DTMark

Good Sci-Fi Books

58 posts in this topic

Working in IT and knowing a bit about the science part, I tend to frown on nonsense, like the bit in Torchwood in the last episode ("the eye cam is broadcasting this signal to every monitor within 100 yards" - really? Is it? How is it doing that, then - there's a gap between credibility and believability and this sort of conveniece invention is just sloppy writing, though the character speaking may of course have been bull*****ing.). Also like the way in certain series, Star Trek especially, a plot is conveniently solved with the straightforward invention of, say, time travel, only for the technology to be completely forgotten by the next episode.

Any space battle with humans in ships firing at each other.. modern fighter aircraft already do over-the-horizion fighting, yet in Star Trek/Wars they seem fine in close visual range, and seem to have forgotton the technology of the homing missile.

Dr Who. Nuff said.

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I quite enjoyed some of david weber's books - think the earlier ones are up for free on www.webscription.net.

Jim butcher's dresden files are good sci-fi fantasy IMO, although not what you're looking for.

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Any space battle with humans in ships firing at each other.. modern fighter aircraft already do over-the-horizion fighting, yet in Star Trek/Wars they seem fine in close visual range, and seem to have forgotton the technology of the homing missile.

That's because in Star Wars lasers travel at 10mph.

Also it's worth noting that while modern fighters are capable of beyond-visual-range fighting they rarely do so because the rules of engagement normally require a positive ID so that you don't shoot down your own planes. Typically that means either confirmation from AWACS or the Mark I Eyeball.

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I'm more of a fan of the Sci-fi sub-genres of 'near future' fiction and dystopian fiction, if I'm honest. Some of these don't even tend to be classed as sci-fi novels. A few i've enjoyed recently are JG Ballard's short stories, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Attwood, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and I'm in the middle of The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner.

I'd recommend the Philip K Dick biography 'I am Alive And You Are Dead' for anyone interested in him.

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5. Cyteen by CJ Cherryh

CJ Cherryh is one of the major space opera authors, always impressive for the realism of her great ships, the fiendish complexity of the intrigue on board and planetside, and for her bizarre, changed human characters of the future. Cyteen is the magnum opus of a series about a clash of empires, both human in origin, differing in their methods but identical in their lust for control. It's about domination and slavery, the monsters power makes and the twisted lives of the children born to perpetuate the dynasties. A dark mirror for the cold war era and a horrific science fiction boardroom drama, it will suck you in.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2003/dec/08/top10s.science.fiction.women

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That's one amazing response to the initial question - thanks so much for your time - brilliant. I have plenty to take a look at now.

BTW Sunshine is on Film 4 @ 23:05 if you haven't seen it.

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I LOVE sci-fi films but haven't tried the books, to be honest!! For books I prefer fantasy, and you CANNOT beat 'The Assassin Trilogy' by Robin Hobb and 'Magician' by Raymond Feist.

I also have read books on finance and business etc... and it's all getting a bit boring now!!! Bring on the fiction.

Edited by guitarman001

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Death_of_Grass' rel="external nofollow">

The Death of Grass is a terrifyingly convincing read for the tinfoil hat-inclined.

It would make a great film. Sadly the first attempt, No Blade of Grass (1970) is a choppy and incoherent viewing experience.

The wonderful ├╝ber-pragmatist character of Pirrie was reduced to basically an anti-social hoodlum in the film.

John Christopher did a similar line in "after the disaster" type stuff to John Wyndham, but in a much less cosy, middle-class way (and I love Wyndham's stuff BTW).

People get raped and blasted by shotguns in his books.

World in Winter is good too, A Wrinkle in the Skin less so (IMO).

I still quite like Christopher's children's books too, like the Tripods books.

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Can't think why I forgot the aforementioned Philip K Dick, they were all great. The World Jones Made was particularly good.

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Charles Stross yet.

Accelerando is fairly old now but probably the best take on a post Singularity future.

Halting State and Rule 34 are set in the near future and cover some very interesting issues within the "digital" economy.

And the laundry series (Atrocity Archives, Jennifer Morgue and Fuller Memorandum ) are a very good ride.

And don't forget the new Neal Stephenson REAMDE again based on the digital future.

+1 for Stross.

I love his descriptions of near-futures - a totally different SF to the space opera of - for example - Hamilton.

Halting State is probably the best book of his to start with IMO.

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Recently finished two books from new, to me, authors: -

The City & The Ctiy by China Mieville,

Good old fashioned 'dragnet' type whodunit set in the none too distant future. A well written book that is easy to get into and follow. It's set in the near future around a devided city that, at some point in the past, decided to deal with with it's problems by simply ignoring each other or 'unseeing' and this works as a very interesting backdrop in which to place the story.

My rating, 6/10

For The Win by Cory Doctorow,

Set in the very near future and based around the gaming world this book really explores some of the fundamental flaws with modern society. The book follows the 'In Game' exploits of gangs of kids in Mumbia, China and Singaporewho are paid penuts to play online games. The kids are paid to 'farm' in game gold and items that are sold to the rich western players, they will also grow characters by training them and levelling tham up for sale to the west, all using proxies and back door accounting. It then shows how, with online communication, they unionise accross boarders and take on the game owners and their own bosses in the age old struggle for fair treatment in the wokplace. With some good explanations of Ponzi schemes and debt based money (accredited to our favourite nut pot, Max Kieser) the author works with the concept that a lot of the speculative money in the wold moves into game space, with games accounting for four of the worlds top ten ecconomies, and carry on in their usual boom and bust, bubble and burst way.

My rating 8/10

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That's because in Star Wars lasers travel at 10mph.

Also it's worth noting that while modern fighters are capable of beyond-visual-range fighting they rarely do so because the rules of engagement normally require a positive ID so that you don't shoot down your own planes. Typically that means either confirmation from AWACS or the Mark I Eyeball.

In Start Wars the robots bleep and whistle at each other.

But let's face it, you'd expect a civilisation who had mastered travelling at the speed of light, death stars and light sabres to have come up with the Stephen Hawking style speech synthesizer at the very minimum.

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A few more:

Dan Simmons - Hyperion, Endimion etc.

Peter F Hamilton - any of the really long ones. Terrible writing but outstanding story telling.

Neal Asher - any of the polity novels. Everything explodes in space.

Philip Dick - Man in the High Castle and A Scanner Darly are my favourites, but he wrote lots of entertaining stuff.

Greg Bear - pretty much anything. Eon, Blood Music and Strength of Stones are my favourites.

Vernor Vinge - A Fire Upon the Deep is good, so are his others though.

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also tend to listen to audiobooks quite a lot when driving to and from parents house - was going to get Hyperion (Dan Simmons) as it's so very well rated. However I'm not keen on ones narrated by Americans with their aloominum metal, nucular wars and boo-ees in the sea and so forth. There is no such thing as "American English".

+1

Most of the Sci-Fi I devoured when I was younger has already been mentioned.

Piers Anthony, Chthon, was another I seem to remember liking.

Obviously 2001 Arthur C Clarke is another good read.

Asimovs foundation series, and the other classic sci-fi stuff like Wyndhams Triffids, Bradburys Farenheit 451.

[i've had a bit of a run on the scandanavian crime writers recently, due to BBC4's Wallander, and The Killing. Mankell, Larson, Indridason, and the best, Hoeg's Smilla Jasperson novel.]

Edited by Milton

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For me, Sci-Fi can be split roughly into two genres - one which blurs the line with fantasy - wars between worlds in other solar systems, wars between humans and aliens, quests to other worlds and so on. I suppose that this could also include scenarios only facing humans on earth, but in fantastical situations in the far future.

The other one for me is situations facing humans, on earth or nearby, in the foreseeable future, which blurs into dystopias.

The former I just can't get into, or indeed any fantasy novels - the closest I got was 'Foundation' but even then...don't really know why. I'm tempted by Iain Banks' Culture novels, but something is putting me off.

Has anyone any other recommendations? I see many people's lists seem to have both types, but I can't help see them as two very different genres with different appeals.

Edited by shipbuilder

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My favourite books are the ones that Larry Niven has co authored , as well as the...known space/ ringword ones

The Legacy of Heorot ,................. (mans unexpected impact on the ecology on a newly colonised planet)

The mote in gods eye................ (first contact ...my fav sci fi ever ...least its the one I've re read the most (bad memory ))

Footfall ...(aliens landing on earth)

Lucifer s hammer ..(comet crashing on earth)

First book that ever got me into scifi was Alfred besters "tiger tiger" .....teleportation from the mind ...I wonder if that's where the tomorrow people got jaunting from ?

thetomorrowpeople1973cl.jpg

http://www2.tv-ark.o...t/cult-l-z.html

Edited by Tankus

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I read my first 'Graphic Novel' the other month.

An adaptation of HP Lovecrafts 'At the Mountains of Madness' [i think Lovecraft would be a good candidate for the Audio Books]

Which I enjoyed.

Anyone a fan of the Graphic Novels? [i bought it for my 12 year old nephew but ended up reading it myself first...:P I'd forgotten how much I Used to love a good adventure comic]

At-the-Mountains-of-Madne-006.jpg

http://www.guardian....-culbard-review

For those who dont kow Lovecraft. Many authors and Film Directors, like Stephen King or Guillermo Del Toro cite him as an original inspiration. He blended a type of sci-fi / horror novel.

Lovecraft's fiction is a category unto itself. Eschewing the traditional werewolves, vampires, and ghosts of most horror fiction, he wrote of dread Elder Gods and cosmic, earth-shattering horrors. Lovecraft mined rich veins of terror uniquely his own, and wherever in the known and unknown universe his imagination sped, readers followed--fascinated, enrapt, and terrified by the scope of his dark vision.
Edited by Milton

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A few more:

Dan Simmons - Hyperion, Endimion etc.

Peter F Hamilton - any of the really long ones. Terrible writing but outstanding story telling.

Neal Asher - any of the polity novels. Everything explodes in space.

Philip Dick - Man in the High Castle and A Scanner Darly are my favourites, but he wrote lots of entertaining stuff.

Greg Bear - pretty much anything. Eon, Blood Music and Strength of Stones are my favourites.

Vernor Vinge - A Fire Upon the Deep is good, so are his others though.

+1 for greg bear.

particularly eon, forge of god, anvil of stars -- big books, epic in scale-- he usually contrives to blow up the world-- but accessible.

stranger in a strange land -- heinlein

anything by AC clarke..

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Anyone a fan of the Graphic Novels? [i bought it for my 12 year old nephew but ended up reading it myself first...:P Used to love a good adventure comic]

I'm a big fan or graphic novels. Thats how I first got into 'The Hobbit' and from there into LoTR.

Trouble is Graphic novels need a thread of their own as they span pretty much all genres.

If you like a good adventure comic and you haven't already read them then I would suggest Sin City (Frank Miller) and Watchmen (Alan Moore).

Edit - I seem to remember I was going to start a Grphic Novel thread and then never did.. I'll possibly do it later.

Edited by Vagabond

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Edit - I seem to remember I was going to start a Grphic Novel thread and then never did.. I'll possibly do it later.

Good. Look forward to reading some recommendations. :)

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Any space battle with humans in ships firing at each other.. modern fighter aircraft already do over-the-horizion fighting, yet in Star Trek/Wars they seem fine in close visual range, and seem to have forgotton the technology of the homing missile.

Dr Who. Nuff said.

Fluffy, I pity the shame you must feel. Trying to discuss Sci-Fi, but not knowing that Star Wars took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Anyway, try the end of the alphabet, Wolfe and Zelazny are the authors you should be looking for.

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