Our sister site Literature Stack Exchange is shutting down on May 4th due to a lack of activity.

There is some overlap between the two sites: written SF is on-topic on both. So there are questions on Literature that could be migrated here and remain on the Internet.

What questions should we request? Obvious candidates are found on the science-fiction and fantasy tags. There are SF questions without these tags too; in particular, look for tags that are SF authors' names. Note however that not all questions are suitable to be migrated; in particular, Literature allows recommendation requests whereas we do not.

I propose to list migration candidates here so we can discuss them, then point a Literature moderator at this thread before the site closes.

Well the good news is we only have a little over 400 questions to look through. – OghmaOsiris Apr 25 '12 at 22:07

These are the candidates the lit mods have identified for a possible move over here. We tried to keep it to the higher-quality questions. Please hit me up on chat if you have any questions!


Why is the timeline of Catch-22 all messed up?

Even at the beginning of the book the events in Catch-22 are not in chronological order; instead they are mixed up in a seemingly random order. ...

What is the first SF-story?

I know that defining a genre like science fiction is hard, it's borders are no fine line. So I'm happy with an answer that says: if you count this book to sf it was first, otherwise this other book.

What is the best order to read the discworld novels?

I know there is some level of continuity between the discworld books by Terry Pratchett despite the fact that they are not published in order. I would also love suggestions on what series to start with; ie. the Rincewind books or the city watch books etc?

Why does each volume in the Lord of the Rings contain two books?

General reference

In the His Dark Materials trilogy, what is Dust?

General reference


How long did Marvin the robot live?

In The Hitchhicker's Guide trilogy, Marvin ends up living for a very long time. How long does he live before he finally dies?

In Dick's “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, is Deckard a replicant?

I have watched different versions the movie and read the book a number of times, and I still can't decide: was Deckard a replicant? ...

Recommended order for the Larry Niven “of Worlds” books?

I just finished Larry Niven's Destroyer of Worlds then picked up Betrayer of Worlds and Fleet of Worlds at the library. A quick check of the dust jacket synopsis doesn't clue me in as to which order I should read them in, and since they are both prequels to Ringworld, I'm not sure the publishing date is a sure indicator of the story's timeline. What order should I read them in?

In C.S. Lewis' Narnia stories, how was “Calormen/Calormene” originally pronounced?

I grew up pronouncing them "CAL-er-men" and "CAL-er-mean", but I've increasingly heard "cuh-LOR-men" for both instead, which I like better. Did C. S. Lewis ever say which he used, or does someone (such as Douglas Gresham, his step-son) remember him pronouncing the words?

Harry Dresden Item Descriptions

I am working on creating a Harry Dresden costume. As such, I need the descriptions from the series for the following items (I can't find them): Silver rings Blasting Rod Staff Shield Bracelet Bob's Skull (I think it's just a basic skull, not sure though) ...

What happened in the 7th level?

In the book Last Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, the seventh level of the gloom (or twilight) seemed to contain ghosts or something, but I never truly understood what was going on. What happened in the seventh level of the gloom?

In the Dresden Files, how did Harry's dad die?

I was researching the Dresden Files, and I know that the TV series doesn't follow the books very well. One subject was Harry's father and his death. In the books, how did Harry's dad die?

What is the earliest literary appearance of zombies?

I guess I have no doubt that zombies are part of the human imagination, and that they would simply spring up in our dreams even if we'd never heard of them. But I'd still like to know what the earliest known written appearance of the zombie is. I want to know if it was in a short story, someone's diary, an historical account, et cetera. Someone must have studied this, right?

What are the major themes in Foundation?

I'm not very good at discerning themes from books, but one of the ones that I picked up from Foundation went something like this: "a culture that stops learning is doomed to fail." What major themes exist in Foundation?

Average lifespan of a demigod in Percy Jackson & The Olympians

How long can demigods live? Daedalus lived for thousands of years... by making a discovery for immortality, like Nicholas Flamel? Circe lived for thousands of years... by using magic? Or is she a minor god? Anyone else?

In what order should Tolkien's writings on Middle-earth be read?

I've already read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which I assume would be the best start in any case. I also got about halfway through The Silmarillion several years ago and am quite familiar with the legendarium as a whole, but for the sake of argument let's assume I'm starting from scratch. What is the best order for a budding scholar of Middle-earth to read Tolkien's books?

Which of the three endings to Stephenson's “Anathem” is “definitive”?

Near the end of Anathem, the story posits three different "world lines" ...

Which of Steve Perry's novels prominently feature the “Siblings of the Shroud”?

I know there is a list on Wikipedia of the books in the "Matador series", but I'm primarily interested in the society/pseudo-religion "The Siblings of the Shroud" explored mainly in "The 97th Step". Has this group appeared as anything more than cameos in any of his other books?

In S. M. Stirling's Emberverse series, is it ever revealed what actually caused “The Change”?

I have only read one book in the series, "Dies the Fire", but found myself frustrated that the underlying cause of "The Change" was not revealed and thus did not continue with the series. Is the cause ever revealed? If so, in which book?

What is the chronological reading order for following the character “Drizzt” in the Forgotten Realms series of books?

The series of books by R. A. Salvatore featuring the Dark Elf Drizzt has at least twenty published books in it. I know the Icewind Dale Trilogy was the first published, but it starts with Drizzt already on the surface world (Dark Elves live underground). ...

I like this list but don't think "What are the major themes in Foundation?" would be a good fit here. We don't have much analysis on this site, and it usually devolves into a bunch of 'me too!' answers. – user1027 Apr 25 '12 at 20:27
Thanks! Most look good (but I haven't checked for duplicates). The ones that don't: How is Catch-22 SF? LOTR books is well-covered on WP, we'd close as general reference. First SF story is non-constructive. Discworld order: not sure, we already have one. – user56 Apr 25 '12 at 20:39
Since your comment has a bunch of upvotes, I'll go ahead with the migration according to those recommendations. I would say the Discworld questions are different enough to coexist, but I'll wait for a more solid decision before moving that one. – ladenedge Apr 26 '12 at 14:34
@Gilles: "LOTR books is well-covered on WP.." - does this include the order of Tolkien's Middle Earth books question? – ladenedge Apr 26 '12 at 14:44
@ladenedge No, I we'd close the 6 volumes question as GR. The reading order question is fine. As for the Discworld question, I am involved in it, so please let others chime in. – user56 Apr 26 '12 at 20:12
Is there a reason we don't engage in more analysis here? It is proscribed or is it preferred we only research materials that have been written about before and quote them as authoritative or canon? – Thaddeus Howze Apr 27 '12 at 17:25

A few more, courtesy of Pearsonartphoto:


What are the revisions in the (Revised Edition) of The Hobbit?

So this past Saturday a group of my friends and I all watched the three Lord of the Rings extended edition movies in one sitting. ...

How long did Frodo and Sam take?

How long did it take for Frodo and Sam to get from the Shire to Mount Doom in Mordor and drop the ring in?

Is Lord of the Rings extolling the ordinary or casting it off?

In Shadows of Imagination, Clyde S. Kilby asserts that The Lord of the Rings joins the high art of the world in revealing the significance, even the glory, of the ordinary At the same time, in his 1966 paper "The Moral Universe of J. R. R. Tolkien," David M. Miller declares that it rejects the minutia of every day life Are these two viewpoints necessarily contradictory?


A few more, courtesy of Travis Christian:


What are some novels that detail the re-emergence of civilization after some catastrophic event?

(Pretty sure you don't take book recommendations, so this one is probably no good.)

I'm looking for novels dealing with building a new world long after civilization is wiped out. Not the typical post-apocalyptic story about the surviving remnant, like Emberverse, but a long-term "history" where there is little to nothing left of the old world and civilization has started again from scratch.


The Silmarillion — Different versions?

I just read about the book The Silmarillion and thought I'd like to buy it, but I'm a little confused about the different versions that I found. ...

What role does Radagast the Brown play in “The Hobbit”?

Having heard that Sylvester McCoy is slated to play the role of Radagast the Brown in the upcoming film adaptations of "The Hobbit", I am wondering what role this character actually plays in those events?

Indeed, I think the Silmarilion and Radagast questions are fine, but no to the recommendation question. – user56 Apr 26 '12 at 21:59

Another batch, this time from Adele C:


What are some of the earliest known dystopian stories?

Is this one too book-recommendationy?

I am a fan of "The Machine Stops" by Forster (1909) but was wondering if there are any dystopian stories from even earlier than 1909?

In the Dragonlance series of books, which are considered canonical?

This massive list chronicles all of the published Dragonlance books. When I was younger I read many of them, including the Preludes and Preludes II sets, as well as the Chronicles Trilogy. I've even read the set that has Caramon travel back and forward in time, though I don't remember which those are.


Which Star Wars book series takes place immediately after Episode 6?

Having read very little Star Wars fiction, yet being a fan of the series, I've decided after watching a Star Wars marathon of all of the movies that I'd start reading the novels to continue the story. Which book/series should I start with to continue the adventures of Luke Skywalker and company?

Skip both of the Undecideds, one is book recommendation, the other has a dupe here. – user1027 May 1 '12 at 15:00
@Gilles I couldn't find the dupe for the Dragonlance question. I found two reading order questions, but no duplicate. – Kalamane May 3 '12 at 22:18
@Keen see Kalamane's comment. What's the dupe? – user56 May 3 '12 at 22:25
@Gilles Admittedly, I don't read Dragonlance books, but this answer to the reading order question seemed to cover the ground thoroughly of things that are canon. It goes the extra mile and mentions that some things are ret-conned by later books. – user1027 May 3 '12 at 22:56
@Keen Thanks. I feel that canonicity is not very well-defined anyway (making the question non-constructive) when there isn't a clear central authority (which to my uninformed eye Dragonlance doesn't have). – user56 May 3 '12 at 23:05


These have all been migrated. (NB: I changed the titles on the last two, as they were pretty non-descriptive.) – ladenedge May 2 '12 at 3:19
Thanks for taking the time to organize all of this, btw - it's great that you're welcoming all of these questions! – ladenedge May 2 '12 at 3:25
ok, the updated list has been migrated – DForck42 May 4 '12 at 13:43

A question I asked (http://literature.stackexchange.com/questions/1279/almost-hard-science-fiction-with-magic-or-hard-science-fantasy) was closed here, had four votes to reopen, then was migrated, and got some additional good answers. I'd like to see it back here, but I understand if it's too list-like.

it's a book recommendation question, whiuch is off-topic on sci-fi – DForck42 May 2 '12 at 17:14
@DForck42 - There was some discussion in the comments (now deleted) about whether or not this type of recommendation (which one could view as genre identification) was or was not problematic. It's definitely not a "please tell me your favorite cyberpunk books" type of question. I understand if it's not migrated, but I don't think it's clearly of the type that the "no book recommendations" rule is meant to limit. – Rex Kerr May 2 '12 at 17:29
It's more of a subgenre definition question, which we also have a blanket ban of in our faq (because they all turned out to be sterile arguments about which label to apply to which work). – user56 May 2 '12 at 20:03
@Gilles - It's somewhere in between, but I agree that being between two types of question neither of which is particularly acceptable is not a good formula for an acceptable question. – Rex Kerr May 2 '12 at 20:19

Flagged to Migrate:



Questions to not migrate

It would make for a better workflow if the flaggers posted on this thread instead of flagging. If it's a crowd you know, could you ask them to post here instead? – user56 Apr 27 '12 at 20:37
They all look ok (except that I haven't checked for duplicates), except for one list question which is a definite no, and I'm not sure about the Arthur one. But please wait for other eyes (give us at least one day) before migrating anything. – user56 Apr 27 '12 at 20:45
1 is a sort of dupe of a scifi question asking for reading order. 4 is a list question, so don't migrate it. I'm skeptical that 6 will work here given its subjective nature. The rest look good to me. – user1027 Apr 27 '12 at 20:49
@Keen Actually the creation myth one isn't a list question. It's very sublte but they're actually asking if and which creation myths Tolkien based his story off of. It just needs to be edited to read as such instead of a list question (TML's answer is very good) – DForck42 Apr 27 '12 at 21:05
@DForck42 While it may not use the exact words 'list some examples of X', it is asking for exactly that, and that's what its answers have provided. – user1027 Apr 27 '12 at 21:09
@Keen The creation myth question is asking about what inspired Tolkien. Two of the answers are non-answers (not related to Tolkien), we'd remove them if Lit doesn't remove them first. But the question is a good one, and on-topic here. It is not a list question at all (the title could use an edit to make this clear). I think it should be migrated. – user56 May 1 '12 at 18:09
@DForck42 Can you re-migrate the creation myth one? – user1027 May 1 '12 at 18:32
@keen completed ;) – DForck42 May 1 '12 at 18:37
Since we're reconsidering things (coughcough), I'd still like to see the Arthur question migrated. "Definitive" may be a problematic word (though I don't personally think it is with regard to the Arthur legend), but the excellent answer (hah) does have some academic backup. Either way, thanks for the consideration. :-) – ladenedge May 2 '12 at 3:24

Please migrate


No love for Arthur! Le'Morte and TOAFK are both in the fantasy section of bookstores, no? They seem prototypical to me. :-( – ladenedge May 2 '12 at 3:35
The two questions (George Orwell) are clearly on-topic and should be migrated! I would also migrate the Harry Potter question, as it is, as you say, on-topic and has good answers. – bitmask May 3 '12 at 21:36
Looks like @DForck42 completed these earlier this morning. Thanks again, Gilles. – ladenedge May 4 '12 at 14:59

How about everything in the Fantasy and Science Fiction tags and then review after migration in the normal way of all questions and answers (some might be left closed as duplicates for SEO, etc.).


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