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Old 05-04-2010, 03:38 PM
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Another Sci-Fi Recommendation thread

I'm in need of something to read... like, by tonight.

I'm a fantasy/sci-fi fan, and I prefer to read a series over a stand-alone story. I'm a slow reader, and I only read for a half-hour to an hour before going to sleep at night, so it usually takes me two weeks to a month to get through a book. Ideally, I'd like to get into a series that's at the very least a trilogy, so that it'll be another few months before I have to again go through deciding what to read next.

To give some idea of my tastes... my all-time favorite fantasy series is Raymond E. Feist's Magician/Midkemia. Best sci-fi I've read is anything by Asimov, most notably the Robot and Foundation series. I've read the first seven Wheel of Time books (everything that had been released at the time), but I've vowed not to read this series again until all of the books are out.

I just finished the Death Gate Cycle by Weis & Hickman last night... they aren't the greatest writers (I've also read most of their other stuff), but the Death Gate books were pretty good. Before that I read the entire Shannara saga by Terry Brooks, which was ok, but not great. That covers the last year and a half or so, and I'm really more in the mood for sci-fi next, rather than fantasy.

Getting back to Asimov... the last time I read his works, I also gave that "Second Foundation Trilogy" a shot. Wasn't that good. But I've heard that those three authors can be good; I've never read anything else by any of them.

Anyway, any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Old 05-04-2010, 03:40 PM
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Discworld - the single greatest fantasy series ever written.

Sten - Galactic war! Mantis Corps! Kilgore!

The Known-Space stories

Last edited by silenus; 05-04-2010 at 03:42 PM.
Old 05-04-2010, 04:18 PM
BrainGlutton is offline
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The Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher. Like a hard-boiled detective series but the gumshoe is a wizard. You can read sample chapters of all the books here.
Old 05-04-2010, 04:33 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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I know this isn't sci-fi, but when you're ready for more fantasy, check out C.S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy. I think if you liked Deathgate, you'll love these books.

And if you like the idea of noir detective/supernatural, may I suggest that Mike Carey is a better writer than Jim Butcher, and I enjoyed The Devil You Know a lot. (I happen to have just ordered book 4 of the Felix Castor stories a few minutes ago.)
Old 05-04-2010, 04:50 PM
Captain Amazing is offline
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Have you tried Iain Banks's Culture novels. They're not a series, but they are a shared universe.

For a series that violates two of your rules, there's George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series. If you like Feist, you'll like him, except, first, it's fantasy, and second, the series isn't completed and Martin is both getting old and really bad with deadlines (the next book was due out in 2008 and still isn't finished yet), so who knows if it will ever get done.
Old 05-04-2010, 04:53 PM
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Try the Dune series by Frank Herbert; but ignore anything added to the franchise by others after Herbert died.
Old 05-04-2010, 05:25 PM
Mahaloth is offline
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Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
Try the Dune series by Frank Herbert; but ignore anything added to the franchise by others after Herbert died.
Definitely, but I'd actually stop after the third one(Children of Dune).
Old 05-04-2010, 09:23 PM
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Thanks everyone! All of these suggestions are intriguing. I've decided to go with Dune, mainly because I've been reminded that I actually own the first three but haven't read them, which means I don't need to go to the bookstore tonight.

I actually did start the first book about ten years ago, but couldn't get into it. I think that was probably due more to crap that was going on in my life at the time than the quality of the book. So, I shall give it another go!
Old 05-04-2010, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Definitely, but I'd actually stop after the third one(Children of Dune).
Fourth one. God Emperor is essential. Chapterhouse and Heretics you can skip...I thought they were interesting but they're almost completely disconnected from the first four in both time and culture, and the main Dune story ended with God-Emperor, anyway.

DEFINITELY avoid the newer books which mostly consist of Brian Herbert and his hack writer buddy raping the dead brain of his father.
Old 05-05-2010, 12:42 AM
Lynn Bodoni is offline
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If you haven't read the Robert Heinlein juveniles you need to do so. They're badly dated, but they are excellent stories. Get the Podkayne of Mars version with Heinlein's original ending, or with both endings.

Also, Discworld. And if you haven't read Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, you must do so NOW. Otherwise I will sit on you until you do.
Old 05-05-2010, 03:59 AM
Seamack is offline
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You might try Julian May's 'Saga of the Pliocene Exiles' there's 4 books in the series starting with the 'Many Coloured Land', there is also a bridging novel that spans into the Galactic Milieu Saga, which has a further 3 (maybe 4) books. Bloody good reading though.
Old 05-05-2010, 08:59 AM
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Peter Hamilton, for SF. Check out his wiki or website.

Commonwealth saga

Night's dawn trilogy

Void trilogy
Old 05-05-2010, 09:06 AM
Gagundathar is offline
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Since you are a Feist fan, I must assume that you have read ALL of the Riftwar Cycle.
If not, I recommend the Empire Trilogy (Daughter of the Empire, Servant of the Empire and Mistress of the Empire) as well as the other later works.
Old 05-05-2010, 09:56 AM
chromaticity is offline
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Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
Peter Hamilton, for SF. Check out his wiki or website.

Commonwealth saga

Night's dawn trilogy

Void trilogy
I preferred the Night's Dawn trilogy over the others though.
The Void trilogy is a bit too touchy feely at times.
Old 05-05-2010, 10:09 AM
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The Uplift books by David Brin are very good if you want science fiction some more when you're done with Dune.

Last edited by OpalCat; 05-05-2010 at 10:09 AM.
Old 05-05-2010, 11:23 AM
Elendil's Heir is offline
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I thought Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy was terrific... until the end. HUGE letdown.

Here are some of my favorites:

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke – Powerful aliens offer us peace and prosperity, but we must give up our dreams of going to the stars.

The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke – The challenges, setbacks and triumphs of building an orbital elevator or “beanstalk.”

All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman – A spy for a distant-future republic begins to lose his own sense of identity the longer his career runs.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman – Military sf novel about how relativity draws soldiers in an interstellar war away from their homeworld.

Tool of the Trade by Joe Haldeman – A Soviet sleeper agent in late 1980s Boston develops a practical form of mind control, and decides to use it for his own purposes as both the CIA and the KGB try to catch him.

Fatherland by Robert Harris - Chilling alternative history about a murder investigation in 1964 Nazi Germany.

Friday by Robert Heinlein – A courier/spy in the future is betrayed but decides to fights back.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein – Colonists on the Moon revolt against Earth’s harsh rule.

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein - A classic military sf novel about humanity fighting two alien races for survival.

Time for the Stars by Robert Heinlein – Telepaths are able to keep starships linked as we explore nearby worlds.

Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin – An intriguing vampire novel set along the Mississippi River before the Civil War; the kind of book Bram Stoker and Mark Twain might have written together!

Tuf Voyaging by George R.R. Martin - Satirical sf novel about ecological engineering, overpopulation, absolute power and war. Probably my all-time favorite sf book.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - The inadvertent and uncontrollable time-travelling of a young man wreaks havoc upon his decades-long romance with his eventual wife.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – Sardonic, clever military sf novel about humanity fighting several hostile alien races. There've been several very good sequels, too.
Old 05-05-2010, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Gagundathar View Post
Since you are a Feist fan, I must assume that you have read ALL of the Riftwar Cycle.
If not, I recommend the Empire Trilogy (Daughter of the Empire, Servant of the Empire and Mistress of the Empire) as well as the other later works.
The first time I read the series, it consisted of the first four books; I've reread it every three or four years since, catching up with whatever else has been released. I've only read his "solo" stuff.

The last time around, I read everything up through Exile's Return. I own the next four, but I'm waiting until (at least) the second Demonwar book comes out before I read the series again... and if I can hold out another three years, I'll wait until the final trilogy has been released. I probably won't make it, though.

I haven't read the Empire trilogy, though. And by his later works I assume you mean the other stuff he's co-authored, the Legends stuff?

Last edited by GESancMan; 05-05-2010 at 01:42 PM.
Old 05-05-2010, 03:17 PM
Estilicon is offline
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I like space operas so I recomend:

1. Night's Dawn Trilogy: The ending, as mentioned, is something of a letdown but its a great and long ride till it.

2. Commonwealth Saga: The author, does it again. The guy obviously needs an editor but he has a fertile imagination.

3. Honor Harrington Series: Imagine the Napoleonic Wars at sea but in space! This author also needs an editor.

4. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Tunnel in the Sky, A Door into Summer: Great picks.
Old 05-06-2010, 06:11 PM
Dancer_Flight is offline
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Try James Alan Gardner's League of People books.

The basic premise is that humans are by far not the biggest kids on the block and there is a universal proscription against killing sentient beings and leaving a given star system. Each book in the series is told in the first person, with the main protagonist being a new character who may or may not interact with the protagonist in the first book. Often the book is focused on solving a mystery. While the books can probably be read in any order, the little details and background bits kind of accumulate more pleasingly if your read them in publication order.

The Books are: Expendable, Commitment Hour, Vigilant, Hunted, Ascending, Trapped, and Radiant. Vigilant and Trapped are probably my favorites.

Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga is fantastic (I enjoy the Cordelia books and the stories in Mountains of mourning, but my favorite books are Memory and later)


I'll second David Weber's Honor Harrington Series, also agree with the need for an editor as the series progresses. You can read the first book (On Basilisk Station) for free at the Baen Free Library (and you can get pretty much the entire series electronically on one of the later Baen Free CDs).

If a little fantasy's more your thing, you can try his "Lay of Bahzell Bloodyhand": Oath of Swords, War God's Own, and Wind Rider's Oath.

A shorter intro to Weber might be his Empire from the Ashes (omnibus of three books), or In Fury Born (essentially a re-release of Path of the Fury with a novel length prequel).

All of these are available free on Baen CDs

Heinlein is almost always worth reading, either in short story, juvenile or later novels.


Edgar Rice Burroughs was my introduction to science fiction/fantasy, especially the Martian Books.


I'll also second (third?, fourth?) the first three Dune books (especially Dune and Children of Dune) . God Emperor of Dune was such a slog, and I'm not sure that the payoffs in the later books are worth that effort.


John Varley's "Steel Beach" and "The Golden Globe" are pretty solid reads, and I'm sure there are other Varley fans out there with further recommendations.


One last recommendation I'll make here (although I could go on, I had a roommate with well over 5000 sci-fi/fantasy books and she introduced me to many new authors) would be Tanya Huff's Valor Series: Humans are one of three species recruited to fight a war that older, more civilized species cannot handle. One of the other species is insatiable and indiscriminate when it comes to sex, the other is arboreal and aggressively omnivorous.

The first book, "Valor's Choice," has our heroine lead a platoon on a ceremonial/diplomatic mission to recruit a fourth new species. Things go horribly wrong.

The second book, "The better part of Valor," has our heroine investigate an apparently derelict alien ship discovered by accident. She is saddled with a scratch built platoon, and egomaniacal CO, and a stubborn, agoraphobic Salvage Operator. The annoying reporter is the icing on the cake. Things go horribly wrong.

The third book, "The Heart of Valor," has our heroine accompany a senior officer recovering from battle wounds as he observes final training exercises for a platoon of new recruits. Things go, you guessed it, horribly wrong.

The last book, "Valor's Trial," has things go more wrong than usual in that everyone thinks our heroine is dead after a horrific battle. Our heroine wakes up in an apparent POW camp and sets about, once again, kicking ass and taking names.


Old 05-07-2010, 07:38 PM
bourbonstew is offline
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Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky I think you would enjoy immensely.
I second the Julian May and Peter Hamilton recommends and the David Brin (Uplift War / Startide Rising ).


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