower placed under a pillow to encourage dreams. Look to see what flowers mean to you in your daily life love, sex, commitment, recognition, relationship, spiritual, sympathy, or celebration?

The flower symbolism associated with poppies is beauty, magic, consolation, fertility and eternal life.