View Full Version : Images from Fiction

mike alexander
2005-Jan-26, 08:07 PM
I suspect that many folks have read stories with passages that create an image so real (wonderful, or terrible, or awesome) that it stays with them forever, to be recalled with a smile or a shudder.

Being a total sentimentalist, two of mine are from Ray Bradbury. There is the moment at the end of Uncle Einar where Einar, released from his confinement on the ground, is soaring with the kites on that March hill, exalted, transported. The other, from I Sing the Body Electric!, is the image of the Fantoccini robotic grandmothers,quietly sitting in their rocking chairs in their dim room, knitting and chatting about the children they helped to raise. Just the recollection of either one can bring tears to my eyes.

Anyone else?

2005-Jan-27, 02:09 AM
Stephen King's 'Misery' affected me like that. The only book with a scary part that made me feel scared while I was reading it. Otherwise, I can't think of any other books off the top of my head that affected me like that while I was reading it. Now TV and movies like Babylon 5 can do that to me. 'Severed Dreams' in B5 season 3 or 'Sleeping in Light' at the very end had me in tears during the show. Usually, it involves a sacrifice to move me like that. The regular chick flick stuff doesn't bother me at all. They usually try to hard to get you and I resent that. ;)


2005-Jan-27, 02:30 AM
The movie Bicentennial Man made me cry hard at the end and this was only about four years ago. The only other movie I've ever cried at was The Land Before Time when I was a little kid.

2005-Jan-27, 06:39 AM
Land Before Time made you cry too? The only sci-fi movie that elicited strong emotion from me was 2001... the part where it shows Frank spinning off into space, then zooms in on HAL. That one scene is my strongest memory of the movie, and the part that made me suspicious of my computer for a good month or so... Speaking of computers, is anyone here a Marathon player? The terminals in that game still make the hairs on the back of my neck rise 10+ years after I first saw them. Bookwise? I have a very active imagination, so any book that I don't visualize as images in my head while I'm reading it, I don't like it. However, there's one book I remember bringing on tears: the end of Martin the Warrior, when the hero's love interest dies and he's got nothing left to live for. Oh, for the days when Brian Jacques' books weren't all the same...

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-27, 12:40 PM
2001: A Space Odyssey has many, many memorable scenes (like Jupiter and its moons creeping up on the screen as the Discovery reaches the end of its journey, with Ligeti's eerie music in the background).
So does Blade Runner (the dove flying away as Roy dies, Rachael with a cigarrette in the corner of her mouth).
And once I felt blown away by the scene in Alien where a crewman is looking for the cat in a storeroom, unaware that the alien creature is hiding there - those are some of the best few minutes of pure suspense I have ever watched.

Paul Beardsley
2005-Jan-27, 12:58 PM
Lots of tearful moments in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The death of the severed child in the first book had me weeping quite freely - and I found it utterly amazing that I, as a reader, could relate to the horror of having one's demon touched. The scene with Lyra in the severing cage was harrowing beyond belief.

In the second book, the Texan's last stand was very moving. The bit that really got to me was the almost incidental mention that his demon, Hester, "was no beauty".

Not much moved me in the third book, but the alien race, the mulefa, were amazing. I found myself thinking, this guy has done so much, then he just throws in one of the most credible alien life forms since Niven's Puppeteers.

Sadly the Mulefa don't appear in the stage adaptation of His Dark Materials, but the production is still the most amazing thing I've seen in years - an incredibly emotional experience. Afterwards I bought a mug which is blank on one side until you pour hot water into it - then an angel appears, together with Philip Pullman's signature.

Other books: The final line of The Time Machine is beautiful. And loads of bits of LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven choke me up whenever I glance through it. I'll think of more.

Games: All four Silent Hill games have a lot to offer, but the second one is the most memorable. A tragic love story told through the medium of a computer game - I never expected that sort of development when I first played Space Invaders back in 1978!

2005-Jan-27, 01:42 PM
The transporter malfunction scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture was always deeply disturbing and unsettling for me. And one of the creepiest lines ever uttered in a movie was said at the end of the scene (paraphrasing): "We've got them...what we got back...didn't live long."

That scene always sends shivers up my spine (although I'm not a big fan of the rest of the film).

2005-Jan-27, 02:45 PM
2001: A Space Odyssey has many, many memorable scenes (like Jupiter and its moons creeping up on the screen as the Discovery reaches the end of its journey, with Ligeti's eerie music in the background).
So does Blade Runner (the dove flying away as Roy dies, Rachael with a cigarrette in the corner of her mouth).
And once I felt blown away by the scene in Alien where a crewman is looking for the cat in a storeroom, unaware that the alien creature is hiding there - those are some of the best few minutes of pure suspense I have ever watched.
I agree with all of those Disinfo Agent. Both Blade Runner and Alien have some extremely memorable, emotional scenes.

Another movie that had a very emotional scene for me was Contact. The whole sequence when Jodie Foster first hears the signal, drives to the control center and runs down the hall screaming instructions into the radio, just gives me goosebumps everytime.

But I think Mike was talking about books with very "visual" scenes?

2005-Jan-27, 03:06 PM
One movie scene that gives me goosebumps every time is in The Sixth Sense. No, not the moment the guy realizes he's dead, but when the kid gets up in the night in his own home, and as he enters a room you see, oh-so-briedfly, the form of a person passing behind him. Of course it's manipulative--big booming percussion as it happens, but it still gets me.

And I'll never be able to watch that scene from the original The Haunting ("Oh God, whose hand was I holding?") without getting the chills.

Images? I still love the scene from The Two Towers where the Rohirrim charge down that hill behind Gandalph with the sun at their backs. Magic.

mike alexander
2005-Jan-27, 03:15 PM
Swift wrote:

But I think Mike was talking about books with very "visual" scenes?

That was my first thought, but these things are organic. Think of the 'anti visual' endings of The Ugly Little Boy, or The Persistance of Vision.

Was it Donald Barthelme who said (roughly) that the purpose of art is the creation of a soft, fuzzy animal that breaks your heart? It can uplift the heart as well.

2005-Jan-27, 03:54 PM
I suspect that many folks have read stories with passages that create an image so real (wonderful, or terrible, or awesome) that it stays with them forever, to be recalled with a smile or a shudder.

Anyone else?

The entire book "Creatures Of Light And Darkness" by Roger Zelazny. One amazing scene after another.

One of the best passages describes the nothingness experienced by one character. The reader is told to consider a snowflake drifting down a well of infinite depth and infinite radius, followed by, "Now remove the snowflake and consider the drifting."

There's another where two warriors face off, but they can both project themselves a little bit forward and backward in time ("temporal fugue"). In a chi-like manner, the battle is decided in the first moment as the two of them continually project themsleves backward and forward in time and space, setting up a huge battle between hundreds of probable and improbable versions of themselves. Thousands die and cities tumble down as a result.

Long out of print, sadly, but used ones can be had over at Amazon for a couple bucks. As it's one of my all time favorite books, there's a signed edition there I'm thinking of grabbing.

2005-Jan-27, 03:59 PM
The transporter malfunction scene in Star Trek: The Motion Picture was always deeply disturbing and unsettling for me. And one of the creepiest lines ever uttered in a movie was said at the end of the scene (paraphrasing): "We've got them...what we got back...didn't live long."

That scene always sends shivers up my spine (although I'm not a big fan of the rest of the film).

Yeah, that half-formed scream gets to me too. Unfortunately it was the only scene in the movie that was acted in any way shape or form.

Star Trek III had one scene in it when the Enterprise entered the spacedock. The view from the observation lounge as it settled in to dock with the damage from the battle in Star Trek II really drove home the impression that the ship was critically wounded. One of the few times the Enterprise wasn't deus ex machina. She was home and she was hurting for it.

2005-Jan-28, 07:09 AM
I suspect that many folks have read stories with passages that create an image so real (wonderful, or terrible, or awesome) that it stays with them forever, to be recalled with a smile or a shudder.
Anyone else?

Oh my gosh. Where to start? Where to STOP?

The last scenes in Rescue Party, where they discover the ranks and ranks of Earth ships, and also, the earlier scene where the S9000 burns a hole down to rescue it's own search party - I can see the storm clouds blowing by and the color of the ship's projectors as they cool down from cherry red...

The testing stand passage I quoted a while ago from Lee Correy's Rocket Man. The unbelievable noise, and the diamonds in the center of the jet...

Another Clarke - the scene at Shalimirane in City and the Stars. Stark and full of wonder. Gives me chills. And the words ... "and the trioptic robot watched them with unwavering eyes". Oooooohhh.

Heinlein - Johnny Dahlquist's funeral procession from the moon back to earth - in The Long Watch. Start at the line "it was dead black from end to end"...

And of course, I can't sing (well, I can't sing ANYWAY) or even recite "The Green Hills of Earth" without choking up...

And Enoch on the target range, of course. And the talisman finally glowing like it should...

Tiptree. Beam Us Home. The war, it's utter futility (been there), the dysentery (done that), and then climbing the fighter as high as it will go, nothing left but death and then ... "I'm Home"! Oh. My. Go...

Weird Dave
2005-Jan-28, 03:00 PM
Stephen Baxter has done a few, such as:
Time: The time jump sequence through the blue circles.
Space: The moons colliding, and the solar-sail ships swarming around Mercury.

H.G. Wells wrote a short story called The Star, in which some object smashes into Neptune to create a vast fireball, and the whole lot plunges past the Earth searing half the surface. A classic set piece that puts Armageddon to shame (what doesn't? :) ).

2005-Jan-28, 03:21 PM
There are so many great passages and images in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001-3001 series. From 2001, the part where Dave enters TMA2 and is transported across the galaxy; the sights he sees are amazing. The movie really doesn't do it justice. In 3001, the opening paragraph (I think it's the prolog) that begins, "call them the firstborn" is some beautiful writing in my opinion.

I've been a big fan of Clarke ever since the first book of his that I read: Rendezvous with Rama. I wont give away the ending, but I will say that I didn't see it coming, and it's one of those images that will always stick with me.

Many moons ago, I was totally hooked on Fred Saberhagen's Berzerker series. The idea of these cold, heartless machines that kill without malice was pretty scary to me. You can't reason with them. They'll never feel pity for you, or fear for their own lives. They kill because that's what they do. There's one particular line that made me shudder when I read it. A Berzerker had captured a human and was going to interrogate her. The machine wasn't even smart enough to threaten her, it just stated a fact: "failure to cooperate will result in unpleasant stimuli."

As for movies, I really identify with Gattica. Joel has to hide who he is and pretend to be someone else just to fit in. But he's willing to do it because of a deep longing he has to go to into space. What would you do, how hard would you work, and what would you give up to fulfill your dreams? Also, Uma Thurman is hot.

2005-Jan-31, 02:36 PM
I'm going to change my name to: ThreadKiller

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-31, 02:41 PM
We could start a club. :wink:

2005-Jan-31, 02:53 PM
It'd be hard to have meetings though, since none of us would want to reply for fear of keeping a thread alive and thus negating the purpose of the club.

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-31, 02:56 PM
I can misinform you, and then ignore your replies. :lol:

2005-Jan-31, 05:51 PM
While not Scifi, when I was young, the entire Chronicles of Narnia series created such imagery in my mind. Lewis' ability to describe the settings made them come to life so easily for me. Perhaps the first time any book had done that for me. Specific examples still come to mind 3 decades later (although I may end up mixing different scenes out of failing memories. . . :P )

- The size/shape/depth (even smell) of the wardrobe

- the snow falling/covering the lamppost

- Aslan getting his mane cut off

- the sound of Aslan's deep purr when the kids embraced him after coming back to life (was this actually in the book, or did I just create it in my own mind??? :-? )

- The kids sitting on their thrones

- many, many scenes from the Voyage of the Dawntreader

I don't tend to create images all that much as I read, unless I'm compelled to by the writing. George R.R. Martin's series is doing that to me now!

Disinfo Agent
2005-Jan-31, 06:22 PM
Here's an image that stuck with me: the two-sun solar system seen at the end of 2010, both the book and the film (even though I'm not the biggest fan of the film, this part was done fairly well). How cool is that? 8)

Rendezvous with Rama, by Clarke, also has some fantastic images.

The strangeness of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris is unforgettable.

Brian Aldiss's Hothouse has the most vivid description of exotic natural life that I can remember.

Ray Bradbury, Night Meeting (in The Martian Chronicles), about a meeting between an Earth man and a Martian.

The Last Question, by Asimov.

2005-Jan-31, 07:42 PM
Here's an image that stuck with me: the two-sun solar system seen at the end of 2010

Rendezvous with Rama, by Clarke, also has some fantastic images.

agree on both of those. You know, everything that Clarke has done by himself is pretty good I think. He has great ideas and expresses them in a way that I find beautiful. The books I don't like seem to be the ones where he collaborated with a more conventional author. If memory serves, he collaborated with someone on the rest of the rama series. I didn't much like them at all. I just didn't care about the lead character, that female whose name I don't even remember. I wanted to learn about the aliens that had built Rama. Then I get to the last book and am totally disappointed. I wont spoil it if you haven't read it, but I think the best part of _Rama Revealed_ was the cover art.

2005-Jan-31, 08:10 PM
The one film that elicited anything like an emotional response was The Dish (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=17839&)

It was like I was watching the first moonwalk. (Being 2 and a half at the I can not remember it the first time around)


Not a story, but an illustration in a childrens book about the possibility of living in space. This one was the idea of living ina hollowed out asteroid. In the illustration there were fileds and streams going up and over. It was kind of wow!

Weird Dave
2005-Jan-31, 09:06 PM
...The Last Question, by Asimov.

Can I also vote for The Dead Past by Asimov. If I recall correctly, it's a relatively conventional conspiracy story about an inventor working on a banned machine, but with a great genre-busting twist at the end. I'd love to see his expression when he realises he's just made one of the biggest b*lls-ups ever...

mike alexander
2005-Feb-01, 01:01 AM
The sea monster attacking the light house in The Fog Horn, by Bradbury.

The whole damned story in The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit. Bradbury eventually turned it into a play, and I just learned that it was made into a movie.

2005-Feb-01, 01:53 AM
I saw Silent Running as a kid and felt really sorry for the robots who were
left behing to tend for the plants.
It affected me so much that when our pre-school made a "scifi-play" for the christmas party I demanded to have a role where I was left behind to guard a planet for all eternity...

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-01, 02:04 AM
The dance of the Nildoror in Silverberg's Downward to the Earth.

The end of Childhood's End.

The scene in 2001 where Dave dismantles HAL. Chilling and saddening in a way that I've never really seen duplicated. (That's in the book though... The movie did it in a very cheesie fashion IMO.)

The entirety of Against the Fall of Night.

The end of Neuromancer, when Case looks into the Tessier-Ashpool AI and sees himself.

Greg Bear's Slant, after Giffy gets into the Omphalos. The whole thing had a sort of sureal quality to it... Like the characters were walking through some sort of bizarre nightmare.

Lord Valentine's Castle, when Valentine finally gets to meet the Pontifex again. That was pretty jarring. (FYI, I'm still reading this book...)

2005-Feb-08, 09:07 PM
I'm w/you about Narnia, Wally--and we're far from alone. there is a piece called "Return of the Dawn Treader," by Richard Meyer, that's his take on how the ship would sound returning to port. (that's music. junior high school band music, unfortunately, so it may not be available as a recording.)

even though I don't care for Dickens, all it takes to make me choke up is thinking about the end of Tale of Two Cities. we attribute my 5 on the AP English Lit exam to being able to write my essay about Sidney Carton.

I have always had my breath taken away by the dancing scene in Edward Scissorhands, where Winona Ryder is spinning in the ice shavings.

I cried when Sirius Black passed through the veil.

oddly, a very long time ago, I saw a Lily Tomlin-hosted PBS special about the possibility of life on other worlds, and I couldn't sleep that night because of the image of an empty universe. (they were doing that equation--I can never remember what it's called--that's supposed to help you guess the odds of life on other planets. I'm sure you all know what I"m talking about. and they had a dozen or so scientists plugging in their answers, and when they get to the last scientist and the last part of the equation, he said, "none." I can't read Don't Know Much About the Universe before bed for the same reason.)

at the end of the Riddlemaster of Hed series, the two main characters have become immortal, and the woman, Raederle, says something about rising from the sea every thousand years or so to meet w/him, and it gives me chills every time.

and, as w/my sister, the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. we both want to know what else is in the boxes . . . .

2005-Feb-08, 09:29 PM
and, as w/my sister, the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. we both want to know what else is in the boxes . . . .

Oh, you know, it's all stuff like coconuts, the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, a large, wooden badger...

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-08, 11:46 PM
Okay, a lot more...

- The journey across the ice in LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness. It's hard not to forget the image of Genly Ai and Lord Estraven, best of friends from crazily different worlds, struggling across the tortured, frozen landscape with the twin volcanoes looming overhead, belching fire and brimstone...

- The entirety of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife (the first 2 books of Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy - I haven't read the third yet). Amazing, amazing books, and as Paul Beadsley said, some of the scenes a truly heartrending. (Like Roger's death in the first book... And the scenes with the Spectres in the second book were pretty damn disturbing.)

- A scene near the end of Joe Haldeman's Forever Free, where the characters are alone on an empty Earth, being picked off one by one, in plain sight of each other, by a force they know nothing of whatsoever. (Of course, this scene's terror was made up for by the suckiest ending ever thought up by a good sci-fi writer. No, I won't give it away... But I'll just say that it seemed to me as though Haldeman was suffering from writer's block, and couldn't think up a good ending.)

- More scenes from Lord Valentine's Castle. The assault on Castle Mount, with Valentine's army fighting the army of his friend of old, and Valentine desperately trying to end it all... And the phoney Valentine cutting off the atmosphere-maintaining machinery... And the 90-degree plot twist at the end, which left me utterly stunned. For some reason, I never saw that one coming.

mike alexander
2005-Feb-09, 12:26 AM
John Amalfi, adrift in a formless premetrical spacetime, reaching up to press the detonator button over his heart...

When Gully Foyle wakes up among the Scientific People in The Stars My Destination. Quant suff! Hilarious!

And the end of same book, Gully's rant to the mob in Picadilly. I see him, tiger's face glowing, spittle flying:

Foyle shook himself and abruptly jaunted to the bronze head of Eros, fifty feet above the counter at Picadilly Circus. He perched precariously and bawled: "Listen a me, all you! Listen, man! Gonna sermonize, me. Dig this, you!"

He was answered with a roar.

"You pigs, you. You rut like pigs, is all. You got the most in you, and you use the least. You hear me, you? Got a million in you and spend pennies. Got a genius in you and think crazies. Got a heart in you and feel empties. All a you. Every you..."

He was jeered. He continued with the hysterical passion of the possessed.

"Take a war to make you spend. Take a jam to make you think. Take a challenge to make you great. Rest of the time you sit around lazy, you. Pigs, you! All right, God damn you! I challenge you, me. Die, or live and be great. Blow yourself to Christ or come and find me, Gully Foyle, and I make you men. I make you great. I give you the stars."

He disappeared

I still shiver at that.

Long March
2005-Feb-09, 02:40 PM
The end of Voyage by Stephen Baxter gets me misty-eyed every time - the moment when, after all the waste and pointlessness - not to mention appalling travel in a tiny tin can - Natalie York actually gets to stand on the surface of Mars.

Roy Batty
2005-Feb-10, 08:33 PM
In the biography of Marie Curie, after her husband Pierre has died, always brings tears to my eyes when i've read that passage.

I once got so immersed reading Lucifer's Hammer as a teenager that I looked up at the TV news & wondered why they were talking about something mundane when a comet was about to hit the Earth :o 8)

2005-Feb-10, 09:52 PM
I always liked the diamond mountain on Europa in 2063. The scene described when the expedition gets out of their ship is rather impressive. (Don't really feel like spoiling it and I don't know how the spoiler tags work. Just go read 2063.)[/i]

2005-Feb-10, 10:15 PM
I'm not quite sure it counts as scifi but Roland burying his adopted son, Jake, near the end of The Dark Tower series was rough, the way Oy said goodbye to Jake was even worse.

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-11, 12:43 AM
Yeah, it counts.

(I liked the first book in the series... But IMO the second one was pretty bad, and bringing back Jake in the third one was stupid - having the kid die showed what sort of guy Roland was: the sort that would do anything to attain some lofty and perhaps impossible goal, but by no means a "nice guy".)

2005-Feb-11, 03:01 AM
We talking imagery or emotional reaction? I sorta thought about scenes in books that really gave me that "you are there" feeling -- or that were so elegantly described you felt you could see them.

Whatever it might be, here's few items I remember, in no particular order;

The moment the lights come on in Rama.

The moment when the Time Traveller has the full and aweful realization of the panoply of war spread across the inner face of the Morlock's sphere.

Out of the field, but the trudge across the ice in Night Without End, and the fire in the nuclear sub in Ice Station Zebra. Any of Hillerman's descriptions of the American Southwest, or John D. MacDonald's descriptions of the Florida coast...or the set-piece description of Circus Circus as seen by a man in the depths of an ether binge.

The Zardalu, who by all rights should seem ridiculous...and don't.

My Narnia is the dreamlike scenes of Dawn Treader; the quiet avenue of trees with the mysterious thumping sounds, or Richipeep paddling out over the shallow seas at the edge of the world. These scenes are so clear it is as if I dreamt them myself.

And Amafi at Gununga-gap? Maybe. But what I remember most is the legend carved into the granite of City Hall; "We also mow lawns."

2005-Feb-11, 04:50 AM
a nit to pick and utter agreement at the same time.

Reepicheep and the seas of the East are, to me, some of the most soothing images in all of literature.

did you know, btw, that they changed the outcome of the encounter w/the Dark Island in the American version--because C. S. Lewis didn't want it to be "just a dream"? he wanted it to be real, but something they could escape.

glen chapman
2005-Feb-11, 12:20 PM
So many great momments already mentioned

Rama - when the hero throws the flair into the darkened cylinder.

Jaws - When the shark noses the bait and you hear the ratchet click on the fishing line.

Starship trooper - when the ships breaking up. Lead characters pod launches successfully - the pod next to them crashes due to explosion just at the point of launch

Star Trek films - First time the ship goes to Warp

Opening scene of Star Wars - the first ship is wow - then the next one is OMG lol

Footfall -The novel...When the Americans nuke Kansas to get rid of the Aliens.

Lost In Space - series...No serious, this scene always spooks me. An episode where Will and Doctor Smith go into the future and find the abandon wreck of the Jupiter 2. Smith goes down the elevator to check the lower deck He comes straight back up, obviously in shock and the blood drained from his face

Will asked. "What did you find down there."

Doctor Smith replied. "There is no down there."

I believe it was the best delivered line in the series - those who remember it, will know what I mean lol

2005-Feb-11, 08:32 PM
Oddly enough, my Footfall moment comes when rain falls in Death Valley. It's both a poignently painfull destruction of something fragile and beautiful, and a big moment of character change that will ultimately touch everyone.

That, and the launch; "God was knocking, and he wanted IN!"

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-12, 12:07 AM
- From Pullman's The Amber Spyglass:

Marisa Coulter, heartless and fearless agent of the Magisterium, fighting desparately to save the life of her daughter.

Lyra leaving her daemon behind to cross into the world of the dead.

Lyra's actual journey through the world of the dead.

Coulter seeing the old, decrepit angel in the Clouded Mountain. I suspect that, if I were more religious, that scene would have shocked me out of my skin...

2005-Feb-12, 09:21 AM
The World at the End of Time (I think that's the title): Wan To throwing stars around like toy balls, the humans finding that their particular bunch of stars is accelerating to relativistic speeds...

Ringworld The formation of the Fist of God mountain....

The Autumn of the Gun Nathan Stone's final showdown, saving the son he never knew he had

The Mountain Valley War The (non)showdown between Lance Killkenny and Cain Brockman

Evolution The descendent of humankinds Mars Von-Neuman machines meeting the final descendent of humanity....

2005-Feb-12, 10:32 PM
The Asguard Run, by Steve Vance, where Treacher kills the alien. That scene always stuck with me, even when I had forgotten the name of the book. It was quite sad.

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-13, 02:19 AM
Mike Alexander: You really ought to put "WARNING: SPOILERS" in massive red letters at the beginning of this thread... :lol:

Massive edit: Bahh... had to get rid of huge spoilers, so I'll just say the whole of The Amber Spyglass (the third book of His Dark Materials). I don't think I've ever seen such an incredibly absorbing series of books before. When I finally put down the third book, I felt like I'd physically lost something... It was as though the characters had taken up their own lives in my head or something. :o

mike alexander
2005-Feb-13, 03:02 AM
One difference between a good read and a great story is that the story gets better on rereading.

And these aren't spoilers, they're appetizers...

2005-Feb-13, 09:44 PM
am I the only person who thought that His Dark Materials was good, but not great? (I'm not real fond of the Lemony Snicket books, either; they felt like they were trying too hard to be creative and funny.)

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-13, 09:50 PM
Yes. :lol:

Okay, I'm kidding... Yes, there are plenty of people out there like you. Each to his/her own...

(FYI, I happened to think The Scarlet Pimpernel was a load of garbage, so I guess we're even. :lol: )

2005-Feb-13, 10:45 PM
Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins, the way he brings inanimate objects to life (a philosophising can of beans, a painted stick, dirty sock, spoon and conch shell). One can't help but picture the scenes involving these objects. Pudding being eaten from a spoon's perspective... :lol:

Along these lines as well, works by Carl Hiaasen. One recurring character in some works, an ex-governor who feeds on road-kill. In the novel Skin Tight, a bouncer/hitman loses a hand, a less then competant plastic surgeon replaces the appendage with a weed-whacker... :lol:

2005-Feb-14, 04:45 AM
I always loved the descriptive lines by Douglas Adams, one of my favorites being:
"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't." I've never understood how something that can't really be imagined can be such a good description :)

Also Philip K Dick's novels have had some good emotional impact, "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said" and "A Scanner Darkly" being two of my personal favorites. I'm really worried about the ASD movie that is planned for release later this year, and was even more worried when I found the lead was going to be played by Keanu Reeves :cry:

2005-Feb-14, 06:16 AM
Most of "I Have No Mouth Yet I Must Scream" leaves some downright creepy images behind.

Near the ending of Clarke's "Songs of Distant Earth" where the departing starship is visible as a second magnitude star for a generation or more from the surface of Thalassa.

The scene in "2001" when Dave 'kills' HAL. I truly feel sorry for the computer.

When I was but a mere child, I remember seeing Star Trek III and watching Genesis self-destruct, then spent the ensuing couple of months terrified every time I heard a plane fly overhead at night, believing the world was falling apart. Then again, I was easily impressed upon when I was a kid, too.

Long March
2005-Feb-14, 12:43 PM
Gilianren wrote:
am I the only person who thought that His Dark Materials was good, but not great? (I'm not real fond of the Lemony Snicket books, either; they felt like they were trying too hard to be creative and funny.)

No, there are at least two of us out there, and I suspect quite a few more than that.
Those books have a lot going for them, but consistently promise more than they can deliver - all those good ideas, none really developed properly. It ends up seeming like a form of laziness, or showing off.

2005-Feb-14, 06:05 PM
While I was watching Jurassic Park last night I thought of another couple of moments that really grabbed me.

When the girl and the boy were eating in the dining room, and the girl sees the shadow of the velociraptor behind the wall, the terrified look on her face and the way she (and the Jell-O) shakes is priceless.

When the velociraptors were in the kitchen, and the one velociraptor's toe claw is tapping in anticipation of the kill, it really made the velociraptors seem like real creatures.

mike alexander
2005-Feb-15, 08:15 PM
Although overall Jurassic Park fails for me as plot (just Westworld in the Jungle, where Nothing Can Possibly Go Worng), There is one scene that absolutely captures the sense of wonder. Sitting in the park in the jeep, Grant is babbling when Sattler looks up and starts plucking at his shoulder, and eventually he looks up and sees the brachiosaurus and all the other dinos.

While that is a fine scene, what makes my eyes wet each time is when Grant finally recovers his voice and manages to say "They DO travel in herds..." It's the coupling of the cosmic to the human reaction that does it for me.

2005-Feb-15, 08:26 PM
One moment from Jurassic Park that gets me is the scene where the kids have run into the kitchen, are waiting in terror, see the raptor through the window in the door, and then watch as the door handle turns--they've learned to use door handles. That is frightening. And they are undoubtedly the envy of every dog I know. :wink:

2005-Feb-15, 09:11 PM
in Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold, the moment when Leo sees his first quaddie. it's not awe-inspiring, but it catches you every time.

in The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley, the moment when Aerin first sees the dragon Maur.

in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, the moment when Arthur works out what's different about Fenchurch.

the battle between Death and Mort in Mort.

Gullible Jones
2005-Feb-16, 02:37 AM
The moment when Arthur Dent learns to fly in Life, the Universe, and Everything. Or the scene just before that, with Agrajag... Pure unfettered brilliance. But what the heck, just about everything in the Hitchhiker's Trilogy is great...

The Rimbaud-based descriptions of space^3 in Cordwainer Smith's stories.

More Cordwainer Smith stuff...

- The Lady Who Sailed the Soul. Yes, the whole story... Absolutely beautiful.

- From Gustible's Planet. Remember all those old stories where the aliens decided we humans were tasty? Well, they weren't quite right... :lol:

- Scanners Live in Vain, his first published story. Weird and kind of creepy...

The meeting with Vanamonde in Clarke's Against the Fall of Night.