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Old 07-06-2018, 01:45 PM
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OK, I finished "Dune": now what?


Let me back up a bit. I was introduced to sci-fi reading at the age of 12, and for a short while, I was a voracious reader. You can probably figure out who my favorite author was, but I'll spoiler box it for you, in case you want to guess.

SPOILER:
Stephenie Meyer

Anyway, though I read quite a bit as a teenager, my reading fell way, way off in my adult years. I go through phases here and there where I'll get engrossed in a book or three, but then I'll stop reading again for a few months.

In the past few months, I've started paying a bit more attention to my Kindle. I've read a couple of recent (2016 and 2017) sci-fi short story compilations, and as referenced in the title, I just finished Dune. And it made me realize that, despite having read a few books in my day that might be considered classics, I know there are many, many more that I've missed. As a non-scientific example, I took a look at this Good Reads compilation of "100 Science Fiction Novels Everyone Should Read." Of the first ten books, I've read either seven or eight of them, including the first six on the list. But after that, it drops off quickly. I've only read a total of 22 of the top 100.

I'd like to get some additional "classic" sci-fi under my belt, in addition to picking up some new stuff. For what it's worth, I liked Dune, and I'm well aware of the debate about whether to finish part or all of the rest of that series. Suffice to say that isn't going to be my next step. I thought it was more of a hybrid of sci-fi and fantasy, and while I don't object to fantasy, that's not what I'm after at the moment.

So, where to, now? Obviously, I like Asimov a lot. I like Arthur C. Clark. I've enjoyed Neal Stephenson quite a bit. I like Greg Bear. I like Lois McMaster Bujold. I don't like Heinlein much (I got incredibly turned off by the sliminess of "Stranger In a Strange Land" and never finished it). What are some of the classics you think I might be missing that I shouldn't? I realize that you can't give me perfect recommendations without me providing you with an exhaustive list of what I have and haven't already read, so I'm happy for this to be a broader discussion of sci-fi literature. But I'm hoping for some focus on books that might be considered classics and/or "must-read" for sci-fi fans.

The floor is yours.
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:49 PM
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FWIW, Dune, Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune were originally intended to be one humongous book that was broken up by the publisher. While I can agree that the rest of the books are strictly on a "if you really want to" basis, the original three can't be properly separated and you should read the other two. They're way short, though, comparatively speaking.
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:55 PM
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If you're going ahead with Dune series, you might be tempted to bail after "Children". Don't. "God Emperor" is almost as good as the first book in the series. Didn't care for "Stranger in a Strange Land." Give Heinlein another try with "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" or, perhaps, a shorter work like "Double Star".
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Old 07-06-2018, 01:56 PM
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First off, STOP reading Dune. Just stay right there at the perfect spot.

Others that I enjoyed immensely...

Startide Rising, by David Brin
The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester
The Engines of God, by Jack McDevitt
Neuromancer, by William Gibson
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Lucifer's Hammer or Footfall or The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

That's a start. I know you said Heinlein skeeved you out but try 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' by him.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:05 PM
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OK, some quick feedback. I will say that I'm not completely ruling out going further in the Dune series (though there will be plenty, including my own wife, who would and will strongly advise against it). It's just not going to be my next read.

Jonathan Chance, I've read Neuromancer (liked it) and American Gods (one of my all time favs). Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, but he also skews much more toward the fantasy realm. I'm also certain that I have "Lucifer's Hammer" on a bookshelf here somewhere, but I cannot for the life of me recall if I've actually ever read it.

The comments regarding The Moon is a Harsh Mistress are noted and taken under advisement.

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Old 07-06-2018, 02:10 PM
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If you're going ahead with Dune series, you might be tempted to bail after "Children". Don't. "God Emperor" is almost as good as the first book in the series...
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
First off, STOP reading Dune. Just stay right there at the perfect spot...
Tastes really vary when it comes to the rest of the books in the Dune saga. FWIW, I've read from another person whose views I respect, that God Emperor is better than Dune. I completely disagree with that and I'm more with Jonathan's line of thinking. Dune Messiah is pretty straightforward, if a bit dull, and there are parts of Children of Dune that I found interesting, but I found God Emperor to be a gigantic turgid slog.

I probably need to reread it. As I said, tastes really vary when it comes to the Dune books. I'd have you read Under Pressure if you wanted any more Herbert.

As to that best of list the OP cited, it made me realize just how many of the classics, I need to go read. From the ones I've personally read, and that aren't any of the authors the OP mentioned, I'd recommend the Mote in God's Eye. It's a much more streamlined book than many of Larry and Jerry's later collaborations and it has a Heinlein-y feel, sans the sex. Lucifer's Hammer is good, but boy is it a product of the time. If Stranger creeped you out, there are scenes in Lucifer's that will too, IMHO. Ringworld is nifty. Don't read it expecting amazing characterization. Amazing toys and settings, maybe.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Asimovian View Post
So, where to, now? Obviously, I like Asimov a lot. I like Arthur C. Clark. I've enjoyed Neal Stephenson quite a bit. I like Greg Bear. I like Lois McMaster Bujold. I don't like Heinlein much (I got incredibly turned off by the sliminess of "Stranger In a Strange Land" and never finished it). What are some of the classics you think I might be missing that I shouldn't? I realize that you can't give me perfect recommendations without me providing you with an exhaustive list of what I have and haven't already read, so I'm happy for this to be a broader discussion of sci-fi literature. But I'm hoping for some focus on books that might be considered classics and/or "must-read" for sci-fi fans.

The floor is yours.
There's this book by Le Guin about gender-shifting aliens that's considered a classic, but maybe someone else wants to recommend it.

Le Guin in general is very, very good. But it's also worth noting that SF is a really active field, with a lot of interesting stuff being done in it in the past couple of decades. Are you interested in recommendations from this millennium?

If so, I'll start with just a couple, in the spacefaring civilization genre:

Leviathan Wakes is the first in the Expanse series (the basis for the show). It's space opera, done just about perfectly. Not all the books in the series are excellent, but the first one is.

Ancillary Justice shows off some of the really fun stuff being done with modern SF. It was a huge award-winner, for good reason.

I'm tempted to rattle off a whole list, but I suspect that's not helpful. If you want more, though, I love giving SF recommendations!
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:18 PM
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I never felt like Dune needed a sequel. The other book by Frank Herbert on the list is The Dosadi Experiment, which can be read on its own even though the list says it's "#2" in a series.

Hard to say which books on that list you "must read"; I think Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula LeGuin are all pretty famous authors I wouldn't ignore.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:22 PM
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Iain M. Banks - all the Culture novels

Stephen Brust - To Reign in Hell
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:28 PM
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"A Fire Upon the Deep" and "A Deepness in the Sky" by Vernor Vinge were both terrific reads, especially the latter.

I also really, really enjoyed the Mote series of books by Pournelle & Niven, and Jennifer Pournelle (Jerry's daughter)- "Mote in God's Eye", "The Gripping Hand" and "Outies".
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:32 PM
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As others have observed, there's quite a bit of personal taste in what you "ought" to read. I can give some of my recommendations, which tend to run to older, "classic" works.

First, though, I can understand being turned off by Stranger in a Strange Land, but is that the ONLY Heinlein you've read? Because I'd argue that it's not really typical of his stuff. If you haven't tried them, his "juveniles" are better-written than a lot of "adult" science fiction, if somewhat dated. Have a look at them. In addition, I highly recommend Double Star and The Puppet Masters and his "Future Historyu" stories (Collected as The Past Through Tomorrow)


Although I'd read his stories "Scanners Live in Vain" and "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell" in collections, I hadn't realized that these were only parts of Cordwainer Smith's own "Future History" series. Smith is wonderfully offbeat, his books taking their inspiration for legends and Chinese stories and filled with incredibly obscure puns and wordplay. His stuff was in print recently, but you can get just about everything in the 1970s-1980s collections [I]The Best of Cordwainer Smith, When the People Fell, [I]and Norstrilia, or NESFA press currently sells a two-volume set of his best stuff, The Rediscovery of Man and Norstrilia. They also sell a Concordance of Cordwainer Smith that explains all those weird puns and references.

If you haven't read his stuff, Hal Clement's science fiction is wonderfully hard-core, and several of his books are classics. I'm convinced that the movie The Hidden ripped off Clement's Needle. I also recommend IceWorld and Mission of Gravity.

Frederic Brown didn't know enough science to fill a hat, but he was a helluva writer. He wrote straight mysteries and fantasy, as well as science fiction. His stuff is well worth the reading -- he was a master of the Short Fiction, and he loved a witty short story, often with a twist. He wrote the much ripped-off story "Arena", which was sort-of adapted as the Star Trek episode with the reptilian Gorn that Kirk has to fight. Brown's story is better. Since his stuff is mainly short stories, you'll have to look for a collection, unless you read one of his few SF novels, like The Mind Thing, [I]the surprisingly serious The Lights in the Sky are Stars, the Mind Thing, the hilariously weird Martian, Go Home, and the novel What Mad Universe, which pokes fun at science fiction fan culture.*

Other masters of the Story with a Sting in the Tail from the 1950s were William Tenn, Theodore Coggswell, Robert Sheckley, Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson (both of them authors of many Twilight Zone episodes).










*If you like that kind of thing, definitely read Sharyn McCrumb's non-sf mysteries about SF culture, Bimbos of the Death Sun and its sequel, Zombies of the Gene Pool.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:32 PM
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Huh I've only read a touch over half of the top 50 there. I didn't see any Banks on there (re: naita) in the top 100, but I do enjoy. From the list, I haven't seen Vernor Vinge mentioned yet.

Some of these I read when I was very young. Dan Simmons was amazing when I was 13. I really have no idea how he stands up now. Scalzi strikes me as someone I would have liked when I was 13, whereas now I don't understand the love.

The older items tend to be there because they're somewhat archetypal, good or not. And IMO worth reading just for context.

Eh ninjad on Vinge, so I'll second him.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:42 PM
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I read "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" back in college, really liked it, but I just never could get into anything else Heinlein wrote. Then earlier this summer I read TMIAHM again and enjoyed it as much as I did 30 years ago. So then I thought I would give "Stranger In A Strange Land" a shot, got about 1/3 of the way through it, and said "Nope."

I went through a stage many years ago where I tried to read everything I could get my hands on by John Varley. Check out the Gaea trilogy (Titan / Wizard / Demon) if they're still available.
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Old 07-06-2018, 02:43 PM
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Scalzi strikes me as someone I would have liked when I was 13, whereas now I don't understand the love.
Scalzi is real good at the smart, sneaky protagonist who overcomes overwhelming odds with a crazy-ass plan. I really loved the first thing I read by him. His schtick can get old, but even so, I'll read his new stuff because on his off days he's still pretty fun.
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Old 07-06-2018, 03:06 PM
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I don't understand why The Fountainhead would be considered science fiction. Atlas Shrugged is definitely scifi (super metals! Perpetual energy machine! Apocalyptic!), but TF? Not seeing it.

Have you read Brin? If not, I would start with Earth, a one-off novel published in 1991. If you like the style, you can then move to his Startide/Uplift books, though I found them to be very, very frustrating - Brin created a fascinating society/setting for these books, then focused on characters doing their damndest trying to hide from it. It's the equivalent of creating "New York City", then have 90% of the action occur inside a closet in an upper eastside apartment where the characters keep telling themselves "Be quiet! Do you think somebody heard us?"

He did this over, and over, and over again, to the point where I couldn't be bothered to finish the second trilogy in this setting.

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Old 07-06-2018, 03:09 PM
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I got about 20 years behind on Hugo and Nebula winners, and have been catching up. Not all are great, but they are a good place to start.
Heinlein juveniles are almost all excellent, but if you don't like Stranger I wouldn't read much of his stuff after 1971 or so.
I read Stranger back in high school, and I reread the uncut version. The cutting wasn't of the "good" parts (almost everything I thought was restored was in the original) but of bloat. They didn't take out the dirty bits, just the boring bits.
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Old 07-06-2018, 03:10 PM
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I definitely like Jonathan Chance's list, but can add some:

Tau Zero, Poul Anderson - classic SF in the best ways
The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin - LHoD vaguely described it but I'll go ahead and recommend it by name.
Forever War, Joe Haldeman - can edge into political messaging, but has enough SF elements to be worthwhile
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner - this or Shockwave Rider by Brunner, I think Zanzibar has aged better.
Expendable, James Alan Gardner - a more recent choice, I adored his League of Peoples universe of which this was the first book.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:00 PM
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I think LHoD might have another Le Guin in mind.

Although you can't really go wrong with her. If she wrote a bad book I haven't read it.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:10 PM
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Another vote for stopping after the first Dune book.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson.
Nova, Samuel R. Delany.
Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:16 PM
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You liked Asimov, you like Bear, you like Clarke. If you haven't read your Niven, you should. Stick to the ones he wrote in the the 60s and 70s; after that he got a bit lazy, I think. A couple of his collaboration series are good (Moties, Dream Park). Great short stories, btw, especially the ARM stories.

If you like space opera, David Weber's Honorverse novels are good, though you probably should be careful about going too far down the sequence, since he started milking them for money, before abandoning them.

CJ Cherryh has several novels worth reading, most importantly, of course, Downbelow Station. Also, C.S. Friedman has a few excellent novels; I particularly like In Conquest Born.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:20 PM
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A lot of people who've read Dune associate it with a Piers Anthony novel called Terra-Eye, even suggesting the former is required reading to understand the latter. I disagree; the Anthony book is uselessly incoherent whether or not you've read Dune.

So Dune or Dune-not, there is no Terra-Eye.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:27 PM
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I think LHoD might have another Le Guin in mind.
I do . Although I actually prefer The Dispossessed, thinking it among the best utopian novels ever written, despite not really being a utopian novel.

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Old 07-06-2018, 04:28 PM
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As a non-scientific example, I took a look at this Good Reads compilation of "100 Science Fiction Novels Everyone Should Read."
If you click, you see there's way more than 100 books on that list. Even with the full list, I was a bit surprised not to see Octavia Butler anywhere on it. She's a big enough deal to have gotten the Google Doodle of the day not too long ago.

I'm not saying this as a personal recommendation—I've only read one of her books, and it wasn't entirely my cup of tea, but I do mean to get around to reading more of hers.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:37 PM
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Stuff that isn't on that list, but should be: C.J. Cherryh - Downbelow Station
Sheri S. Tepper - The Gate To Women's Country
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:38 PM
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I'm a big Asimov fan myself. One writer I like for hard SF is James P. Hogan. He was a real weirdo in real life, and some of it filters into his writing (particularly late in his life/career). But I truly enjoyed reading his stuff from the 70s, 80s and 90s. On reviewing one of his early works, Asimov said something like (paraphrasing from memory, sorry), "Move over, Arthur Clarke, the new star of hard SF is here." When Clarke reviewed a later Hogan work, he said something like, "Alas, I think Isaac is right."

The Giants series (starts with Inherit the Stars), Thrice Upon a Time, Code of the Lifemaker (and its sequel The Immortality Option), and Bug Park are the ones I'd mention in particular.

There are others, but you are taking the chance of straying into his semi-crazed philosophical positions. Cradle of Saturn, for instance, is overtly Veilikovskian, which I didn't like as much as the other complete rewrite of the Solar System's history he did in Inherit the Stars.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:41 PM
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JC's list is the place to start.

Give us some sub-fields you like of think you'll like. Do you want the science hard or soft or non-existant?

My go-to recommendation is to try the Sten series by Chris Bunch and Alan Cole.
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Old 07-06-2018, 05:01 PM
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My recommendations would be:

David Brin - Startide Rising and The Uplift War. The first book in the trilogy "Sundiver" is good but not essential. And as another noted, the second trilogy is harder to get into.

Jack McDevitt - Really anything he has written. The Priscilla Hutchins novels are great, as are the Alex Benedict Novels. His one-offs are also good.

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle - most anything they wrote, either together or separately. If you're not sure, start with The Mote In God's Eye or Lucifer's Hammer.

If you like space opera, Dave Weber's Honor Harrington series is very good. As is Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series.

Gordon R. Dickson wrote some interesting stuff, including his Childe Cycle and The Way of the Pilgrim.

Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon stories are a whole lot of fun.

Steven Brust tends more towards swords and sorcery type fantasy (but done a bit differently than most), but Cowboy Feng's Spacetime Bar and Grill is more sci-fi-ish. I'm a big fan of his Vlad Taltos books. Also his Khaavren romances, while set in the same world as Vlad Taltos, are written in an Alexandre Dumas-like style, and are fun if you like over-blown dialogue.

If you've been living under a bush and didn't see The Martian, definitely read the book by Andy Weir.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. A gripping take on man's first contact with aliens.

Steve Perry's Matador series is excellent, especially if you are a fan of the Martial Arts.

There's a lot more, but this list would keep you busy for quite a while.
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Old 07-06-2018, 05:43 PM
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I’ve always loved David Brin’s Uplift series, which has been mentioned above.

I agree with other posters that Dune alone is sufficient. My second favorite in the series was God Emporer. BUT, if you read two good books in a series, you might be tempted to think that the others might be worth reading...

I also agree that Le Guin is s great writer. I haven’t seen most of her more recent stuff (last few decades)- maybe I should check it out.

Lucifer’s Hammer is very good (much better than Footfall IMHO) and the Motie stuff as well for the Niven/Pournelle pair. You might try out Inferno from them, if you like their style.
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Old 07-06-2018, 05:56 PM
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I recommend it all the time, but I can't summon high enough praise for Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief, The Fractal Prince and The Causal Angel, known collectively as the Jean le Flambeur series. Many people find them somewhat difficult due to their uncompromising show-don't-tell style but they are immensely rewarding and the first in the series is particularly wonderful, IMO.

I also recommend Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs books and his excellent stand-alone novel Thirteen. Again, the plot is complicated but it involves a genetically engineered human, who's type by law cannot be created anymore, helping a detective find someone who escaped from Mars back to Earth, eating the passengers on the ship to sustain himself. That nutshell description doesn't do it justice, of course, but I figured a nutshell description is better than none, eh.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:09 PM
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Someone already mentioned Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, which is great and you should really read that.

Someone else also mention Forever War by Joe Haldeman. It's probably my favorite book, excellent fairly hard sci-fi. In fact, I can recommend just about any book by Haldeman -- Mindbridge is great, All My Sins Remembered, and on and on. For something short and fun by him, read The Accidental Time Machine.

Cat's Cradle, by Vonnegut, is biting and great.

In terms of Dune books, the first three are good, then it goes downhill fast.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SmartAleq View Post
FWIW, Dune, Children of Dune and God Emperor of Dune were originally intended to be one humongous book that was broken up by the publisher. While I can agree that the rest of the books are strictly on a "if you really want to" basis, the original three can't be properly separated and you should read the other two. They're way short, though, comparatively speaking.
Uh, no. The dates alone disprove it:

Dune
1965 (published first by Chilton Press, incidently, known primarily for their car repair manuals).
Dune Messiah 1969 (since the original book was a big success, why wait four years to publish the sequel if it's already written?)
Children of Dune 1976 (a NY Times Best seller)
God Awful . . . God Emperor of Dune 1981 (Again, why wait five years if you have the book in hand?)

And Jonathan Chance is right. Children is the best, but it's never better than a potboiler. God Awful had Herbert straining to make things work (another clue that he hadn't written it as a single book.


My choices are a bit idiosyncratic.

Davy by Edgar Pangborn -- The adventures of the king of the fools (which takes wisdom) in an post-apocalyptic world.

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany. Not his best, but better than 90% of the work out there. His most traditionally SF.

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Pure brilliance

Anything by Octavia Butler, but especially The Parable of the Sower

Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg. The story of a telepath losing his powers.

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Ahead of its time, and great space opera.

Anything by Jack Vance. Vance was a mediocre plotter, but brilliant at creating alien societies and outre characters. Try The Demon Prices and The Dying Earth series.

I was very impressed by Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron, though I haven't read it in awhile and it may not hold up.

Fredrick Pohl had a great streak in the late 70s, with Man Plus, Gateway, Jem and Beyond the Blue Event Horizon
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:14 PM
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First, let me join the chorus encouraging you to read Heinlein's pre-1960's stuff, almost all of which is good. About half the stuff he wrote in the 60's and 70's was good. You can skip the rest.

Also, two comments on the Honor Harrington series:

1) I'd call that military sci-fi, not space opera. You want space opera, go with the Lensman series by EE Smith. It's dated, sometimes comically so, but it's great space opera.

2) For those (which is about everybody) who think Weber is just milking the series, I have a wonderful gift for you:

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1150091...-Among-Thieves

It's fan fiction, but it's better than Weber. Seriously. It brings the series to a very satisfying conclusion, with better dialog and less bloat than the Weber books.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 07-06-2018 at 06:16 PM.
  #33  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:19 PM
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Lots of great stuff in here, folks. Thank you. I've got about six hours of free reading time tomorrow, so I intend to take advantage of these suggestions immediately.

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Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Are you interested in recommendations from this millennium? <snip> I'm tempted to rattle off a whole list, but I suspect that's not helpful. If you want more, though, I love giving SF recommendations!
Feel free. I'm definitely interested in current writing, as well. Most of the short story compilations I've read in the last few months have been from the last couple of years, and there's definitely still good stuff out there.

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Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
Have you read Brin? If not, I would start with Earth, a one-off novel published in 1991.
As best as I can recall, the only thing I've ever read of Brin's was his contribution to Asimov's "Foundation" series, and for the life of me, I can't recall if his was the one I hated or not. Still, it has been a couple of decades, at least, and I'm willing to give him a shot.

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Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson.
Nova, Samuel R. Delany.
Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
I've read and enjoyed "Snow Crash," so that bodes well for the rest of your list. Thank you!

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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
You liked Asimov, you like Bear, you like Clarke. If you haven't read your Niven, you should.
I've read "Ringworld," but nothing else that I can recall. So added.

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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
JC's list is the place to start.

Give us some sub-fields you like of think you'll like. Do you want the science hard or soft or non-existant?

My go-to recommendation is to try the Sten series by Chris Bunch and Alan Cole.
Noted. I like hard sci-fi, and I like time travel. I also tend to like appropriate doses of dystopian novels.

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I recommend it all the time, but I can't summon high enough praise for Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief, The Fractal Prince and The Causal Angel, known collectively as the Jean le Flambeur series. Many people find them somewhat difficult due to their uncompromising show-don't-tell style but they are immensely rewarding and the first in the series is particularly wonderful, IMO.
I actually read "The Quantum Thief" about five years ago, and struggled with it for exactly the same reason you identified. I had intended to re-read it, and never did. I've still got the physical copy around, and may well do that.
  #34  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:29 PM
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I've read "Ringworld," but nothing else that I can recall
My two cents on Niven, his short story collections, like Neutron Star and Tales of Known Space, are better than his novels, although World of Ptavvs is very good.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 07-06-2018 at 06:30 PM.
  #35  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:30 PM
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"I like hard sci-fi, and I like time travel."

Go read Charlie Stross's, "Palimpsest," now. Won the Hugo for Best Novella, IIRC.

Let me know afterwards if you could follow the plot. If you could, maybe you could help me to.
  #36  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:35 PM
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Noted. I like hard sci-fi, and I like time travel. I also tend to like appropriate doses of dystopian novels.
To that end, try Robert Asprin/Janet Evans' Time Scout novels. Also good are Poul Anderson's Time Patrol books. For old school read H. Beam Piper's Paratime stories.

And, in honor of our own Qadgop the Mercotan, read E. E. Smith's Lensman series, where rockets thunder through the ether and they use planets as KEWs.
  #37  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:39 PM
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Uh, no. The dates alone disprove it:

Dune
1965 (published first by Chilton Press, incidently, known primarily for their car repair manuals).
Dune Messiah 1969 (since the original book was a big success, why wait four years to publish the sequel if it's already written?)
I seem to recall George RR Martin saying in 2005 that his new book was too large, so the publisher wanted to split it up. The two halves came out six years apart. So it's entirely possible Herbert said something similar, and meant it when he said it, but just couldn't stop rewriting.
  #38  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:41 PM
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Interesting coincidence... I decided to read through Dune again recently and I'm about a third of the way through Children.

It's been many years... I find that I enjoyed Messiah quite a bit, but Children is really tedious right now. I have actually been thinking about giving up.

I don't remember much about God Emperor, Heretics, or Chapterhouse, but I'm looking at them on the shelf and wondering if I shouldn't just start something else.
  #39  
Old 07-06-2018, 06:57 PM
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Greetings, fellow Asimovian. I started reading SF at age 13, but I have been doing it steadily for 68 years.

Nearly any book by William Gibson. Stephanie Saulter's Evolution trilogy. If you go for the gruesome, Charles Stross's laundry series. If you don't, you might enjoy his family trade series. Courtship Rites and Psychohistorical Crisis by Donald Kingsbury, both of which took place in Asimov's universe (under different names, although the second is obviously a sequel to Second Foundation). Sherri Tepper, especially Grass and Gate to Women's country, although I thoroughly enjoyed her True Game series (I think 9 books). Melissa Scott, especially her "Roads" series.

If you go for fantasy, there are a number of female writers I have fallen in love with: Laura Anne Gilman, Patricia Briggs, Sharon Shinn.
  #40  
Old 07-06-2018, 07:44 PM
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Noted. I like hard sci-fi, and I like time travel. I also tend to like appropriate doses of dystopian novels.
Hmm...have you heard of Claire North? Her first book (under this pseudonym: she's disgustingly accomplished for someone like fifteen years younger than me), The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, is one of my favorite takes on time travel. Spoiler: there's no real time travel to speak of. Which is part of why it's one of my favorite takes.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 07-06-2018 at 07:45 PM.
  #41  
Old 07-06-2018, 08:44 PM
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Do you really want just recommendations for science fiction, or do you want recommendations for fantasy too? You mention that you like Stephenie Meyer's books and that you like American Gods. Both are fantasy (or maybe horror) rather than science fiction. Yeah, you can say that I'm being picky, but I need to know exactly what you want. My twenty favorite science fiction works more than 25,000 words in length are Olaf Stapledon's First and Last Men and Starmaker, Philip José Farmer's Riverworld series, Frank Herbert's Dune, Walter Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness, Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle, Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants, Theodore Sturgeon's More than Human, Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, Arthur C. Clarke's Against the Fall of Night, Ken Grimwood's Replay, Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, H. G. Wells's The Time Machine, Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, Clifford Simak's City, Michael Frayn's The Tin Men, Samuel R. Delany's The Einstein Intersection, Isaac Asimov's The End of Eternity, and Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. I can give you a list of my favorite fantasy if you prefer.
  #42  
Old 07-06-2018, 08:52 PM
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Do you really want just recommendations for science fiction, or do you want recommendations for fantasy too? You mention that you like Stephenie Meyer's books and that you like American Gods.
Stephenie Meyer was a joke; I figure most people could figure out who my favorite author was based on my user name. I'm not actually a Stephenie Meyer fan. As for American Gods, that was in response to a suggestion someone else made. I like fantasy, but not nearly as much as I like sci-fi, and I'm aiming strictly for sci-fi recommendations in this thread.

From your list, I've read (and enjoyed) The Man in the High Castle and The End of Eternity. I'm getting a number of recommendations on The Forever War, and will probably move that up pretty high on my list.
  #43  
Old 07-06-2018, 09:08 PM
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Lot of votes here for "The Stars, My Destination". Maybe it's just me, but I preferred Bester's "The Demolished Man".

Another vote for "The Forever War", and I have read "The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August" and enjoyed it but there are many better books out there. When it comes to SF, I'm a classicist at heart. See if you can find some Leinster.
  #44  
Old 07-06-2018, 09:12 PM
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OK, so there really is only one choice to me:

The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

Dune isn't the Lord of the Rings of science fiction. BotNS is.
  #45  
Old 07-06-2018, 10:51 PM
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If you do want a fantasy suggestion for a lover of science fiction, try Master of the Five Magics, by Lyndon Hardy. He's a PhD physicist, and it shows.

Stranger in a Strange Land is the absolute worst place to start with Heinlein, and I cringe whenever I hear anyone starting with it. Everyone either loves it or hates it. If you love it, then you'll also enjoy other Heinlein works... but if you hate it, you'll still probably enjoy other Heinlein works. Read any or all of the juvies, read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Double Star, and Starship Troopers, read a few others, and then maybe try Stranger, and if you turn out to hate it, don't feel bad about it.

I recently read a volume titled "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame", full of classic short stories. There's a few stinkers in the bunch, and some authors got short-changed by the policy of only including one from each author, but most of the decisions were very good.
  #46  
Old 07-06-2018, 10:59 PM
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I second the remarks about most of Heinlein's juveniles, and would add that Glory Road is a great novel.
I also recommend Poul Anderson, my favorite science fiction writer; Stephen Baxter, Kim Stanley Robinson, Leigh Brackett, and Roger Zelazny.
The first novel is on that list, but I would read the entire Cities in Flight quartet by James Blish.
It's a graphic novel, but I consider Alan Moore and David Gibbon's The Watchmen to be one of the best SF novels.
The Maker of Universes, the first of the World of Tiers series by Philip Jose Farmer, is the first SF novel I ever read, and I still think it's first rate. The next three books in the series are all right, but I quit reading the series after The Lavalite World.
The late Harlan Ellison wrote quite a few short stories worth reading.
I second CalMeacham's remarks about Frederic Brown, Cordwainer Smith, and the Sting in the Tail writers. Tenn and Sheckley are hilarious.
Fritz Leiber wrote wonderful fantasy and science fiction. For SF, I recommend The Silver Eggheads, another hilarious novel, and for fantasy I recommend Conjure Wife and the series about Fafhrd the Barbarian and the Grey Mouser, at least the first five books.
He's usually considered a horror writer, but many of H.P. Lovecraft's later stories are science fiction. I especially recommend "The Shadow out of Time."
I second Jack Vance, one of the best writers, IMO. To Live Forever and The Blue World are excellent novels.
When it comes to Herbert, I think Dune is the best SF novel ever written. However, Dune Messiah blows chunks the size of a whale. Children of Dune and God-Emperor of Dune are worth reading, I think, but they are turgid at times. You might consider reading his books Under Pressure, Whipping Star, and The Santaroga Barrier.

Last edited by The_Peyote_Coyote; 07-06-2018 at 11:04 PM.
  #47  
Old 07-06-2018, 11:58 PM
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Add another vote for David Brin. He's probably the biggest post-Golden Age writer in science fiction. His Uplift series is great but I don't know if I'd recommend starting out with a multi-volume series like that. Instead I recommend either The Practice Effect (if you enjoy the lighter end of SF) or Kiln People.

Peter Hamilton: Like Brin, he's written some huge series. So I'd recommend starting with a single novel like Fallen Dragon or Great North Road.

Robert Charles Wilson: I'd recommend The Harvest or Last Year as good places to start with him.

Robert Silverberg is, in my opinion, the greatest living SF author and arguably the greatest of all time. He's also incredibly prolific; he's literally written hundreds of books. Some I would recommend to check him out are The Book of Skulls, Dying Inside, Hawksbill Station, Lord Valentine's Castle, Nightwings, and Up the Line.
  #48  
Old 07-07-2018, 12:14 AM
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John C. Wright's Golden Age trilogy ought to appeal to an Asimov fan; it's hard sci-fi with a very methodical writing style and a hint of puzzle-solving. It's also some extremely creative world-building.

John Barnes has written several short fun novels. Start with The Sky So Big and Black for hard sci-fi or Kaleidoscope Century for an elaborate puzzle structure.

I will second the recommendation for Robert Charles Wilson but suggest starting with The Chronoliths. It's a novel of time travel and world politics that fits together perfectly on its own terms.

Vernor Vinge's Peace War novels have an Asimov-like style. However, his space-opera classic, A Fire On The Deep, is way overrated in my opinion.

The only Niven I have enjoyed are his collaborations with Pournelle; they seem to have complemented one another.

The Forever War is a bit of a period piece, in my view.
  #49  
Old 07-07-2018, 12:50 AM
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Metrophage by Richard kadrey a must read ...when my english teacher gave it to me she said "it's a great book but the politics are way out there"

Almost 30 years later the perdictions he made are awlfully damn close to coming true........
  #50  
Old 07-07-2018, 10:22 AM
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For Poul Anderson, I like Fire Time.

You might enjoy Three Hearts and Three Lions. The lead character is an engineer, and he spends much of the book trying to explain fantasy tropes with hard-sci-fi terminology.
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