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Which is your favorite - Eric's House Of Ego
July 16th, 2008
12:55 pm

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Which is your favorite
I'e been delving into my past, going back and re-reading some of my favorite books, mostly SF and Fantasy. One of the things that I really dearly love are what I call displaced earthman books. Probably the best known example is the John Carter Of Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. My favorite is the Carson Of Venus books by ERB. What I like best about him is that he isn't some perfect specimen of humanity. While brilliant, he's a screwup, and still is the hero.

So, is there anyone else out there who loves this sub-genre, and if so what are your favorites?

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From:barondave
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
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I just reread two Heinlein juvies, Tunnel in the Sky and Citizen of the Galaxy. Decades later, they still hold up. If anything's dated it's the idealism and nascent feminism. Much of Andre Norton fits in this category. On a slightly different twist, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court by Twain and Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.

If you like imperfect Terrans, both Poul Anderson and Harlan Ellison wrote books entitled Earthman Go Home!.

Still, if you're going to force me into one choice (which you're not), I'll semi-randomly pick Options by Robert Sheckley. Or perhaps Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles or...

I'll also put in a plug for Farscape along these lines, though it's not a book.
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From:gamerchick
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
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Doomsday Book! One of my all-time favorites.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
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I HATE The Doomsday Book ... too aptly named for my tastes
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From:shsilver
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
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Agreed. The history of it is all wrong and the screwball comedy of the twenty-first century doesn't work for me.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)
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I haven't read many of these, but Martian Chronicles doesn't fit into this at all, not even close.

Farscape is an interesting choice though, I still haven't watched any of it, but from what I know it could certainly fit.
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From:barondave
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
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If Martian Chronicles doesn't fit into the category of "displaced Earthmen" than I don't understand the question at all, and will duck out now.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
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Carson Of Venus and John Carter Of Mars, (and an argument could be made even for The Doomsday Book, but I would argue against it) are displaced earthman books, Martian Chronicles is straight up SF.

I could see an argument made for MC, but it's lacking the displacement factor for me and the adventure factor. The reasoning being someone who has to go and co-exist in a completely alien world. We're talking more high adventure sort of books, which is really not the point of The Martian Chronicles. Let me give a longer list to see if this makes more sense as I may just not be being clear.

JC of Mars
C of Venus
Lin Carter's Callisto and Green Star books (great cheese both of them)
Vance's Tschai - Planet Of Adventure books
The Gor books (even though I can't stand them)
From:mike46
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
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Michael Moorcock did a series as well, Kane of Old Mars, which was basically JC of Mars, with a smidge most sci-fi thrown into the mix.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
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Ya know, it's sitting right here on my desk (and is the series that got me interested in SF and Fantasy several 100 years ago) so you think I could put that on the list ... but NOOOOOOO, I spaced it.
From:mike46
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
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It's not as good as ERB, but I like it better than Lin Carter.

The first 3 Gor books were good ... I've reread 'The Priest Kings of Gor' probably 10 times now. For some reason I just love that one.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
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I like the Kane books better than I like John Carter, but not as much as I like Carson. I love the Jandar books, just cause they're great cheese.
From:mike46
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
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Change 'most' to 'more'...
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Did already
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From:bammba_m
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
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i guess i'm confused on what you're looking for. does something like hitchhiker's guide count? or is that a comedy? or is it straight up SF/F? Is the Discworld series then out because no one in the series is really out-of-their-element?

So would Buck Rogers count? Would Flash Gordon be out because Flash was so perfect? How about Planet of the Apes?

Am i on the right track here? Current (or "current-like") time person put into alternate world/time/reality? (Well, excepting that i seem to be mentioning mostly movies instead of books.)

Edited at 2008-07-16 07:13 pm (UTC)
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
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HHGTTG could fall under this category. Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon definitely, especially the Buck comic strips (which I love), and I could see arguments for Planet Of The Apes absolutely.
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From:bammba_m
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
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Then i think "Expecting Someone Taller" would be near the top of my list. i'm having a difficult time coming up with books in this genre, most of what i read is straight up SF/F.

I would also count "Long Dark Teatime of the Soul" but I can see how it might not strictly qualify.

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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and the "perfect" thing isn't a genre killer, just a preference. I got tired of the teenage power trip "greatest swordsman who ever lived" thing that is prevalent in these sorts of books, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't read a book that had that sort of character in it.

Edited at 2008-07-16 07:17 pm (UTC)
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From:barondave
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
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I'll agree that MC is allegory, science fiction at it's finest, and not skiffy, the fun adventure stuff. People like to read about themselves, so even humans on other planets are really about humans on Earth.

You're looking for books that feature 1) brawn rather than brains and 2) Earthikins who can't go home again, at least until the end of the novel/series.

The first five Gor novels are okay (esp. if you're a young male for whom females are an alien species), and the third one, Priest Kings of God is actually good sf. Once the cycle was completed, he pandered to his horny audience. Soft pore corn comes to skiffy!

I knew Lin Carter, but read very few of his books. On the other hand, I met Vance once and love his work. When I find a copy of The Demon Prince I'm going to read all five in the series.

How about Planet of the Apes, book not movie (though the first movie might fit)? As above Tunnel In The Sky is one of those. Clarke's A Fall of Moondust though that may be too brainy for your category. Galactic Derelict and other Norton. Maybe even Niven's Ringworld. These aren't sword-swishing bodice-rippers, but they have Terrans who can't get home and have to fight for survival. Well, maybe not the Clarke...




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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm re-reading the Demon Prince novels again right now. One of my favorite bunches of books ever.

And brainy doesn't disqualify a book, but the sort of books I am talking about tend to be ... well ... just a little stoopid.

I think that Ringworld would fit, and it is something I need to get around to at some point.
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From:gamerchick
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
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It's not a book, but I fucking love Farscape, which is a perfect TV example of this genre. If you haven't seen it, it's very much worth your while to hunt up the DVDs and do so.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
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BOY they're expensive (and mostly out of print, or at least the first season)

Edited at 2008-07-16 07:16 pm (UTC)
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From:gamerchick
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
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I don't know if P2P is your thing, but I initially was able to use it to get all the episodes fairly easily. Then got the seasons as imports from Australia where they were ridiculously cheap thanks to the exchange rate at the time. Netflix probably has the show as well.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
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I don't do P2P really. I'm going to hit a couple of used stores tomorrow I think ... we'll see if I can track them down. They have been on the list for awhile now.
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From:jerusha
Date:July 16th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
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I own the complete series. I'm sure long-term loans could be... negotiated. (Of course I have to figure out the relative values of returning someone's songbook promptly as opposed to, um. Mislaying it. In a terrible accident.)
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
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HEY HEY HEY HEY !!!

I would gladly return it as soon as I see either of you ... it's not MY fault that you don't come to Iowa ... and it wasn't me who put it in my songbook ... it was some red-headed twit guitarist.
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From:jerusha
Date:July 17th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
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The first release is OOP; they've been supplanted by the "Starburst Series", which a) have more goodies/extras (although the overlap is incomplete, grr argh) and b) are cheaper.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 17th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
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Season one of the Starburst Series is also out of print and is darn pricey from the resellers
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From:rsmit212
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
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I do love the John Carter series. :) Another I enjoy is The Foreigner Series by C. J. Cherryh. Human colonists set down on a world to aid in repairing their ship after an accident in space. Human translator gets embroiled into the political machinations of the native species who consider assassination as a normal, viable part of negotiation. Not quite the swashbuckling of the Carter novels, but enjoyable none the less.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
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I think I will put the first one of those on my list, just to see if I like it. I haven't like other books by Cherryh, but at this point I can't remember why, it's been too long.
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From:rsmit212
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
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Most of her other books I've tried I just couldn't get into. This pulled me in.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
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Looking at Wikipedia, I think it was "The Pride of Chanur", which I have a vague memory of not finishing.
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From:shsilver
Date:July 16th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
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I also prefer the Carson of Venus books to the Carter of Mars books.

And his whole adventure was the result of a screwup. Getting to Venus by mistake when he set out for Mars.
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From:billroper
Date:July 16th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC)
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It's a comic book, not prose, but Adam Strange has always been one of my favorites in the displaced earthman genre. And I think his entire run in Mystery In Space is now available in Archive editions. :)

(I remember suggesting that DC publish these some years ago when I was talking to Bob Wayne at one con or another. He said he didn't think there was a market for them. Maybe there wasn't at that time...)
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, that would fit in perfectly ... there was another comic character who fit as well, but I can't think of the name ... it was pure displaced earthman stuff ...

Oh, and the Atom mini-series where he gets REAL small ...
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From:barondave
Date:July 16th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
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Many comic characters are "displaced aliens", from Kal-El to Howard The Duck ("trapped in a world he never made"). The genius of Stan Lee was that most of his characters were displaced humans even though they were still among us.

I also can't immediately think of another Terran comic character trapped on another planet. Would Voyager count? It was pretty dumb.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
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I don't remember exactly, it may not have been a Terran character, but I think it was. High adventure sort of comic, swords and sorcery-esque. It may have been a Marvel character, but I'm not sure.
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From:barondave
Date:July 16th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
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DC did a lot of ERB, including John Carter of Mars as well as various Tarzans and a Pellucidar. It that what you're thinking of?
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Those I would know ... this was something different. I want to think late 70s early 80s.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Warlord ... that was the title I was trying to think of.
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From:billroper
Date:July 16th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
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Is the first one you're thinking of "Star Lord"? (Which also brings to mind the movie "The Last Starfighter"...)

The latter one is "Sword of the Atom". He actually doesn't get that small, but is living with a tribe of tiny people in the Amazon jungle, as I recall.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
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I was thinking he was at some sub-atomic level in that one, but you're right ... I loved that one

and the comic I was trying to think of was Warlord !!!
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From:billroper
Date:July 16th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Ah, ok. But I never counted Skartaris, because it was inside the Earth. :)

Star Lord was originally written by Steve Englehart. Then Chris Claremont got hold of it and turned it into wild space opera, which was tremendous fun.

Claremont took another run at the displaced Earthman theme with the Starjammers, who he introduced while writing the X-Men. In this case, the displaced Earthman was Cyclops' dad...
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 16th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
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I would count it as a displaced earthman environment, just like I would Pellucidar.
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From:jcw_da_dmg
Date:July 17th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
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My fave displaced Earthman has always been Arthur Dent.
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From:ericcoleman
Date:July 17th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
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Bamm mentioned HHGTTG earlier ... not exactly what I am thinking about, yet still a perfect example
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