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Old 10-13-2008, 06:26 PM
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Suggest some awesome science fiction books


I'm about to go on a trip and I need a few new books. I want to start reading some science fiction and need suggestions.

First of all, I haven't ever read any sci-fi books, so I'm interested in your thoughts about the best all-time, must-read sci-fi books that a "beginner" should read. Also, I'm especially interested in post-apocalyptic themes and/or stories that involve humans on earth in either current times or the near future... also stories dealing with interesting technological advances that take place in the near future, and how society deals with them.

I'm not really as interested in stories about alternate/fantasy worlds or aliens/outer space travel. Although if you know of a really good one, all suggestions are welcome.

And finally, if you just want to share your top 5 or 10 all-time favorite or must-read sci-fi books, regardless of theme, please do so!

Thanks in advance for your suggestions, I can't wait!!
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:26 PM
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Dragon's Egg by Robert Forward.

Amazing.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:35 PM
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I predict a really long thread.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein is probably my favorite book that fits your description.

I see that you're not really interested in fantasy worlds with aliens and outer space travel unless we know of a really good one. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams is a really good one.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:39 PM
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"Liege Killer" by Christopher Hinz.

Post-apocalypse, not too far in the future (2199, I think). Good politics and action.

-Joe
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:42 PM
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Rendevous with Rama by Arthhur C. Clarke
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:42 PM
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The Man In The High Castle or Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick.

Easy reads, great books.

Perhaps Huxley's Brave New World.

Jeez, there are so many my head will explode.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:03 PM
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A Canticle for Liebowitz*, by Walter M. Miller.

It LOOKS like it's still in print.






*post-apocalyptic novel

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 10-13-2008 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:12 PM
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Hunter's Run by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. It's a good jumping off place for someone new to SF. It's not too alien, it has lots of action (along with some sex and violence), but it manages to be thoughtful too. What happens when humans get to other planets and we're not top dog. There's a cool twist too.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. A Jesuit expedition to another planet -- mankind's first alien contact.

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn. Scientists researching the disappearance of a Bavarian village in 1348 discover that it was visited by aliens. It sounds silly, but it's not, not at all.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:14 PM
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Footfall - Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress; Double Star; Farmer In The Sky; Friday - Robert Heinlein
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:17 PM
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Taking a slightly different approach, and guessing that some knowledgeable folk will probably suggest many solid (and well worth reading) classics, I thought I'd suggest a few more recent authors I've enjoyed recently.

English author Richard K Morgan is the first, particularly his dystopian near-future novels Market Forces and Black Man (published in the US as Thirteen). You may also enjoy his Takeshi Kovacs novels (named for the main character), Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies, which although set further future are very human-based, (space and aliens are more minor themes), with a strong "noir" feeling.

Slightly further out, but again with very human themes, are some of Jack McDevitt's novels, particularly his Alex Benedict books (A Talent for War, Polaris, and Seeker... so far). McDevitt's themes in these (fairly far future) stories are around archaeology, so set far in the future and digging up the past (still our future). His other main series, (called the Academy Series or the Priscilla "Hutch" Hutchins series) is more around xeno-archaeology, but shares some similar characteristics.

John Scalzi is third, his Old Man's War being reminiscent of both Heinlein and Haldeman (though it definitely does involve space and aliens), and I was caught from the opening line: "I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army." The sequels were also enjoyable, and I'm currently enjoying his (unrelated) novel The Android's Dream.

Last, though certainly not least, is another English author Neal Asher. His Polity universe novels, both the Ian Cormac and Spatterjay books, are set far, far future, and definitely involve space and aliens (although not intelligent aliens to a great degree), but are great reads nonetheless, and have strong themes around what it is to be human, particularly in a high tech environment where there are artificial intelligences, augmented humans, human/AI hybrids, ex-human consciousnesses in robotic bodies, etc.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:22 PM
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A couple of dystopia novels I enjoyed:

Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

and a YA novel that goes firmly under the heading of 'great books I'll never read again because they broke my heart'
Feed by M.T. Anderson
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:30 PM
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Try Red Thunder by John Varley. A lighthearted romp in the style of Heinlein's early work. Four college dropouts and an alcoholic ex-NASA ex-pilot go to Mars.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:31 PM
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I'll second or third The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Double Star, by Robert Heinlein.

H. Beam Piper had a future history as extensive as Heinlein's, and out of it I'd recommend, for an easy beginning, Little Fuzzy. It takes place on a colonized planet, and deals with what happens when it's discovered that a sentient race already inhabits the place. If you can't find a copy(it's out of print) I have an extra and would be happy to send it to you free. I really like Piper, and this book is a good intro to his stuff.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:42 PM
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I'll fourth "Moon Is A Harsh Mistress". GREAT book.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:44 PM
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Also, I'm especially interested in post-apocalyptic themes and/or stories that involve humans on earth in either current times or the near future...
I really recommend Amnesia Moon. The setting is an apocalyptic near-future. And the novel really stuck with me even after finishing it. I remember people-watching at a restaurant and thinking 'Oh that's what he meant!'
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:57 PM
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The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the best SF novel I know of, but the real strength of the genre isn't in the novel format, but the short story. I would recommend picking up a volume (any volume) of Hugo award winners. That way, you're looking at the cream of the crop (the Hugos are in general much better than any of the other SF awards), and you have a broad sampling of different authors. If you like a particular story, you know to keep an eye out for that author in the future, and if you don't like it, the next story is only a few pages away.

For my money, the best SF short story ever is "Inconstant Moon", by Larry Niven. It won the Hugo in 1972 (and may be found in The Hugo Winners, Vol. III), and sounds like it'd be right up your alley.
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:59 PM
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. (There are a bunch of sequels that are hit-and-miss, but Ender's Game is awesome)
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:01 PM
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Agree about short fiction. Pick up one of Gardner Dozois' "Year's best" anthologies. He picks great stories, not all of which will be to your taste, but almost all of which are very well written.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:22 PM
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I'll second or third The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Double Star, by Robert Heinlein.

H. Beam Piper had a future history as extensive as Heinlein's, and out of it I'd recommend, for an easy beginning, Little Fuzzy. It takes place on a colonized planet, and deals with what happens when it's discovered that a sentient race already inhabits the place. If you can't find a copy(it's out of print) I have an extra and would be happy to send it to you free. I really like Piper, and this book is a good intro to his stuff.
You and me, both, my friend. I like him so much I once formed a band called 'The Beam Pipers'. You gotta admit it makes a good name.

Let me toss 'Earth' by David Brin into the mix. Not post-apocalyptic but a near future 'let's deal with technology' story with all sorts of oddball twists and turns.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:45 PM
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Wow, you guys are great! I'm printing out a list of the suggested books tomorrow and going to the book store. I will also make sure to report back to this thread after I'm done reading to give you my review.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:12 PM
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For shorts, look for The Last Question by Isaac Asimov, and any collections of Heinlein's or Robert Sheckley's short stories.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:31 PM
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It's beyond the OP, but I'll suggest all the same The Caves of Steel and its sequel The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov.

I agree with Chronos -- pick up an anthology of Hugo winners for Best Novella and Best Short Story. There will be a strong overlap between our list and those anthologies.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:33 PM
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A few others:

The Forever War - Joe Haldeman

The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov (the sequels are crap, but the originals are rightly classics.)

The Icerigger Trilogy - Alan Dean Foster

If your tastes run to military/sneak & peak/snoop & poop, then I cannot recommend the Sten series by Chris Bunch and Alan Cole highly enough.

Directly to the OP, I would suggest:

A Canticle For Leibowitz - Walter Miller

Lucifer's Hammer and Oath of Fealty - Niven/Pournelle

The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton - Larry Niven
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Last edited by silenus; 10-13-2008 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:48 PM
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Lois McMaster Bujold - probably best to start with the Vorkosigan stories in chronological order. Falling Free is great - pre-Vorkosigan but great. Then Shards of Honor, then follow this list: Linky Her fantasies are good also, I particularly like The Curse of Chalion. Wonderfully drawn, and greatly wounded, characters, and the most natural alternate religions I have seen.

I'm a huge fan of Bruce Sterling. Islands in the Net is the best near-future extrapolation I've ever read - and I've read quite a few. Chrystal Express has some amazing stories, but a lot of their power is that they turn standard SF tropes on their heads. If you haven't read a zillion stories like those, you may not appreciate what Sterling did there. OTOH, you must read "The Beautiful and the Sublime". It is. The Difference Engine is not my favorite, but it has The. Best. Alternate. History. Premise. Ever.

Kim Stanley Robinson - start with Escape from Kathmandu, and move on to the California trilogy. Also the Mars Trilogy. Great stuff - and a lot of words for your trip.

For all of these authors I like their characterizations. That's a weak point in a lot of SF.

I'll second the suggestion of grabbing some Dozios collections. Find authors there you like and read more by them. That's better than following my suggestions.

I'll have to disagree about Brin's Earth - it's my least favorite of his. Despite the incredibly cool techno gadgets.
SPOILER:
Gravity lasers - it does not get cooler than that!
Brin needs an editor - stat! Maybe two editors. Try some of his early stuff and see how you like it. His Uplift series is set in a wonderfully rich and complex universe.

Brin's The Postman is a very moving post-apocalyptic story. Best to pretend the Costner movie does not exist.

Harlan Ellison has some good stuff - some of it very outre. He writes well, despite all of the Ellison stories we shared at Gettysdope. Or maybe he writes well because he's such a jerk in person. (He was quite civilized to me. Maybe it was an unusual day.)

I've read some H. G . Wells recently, and liked it. I've heard there are some good translations of Jules Verne out there now. Apparently the older translations stank on ice.

Niven and Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye is a favorite of mine. The aliens are really, really alien they aren't just Japanese in scales or fur. Well done, and a rollicking adventure.

Hal Clement is good also. I could do this all night, but I've got to sleep.

ETA: When you're ready - Cordwainer Smith. Try a collection with "Scanners Live in Vain" - that's what hooked me in. When he's off, his stories are a bit slow. When he's on - they positively crackle.

Last edited by Typo Knig; 10-13-2008 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 10-13-2008, 09:52 PM
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If you want some near-future SF that's more technological, I'd recommend trying "Inherit the Stars" by James P. Hogan. The quality of his work may have dropped off in recent years, but this was a fun read. Sort of a scientific mystery story. I also enjoyed "The Genesis Machine" and "The Two Faces of Tomorrow" by the same author.

Other great Heinlein books:

The Door into Summer
Tunnel in the Sky
Citizen of the Galaxy
Starship Troopers


Many, many more. If you can find The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, start with that. If you can't, any of the above books are a great intro to Heinlein.

His short story collections are great. If you can find any Heinlein short story collections, it's hard to go wrong.
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Old 10-13-2008, 10:47 PM
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Isaac Asimov's I, Robot is an easy read but provides some thought provoking situations and themes.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:19 AM
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Kim Stanley Robinson - start with Escape from Kathmandu, and move on to the California trilogy. Also the Mars Trilogy. Great stuff - and a lot of words for your trip.
Interestingly enough, I had the opposite experience with the Mars trilogy. I tried reading them in high school, got through Red Mars by the skin of my teeth, and gave up partway through Blue Mars (or was it Green? The second one anyway). The writing just really, really disagreed with me -- I remember finding it horrifically dull and long-winded scientific writing with the occasional teasing glimpse of character exploration or action that kept me plowing forward in the hopes of some nebulous payoff that never came.

Maybe we were reading mirror universe versions of the books?

A postapocalyptic recommendation from other people that I'm sharing: I have S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire on my to-read list since it's been ballyhooed by quite a few people here and elsewhere. I've enjoyed some of Stirling's other military fiction, so I suspect I'll also enjoy Dies the Fire. Might be worth looking into.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:36 AM
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stories that involve humans on earth in either current times or the near future... also stories dealing with interesting technological advances that take place in the near future, and how society deals with them.

Assuming you're okay with Military Sci-fi (Marines specifically) you may enjoy the Heritage Trilogy, Legacy Trilogy & Inheritance Trilogy.

They start with Semper Mars in 2040 (excerpt here) after the US has split from the UN and ruins have been found under the Martian desert (Cydonia to be exact), the rest of the first trilogy is set with a new generation of the families in Semper Mars up to I think it was 150 years out from the original story.

The Legacy Trilogy is set IIRC 500 years after that, and Inheritance 1,000 years.

The second two trilogies deal with the results of finding out humanity is not alone and the reason for the apparent Fermi Paradox.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:42 AM
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...sneak & peak/snoop & poop...
Waaah?
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:02 AM
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I'm especially interested in post-apocalyptic themes and/or stories that involve humans on earth in either current times or the near future... also stories dealing with interesting technological advances that take place in the near future, and how society deals with them.
Vernor Vinge The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime - basically takes one significant apocalypse-causing invention (I won't say what it is, since it's a plot point) and teases out a whole slew of consequences starting from the present day and moving onwards hundreds and thousands of years. Changes in society are a big theme. Not an alien in sight . Also, Vinge is a damn good character-driven storyteller.
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:08 AM
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Slightly further out, but again with very human themes, are some of Jack McDevitt's novels,
I recently read his Eternity Road. Fits the OP well - set about 700 years after something happened to most of the people on Earth, who were quite technologically advanced at the time. Highly recommended.

Joe
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:54 AM
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I'm quite partial to Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap Series, myself. Though some of the themes are unpalatable, to say the least, the story in itself more than makes up for it. Not for the weak of heart, but a great space opera nonetheless.
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:02 AM
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If you can find it, my favorite post-apocalypse novel is Hiero's Journey by Sterling Lanier. It's set long after a nuclear & biological war, long enough that civilization has started to recover from "The Death". All manner of mutant creatures, telepaths, nasty bad guys ( human and otherwise ).
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:03 AM
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What? No William Gibson yet? His works might be liked or not, but you can't deny that he was influential author. Especially Neuromancer is on every must-read SF list. It made cyberpunk what it is now and injected cyberspace-related culture into mass consciousness.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:13 AM
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The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester is set in a future in which crime is almost nonexistent because of a telepathic police force. Great example of how science fiction was exploring psychological and sociological themes in the 1950s.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:38 AM
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If you've never read Science Fiction, and you don't know which authors you'd like, or which type of fiction, I'd strongly recommend an anthology. Arguably the best is The Science Fiction Hall of Fame which is still in print:

http://www.amazon.com/Science-Fictio...3987679&sr=1-1


Volume I has the winners of a poll of the best short stories. Volumes IIA and IIB are the best novellas. I highly recommend all three.

(Volumes III and IV aren't in print any more. That should tell you something. Ignore them.)


The only problem s that this came out in the 1970s, so it's a bit dated. But good SF doesn't go out of style. This is still essential reading.
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:48 AM
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I was going to suggest Asimov but I see that the Foundation and Robot novels have been mentioned. I wish I could read them (especially Foundation Trilogy) for the first time again...

Peter F Hamilton is an enjoyable read. The Greg Mandel Trilogy fits the OP well but I'd also recommend the Night's Dawn Trilogy. Long books but don't get put off, you'll get sucked in!
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:18 AM
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How about:

Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven
Steel Beach by John Varley (or anything else by Varley)
Neuromancer by William Gibson (also Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive)
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (also Snow Crash, Diamond Age, The Baroque Cycle)
More fantasy-like than pure SF, but how about American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Fun and a little thought-provoking, but especially fun the Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrison.

Phillip Jose Farmer is a little on the pulpy side, but can be excellent. Check out the Riverworld books.

I'm not a huge Phillip K. Dick fan but he's certainly part of the canon now and worth checking out.

Second the recommendation of SF short stories. I find that SF is especially well suited to the short story format. Dozois's collections are good. Other good SF anthologists to look for in the used book stores: Donald Wollheim, Judith Merrill and the Dangerous Visions series edited by Harlan Ellison.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:26 AM
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Steel Beach by John Varley (or anything else by Varley)

Yup.

Steel Beach is set on Luna, 200 years after near-omnipotent beings have destroyed all human life on Earth. It also deals with several technological innovations, including the perfection of body modification techniques. The Invaders aren't dealt with in the book, so it's not a shoot-em-up, Us vs. Them, book.

One of my favorite books.
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:56 AM
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Waaah?
Sten and Company spend part of the series as MANTIS operatives, MANTIS being the Emperor's Intelligence service. They do whatever is necessary, be it spying, counter-intelligence, assassination, covert ops, you name it. They sneak in and peek at what the Bad Guys are doing. They snoop and then bring back the poop.
  #41  
Old 10-14-2008, 09:57 AM
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The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Lickety-split, full-throttle space opera with a marvellous anti-hero.
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Old 10-14-2008, 12:20 PM
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Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Cyberpunk in a libertarian dystopia. Stephenson can really write, and can hold his own with any acclaimed modern "mainstream" writer, IMO. He's very funny and full of ideas. The only thing people have problems with is that he's not a great plotter, and his books spread off into tangents and then just stop, rather than end. But if you can get used to that and read for the tangents rather than the story, he's very entertaining. I'd start with this before the denser Cryptonomicon. Snow Crash is worth it for the toilet-paper pool memo alone.
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:53 PM
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Iain M. Banks. I recommend a start with Player of Games
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:53 PM
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Rather than suggest a specific book, since you stated that you're new to science fiction, can I give you a piece of advice? Don't get overly wrapped around the details of the technology. I don't see any real "Hard" science fiction listed so far, so it really doesn't matter. When they talk about the super-hyper-flux-drive as being engaged, just know that they mean something to take them from point a to b really fast. Same with aliens. Don't get too bogged down in the details. "Ok, some sort of lizard thing that likes to fight" is about all I worry about when I read some of these descriptions that unless they came with an illustration I wouldn't be able to figure out. If you spend a lot of time trying to figure out how something works you'll just get frustrated and bogged down.
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:35 PM
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I'll ditto the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Especially Red Mars, which is the best one. I found them all to be quite fascinating. It's got space travel, but no aliens-- it's actually more about how we construct societies, how we could start anew on Mars. . . or bring the worst of Earth along with us.

That said, they're not easy reads, and some of the elements are off-putting (I can see why the earlier poster didn't like them-- I *barely* liked them. . . yet I'm recommending them here, how weird ;-).

Basically, KSR isn't much for characterization, and his politics/economics are kooky-wacko, but the sheer sweep of his novels can be breathtaking. Once I was done with Red Mars, I actually felt angry that I'm not going to live in a world where we've colonized the planet. It just feels like we're missing out, like with that whole "flying cars" scam we keep being promised.

Oh, and ditto The Sparrow. I know, space travel & aliens, two things you didn't want, but it's a very unique book.
  #46  
Old 10-14-2008, 03:45 PM
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Can't go wrong with some Ursula Leguin - my favourite of hers is The Dispossessed.

Also I recommend The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman, post-apocalyptic with a twist!
  #47  
Old 10-14-2008, 04:19 PM
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The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach

Quite similar to Iain M Banks (which is a good thing IMO). Actually I beleive this book was suggested to me by someone on this board, when I posted a similar thread to yours a while ago.
  #48  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:09 PM
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I know I'm very late to the party but I'll toss my two cents in and stir up a hornet's nest. There is a very large portion of science fiction and fantasy fandom that is satisfied just with the concepts in the novel and overlook massive problems with the rest of the book if the idea is cool enough. Consequently there are quite a few SF books that are very popular despite being completely terrible. My point is this: whatever you wind up getting don't judge the whole on it. SF is a big umbrella and there's definitely something under it you would like even if you don't care for what many SF fans recommend.

For Neil Stephenson my preference is The Diamond Age. It does have the same problem that his other books do where he suddenly realizes he has four pages left and hasn't resolved his plot so he crams it in. However, the rest of the book is a fairly clever story of a girl from the poorest of families rising through society simply be having the right book come into her hands. I think it's a bit more refined in style than Snow Crash (which is very good) and doesn't get completely lost in digressions like Cryptonomicon (which I suspect might be very good if an editor attacked it with a chainsaw and cut out two-thirds to half of the 900 pages).

I recently read Nicola Griffith's Slow River and found it to be spectacular. It's a three tiered story of a woman growing up a wealthy but broken home, the abusive relationship she winds up in after leaving them, and how she tries to put a life together leaving both behind. Griffith weaves the three stories together wonderfully using a theme of sewage processing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Typo Knig View Post
Lois McMaster Bujold - probably best to start with the Vorkosigan stories in chronological order. Falling Free is great - pre-Vorkosigan but great. Then Shards of Honor, then follow this list: Linky Her fantasies are good also, I particularly like The Curse of Chalion. Wonderfully drawn, and greatly wounded, characters, and the most natural alternate religions I have seen.
I enjoy Bujold's science fiction quite a bit and dislike her fantasy efforts. She doesn't tell a deep story but they are compelling adventures. However reading in "chronological order" is the wrong way to go about things (Bujold jumped around a bit in her history). Most of her early work isn't that great and Falling Free is one of her worst. Shards of Honor is her first published work and it shows. To pick one point on the dart board to start with I'd say begin with Borders of Infinity. It's actually three linked novellas using the same main character that Bujold features in most of her science fiction books. It will give you a good taste for the flavor of the series.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
(Volumes III and IV aren't in print any more. That should tell you something. Ignore them.)
If it's the series that I'm thinking of volumes three and four are the first ten years worth of Nebula award winners so there is quite a bit of good stuff in them though in fairness everything there has been reprinted in other anthologies.
  #49  
Old 10-14-2008, 05:59 PM
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The Icerigger Trilogy - Alan Dean Foster
I see we both have good taste.

One of my favorites, A Fall of Moondust Arthur C Clarke.
  #50  
Old 10-14-2008, 06:22 PM
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Rather than suggest a specific book, since you stated that you're new to science fiction, can I give you a piece of advice? Don't get overly wrapped around the details of the technology. I don't see any real "Hard" science fiction listed so far, so it really doesn't matter. When they talk about the super-hyper-flux-drive as being engaged, just know that they mean something to take them from point a to b really fast. Same with aliens. Don't get too bogged down in the details. "Ok, some sort of lizard thing that likes to fight" is about all I worry about when I read some of these descriptions that unless they came with an illustration I wouldn't be able to figure out. If you spend a lot of time trying to figure out how something works you'll just get frustrated and bogged down.
To emphasize the point -- most awesome science fiction is about the storytelling. If you get tripped up twice a paragraph on the fictional science, you can't enjoy the fiction too well.

Given that, the list of Hugo winners includes "Neutron Star" by Larry Niven, an excellent short story of hard SF. He took an idea voiced by Isaac Asimov (in a nutshell, describing a neutron star while making the story entertaining) and mixed it with his own setting (a ship impervious to all emissions except visible light comes back with its crew dead, and the protagonist has to find out what happened). The hard science discussion comes at the end of the story, in the resolution to What Killed the Last Crew.
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