I must buy SCI-FI books. It's an emergency. Help!

I’m off to visit my family in a few days and I don’t have anything to read! The horror!

I need to take 5 or 6 scifi novels with me to keep boredom at bay. What would you recommend me? Emphasis should be put on novels that came out during the last year as I’m less likely to own them or to have read them.

Hear my plight, I beg ye! And recommend many a book for I have probably read some of them.

As always, I thank you for your invaluable assistance.

If you haven’t read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Years of Rice and Salt yet, that’s excellent.

Re-read a classic: H.G. Wells’ War Of The Worlds.

I haven’t finished it, but I agree it is a good book. But, is it Sci-Fi?

Seconding The Years of Rice and Salt. I also recommend The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and (not sf) The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams. His Otherland series (which is sf) is pretty decent, too, but not as good as MSaT.

Have you read The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin?

Sorry none of thses are recent- I haven’t been keeping up with recent sf.

Nah, it’s alternative history – but since the bookstore will have it in the sci-fi section, I figured that was good enough. :smiley:

If you can find it, try Andreas Eschbach’s The Carpet Makers. The best SF novel in the past five years.

Some of my favorites, none of which are from the last five years (I haven’t read much new stuff):

George R.R. Martin, Tuf Voyaging

Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End

Isaac Asimov, I, Robot or The Robots of Dawn

Do you like ST:TNG? Just about any Peter David book is worth a read, but I’m particularly fond of Q-in-Law. Diane Duane’s Dark Mirror is also excellent.

Another vote for Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

Kage Baker’s Garden of Iden and the novels of the Company that follow in that series. I devoured them very quickly and loved every bite. Best if the idea of time travel and evil conspiracies are your cup-o-tea.

Go get Dan Simmons’ Ilium & Olympos, and his Hyperion series (the following Endymion series is also pretty good).

Ilium/Olympos is sort-of the Greek Iliad recast as Sci-Fi, and Hyperion is Sci-Fi in the format of the Canterbury Tales. Good stuff.

Most of Lois McMaster Bujold, IMO. Start almost anywhere.

Spider Robinson’s The Free Lunch

It’s hard to recommend when you don’t specify what kind of stuff you like. Some relatively new sci-fi that I’ve enjoyed:

Octavia Butler’s Fledgling
Dan Simmons’ *Ilium *and Olympos
Joe Haldeman’s *Camouflage *and Old Twentieth

I mostly ever read fantasy, so the closest I have come to SciFi is Robert Asprin’s The Bug Wars. I fear that it got overlooked when it was released though.

Hey, I read that one on Evo Terra’s recommendation! It was good, but I’m not sure I’d call it the best in the last five years.

I really enjoyed Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi.

I just read His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, and enjoyed it thoroughly. A light, fun read.

S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire. Set in the modern day, technology stops working for some reason. No electricity, no engines, no guns. What happens?? Good stuff.

Most of the Honor Harrington books are good (starting with On Baselisk Station), and I’m told David Weber’s other series are also worth reading.

Trading in Danger, by Elizabeth Moon, and the two sequels (so far) is also very good, and somewhat different in that it’s a military sci-fi book… about a civilian merchant captain trying to avoid getting caught up in a war (while of course, perusing that which is most important: Trade and Profit) :smiley:

The Wing Commander books are all quite good, they start with either Freedom Flight or Action Stations (which is a prequel detailing the beginning of the Terran-Kilrathi War, as well as the beginning of future Admiral Geoffery Tolwyn’s military career)

Hoka, Hoka, Hoka! by Gordon Dickson and Poul Anderson is a book that starts off slightly goofy and silly, and progresses to higher and higher levels of absolute hystericaly funny comedy and parodizes various works of human literature and movies (including stories of cowboys and indians, pirates and sailors, Sherlock Holmse, James Bond, The French Foreign Legion, and the legend of Don Juan)

If I had discovered a paperback of Old Man’s War in a used book store for two dollars, I would have really liked it. It’s fast paced, action packed, well written, and has excellent, snappy dialogue. However, instead I grabbed it from the library in hardcover, because I had heard that it was a Hugo award nominee.

Knowing that it was up for a Hugo really hurt my opinion of it. The science fiction aspects are nothing new, and a lot of the book seems rather cliché. I like my sci fi to be thought provoking, but it seems like the more I think about this book, the more holes I find in the plot, setting, and science. The characters were not much better and are mostly two dimensional stereotypes (though at times it seems the author knows this, and is at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing). It was also a bit gorey, but the violence seems more like video game violence than serious, war epic death and injury.

All in all, a fun read (that I had a hard time putting down) but don’t take it too seriously.

Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson. It’s up for the Hugo this year - very readable, pageturner, Big Ideas, and character-driven too.

A little more than a year old, but I’ve recently reread Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross. Pretty good hard sci-fi.

Also, I second the recommendations of Ilium and Olympos above.

I also recently got Judas Unchained, which is the sequel to Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton. Although critically I think Hamilton has a bad habit of ending his books with a bit too much deus ex machina, they were a pretty fun read.