Science Fiction Novels -- recommendations, please!

I’m interesting in reading some sci-fi novels, but I really don’t know where to start. There are so many different kinds and sub-genres, and I really don’t think I can pick anything out by just browsing the shelf at Boarders. So, what I really need are some recommendations.

The kind that interests me is probably what you’d call ‘cyber-punk’ – a gritty, dirty sort of future. The more ‘hard’ sci-fi (I’m not sure exactly what it’s called – think Arthur C. Clarke) can be good, but it’s really the cyber-punk that I’m interesting. I’ll take any suggestions, though. I’m incrediably new to this area, and need all the help I can get in finding some good selections.

Neuromancer by William Gibson
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Double Star, Starship Troopers, The Star Beast, The Past Through Tomorrow and The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein
Tau Ceti, Brain Wave, A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows, The Rebel Worlds, The Night Faces, The Dancer from Atlantis, The High Crusade and Fire Time by Poul Anderson
Ringworld by Larry Niven
The Space Merchants and Gladiator at Arms by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth. The Syndic by Kornbluth alone
Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
Childhood’s End and The Sands of Mars by Arthur C. Clarke
Sentinels of Space, Sinister Barrier and Three to Conquer by Eric Frank Russell
The Maker of Universes and the Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer
many of Harlan Ellison’s short stories should appeal to the cyberpunk crowd, especially “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.” Personally, I loathe this story, but Ellison has written plenty of excellent stories.
I think anybody interested in SF should read some of Ray Bradbury’s stuff, hell, I think anybody interested in American literature should read Bradbury, but most of it cannot be classified as cyberpunk or hard science-fiction. However, some of it is still pretty creepy – read “The Veldt.”
Dune by Frank Herbert
check out works by Leigh Brackett, Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. Much of what they did doesn’t fall into either of your categories, but I’ve found them to be three of the best SF authors of all time.
To Live Forever by Jack Vance

Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, both by Neal Stephenson, are worth a look if that’s your poison. Also, Neuromancer by William Gibson is widely credited with kicking off the cyber-punk genre in the first place.

If you haven’t read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and Hyperion by Dan Simmons, those are good places to start. The first sequel to Hyperion, which is called The Fall of Hyperion, is a good follow-up. One lesser-known work that I’d also recommend is Berserker, by Fred Saberhagen, though finding a copy may be difficult and I think it’s out of print now. Despite the fact that I’ve been exploring SF for about seven years now, I haven’t found very many obscure authors who I really enjoy. It seems that the field is overrun by writers who have good imagination but poor writing skills.

Wow, those first three are exactly the Heinlein books I would recommend. In that order too.
He wrote a lot of really lousy stuff, but The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is something special.

Hmm, what hasn’t been mentioned…

A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr. It’s a chilling look at mankind’s propensity for destroying itself.

The Other Side of the Sky by Arthur C. Clarke is great if you can find it. It’s a collection of short stories speculating about missions to the moon (well before they actually happened). I’m also partial to The Other Side of the Sky.

One of my favorite cyberpunk stories is Dogwalker by Orson Scott Card. It’s published in a paperback called Flux, along with some other very good short stories.

I second that!!!

Philip K. Dick – Always good for an ontological crisis. You may want to ease into his earlier stuff - after 1972 you might find it a bit confusing, but it’s the best fiction ever produced on a diet of horse-meat and amphetamine. Made me what I am today. <twitch.>

Rudy Rucker – Like Buckminster Fuller in a cheesy leather jacket.

Another vote for A Canticle for Leibowitz - great literature even if you don’t read the genre.

Whoa, brain not working.
That should read I’m also partial to The Songs of Distant Earth

Thanks for all the recommendations, guys! I have, in fact, read * Ender’s Game * – real great stuff, there. Most of these other’s are completely new to me, though. Thanks!

I’d also second Snow Crash…it’s definitely cyberpunk - not my particular choice. I subscribe to more trashy military sci-fi…and if you ever want to read something along those lines, try Midshipman’s Hope. (so bad, it’s good) :smiley:


Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. Utterly spectacular. Read it first, thank me later.

There was this one book I was going to recomend…
Somthin 'bout some planet…


There was a sh** load of sand that’s for sure.

Don’t worry, it’ll come to me.

Where you thinking about Dune By Frank Herbert?

What was that flying by overhead? Oh, yeah–it was a whoosh. :slight_smile:

::::::::: looks behind him to see what he missed…A light bulb comes on:::::::::

Oh man!!! I’m such a :wally

Should have paid more attention to the mans name.

Douglas Adams, Douglas Adams and… What was the name of that guy? Cecil… No it wasn’t him… It was… Yes I remember knwow… I can’t believe I ever forgot him… YES…YES… Douglas Adams

In studying Mu’Adib, you must first put him in his proper place: Dune, the planet known as Arrakas.

You do realize that you almost made me fall out of my chair?


Jeezus Haploid Christ.

< shakes head >

She specifically asked for science fiction.

SCIENCE fiction.

Yeah, there’s a fuzzy ground, but your recommendation is a Fantasy Book. Hell, it’s THE Fantasy book.

Lord of the Playground By J.R.R. Tokeing

“Nine Swings for the Elven Kings Under the Sky
Three seesaws for the Dwarf Lords in their Halls of Gold
Seven Jungle Gyms for the Mortal Men Doomed To Die
One Sandbox for the Darklord on his dark throne!
One Sandbox to rule them all! One sandbox to find them!
One Sandbox to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the playground of Mordor, where the shadows lie.”

C’mon, Muad’Dib: we both know that there’s not one other book in the entire history of speculative fiction that you could possibly be talking about.



PS: I second Snowcrash. I’d also, given what you said you might like, recommend Metropolitan by Walter Jon Williams.

I’ll third Ender’s Game.

oh…you read it? Well read it again!

I’m really not a huge Asimov fan but I thought Nightfall was pretty good.

If no one else has mentioned it: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.