Please recommend a book (sci-fi/fantasy)...

Well, I have nothing to read (again), so I’ll be going to my local B&N today to pick up a book. I was hoping that our knowledgeable Dopers could recommend something for me…

Past books/authors I read and enjoyed are (in no particular order):

Belgariad (David Eddings) – although I’ve heard his newer stuff is pretty bad.
Magic Kingdom series (Terry Brooks)
Shannara Series (Terry Brooks) – the first set anyway, I lost interest after that.
Song of Fire and Ice (George R.R. Martin) – by far my favorite series so far.
Myth series (Robert Asprin) – for lighter reading.
One Knight Only - Peter David (particularly amusing)
Sir Apropos of Nothing - Peter David
Adept series - Piers Anthony (OK, but not great)

Science Fiction
Evolution - Stephen Baxter (although his Xeelee books don’t seem to interest me)
Flashforward - Robert Sawyer
Hominids - Robert Sawyer
Humans - Robert Sawyer
Foundation - Isaac Asimov (the first few books, anyway)
Darkness/World At War series - Harry Turtledove
Balance/Colonization series - Harry Turtledove
Q-Squared - Peter David
Imzadi - Peter David (although Imzadi II was “eh.”)

Stuff I didn’t like, couldn’t get into or have no interest in include:

Xanth series (Piers Anthony) - got old after the sixth or seventh book.
Sword of Truth (Terry Goodkind) – got old after the second or third book.
Dune (Frank Herbert) – just couldn’t get into it.
Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan) – couldn’t get into it.
Lord of the Rings (Tolkein) – tried several times to get into The Hobbit, just couldn’t do it.

So, that should give you an idea of what my tastes are in this field. Of course, I’m always willing to try something new. The only other precondition is that the book has to be available in softcover - (I’m the tightwad who’ll wait a whole extra year to save ten bucks – However, I’ll be breaking that rule for “A Feast for Crows” when [if] it ever comes out).

Thanking you all in advance,

Zev Steinhardt
P.S. I wasn’t sure if this should be in IMHO (since it’s, in essence, a poll) or Cafe Society (books). I chose the former. If it’s in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it, O gracious mods.


Hah. I rushed in here to evangelize about George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire, but you’re already a reader.

If you’ve read the Belgariad, I suggest reading David Eddings’ Mallorean. It’s a five-book series that picks up at the end of the first, and is of roughly the same quality as the Belgariad—George RR Martin it ain’t, but it’s a quick comfortable read.

I’d also recommend Raymond Feist’s Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master, and the next few books after those. There’s about a dozen books set in the fantasy world of Midkemia, so if those interest you, there’s a lot more to read.

Well, I’ll give one each.

Fantasy: Tigana – Guy Gavriel Kay

Science Fiction: Use of Weapons Iain M. Banks


Read that as soon as it was out in softcover.

What are these? Light reading? Dark? Funny?

Zev Steinhardt

Raymond Feist is a fantasy author who writes somewhere between David Eddings and GRRM on an audience maturity level. That’s a vague term, so I’ll explain it by saying that I envision a 12- or 13-year-old reading and enjoying the Belgariad, while GRRM would probably be better appreciated by someone 18 or over. Of course, there are exceptions everywhere, but I think it’s readily obvious that the tone and vocabulary is different between those.

It’s not as light as Robert Asprin, but not as dark as many others. Even though I devoured those books a decade ago, I have to acknowledge now that they’re only above average, not on par with the greatest of the genre.

They’re definitely enjoyable nonetheless, though, and inspired Betrayal at Krondor, one of the greatest computer RPGs of all time.

I just finished ‘Chindi’ by Jack McDevitt which was pretty good. It’s Science Fiction about an already instellar human race who discovers evidence of another interstellar race and begins tracking it. A pretty good read and well developed characters and, most importantly, doesn’t always go where one might predict. A worthwhile read.

Zelazny’s Amber books.

I just finished Holly Lisle’s The Secret Text Trilogy (Diplomacy of Wolves is the first book). Another one that I really liked was The Briar King by Greg Keyes (paperback). The series is called The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bones.

And I cannot recommend enough Robin Hobb’s 3 series, The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders Trilogy, and The Tawny Man Trilogy (in that order).

Read some Heinlein

my personal fav - Tunnel in the Sky

Glory Road

The Puppet Masters

I love older science fiction myself. Here is another gem from Theodore Sturgeon - The Synthetic Man

Written for a younger audience you say… well sure, but they are still classics and no different than the readers of Shanara or Belgariad.

ooooo just realized who the poster was

here is another esp for you

Job: A Comedy of Justice

I just loved Perdido Street Station and The Scar by China Mieville.

People I have recommended it to have either loved it as much as I did and gotten totally sucked in, or they thought it was too weird and baroque and there was just too much going on for them to be able to get into it.

I say try them.

May I suggest something a little off topic? Jeff Noon writes some wonderful books. I suggest Vurt, Pollen, Pixel Juice and Nymphomation.

For Sci-fi I loved Arthur C Clarke. Grab a couple of his short story books - they tend to be forgotten as most people only know him for his 2001 series.

I love going into the used book store and snapping up old paperback sci-fi/mystery stuff. I also like scoring a beautiful hardcover sci-fi anthology for $3.00!

Great comedy that one. One of the few I’ve been able to read twice.

I’d like to recommend a blending of you genre’s with Night’s Dawn Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton. The’s packaged two different ways. In the UK they’re packaged as a trilogy, but I’ve seen them in B&N as six idividual books. The series has it all; Space Opera, Wars, Love, Ghosts, Mysterious Aliens.

I know Terry Brooks’ writing is reviled by the majority of people I’ve ever heard talking about it, but I still recommend his Word/Void series. The second book is predictable, and of course there are predictable elements throughout, but I think the overall atmosphere of the trilogy is what drew me in. I hope he writes more some day.

Surpised it hasn’t come up yet, but the first obvious thing to come to my mind was Orson Scott Card’s Ender books. I’ve personally loved every book I’ve read so far (the first trilogy and Ender’s Shadow), but I know many people like to pretend there’s an amazing first book, maybe a really good companion (Ender’s Shadow), and otherwise just quite a few regrettable mistakes. I’d almost assume you’ve already read them, but might as well cover my bases.

I’d recommend Lynn Flewelling’s The Bone Doll’s Twin and Hidden Warrior. There is to be a third book, which has not been completed yet. However, Hidden Warrior has a more satisfying conclusion than The Bone Doll’s Twin.

What genre are they?

Clarke was OK. I read his 2001 series and Childhood’s End (although the latter was obviously somewhat dated).

I’ve never read anything by Heinlein (although I’ve seen his stuff in the bookstores for years). I may give Job a try.

Nine Princes of Amber is not currently in print, from what I understand. I’ll have to find a used book store for that.

Chindi looks good too. I always enjoy unexpected plot twists (perhaps that’s what made me love Martin’s series so much… you never know what is going to happen next!)

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Please keep them coming!

Zev Steinhardt

Well, in Waldenbooks, two weeks ago, I saw a collected anthology edition of all ten Amber novels for sale… it’s on Amazon too. It’s called ‘the Great Book of Amber’.

Sorry, I should have mentioned this in the OP.

I loved Ender’s Game. However, the rest of the series (Speaker for the Dead, Xenophobe, etc.) left me disappointed. I haven’t read any of the newer books (Ender’s Shadow, etc.)

Other books that I liked (as long as I’m remembering others here) was A Canticle for Leibowitz (Walter Miller) and The Man Who Folded Himself (David Gerrold – easily one of the oddest books I ever read).

Zev Steinhardt

I couldn’t tell you exactly what genre they are… they are like nothing I have ever read. This series is one of the few I have ever reread.