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Thread: The name of a book/story, please

  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Barlowe's Guide To Extraterrestrials, perhaps?
    Nope, not that.

  2. #152
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    I seem to remember something similar "A Tourists guide to planet" something

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruithne3753 View Post
    I remember a book a school friend had, (circa 1980) which was a pictorial of bestiary of dangerous alien species. They included things like carnivorous trees, a spiky thing like a giant porcupine, a giant spacefaring brain in a bubble, things with giant mouths which could produce sound that could kill, and one warlike species called "The Humans"...

    The premise was that it had been decoded from a capsule that had been recovered near, or had landed on the Island of Gan in the Indian ocean.

    Problem was, I think it was called something quite generic like "The Aliens" so Googling it throws up millions of unrelated hits, which isn't much help!
    Eventually found it "Galactic Aliens" by Alan Frank

  4. #154
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    You guys are all nuts, was Battlefield Earth by famed scientologist Elron Hubbard, Elrond if like yer authors elvish ;p

  5. #155
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    They're nuts?! Did Hubbard write that one before or after his death?

  6. #156
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    I'm pretty sure, but might have to research it, that EH wrote Battlefield Earth before he died.

  7. #157
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    I liked him better before he died -- and I didn't like him very much then.

  8. #158
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    Is it too much to hope, that one or more of our forum members has a magic wand for this sort of thing?

    I saw a couple minutes of a documentary the other day, about East/West Berlin, back in the Cold War days. It made mention of the different ways people had tried to "get across the wall". Zip lines, tunnels, a hot air balloon, a train, various ways to hide, and quite a few of the guards just simply walked to freedom in the West.

    So, it reminded me of a book I read many years ago, maybe in high school. I shall now give you some absurdly vague hints about the book, and shall expect a correct answer immediately.

    The first and last chapter opened with the same paragraph.... There is a bar in (German City), *description of bar and owner follows*.

    Our protagonist was an average guy just trying to get by. There was a short chubby bald man named Otto, I think East German, who wore a fancy speed draw rig and used a special modified gun. Then there was a suave sophisticated dark Mediterranean type that carried a Luger. At one point those two have a gunfight.

    There is to be a smuggling attempt of someone, across the Wall. An existing tunnel is to be used, but the whole thing turns out to be some sort of sting operation to find the location of said tunnel. (Maybe... my memory is vague on that.)

    At one point, there were two black men, twins, who were used to confuse someone, by apparently being two places at once. East German police attempted, (or did) arrest one, who fought them off using a straight razor, as a distraction to let the others escape the scene.

    Well, OK then. That's it. Trace memories from over 30 years ago. I'm just curious if the story would be as compelling to me now as it was then.

    TJ

  9. #159
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    I don't know if anyone will be able to help me with this since I remember so few details, but I figured it's worth a shot, at least.

    When I was in elementary school in the early 80s, one of our teachers was reading an alien invasion story to us. I don't know if it was a short story or just a chapter of a book. I remember only the following two details:

    1) The aliens had attacked with some type of weapon that either destroyed all carbon atoms or it removed the carbon from all organic molecules. It may have been the latter, because I think they mentioned something about the entire surface of the planet being covered in a layer of carbon.

    2) The only survivors of this attack were people who were underground in some large facility of some type, I think a government facility. At the end of the story or chapter I think they had managed to contact another group of survivors on shortwave.

    I've tried to Google this at various times over the years, but any Google search that involves "carbon" and "alien invasion" is overwhelmed with "aliens are going to kill us if we don't stop our carbon emissions" results.

  10. #160
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    I'm pretty sure, but might have to research it, that EH wrote Battlefield Earth before he his body but after his brain and talent died.

    There edited it for you.

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  11. #161
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    It seemed as if Hubbard's minions published lots of his stuff well after he'd reached room temperature (though his health seemed right as rain from the book blurbs), so either he left a lot of unpublished stuff, or it was anti-ghosted.

  12. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJMac View Post
    Is it too much to hope, that one or more of our forum members has a magic wand for this sort of thing?

    I saw a couple minutes of a documentary the other day, about East/West Berlin, back in the Cold War days. It made mention of the different ways people had tried to "get across the wall". Zip lines, tunnels, a hot air balloon, a train, various ways to hide, and quite a few of the guards just simply walked to freedom in the West.

    So, it reminded me of a book I read many years ago, maybe in high school. I shall now give you some absurdly vague hints about the book, and shall expect a correct answer immediately.

    The first and last chapter opened with the same paragraph.... There is a bar in (German City), *description of bar and owner follows*.

    Our protagonist was an average guy just trying to get by. There was a short chubby bald man named Otto, I think East German, who wore a fancy speed draw rig and used a special modified gun. Then there was a suave sophisticated dark Mediterranean type that carried a Luger. At one point those two have a gunfight.

    There is to be a smuggling attempt of someone, across the Wall. An existing tunnel is to be used, but the whole thing turns out to be some sort of sting operation to find the location of said tunnel. (Maybe... my memory is vague on that.)

    At one point, there were two black men, twins, who were used to confuse someone, by apparently being two places at once. East German police attempted, (or did) arrest one, who fought them off using a straight razor, as a distraction to let the others escape the scene.

    Well, OK then. That's it. Trace memories from over 30 years ago. I'm just curious if the story would be as compelling to me now as it was then.

    TJ
    Could this be a Nick Carter novel?
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  13. #163
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    Funny; I only started reading this thread last night; all the fun I've been missing!

    The OP got me thinking about a book I haven't read in YEARS - and since I'm taking a short break from writing I'm having a little fun catching up on my all-time favourite genre: pulp SF from the 50's to the 70's; I couldn't find it in the shops. It was quite probably the very first SF book I ever read at perhaps age 7 or 8.

    It was an Ace Double (Don'tcha just love 'em? ) and the description of the OP made my heart leap - it sounded similar. Alas, that wasn't the one, so I'm asking.
    It was extremely Lovecraftian but I'm certain it wasn't Lovecraft. The story opens with the description of a race of vast, crablike gluttonous overlord creatures that dominated Earth in its infancy. They ruled early Humans with cruel telepathy. We see the last of its kind dying of starvation and sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

    Thousands of years later, an archaeological expedition finds the corpse and, in a twist I can't remember also release a live one. That creature promptly takes over Earth; turning humanity into a slave race, whipped into obedience by its telepathic power. I can't remember how it turns out - though the humans undoubtedly win, of course, but I do remember that horrible cover; it gave me nightmares - the image of a giant crablike purple monster being carried by the tiny figures of thousands of naked struggling humans.

    I can't imagine it was good fiction - most of the Ace Doubles were pretty hilarious in their badness - but that cover remains in my imagination. I'd love to be able to find it again, for the sheer joy of finding an old friend.

    Cheers!
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

  14. #164
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernDevo View Post
    Funny; I only started reading this thread last night; all the fun I've been missing!

    The OP got me thinking about a book I haven't read in YEARS - and since I'm taking a short break from writing I'm having a little fun catching up on my all-time favourite genre: pulp SF from the 50's to the 70's; I couldn't find it in the shops. It was quite probably the very first SF book I ever read at perhaps age 7 or 8.

    It was an Ace Double (Don'tcha just love 'em? ) and the description of the OP made my heart leap - it sounded similar. Alas, that wasn't the one, so I'm asking.
    It was extremely Lovecraftian but I'm certain it wasn't Lovecraft. The story opens with the description of a race of vast, crablike gluttonous overlord creatures that dominated Earth in its infancy. They ruled early Humans with cruel telepathy. We see the last of its kind dying of starvation and sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

    Thousands of years later, an archaeological expedition finds the corpse and, in a twist I can't remember also release a live one. That creature promptly takes over Earth; turning humanity into a slave race, whipped into obedience by its telepathic power. I can't remember how it turns out - though the humans undoubtedly win, of course, but I do remember that horrible cover; it gave me nightmares - the image of a giant crablike purple monster being carried by the tiny figures of thousands of naked struggling humans.

    I can't imagine it was good fiction - most of the Ace Doubles were pretty hilarious in their badness - but that cover remains in my imagination. I'd love to be able to find it again, for the sheer joy of finding an old friend.

    Cheers!
    How about John Brunner's The Atlantic Abomination?

    Many of the ACE SF book covers can be found here.
    So many bugs, so little time.

  15. #165
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABR. View Post
    How about John Brunner's The Atlantic Abomination?

    Many of the ACE SF book covers can be found here.
    Excellent resource, thanks. �� Yes, that was it - gruesome! I looked in Google Images to see if I could see the cover - I didn't, but the moment I saw it here I also remembered the story on the flip-side: "The Martian Missile". I saw that cover quickly but didn't link the two. Fun stuff, thanks!
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

  16. #166
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    "A Torrent of Faces" by James Blish is horrific in its own way.

  17. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    "A Torrent of Faces" by James Blish is horrific in its own way.
    ....and, yet, hopeful.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



  18. #168
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    Not a book, but a movie: what is that recent movie where there is some alien object floating and they have to try and communicate with it?
    It's a single-word title I think (but not 100% sure). It was discussed at length on this forum some months back.

    I've got word-blindness about it.

    Any ideas?

  19. #169
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Not a book, but a movie: what is that recent movie where there is some alien object floating and they have to try and communicate with it?
    It's a single-word title I think (but not 100% sure). It was discussed at length on this forum some months back.

    I've got word-blindness about it.

    Any ideas?
    If by "floating" you mean "in the air", it sounds like Arrival.

    Grant Hutchison
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  20. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    ...they have to try and communicate with it?
    More the heptapods (giant almost-squids) inside them (there were multiple objects). But yes, sounds like Arrival.

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  21. #171
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    If we're talking about water and an attempt to communicate with the object itself, it sounds like Sphere - but that was a good 20 years ago.

    Grant Hutchison
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  22. #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    If by "floating" you mean "in the air", it sounds like Arrival.

    Grant Hutchison
    Thanks, also thanks to CJSE, I think it is indeed Arrival. Certainly not Sphere.

    I quickly looked at Arrival off a list of sci-fi film releases and thought, no that's not it. I was convinced the title began with "I". But now I look into it further I think it must be Arrival.

    Anyhow thanks everyone, that DVD will keep us out the pub for another Friday, which is something I am trying to achieve. Fast running out of viewing material though.

  23. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by kzb View Post
    Thanks, also thanks to CJSE, I think it is indeed Arrival. Certainly not Sphere.

    I quickly looked at Arrival off a list of sci-fi film releases and thought, no that's not it. I was convinced the title began with "I". But now I look into it further I think it must be Arrival.

    Anyhow thanks everyone, that DVD will keep us out the pub for another Friday, which is something I am trying to achieve. Fast running out of viewing material though.
    If you haven’t seen it we enjoyed “Europa Report.”


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  24. #174
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    I thought Arrival was a terrific movie. Science Fiction a la Ray Bradbury rather than Michael Bay.

  25. #175
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    Ok, Cosmoquest hive brain, I'm looking for a book I read in the 1990s, probably written in the 1960s or maybe earlier.

    The gist is a doctor/scientist is attempting to create a fusion device to study the sun. The facility in question has an array of lasers that fire in unison to compress matter to the point of fusion. As I recall, they accidentally make a star. This star seems to have some of the characteristics of a black hole. Somehow, it is pulling things apart as if it is a very great mass. There is a romantic subplot where the hero ends up marrying a nurse who works at the facility. It is very awkward, as if the author didn't seem to know the difference between a Ph.d and medical doctor, hence the nurse coming into the story. OR the hero is both nuclear scientist and MD, which makes even less sense.

    The story is very close to David Brin's Earth, but I have copy of that and it is much longer than the book I remember.
    Solfe

  26. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    Ok, Cosmoquest hive brain, I'm looking for a book I read in the 1990s, probably written in the 1960s or maybe earlier.

    The gist is a doctor/scientist is attempting to create a fusion device to study the sun. The facility in question has an array of lasers that fire in unison to compress matter to the point of fusion. As I recall, they accidentally make a star. This star seems to have some of the characteristics of a black hole. Somehow, it is pulling things apart as if it is a very great mass. There is a romantic subplot where the hero ends up marrying a nurse who works at the facility. It is very awkward, as if the author didn't seem to know the difference between a Ph.d and medical doctor, hence the nurse coming into the story. OR the hero is both nuclear scientist and MD, which makes even less sense.

    The story is very close to David Brin's Earth, but I have copy of that and it is much longer than the book I remember.
    If it involves laser-ignited fusion it's probably written in a later period.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  27. #177
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    You might be right, but for the wrong concept. Inertial confinement has been around since the end of the 1950s. In the US, the first thought was a small atom bomb, but in Germany, they were thinking of lasers. I had to double-triple check that because that would have been a while before lasers were in use or at least practical. It could be that it was conceptualized before any sort of practicality was possible. The dangers of wikipedia....

    If it was lasers and not masers in this story, then it has to be the 70s.
    Solfe

  28. #178
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    For some reason it's making me think of James P. Hogan's The Genesis Machine - which is odd, because I consciously remember almost nothing about that book.

    Grant Hutchison
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  29. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    For some reason it's making me think of James P. Hogan's The Genesis Machine - which is odd, because I consciously remember almost nothing about that book.

    Grant Hutchison
    Funny, when I saw the cover, I thought it was the story.
    Solfe

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