Good (modern) science fiction books Page 2

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  • Wobble 26 Oct 2005 10:25:33 1,028 posts
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    Pike wrote:
    Has anyone of you read Neal Stephensons Baroque Cycle BTW? And If so, do you reccomend it?

    I 'temporarily paused' half way through the third book about 3 months ago, and just haven't had the willpower to go back to it... They are interesting in a 'I'm learning a LOT about history (i think)' but it's too damn long and slow and over descriptive of everything.

    It's such a shame because I'm a huge stephenson fan, I've bought Snow Crash for everyone I know, and It's one of 2 books I always keep a copy of in my car (Ian M Banks' "Against a Dark Background" being the other) I also loved The Diamond age, Cryptonomicon etc... (the Baroque cycle is following the same families that are in Cryptonomicon, if you didn't know, but a couple of generations earlier. (well except for one of the chars ;o) )

    I'm reading Judas Unchained (Peter F Hamilton's sequel to the fantastic Pandora's Star) just now and at one point a character made a passing reference to a room filled with antique furniture and then moved on to actually forwarding the plot, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought 'whew, thank god this is not the Baroque Cycle, there would be 4 pages of damn descriptions now'.
  • phAge 26 Oct 2005 10:27:30 25,487 posts
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    ssuellid wrote:
    Personally I'm fed up with the techno babble wank that seems to dominate very modern sci fi - concentrating on explaining made up tech rather than a decent story.
    I like it very much when that author takes time to show that he actually understands the world he is creating. It doesn't take more than a few technical blunders (that even I - a layman can spot) to turn me off a book completely.
  • marilena 26 Oct 2005 10:29:39 8,237 posts
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    Heinlein suitable for kids? You haven't read The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, have you? Or the end of Stranger in a Strange Land? At the end of every Heinlein book I've read (except Double Star) everyone has sex with everyone. It's bizzare. I really wish I han't read the last part of either The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and Stranger in a Strange Land, they both start so amazing and end up completely silly.

    Also, if anything, SF writers these days seem less interested in the techical side of things and just go for ideas. Back in the day, if something was happening on a space station, the writer would think about how the space station works. Now they just have magical artificial gravity and shit.

    And Lou, Kim Stanley Robinson is a doctor in physics or something like this, the science in his books is rather good. The social component is the best, though. I liked the books very much, I though he did well in his attempt to imagine what would really happen, instead of making an idealized version (perfectly planned mission etc.).
  • ssuellid 26 Oct 2005 10:34:59 19,141 posts
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    marilena wrote:
    Heinlein suitable for kids? You haven't read The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, have you? Or the end of Stranger in a Strange Land? At the end of every Heinlein book I've read (except Double Star) everyone has sex with everyone.

    A lot of his books have been reissues - the 50s and 60s issues of the books were mostly sex free - there have been some poor 'uncut' reissues in recent years. 'Stranger in a Strange Land' was an early 'free love' book tho.
  • marilena 26 Oct 2005 10:39:23 8,237 posts
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    Stranger in a Strange Land is one of the most dissapointing books I've ever read, it seemed great in the begining and then went straight down the drain. Some of the characters also started good (like the main girl, I can't remember her name, and the reporter), but then were just turned into symbols. And the ending... Bah. I hate that book.
  • Deleted user 26 October 2005 10:41:25
    ssuellid wrote:
    Personally I'm fed up with the techno babble wank that seems to dominate very modern sci fi - concentrating on explaining made up tech rather than a decent story.

    Robert Heinlein wrote some excellent - and some very poor books, but is worth looking out for - as is Simak. Books with a decent story and with Heinlein there was usually some kind of background issue. Suitable for kids and adults alike tho.

    Indeed. A lot of the modern stuff is up its own arse...rather pretentiously.
  • Pike 26 Oct 2005 10:41:57 13,459 posts
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    Everyone of you should read The Illustrated Man by Bradbury. Best collection of short stories I've ever read that wasn't written by I B Singer.
  • Shrimp 26 Oct 2005 11:15:22 1,081 posts
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    Hooray for sci-fi threads!

    I've just started reading Red Mars (Kim Stanley Robinson) and really quite enjoying it, which was pleasantly surprising since I tried to read it when I was younger and got bored in the first chapter.

    Neal Stephenson gets a big thumbs up from me - the Baroque cycle can get rather bogged down in places (final 3rd of Quicksilver for example) but the rampaging genius of the rest of it more than compensates. And it's got pirates in it, for fucks sake!

    Bradbury - also amazing.

    On a further retro note, I can't recommend "The Stars My Destination" (Alfred Bester) highly enough. It was written in the 60s (or 70s?) and has aged extremely well - probably the best SF book I've read.

    ... the 2nd best might just be The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. Fantastic Vietnam-War-in-space type thing with a brilliant treatment of the time shifting effects of relativity - every time the main character gets some time back on Earth, society has changed beyond recognition in some scary ways.
  • MrWorf 26 Oct 2005 11:16:07 63,835 posts
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    Dioes Robin Hobb have any good sci fi books? Or is it just a fantasy?
  • Khanivor 26 Oct 2005 11:33:52 44,542 posts
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    Jospeh Haldeman Forever War: great book about war in a sci-fi setting written as an allegory for Vietnam.

    Greg Bear: proper brain bursting hard sci-fi. Books like Eon are barely penetrable but then he writes something like Anvil of the Gods, a great sci-fi story which had me weeping at the end.

    Ben Bova: softer sci-fi for enjoying the yarn rather then impressing the geek. Has written tons of stuff, some of which is good fun.

    Greg Egan: another hardcore mo-fo who writes some incredibly creative and imaginative stuff. His short stories are great, to get started on novels Id recommend Permutation City

    Philip K Dick: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a good one to get started with.

    Otis Lee Crenshaw - I Blame Society: not sci-fi at all but Rich Hall writing one of the funniest and most philosophical books Ive had the pleasure in reading in years.


    Edited by Khanivor at 11:38:30 26-10-2005
  • UncleLou Moderator 26 Oct 2005 11:39:47 40,158 posts
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    Pike wrote:
    Everyone of you should read The Illustrated Man by Bradbury. Best collection of short stories I've ever read that wasn't written by I B Singer.

    I am, for once, officially disagreeing with you Pike, I wasn't too impressed with this collection, though I am absolute short story nut. :)

    I could name a million of better short story collections! ;)
  • Shrimp 26 Oct 2005 11:46:40 1,081 posts
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    UncleLou wrote:
    I could name a million of better short story collections! ;)

    Go on then! :)

    I really liked Illustrated Man too...
  • Pike 26 Oct 2005 11:55:06 13,459 posts
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    UncleLou wrote:
    Pike wrote:
    Everyone of you should read The Illustrated Man by Bradbury. Best collection of short stories I've ever read that wasn't written by I B Singer.

    I am, for once, officially disagreeing with you Pike, I wasn't too impressed with this collection, though I am absolute short story nut. :)

    I could name a million of better short story collections! ;)

    You are dead to me.

    Fool.

    :p
  • UncleLou Moderator 26 Oct 2005 12:04:57 40,158 posts
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    Shrimp wrote:
    UncleLou wrote:
    I could name a million of better short story collections! ;)

    Go on then! :)

    I really liked Illustrated Man too...

    Ok. :)

    - Raymond Carver - What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
    - Bernard Malamud - The Magic Barrel
    - John Updike - The Afterlife (ah, pretty much everything, he's TEH MASTA ;)
    - John Cheever - The Stories of John Cheever
    - Thom Jones - The Pugilist at Rest
    - Arthur Schnitzler - Leutnant Gustl


    Am I at a million yet? :) I'll hae to read the Bradbury collection again one of these days, as I keep hearing good things about it, but I never got into it somehow.
  • Shrimp 26 Oct 2005 12:10:25 1,081 posts
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    KEEP GOING!

    (actually I haven't read any of those... maybe I should...)

    Back with the sci-fi, Greg Egan is indeed great, but has a real problem with writing endings. Highly recommended for physics/maths nerds and people who like staring at Escher pictures while on acid alike.

    Oh, and did I mention how awesome Alfred Bester is?
  • Khanivor 26 Oct 2005 12:11:22 44,542 posts
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    Orson Scott Card has a mammoth anthology of short stories. If you can find a copy it's got some bloody good reading in it.

    And as mentioned before, Greg Egan does great shorts and has a collection or two out there as well.

    Edited by Khanivor at 12:15:59 26-10-2005
  • DaM 26 Oct 2005 12:14:24 17,468 posts
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    I thought the Mars books could be condensed into one slightly longer volume.... he/she (I always forget!) was just milking it.

    I enjoy most of the list (have to track down a few).

    Illium was fantastic - I might even buy the follow up instead of trying to track it down at the library.

    Have recently been rereading some childhood favourites - 1984, Day of the Triffids. Class.

    Also recently picked up Ian Banks's Whisky book - it's a great travel/autobiography book, even if you aren't at all interested in whisky.


    Edited by DaM at 12:21:14 26-10-2005
  • Whizzo 26 Oct 2005 12:18:51 44,807 posts
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    Shrimp wrote:Oh, and did I mention how awesome Alfred Bester is?
    "Tiger, Tiger" is excellent, I really need to get around to reading "The Demolished Man" at some point, I've had it ages.

    On Heinlein I don't remember any shagging at the end of "Starship Troopers", "The Moon Is Harsh Mistress" or "Have Spacesuit Will Travel" amongst others, especially the last one as it's a very good children's book. I'm trying to blot out the memory of "The Number Of The Beast", that's so shit it may have tons of knobing it in but I really don't want to think about it too much.

    As we've diverted onto older stuff, make sure you read "A Canticle For Liebowitz", a post-apolocalyptic classic.
  • UncleLou Moderator 26 Oct 2005 12:24:48 40,158 posts
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    Whizzo wrote:
    ...

    As we've diverted onto older stuff, make sure you read "A Canticle For Liebowitz", a post-apolocalyptic classic.

    I want to read "A Canticle for Liebowitz", I have only read "A Canticle for Leibowitz". Is it a sequel?

    And you're not excused just because amazon made the same mistake!

    Neglish, eh? ;)
  • Whizzo 26 Oct 2005 12:29:11 44,807 posts
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    I did wonder why there was only a couple of strange editions on Amazon UK...

    Just as well I didn't do it in that world, I'd probably have been killed as a heretic!
  • Shrimp 26 Oct 2005 12:38:01 1,081 posts
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    Hooray, someone else read it!

    "Tiger, Tiger" = "The Stars My Destination", by the way.

    There's a short story collection called "Redemolished" which is worth reading. Some amazing stories, some filler, and some really good articles, essays and celebrity interviews from Bester's other lives as a SF critic and a lifesyle magazine journo.
  • Mike_Hunt 26 Oct 2005 12:39:44 23,524 posts
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    phAge wrote:
    Richard Morgan: Altered Carbon. There is a 2nd book in the same universe just out - will be picking it up shortly.
    You mean 3rd book, right.

    I've just finished it. It's OK, and well worth a read if you like the previous two, but it's spoilt somewhat by the author directly addressing some of the myths that were mentioned in the previous books (The Corps, Quell etc.).

    Altered Carbon is top notch though, and if you get hooked try the other two.

    [MH]
  • phAge 26 Oct 2005 12:43:52 25,487 posts
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    Oh - right. Forgot about the 2nd one. Also, I've taken to reading the, uh, (/shuffles feet) Bolo books. Thats right - the ones with the giant, sentient tanks. I find they make great bedtime reading...
  • marilena 26 Oct 2005 13:02:29 8,237 posts
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    Whizzo, I didn't read all of Heinlein's books :). But, in all honesty, I also read If This Goes On and there was no orgy at the end. So, ok, it only happens in two books :).
  • [maven] 26 Oct 2005 13:23:43 5,692 posts
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    Khanivor wrote:
    Greg Bear: proper brain bursting hard sci-fi. Books like Eon are barely penetrable but then he writes something like Anvil of the Gods, a great sci-fi story which had me weeping at the end.

    Ah yes, forgot about the Bear: I've red the Anvil books as well, but I only remember it having lots of teen angst and sex.

    Greg Egan: another hardcore mo-fo who writes some incredibly creative and imaginative stuff. His short stories are great, to get started on novels Id recommend Permutation City
    I've read Distress and while the book itself was allright, the premise and resolution was utterly stupid and unsatisfying.
  • ave 26 Oct 2005 13:45:59 526 posts
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    Alan Dean Foster's The Damned trilogy is awesome,

    David Feintuch's Hope series is good, even if the main character can be a bit emo sometimes.

    Amtrak Wars by Patrick Tilley are fun

    Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton is his best book imo

    Timothy Zahn's Conquerors Trilogy

    Julian May's Exiles book(as well as his other books in the same universe)

    Destiny's Road - Larry Niven
  • Shrimp 26 Oct 2005 13:54:32 1,081 posts
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    [maven] wrote:
    I've read Distress and while the book itself was allright, the premise and resolution was utterly stupid and unsatisfying.

    Haven't read Distress - my favourite is probably Diaspora, and the only one I've read that I was really dissatisfied with was Teranesia.... maybe Distress falls into that group, I dunno.

    Definitely going to track down Canticle for Leibowitz... the name rings a bell for some reason.
  • bef 26 Oct 2005 13:58:14 1,742 posts
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    bef wrote:
    The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.

    Excellent!

    Oops. Sorry.

    /is distracted.
  • otto Moderator 28 May 2007 11:16:19 49,322 posts
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    You didn't like it?? :(

    From your list, maven, I would drop Alastair Reynolds and add Ken Macleod, whose first four were absolutely brilliant, and whose latest (Learning the World) is also very good.

    Oh, and with Banks it's the Culture, not the Confederation... :)

    Oh, and yes the KS Robinson Mars trilogy, obviously. :)

    Edited by otto at 04:42:48 26-10-2005
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