hard sci fi books

I am looking for suggestions on a few specific, good sci-fi reads. I have seen someone post with a similar question/request before, but I want to be more specific in what I hope to find.

I want to know what are good science fiction reads in which the story deals with any or all of ONLY the following topics:
near future, “big brother watching,” dystopian society, totalitarianism, dictatorship, super power gov’t, humanoid robots, androids/gynoids, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, super computers, nanotechnology, advanced weaponry/warfare, advanced earthly travel/transportation, etc.

basically i still want it to be on earth, no space travel or aliens. no teleportation or psychic/psionics/weird mind stuff. only science/technology based. :slight_smile:

This is tough. I tried asking friends currently into sci-fi about there tastes after another thread and found most people just like what they like. But based on your description, I’d go with Neil Stephenson’s* Snow Crash *and the Diamond Age.

Earth by David Brin
Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

Although I should note that I read the Harrison and Brunner novels back in the seventies. I remember them as being good, but I can’t guarantee how well they’ve held up (the “near futures” they were set in were 1999 and 2010).

Do you literally mean only those specific topics, or only things that fit on Earth without any beyond-our-horizon technology?

Revolt In 2100 - Robert Heinlein

The Roads Must Roll - Robert Heinlein

Solution Unsatisfactory - Robert Heinlein
Coventry* - Rob…oh, you get the idea.

Einstein’s Bridge and Twistor, both hard sci-fi books by John Cramer, a physicist at the University of Washington.

My husband thinks that books by James Rollins ought to do the trick. They’re action/adventure books set on modernish day Earth, and each book has a scientific theory or new development kind of taken to an extreme. He doesn’t think any of them go outside of the standards you listed.

Beggars in Spain, by Nancy Kress would fit, I think.

Steel Beach by John Varley is set on the Moon, but other than that meets several of your criteria and is a fun read.

I read Stand on Zanzibar not too long ago, I enjoyed it just fine no matter how dated it had become by the time I read.

you don’t want sci fi, just read your daily paper for all that stuff…

Still well worth reading, and it’s not as dated as one might think. Though, thankfully, not dated correctly.

I’ll add The Sheep Look Up, for dystopian purposes.

Brunner, while in general a second-rate writer (I hasten to add, a very enjoyable to read second-rate writer), reached a spectacular peak in Stand on Zanzibar. Do read it.

You might like Starfish, by Peter Watts, which is about a bio-engineered crew manning a geothermal power facility at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. (His novel *Blindsight *is better, but it’s a first contact novel so the aliens and space travel would knock it out of your list.)

My Name Is Legion - Roger Zelazny.

High Justice - Jerry Pournelle

The following TV Tropes link, Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness, should give the OP plenty of places to look.

Another +1 for Snow Crash.

I am a trifle amazed that no one has mentioned Ian M Banks.

As an old git who was brought up with Heinlein ,Asimov, and many more,I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Macroscope was the hardest book I ever read, when I was 14. It took me longer to read that book than the entire LOTR trilogy.

A lot of cyberpunk comes close, but most of it is only borderline hard science, and a lot of it has near earth spaceflight. Walter Jon William’s Hardwired has some people living on orbital habitats, but the story never gets up there. George Alec Effigner’s Marid Audron books do not, that I recall. (When Gravity Fails is the first one, I think) Both are are awesome.

Course, both are from the 80’s, so you’re dealing with a bit of an ‘old future’

If you’re willing to accept fairly realistic in-system spaceflight, the list gets much longer.

This is the Snow Crash with the motorcycle with tires that let it drive up walls, right? Ahh, I love a good hard science story.

I came here to add a +1 to this suggestion, and to point out that you can actually read all of Watts’ books for free online on the author’s own website. Might be something for those of you who’re interested but don’t want to buy the dead tree versions (yet).

Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan, is set mostly on Earth - there’s a bit at the beginning on an off-world colony, but after that introduction, the action moves back home. It’s a cyberpunk crime drama, with the twist that the technology exists to download human consciousness into a computer, then re-upload it into a different body. The book does a great job of exploring the social ramifications of this.