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Author Topic: Sci-fi book suggestions  (Read 1303 times)
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Canuck
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« on: February 04, 2008, 06:45:48 AM »

I just finished reading The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt.  Great book, I really enjoyed it.  It's sort of a thinking man's sci-fi in my opinion.  That's the kind of sci-fi I'm interested in-I like Sunshine and Gattaca but I don't really care about movies like Aliens.  Any other good sci-fi book recommendations?  I have the first couple of books in the series by Peter Hamilton, The Reality Dysfunction.  I happened to come across someone suggestion the novels by Vernor Vinge such as A Deepness in the Sky and A Fire Upon the Deep.  Would those books appeal to my tastes do you think?
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 01:34:58 PM »

Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

Skip the sequels, however.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2008, 01:42:43 PM »

I loved The Engines of God as well.  I've heard great things about Vinge (and own both books) but haven't read him yet. 

I would absolutely recommend The Reality Dysfunction.  I've read it at least three times (the most recent being this past December).  An amazing work that offers a little bit of something for everybody.

Alastair Reynolds gets a fair amount of praise and would probably be up your alley but I'm not a big fan.  I couldn't get through his Revelation SpaceChasm City, another novel of his, was signficantly better and I did enjoy it but it still had some big problems. 

I'll also recommend Richard K. Morgan's books.  The books are different from those above (ie he doesn't write space opera) but they are still awesome, especially Altered Carbon and Thirteen
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kronovan
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2008, 03:13:05 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on February 04, 2008, 01:42:43 PM

I'll also recommend Richard K. Morgan's books.  The books are different from those above (ie he doesn't write space opera) but they are still awesome, especially Altered Carbon and Thirteen

+1 for Morgan's novels; an excellent new writer in the SciFi genre.

I've always enjoyed Larry Niven's known space novels. In particular; Ringworld, The Ringworld Engineers and Protector. They were written in the 70's but have aged very well, in fact I just reread them last year and enjoyed them as much as I did when I read them in the 80's. Too really see how contemporary they still are, read them and then follow them up by watching the X Files movie to see how Carter blatantly ripped off his ideas. Don't worry though, other than the founding premise the known space series is nothing like an X File / aliens movie.

And if you haven't read it already, by all means read Asimov's Foundation trilogy. That series is really too good to describe in words.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 03:20:36 PM by kronovan » Logged
Booner
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2008, 03:54:44 PM »

The Mars trilogy from Kim Stanley Robinson.
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2008, 11:33:56 PM »

Ever read Neal Stephenson?

Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon are good, though not sci fi in the traditional sense...
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2008, 12:07:36 AM »

A while back I was bored at work and browsing books at Amazon.com.  I started reading this scifi/horror book with the "Search Inside" feature and I can't for the life of me remember what book it was.  The part I read was the start of the first chapter.  Basically it was this guy in a dark storage bay that housed old broken down equipment.  he was looking through it and he heard some voices.  He went to check the voices and it was a Bishop(?) and a couple of workers tinkering with some equipment trying to get it to work.  I believe he was afraid of being caught in the storage bay.  I know its pretty vague, but if anyone has any idea what book that is I would greatly appreciate some help with the title!
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mikeg
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2008, 12:33:48 AM »

Quote from: GatorFavre on February 05, 2008, 12:07:36 AM

A while back I was bored at work and browsing books at Amazon.com.  I started reading this scifi/horror book with the "Search Inside" feature and I can't for the life of me remember what book it was.  The part I read was the start of the first chapter.  Basically it was this guy in a dark storage bay that housed old broken down equipment.  he was looking through it and he heard some voices.  He went to check the voices and it was a Bishop(?) and a couple of workers tinkering with some equipment trying to get it to work.  I believe he was afraid of being caught in the storage bay.  I know its pretty vague, but if anyone has any idea what book that is I would greatly appreciate some help with the title!

I know exactly what book you are describing as I picked it up in B&N and read the first chapter as well.  I can see the cover art pretty plain in my mind.  I WILL remember it and when I do I will report back.  Or I will go to B&N and get that title for you.  I see it ever time I go in there.

Later.
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2008, 04:05:05 AM »

Quote from: mikeg on February 05, 2008, 12:33:48 AM

Quote from: GatorFavre on February 05, 2008, 12:07:36 AM

A while back I was bored at work and browsing books at Amazon.com.  I started reading this scifi/horror book with the "Search Inside" feature and I can't for the life of me remember what book it was.  The part I read was the start of the first chapter.  Basically it was this guy in a dark storage bay that housed old broken down equipment.  he was looking through it and he heard some voices.  He went to check the voices and it was a Bishop(?) and a couple of workers tinkering with some equipment trying to get it to work.  I believe he was afraid of being caught in the storage bay.  I know its pretty vague, but if anyone has any idea what book that is I would greatly appreciate some help with the title!

I know exactly what book you are describing as I picked it up in B&N and read the first chapter as well.  I can see the cover art pretty plain in my mind.  I WILL remember it and when I do I will report back.  Or I will go to B&N and get that title for you.  I see it ever time I go in there.

Later.

That is awesome news! 
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2008, 06:01:39 AM »

Quote from: CrayolaSmoker on February 04, 2008, 01:34:58 PM

Rendezvous with Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

Skip the sequels, however.

+1.  And I'd probably add to that, skip anything else written by Clarke.


I've read every book by Frank Herbert (and most of his short stories), so obviously I'd recommend him.  Dune is great.  The next two books aren't as great as the rest of the series, but it's a high bar.  IMO, God Emperor, Heretics, and Chapterhouse are amazing.  It's a shame Brian Herbert wanted to pretend being an author- you can skip any Dune book not written by Frank Herbert.


My personal favorite author is Gene Wolf.  He's still writing, as well, but his writing is very dense.  The incredible thing about how he writes is you can read it over and over and still find new things.  He's also got to be one of the "tightest" authors I've read: everything in his series weave together very well.  That's another reason his books are great to reread- once you know the character's motivations and why things are happening, you can get a huge insight into the stories.  I'd suggest starting with "Shadow of the Torturer".

Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" is also a fantastic book.

It's also worth picking up some of the greats, like Orison Scott Card ("Enders Game"), Roger Zelazny (highly recommend "Lord of Light" and "Jack of Shadows", and grab his short story works too), and especially Isaac Asimov.  I'm probably missing a lot, but you can only read so much.  It's good to sample stuff from different authors and see which ones appeal to you.
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2008, 06:21:38 PM »

I'd finish up Peter Hamilton's Night Dawn trilogy, unless your burnt out and need a break. I also liked his single book Fallen Dragon and book 1 of Commonwealth Saga (Pandora's Star). I have the 2nd book Judas Unchained but its on hold while I finish the Dune series (100 pages into the last book - Chapterhouse). I'm also reading Asimov's Foundation Trilogy (finished first 2 and have last one to go).

I'd second or third Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon. I also liked Niven/Pournelle's Footfall and Lucifer's Hammer.

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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2008, 06:30:44 PM »

Yeah, Fallon Dragon is a good recommendation since it's one of Hamilton's rare standalones. 
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Simon
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2008, 07:12:36 PM »

Quote from: Canuck on February 04, 2008, 06:45:48 AM

It's sort of a thinking man's sci-fi in my opinion.

I'm not big into sci-fi books but I did really enjoy Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. It poses a lot of great questions and focuses as much on the human relationships as it does the technological part. He came out with a sequel to it last year, Axis, which I didn't know about but will plan on getting.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2008, 07:25:53 PM »

I've got Spin in my "to read" pile.  Hearing that it was character focused is what excited me about it in the first place.  My big issue with a lot of sci-fi is that it too often focuses on ideas at the expense of characterization (which is a big reason I'm not a fan of Reynolds).  That's one of the big reasons why I really enjoyed Engines of God
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Calvin
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2008, 08:13:57 PM »

In my current to-read pile (which is now nearly 100 books) after Christmas I have The Reality Dysfunction, Engines of God, and The Road.
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WinoMcCougarstein
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« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2008, 01:47:22 AM »

Quote from: mikeg on February 05, 2008, 12:33:48 AM

Quote from: GatorFavre on February 05, 2008, 12:07:36 AM

A while back I was bored at work and browsing books at Amazon.com.  I started reading this scifi/horror book with the "Search Inside" feature and I can't for the life of me remember what book it was.  The part I read was the start of the first chapter.  Basically it was this guy in a dark storage bay that housed old broken down equipment.  he was looking through it and he heard some voices.  He went to check the voices and it was a Bishop(?) and a couple of workers tinkering with some equipment trying to get it to work.  I believe he was afraid of being caught in the storage bay.  I know its pretty vague, but if anyone has any idea what book that is I would greatly appreciate some help with the title!

I know exactly what book you are describing as I picked it up in B&N and read the first chapter as well.  I can see the cover art pretty plain in my mind.  I WILL remember it and when I do I will report back.  Or I will go to B&N and get that title for you.  I see it ever time I go in there.

Later.

Call off the hounds!  Its called Ship of Fools!  Thanks anyway though, I appreciate it!
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Jag
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« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2008, 03:01:16 PM »

Decent list

Top 100 Sci Fi
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Gratch
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« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2008, 04:30:36 PM »

I just picked up Ender's Game and Neuromancer yesterday.  I'm a bit embarrassed that I haven't read them before.   icon_redface
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2008, 04:38:11 PM »

Ender's Game is really good.  The initial sequels are quite different and generally not nearly as good (Speaker for the Dead is close to Ender quality but is radically different).  Card went back though and started writing more audience-pleasing sequels to Ender's Game but I haven't read any of them. 

I'd be curious how Neuromancer holds up.  I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the books effectiveness has diminished. 
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WorkingMike
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« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2008, 05:58:16 PM »

I guess it takes a sci-fi topic to get my lurker arse out of my shell, but I read alot so here goes....

A Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (as well as it's sequel)

Old Man's War by John Scalzi (there are two sequels to this one)

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (again, a couple of sequels, although they aren't as good as the first)

Armor by John Steakley (he also wrote Vampires, which they made that horrible movie out of, but Armor is really quite good)

Gateway by Frederick Pohl (I think there may be 6 books in the series, very well written and fun)

Starship Troopers by Heinlein (excellent read, nothing like the film)

anything written by Charles Stross, but Glasshouse was really good

Passage at Arms by Glen Cook (he also wrote those Black Company novels)

Spares by Michael Marshall Smith (very trippy, but cool)

More than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (TS was actually the inspiration for Vonnegut's character Kilgore Trout)

Titan by John Varley (first of 3)

In the Ocean of Night (first of 6 and honestly, it's kind of weak. The series however is pretty good, so if you can make it out of the gate you are in for a decent ride)

Runner by William C. Dietz (it has a sequel, but I haven't read it yet)

Bloom by Wil Mccarthy (i've reread this one a couple of times, it's excellent)

anything by Richard Paul Russo (I think Ship of Fools was mentioned and the Carlucci books are super good)

Hardwired, Voice of the Whirlwind, and Angel Station by Walter John Williams

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny (they made a bad film out of it, but the book is cool)

Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss

Way Station by Clifford Simak

Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn (i really enjoyed his Star Wars novels as well)

Hyperion by Dan Simmons (first of 3 i think)

anything by John Brunner (The Shockwave Rider is largely thought to be the first true Cyberpunk novel)

anything by Alfred Bester (although The Demolished Man is a favorite of mine)

I also recommend the Gaunt's Ghosts novels by Dan Abnett (they are set in the Warhammer 40k universe and really stand apart from the rest)

enjoy!



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mikeg
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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2008, 10:18:44 PM »

Quote from: GatorFavre on February 07, 2008, 01:47:22 AM

Quote from: mikeg on February 05, 2008, 12:33:48 AM

Quote from: GatorFavre on February 05, 2008, 12:07:36 AM

A while back I was bored at work and browsing books at Amazon.com.  I started reading this scifi/horror book with the "Search Inside" feature and I can't for the life of me remember what book it was.  The part I read was the start of the first chapter.  Basically it was this guy in a dark storage bay that housed old broken down equipment.  he was looking through it and he heard some voices.  He went to check the voices and it was a Bishop(?) and a couple of workers tinkering with some equipment trying to get it to work.  I believe he was afraid of being caught in the storage bay.  I know its pretty vague, but if anyone has any idea what book that is I would greatly appreciate some help with the title!

I know exactly what book you are describing as I picked it up in B&N and read the first chapter as well.  I can see the cover art pretty plain in my mind.  I WILL remember it and when I do I will report back.  Or I will go to B&N and get that title for you.  I see it ever time I go in there.

Later.

Call off the hounds!  Its called Ship of Fools!  Thanks anyway though, I appreciate it!

Excellent.  I was gonna go find that bad boy this weekend.  Glad you got it. 
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2008, 09:07:31 PM »

John Varley is a good suggestion.  His stuff, I find, gets more and more relevant as time goes on.  Lots of his stories have to do with gender issues and clinical immortality.  Because, if some day we achieve a mastery of DNA and cloning, gender will eventually become an outdated and archaic concept.

I'm not really sure I like his Titan series so much, though.  It was interesting in some ways, but not as thought provoking as his other stuff.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2008, 09:09:09 PM by unbreakable » Logged
kronovan
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2008, 08:17:29 PM »

Quote from: WorkingMike on February 07, 2008, 05:58:16 PM

anything by John Brunner (The Shockwave Rider is largely thought to be the first true Cyberpunk novel)

+10 To Shockwave Rider, that book was a SciFi masterpiece. it still makes me chuckle when I think of Brunner's passages describing the televised commercials by companies that calculate satellite orbits and trajectories. So many ideas in that book were way ahead of their time.

Stand on Zanzibar was also a very good Brunner novel, but it just didn't grip me the way Shockwave Rider did.
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