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Author Topic: James P. Hogan
Szymon
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Well, I read one of his novels recently. It was the Voyage from Yesteryear and liked it a lot. But there was one thing that bothered me a little. It was a utopia that, quite surprisingly, didn't change into dystopia, as it usually does. I really like this kind of sociological-kind of books, and it also had a quite well developed character.

But, my point, I wanted to read more of his books. Then checked Hogan on wikipedia and he seems to be a little weird. My first question- are all of his books such naive utopias? My second question- which would you recommend?

Don't get me wrong, I like this anarchist point of view, but I just wouldn't like another utopia of the same kind. I reached an age that I just don't read everything...

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Kwea
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From his Wikki....can't link to it as the bard here won't let me...



quote:
In his later years, Hogan's views tended towards those widely considered "fringe" or pseudoscientific. He was a proponent of Immanuel Velikovsky's version of catastrophism,[4] and of the hypothesis that AIDS is caused by pharmaceutical use rather than HIV (see AIDS denialism).[5] He criticised the theory of evolution,[6] though he didn't propose theistic creationism as an alternative. Hogan was skeptical of the theories on climate change and ozone depletion.[7]
Hogan also espoused the idea that the Holocaust didn't happen in the manner described by mainstream historians, writing that he found the work of Arthur Butz and Mark Weber to be "more scholarly, scientific, and convincing than what the history written by the victors says."[8] Such theories were seen by many[who?] to contradict his views on scientific rationality; he repeatedly stated that these theories held his attention due to the high quality of their presentation — a quality he believed established sources should attempt to emulate, rather than resorting to attacking their originators.[citation needed]
In March 2010, in an essay defending Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, Hogan stated that the mainstream history of the Holocaust includes "claims that are wildly fantastic, mutually contradictory, and defy common sense and often physical possibility."[9]


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Szymon
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Yeah, well, that's what I read. Do any of you know any particular good novel of his?
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iglee
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Yes Szymon, I do know of some good James P. Hogan novels.

But first just let me say this. Wiki can be a little misleading. No surprise there. I do not think Hogan was weird. He was an iconoclast, sure, well anyway if you want to get a glimpse of his attitude read the following link. It is his introduction to his book "Kicking the Sacred Cow: Heresy and Impermissible Thoughts in Science" (2004) :

http://www.jamesphogan.com/books/info.php?titleID=37&cmd=background

I have been a fan of James P. Hogan since I read his first novel soon after it was published - "Inherit the Stars." I've read pretty much all of his stuff since then. I haven't always been comfortable with some of his ideas expressed in his novels, but hey, the same goes for some of the ideas expressed by Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Niven, Butler, Le Guin, Crichton, and a bunch of others. I've lost count of the times I've been yanked out of my comfort zone.

(Orson Scott Card has written that Speculative Fiction may be the only genre of literature in which one can get away with writing about any subject.)

I know Hogan has gotten some bad press, but as near as I have been able to tell, that bad press has NOT been about his ability as a good story teller but because he has not always been politically correct - he has sometimes challenged scientific dogma. And of course that brands him as a heretic.

So I say: if a controversial ideas pisses a person off, he or she has no business reading Spec Fic. Or maybe they ought to read more of it. I don't know.

Not only that but in the following obituary of Hogan, I could not help but wonder if Steve Holland had even read anything by Hogan.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/aug/05/james-p-hogan-obituary

Holland wrote ". . . His Minervan Experiment series began with Inherit the Stars (1977), in which an oversized humanoid skeleton is discovered on the moon."

Steve Holland was wrong! It was a normal sized, totally human mummy in a space suit - which had been on the moon for 50,000 years.

At any rate, then starts a scientific investigation into the mystery - complete with some really cool gadgets which I wish we had. And some cool ideas about the history of the solar system.

(Hey, how do you like how I segued into a discussion of Hogan's novels?)

I really liked his five "Giants" novels. Especially the first three, "Inherit the Stars" (1977), "The Gentle Giants of Ganymede" (1978),and "Giants' Star" (1981). But if you want a lot of car chases and stuff exploding you’ll be disappointed. Although there is some political intrigue in "Giants' Star"

4 and 5 are worth reading too: 4. "Entoverse" (1991) and 5. "Mission to Minerva" (2005)

And then there is "Bug Park" (1997). Imagine a really cool video game sort of thing in which you can neurally interface with and control miniature armored suits and battle real carnivorous bugs out in the garden. Here is a novel with some teenaged geniuses as the heroes who end up having to use the technology to try to save the protagonist's inventor father from being murdered and robbed of his patents.

I actually wrote to Hogan several years ago and asked him why that book hadn't been made into a movie. We exchanged email for a couple of months and talked about SF and power plants, and other stuff. I told him how much I enjoyed the irony expressed by two of his characters in "The Two Faces of Tomorrow" (1979) and in "The Mirror Maze" (1989)

In "The Mirror Maze" it was a crusty old lawyer who liked to wear a flower in his lapel and then would shock people by saying stuff like, "We wear and display the sexual organs of another species, and consider them things of beauty, but consider the display of our own obscene."

I really liked "The Mirror Maze" but if the concept of free enterprise pisses you off, don't read it. It's a political intrigue thriller set in the (then) near future of the 2000 US
A presidential campaign in which the presidential candidate of a new political party called the Constitutional Party is running for office. And about what lengths the entrenched powers that be will stoop to prevent it.

But I really liked the other mentioned novel better "The Two Faces of Tomorrow." It is about a computer that controls the world wide network that becomes self aware. What lengths will it go to protect itself? A sort of HAL 9000 on steroids. I know this is a fairly common plot in SF, what with the Terminator Sky Net thing and Clarke's Space Odyssey and "Short Circuit", etc. But it is different and quite well done. A good read. I also asked Mr. Hogan why that one hadn't also been made into a movie.

Another good one is "The Proteus Operation" (1985). The story starts out on a US nuclear sub in 1975 (or was it 1977, I forget) with some commandos just returning from a covert mission into Nazi Germany. WWII is still going on with the USA against the Nazis who control pretty much the rest of the world (And if you don't know that WWII ended in 1945 I've lost you already. ) So anyway it is an alternate history/ time travel novel with enough twists to make Chubby Checker happy.

Hogan wrote several novels with time travel type things going on. I really liked "Thrice Upon a Time" (1980) Imagine if you could communicate with another version of yourself form a different time period. What are the implications? Can you prevent world wide disaster? Or worse, will you screw up your chances of getting together with the woman you love?

The novella "Out of Time" (1993) Fun. Worth reading. Its plot is about the physical laws governing time running amok.

"Code of the Lifemaker" (1983) is a fun read about how humans discovers a race of intelligent machines which have evolved on Titan after a robot exploration spaceship from another star crash lands on Titan about a gazillion years ago. The sequel, "The Immortality Option" (1995) is pretty good too.

If I had to pick my favorite Hogan novel, though (aside from "Inherit the Stars." One's first time is always special) it would probably be "The Genesis Machine" (1978). Imagine the process of discovering and developing a new radical technology. Will it change the world for the better or destroy it?

Well, the above mentioned are his novels that I liked enough to read more than once.

I've read all but Hogan's last three novels and most of his short fiction and much of his non fiction. I've enjoyed it all to varying degrees. I can't say I disliked any of it. The following are ones I have read once:

"Cradle of Saturn" (1999) and the sequel "The Anguished Dawn" (2003) If you are uncomfortable with an exploration into some of Immanuel Velikovsky's politically incorrect ideas and the idea of catastrophe theory, and earth getting thwacked by a large celestial object, give these novels a pass.

Here is a little bit about some of his other ones:

"Endgame Enigma" (1987) Near future political/military intrigue about the USA vs. The Soviet Union.

"The Infinity Gambit" (1991) Not SF. About a retired secret agent gone freelance sent to Africa to put the hurts on some bad guys. Thriller, cross/ double cross, political/military intrigue.

"The Multiplex Man" (1992) Reminiscent of "Total Recall" and "The Bourne Identity." Richard Jarrow wakes up in a motel room with no memory of who his is or how he got there. Within a few paragraphs some heavily armed bad guys burst into the room intent on killing him. . .

"Paths to Otherwhere" (1995) Parallel universe stuff

Young adult novel "Outward Bound "(1999) Worth reading

"Martian Knightlife" (2001) Fun.

"Star Child" (1998) Different twist. Poignant. Worth reading. A novelization of one of his short story by the same name.

"Realtime Interrupt" (1995) Political/industrial intrigue. Virtual reality direct interface through the brain. But what happens when you can't disconnect. Reminiscent of the "Matrix" movies and Larry Niven's "Dreampark" novels.

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Kwea
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Iglee - He is a moron. He may be able to write well, but he isn't criticized because he is a bright shining beacon of light against the scientific community, he is flat out wrong. And anyone with even a LITTLE bit of critical thinking skills and a basic foundation in the scientific method can prove this.


He was a Holocaust denier, and defended some of the worst "research" into this type of crap I have ever read. He feels that AIDS isn't caused by HIV, and that it is a man made creation, which is flat out wrong and easily disproved.

Just because someone writes well doesn't make his opinions on anything else valid. If you need proof of that, go read OSC's essays. I love OSC's writing, and have met him IRL. He and his wife were very nice, pleasant, and I was glad to meet them. But I strongly disagree with more than 75% of his essays, and I don't particularly care what his opinion is on most subjects now.

But to say people disliked Hogan because of "political correctness" is not factual, accurate, and is disingenuous. People disliked him because of some of his detestable ideas, and disliked him because they find him intellectually dishonest.

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Kwea
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quote:
More recently, the absence of supporting material in ice-core studies (such as the Greenland Dye-3 and Vostok cores) have removed any basis for the proposition of a global catastrophe of the proposed dimension within the later Holocene period. However, tree-ring expert Mike Baillie would give credit to Velikovsky after disallowing the impossible aspects of Worlds in Collision: "However, I would not disagree with all aspects of Velikovsky's work. Velikovsky was almost certainly correct in his assertion that ancient texts hold clues to catastrophic events in the relatively recent past, within the span of human civilization, which involve the effects of comets, meteorites and cometary dust. . . . But fundamentally, Velikovsky did not understand anything about comets; . . . . He did not know about the hazard posed by relatively small objects . . . . This failure to recognize the power of comets and asteroids means that it is reasonable to go back to Velikovsky and delete all the physically impossible text about Venus and Mars passing close to the earth. . . . In other words, we can get down to his main thesis, which is that the Earth experienced dramatic events from heavenly bodies particularly in the second millennium BC."[40]
Velikovsky's revised chronology has been rejected by nearly all mainstream historians and Egyptologists. It was claimed, starting with early reviewers, that Velikovsky's usage of material for proof is often very selective.[41][42][43] In 1965 the leading cuneiformist Abraham Sachs, in a forum at Brown University, discredited Velikovsky's use of Mesopotamian cuneiform sources.[44] Velikovsky was never able to refute Sachs' attack.[45] In 1978, following the much-postponed publication of further volumes in Velikovsky's Ages in Chaos series, the United Kingdom-based Society for Interdisciplinary Studies organised a conference in Glasgow specifically to debate the revised chronology.[46] The ultimate conclusion of this work, by scholars including Peter James, John Bimson, Geoffrey Gammonn, and David Rohl, was that the Revised Chronology was untenable.[47]. The SIS has continued to publish updates of this ongoing discussion, in particular the work of historian Emmet Sweeney.[48]


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iglee
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Thank you, Kwea, I rest my case. If some author's stuff pisses you off, don't read his stuff. It's all fantasy anyway - including your pet opinions.

But Szymon, if you want to read some good SF stories. Hogan is pretty good.

But if a person wants to read only stuff from authors who share their opinions about stuff - well, good luck.

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Szymon
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Wow, cheers! That was greatly helpful! Cool you exchanged e-mails with him.

Iglee, no, I like reading those whom I don't agree with. For example Mr. Card, just like Kwea.

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Destineer
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His crazy cow book was discussed on here some time back:

http://www.hatrack.com/ubb/main/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=039439#000000

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Stephan
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I enjoyed his three books on time travel and alternate universes. The Proteus Operation took a tired plot and made it really fresh.
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iglee
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Stephan, have you read any Turtledove? I'm a fan of Harry Turtledove but I've never been able to decide if I like his "Guns of the South" or Hogan's "Proteus Operation" best of that particular genre. At any rate, I really get a kick out of the Albert Einstein character in Proteus.
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Stephan
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I use to love Turtledove. Guns of the South is an all time favorite. His newer stuff makes me feel dumb reading it.
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