Sci-fi Book Recommendations

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Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:23 am

Hey there, guys. I've been itching to read a good science fiction book for a while now, something related to space travel or something. For reference, I really enjoyed games like System Shock 2, wit its eerie spaceship setting. Bashing zombies in a PC game is probably just fine but they have no place in a respectable sci-fi novel. Any recommendations? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:03 am

I've always been fond of C S Friedman, she does fantasy and scifi rather well.

This Alien Shore is a fantastic book.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:12 am

http://io9.com/the-best-science-fiction-and-fantasy-books-of-2013-1490451950

I don't read much sf, read more fantasy. Recently finished The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman and Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia.

I did read The Inverted World by Christopher Priest (SF), but found it a bit unsatisfying, and the writing style was a bit inconsistent and jarring.

Some of my favorite SF series are the Long Sun and Short Sun novels by Gene Wolfe. Also, his Fifth Head of Cerberus.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:25 am

I'm a big fan of Charlie Stross; he's a former pharmacist, turned computer geek (he has a CS degree, although woefully out of date), turned writer, and I'm yet to find a book of his that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed.

He has a blog, if you want to peruse his list of works (some of which - the shorter ones - are available online. I strongly recommend A Tall Tail and Antibodies as a good starting point to get a feel for his writing. And yes, he does space travel stuff as well.)
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:11 am

Greg Bear's "Hull Zero Three" is about amnesiac exploration in a dystopian space ark much like that of Heinlein's "Orphans of the Sky" and the SF movie "Pandorum". Jerry Pournelle's and Larry Niven's "The Mote in God's Eye" is the best first-alien-contact-in-space novel ever written.

For serious space opera with fleet battles across warplines, try Jack Campbell's "Dauntless" of the "The Lost Fleet" series. Vernor Vinge's "A Deepness in the Sky" is also good yarn about a space-conquering merchant space fleet.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:24 am

And don't forget Neal Asher. Esp. the polity books. Then Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks (unfortunatly he died a little while ago. :cry: ), Peter Hamiltons Nights Dawn Trilogy and Commonwealth Saga and another vote for Charles Stross.
They're all what i would term hard sci-fi. Quite tech heavy.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:15 am

I'll also give the nod to Charlie Stross, but this asssumes you've read the obvious Asimov and Banks stuff. If not, I'd recommend Isaac Asimov's Foundation series and Ian M Banks' Culture novels.

I'm in the process of finishing the World War Tetraology by Harry Turtledove, which is not distant-future sci-fi but alternative reality sci-fi of Aliens invading earth during WWII and everyone stopping their conflict to defend the species. I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:27 am

There's also the Old Man's War trilogy by John Scalzi. Short-ish books, but well written. I also enjoyed Agent to the Stars by the same author, which is more of a comedy/sci-fi.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:44 am

You could do worse than getting the list of Hugo and Nebula winners and reading those books.

Another vote for Charlie Stross[1] and John Scalzi, and I'd add Robert Charles Wilson for Spin, which (for me) was a real page-turner; I stayed up late a few nights reading it I thought Hugh Howey's Wool series was good as well, though it's strictly Earth-based, and Nathan Lowell's Solar Clipper series, and Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series.

[1] Read his Laundry series and Palimpsest; that and Missile Gap I thought were his best work.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:18 am

Space travel you say?

Brain Aldis "Non-Stop", it was written in the 50s so in some ways it's a bit dated (I've seen it getting some flak for it's treatment of women) but still good fun.

Alastair Reynolds is nearly always good, I really enjoyed the trilogy that starts with "Revelation Space". Lots of eerie space ships.

If you like really hard scifi with lots of long descriptions of gas clouds etc then have a look a Gregory Benford (not to everyone's taste, he can drone on a bit). Try the "Galactic Center" series (it runs to 6 books which is at least one too many, the last book is set inside a black hole and tries to tidy up all the loose ends so it's a bit weird)

I'll just reiterate the Ian M Banks suggestion. If you've not read any of his stuff before I suggest the Algebraist as a good starting point, it's a stand alone story that is really good fun.

Another reiteration of Charles Stross, I've just finished his Laundry series which has nothing whatsoever to do with space travel but... "computational demonology" what's not to like!

Stephen Baxter is worth a look, maybe the Manifold series with its Big Dumb Boosters.

Then there's all the obvious stuff like Asimov, A.C. Clark and Heinlein. (If you read Heinlein's "Star Ship Troopers" and I'd also read "Forever War" as it's written as a response to SST)

I'm a big fan of older scifi so here are some suggestions in that vein... (NB a lot of this stuff reads more like a "Boy's Own" adventure comic than proper books but that's not to say they don't have some interesting ideas in them).

Murry Leinster (medship series of short stories is probably his best, not really about space travel but there's still a fair bit in it). This guy is one of the grandfathers of modern scifi so he is sort of required reading for a scifi fan. NB nearly all his stuff is short stories so when you read to collections cover to cover there is a lot of repetition.

John Morressy (not actually that old, 70s mostly, but it's quite old skool in style, not much more that kids books really but they can still be enjoyable. Mankind has lots of spaceships but because they're generally so reliable we've forgotten how to build new ones or even how to repair them properly)

Alan Dean Foster (again not actually that old but old fashioned in style. Not much more than kids books but they pass the time. IIRC he wrote a bit of Star Trek so if you like that...)
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:21 am

I'd definitely investigate the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke if you're into space travel with a decent hint of mystery. :)
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:38 am

Hmm, I could load you down with a book list containing a couple hundred books. If you own a Kindle or just have the Kindle App on your PC I suggest you go to Amazon and do a search for Baen free Kindle books. You will find two pages of books you can get for free.

The ones dealing with space ships specifically would be:

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington) by David Weber
The Honor of the Queen (Honor Harrington) by David Weber
With the Lightnings (Lt. Leary) by David Drake
The Last Praetorian (The Redemption Trilogy) by Mike Smith
Starliner by David Drake

David Weber writes a dang good book and I think you will like the Honor Harrington series. His only failing is that in the last few years he has gone off the deep end with trying to go into ever more detail than is needed.

There are other books listed there that do not specifically relate to space ships but are really good reads.

1632 (Ring of Fire) by Eric Flint
A Hymn Before Battle (Legacy of the Aldenata) by John Ringo
Gust Front (Legacy of the Aldenata) by John Ringo
A Desert Called Peace (Carrera) by Tom Kratman
In the Heart of Darkness (Belisarius Saga) by Eric Flint and David Drake
Oath of Swords (War God) by David Weber
The Tank Lords by David Drake

That list should keep you busy for a bit. If you want more recommendations let me know and I can hook you up only be ready to spend a little money since I just gave you best I had for free books. Well the easily acquired ones any way. There are more but you have to do some file converting and such to get them to work on a Kindle or its reader app.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:56 am

Oldie but goodie:

Stranger in a Strange Land

Heinlein

One of the books that makes you keep reading until it's done.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:16 am

Wow. I didn't expect to get so many replies and suggestions. Thanks a lot, guys. I'm gonna check out your suggestions. I remember Asimov and back when I was a kid I watched a laserdisc which featured him. I'm probably gonna have to give him priority. Haha.

Again, many thanks, guys. Keep it coming!
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:24 am

bthylafh wrote:You could do worse than getting the list of Hugo and Nebula winners and reading those books.
This is a good suggestion.
Hugo awards:
http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/

Nebula awards:
http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebula_Awa ... Best_Novel

Works that have won both awards:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_jo ... ula_awards
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:54 am

Mentawl wrote:I'd definitely investigate the Rama series by Arthur C. Clarke if you're into space travel with a decent hint of mystery. :)



First book was great. Second and subsequent books were the literary equivalent of the movie, "Contact" (which was also a book, and just as bad).
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:15 pm

Hi Ronch - a couple I'd recommend that I recommend to everyone:
The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester. Hard to find a more aggressively page-turning novel. Seminal cyberpunk, in a lot of ways.
Blindsight - Peter Watts. Pretty hard sf first contact novel about intelligibility and the nature of mind. Very spooky spaceship and a SciFi vampire.

Iain M Banks is cool. Neal Stephenson is awesome but you have to have time. Charles Stross has put Accelerando (which I think is indispensable) on line for free, btw.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:32 pm

Isaac Asimov's Robots series and Foundation series.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:51 pm

atcrank wrote:Blindsight - Peter Watts. Pretty hard sf first contact novel about intelligibility and the nature of mind. Very spooky spaceship and a SciFi vampire.


Fantastic book. Felt bad about not including it in my list, glad somebody else got round to doing so.

Soundly seconded.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:52 pm

I'll definitely have to re-read this thread for some reading ideas, but I can make one suggestion. If you enjoy a little hard sci-fi, I'd strongly suggest picking up David Gerrold's Star Wolf series.

He's the guy that wrote the The Trouble With Tribbles episode and did a couple other well-received trek episodes, but his science fiction is in a similar vein to Clarke and Heinlein. The series covers just four books that were written across more than two decades, so best to start at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wolf_(David_Gerrold) when deciding where to start with the series. Most readers would probably be fine starting with Voyage of the Star Wolf and reading Starhunt last, but it's not a big issue... I just wished he made more in the series as I enjoyed his writing, the hard sci-fi style, and his style of humor.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:30 pm

atcrank wrote:The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester. Hard to find a more aggressively page-turning novel. Seminal cyberpunk, in a lot of ways.


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Oh, yes. The Demolished Man as well.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:02 pm

+1 for the Hugo/Nebula winners.

And I'll give an extra mention for
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card,
which is on that list, and is my favorite sci-fi book.

Nothing is as good as Ender's Game, but up through Shadow of the Hegemon are decent reads.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:44 pm

It's more of a novella, but "The Frozen Sky" by Jeff Carlson is a pretty good hard-scifi novel in the relatively near future (late 22nd century) about first-contact with life on Europa.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:23 pm

Many great suggestions here.

If you're looking for spaceship action - you might try jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series - very space Navy - without any warp speed. Or Jabalokov's Deeper Sea (though its Earth bound). Nathan Lowell's series is a great slice of ship life - but no aliens or battles.

There is, of course, also great sci-fi that is mind bending, rather than spaceship exploding. I am now reading The Casanus Game - a time travel mystery sci fi set in the near future (post partial apocalypse). Deep, well written. A sort of modern Dick or Lem.

Stross is great, also Stephenson (only Anathem has spaceships though), Baxter (whose books range from realistic going to mars to the Xeelee Saga), Scalzi, Pohl's Gateway series, Ian MacLeod, Lem's Pirx the pilot (often humorous).

Thompson's In a different light is the best human-alien contact book I've read. Anything written by Ian MacDonald is worth reading; Iain Bank's Culture series (Player of Games, etc) are page turners (though the omnipotent Culture undermines much tension). LeGuin covers a wide range, Butler too - don't write off the ladies!

(Asimov wrote in the Foundation series in the late 1940s early 1950s about talking into a computer/typewriter and having it printout pages. The protagonist also fussed about the crumby fonts - that's a spot on prediction. I hope Stross' ideas about the singularity and its consequences are a little less spot on.)
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:20 pm

Another vote for the Foundation Trilogy (Asimov). The rest of the Foundation books do not measure up to the original trilogy. They are not, however, primarily concerned with space travel.

I'd also very much recommend The Forever War (Haldeman). It is about space travel, war and the societal effects of faster than light travel.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:14 am

Another vote for Ender's Game. Ender's Shadow was decent as well.
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Re: Sci-fi Book Recommendations

Postposted on Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:05 pm

kumori wrote:I'd also very much recommend The Forever War (Haldeman). It is about space travel, war and the societal effects of faster than light travel.

This. Definitely this.

Anything that was published in Orion's SF Masterworks series is worth a look (which covers quite a few recommendations from this thread already). Another one is Arthur C Clarke's "The Fountains of Paradise".
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