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What are some of your favorite science-fiction novels?

by rmalik
Tags: favorite, novels, sciencefiction
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tygerdawg
#55
Sep25-12, 08:15 PM
P: 156
(Gawd I feel old.)

I read SF in order to do a brain-dump from the day's stresses. Having said that...

ditto for Herbert's Dune, but only the original. Deep, textured, well done, thoughtful. Most of the sequels were weak and "me, too."

Rissa Kerguelen by Busby (aka The Long View). Read that many, many years ago and still think about the concepts of how societies deal with space travel at non-relativistic speeds.

Chindi by McDevitt, a really fun space adventure read with a cleverly written situation towards the end that only someone with physics / mechanics knowledge would understand.

Then again, most (not all) of McDevitt's books are just mindlessly fun reading.

Most of William Gibson's "cyberpunk" genre novels like Burning Chrome were very unique and refreshingly different at the time and fun. But again, not all of them.

I remember I enjoyed Timothy Zahn's Conquerer's Pride (and maybe the other two in that series) for military sci-fi action shoot'em ups with alien bad guys. Tried to read a few other of his novels and was generally disappointed.
ImaLooser
#56
Sep26-12, 02:49 AM
P: 570
Quote Quote by SHISHKABOB View Post
I just read The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and wow it was pretty great.

That was possibly the most imaginative SF I ever read.

My gripe with SF is that so much of it is thinly disguised metaphors of historical eras (the Roman Empire is the overwhelming favorite) combined with extrapolation of current trends. There is very little originality. I read history instead because real life shows more imagination, if you can guess what I mean.

The Forever War was Different. I like the Hitchhiker's Guide too, and Kurt Vonnegut.

When I was a kid I liked Asimov. He is very good with plot.
Ryan_m_b
#57
Sep26-12, 03:39 AM
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Quote Quote by ImaLooser View Post
My gripe with SF is that so much of it is thinly disguised metaphors of historical eras (the Roman Empire is the overwhelming favorite) combined with extrapolation of current trends. There is very little originality. I read history instead because real life shows more imagination, if you can guess what I mean.
With regards to history repeats it is common to see SF that is pretty much Napoleonic wars in spaaaace (complete with royalty, empires, navys and historical figures *cough* honorverse *cough*) or idealised American navy...in spaaaace.

IMO there's nothing necessarily wrong with translating a historical circumstance into your setting, indeed it can be a great way to explore the issues, but when it's done badly or inappropriately it can really feel cheap.
Travis_King
#58
Sep28-12, 03:27 PM
P: 841
All of the Priscilla Hutchins books by McDevitt are great.

I'm also a huge fan of McDevitt's Alex Benedict series.
SHISHKABOB
#59
Sep28-12, 03:32 PM
P: 614
Quote Quote by ImaLooser View Post
That was possibly the most imaginative SF I ever read.

My gripe with SF is that so much of it is thinly disguised metaphors of historical eras (the Roman Empire is the overwhelming favorite) combined with extrapolation of current trends. There is very little originality. I read history instead because real life shows more imagination, if you can guess what I mean.

The Forever War was Different. I like the Hitchhiker's Guide too, and Kurt Vonnegut.

When I was a kid I liked Asimov. He is very good with plot.
I'm kind of confused with your post, because I found that The Forever War was very much based on the Vietnam War. I mean, I think that the author even states this explicitly.
ImaLooser
#60
Oct9-12, 01:55 AM
P: 570
Quote Quote by SHISHKABOB View Post
I'm kind of confused with your post, because I found that The Forever War was very much based on the Vietnam War. I mean, I think that the author even states this explicitly.
So the USA was a society based on incestuous clone sodomy? You learn something new every day.
SHISHKABOB
#61
Oct9-12, 07:57 AM
P: 614
Quote Quote by ImaLooser View Post
So the USA was a society based on incestuous clone sodomy? You learn something new every day.
the changes in the society on Earth were supposed to represent the changes in the USA during the Vietnam war. Not *specifically* but just the fact that Mandella came back to a home that was very different from how he left it. He was also unappreciated by people when he got back and almost alienated because of how he was basically in 20 years or so of culture shock the first time, then hundreds of years difference later.

It's not a direct representation, obviously, but rather a... well this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_For...ical_reception
squire
#62
Oct10-12, 07:19 PM
P: n/a
My favourites have changed down the years. i suppose some of my all time favs would be:

childhoods end - arthur c clarke
commonwealth saga (in particular judas unchained) - peter f hamilton
tau zero - poul anderson
eon - greg bear
hitchikers guide to the galaxy - douglas adams






My father was a watch maker. He abandoned it when Einstein discovered time is relative.
Amok
#63
Nov16-12, 11:47 AM
P: 255
Blindsight is a sci-fi novel by Canadian writer Peter Watts. I haven't finished reading it yet (although I've read about 90% of it), and I alredy know it's one of the best novels I've read in a while. It's about a near future (21st century still) in which humans make contact with alien lifeforms. Extremely engrossing, with its main theme being conciousness.

Watts is a biologist by training, which makes his descriptions of the alien lifeforms (and of humans too) very interesting and very original. None of that cliché little men with big heads stuff. It's not an easy read though, and it's outlook on humanity is pretty depressing.

Highly recommended, felt like I had to share this. Anyone read it/heard of it?
Ryan_m_b
#64
Nov17-12, 07:52 AM
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I've read Blindsight and found it unparalleled in its exploration of non normative mental states. Very few authors are bold enough to give their non-human characters anything more than a caricature of human/animal psychology let alone suggest that we're the freakish ones for having conscious experience.
AnTiFreeze3
#65
Nov24-12, 04:24 PM
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I started the Culture series recently, with the first book being Consider Phlebas, by Iain Banks.

I'm only about 1/3 of the way done with the book, but thus far I've enjoyed the novel. It follows Bora Horza (forgot his crazy last name), who is a humanoid mercenary with the capability of changing his body (if necessary, to the very DNA) to match someone else, which is obviously a useful trait.

There is currently a galactic-scale war between the Culture (an advanced civilization, who presumably will be the point of focus for the future novels in the series) and the Idirans, who are an enormous (when compared to humans) species with three-legs.

It basically boils down to the fact that a Mind (an extremely advanced, sentient computer) crash landed on something called a Planet of the Dead, which is strictly off limits to both the Idirans and the Culture. Horza is one of the only people who is capable of gaining access to the planet, and consequently, the Mind, so both sides are fighting for his help.

I'm looking forward to the other novels.
Borek
#66
Nov24-12, 05:13 PM
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Finished Snow Crash few days ago. Definitely good read, although some parts are are much better than the others.

I have a feeling Stephenson is a victim of his ow imagination - it gives him thousands of pictures/ideas and he has a problem of selecting only those that are important for the story.
ImaLooser
#67
Nov24-12, 09:30 PM
P: 570
Quote Quote by SHISHKABOB View Post
I'm kind of confused with your post, because I found that The Forever War was very much based on the Vietnam War. I mean, I think that the author even states this explicitly.
Well, the correspondence was abstract enough that I didn't get it. Deep metaphorical things like that, good! If they had soldiers hopping around a jungle in 15-man antigrav ships on a satellite of Betelgeuse oppressing innocent natives who just want to grow greps, which is suspiciously like rice, then that would be bad.
Arvin
#68
Dec14-12, 09:37 AM
P: 1
The Three Body trilogy by Xinci Liu.
A three-Body world suffered a lot because of the unstability of their stars. One day they recieved the massege from earth and then formed the army to come to the earth. They used the advanced technology to preclude the development of foundational Science. How the human prevented the destory from three bodies...... I am not sure whether there is English version now.
Evo
#69
Dec15-12, 01:07 AM
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The Star Beast by Heinlein.
Aaronvan
#70
Dec27-12, 12:29 PM
P: 37
Timescape by Gregory Benford.
Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear.
Ryan_m_b
#71
Dec27-12, 01:26 PM
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Quote Quote by AnTiFreeze3 View Post
I started the Culture series recently, with the first book being Consider Phlebas, by Iain Banks.
You've got a lot of enjoyable reading ahead of you the next Culture book, The Player of Games remains one of my favourite novels. Similarly to Consider Phlebas it takes place mostly outside the Culture albeit with characters from it. This was a good method by Banks IMO as by setting the first few stories mostly at a remove from the Culture he stoked up interest that would last a lot longer than if readers were plunged into the nigh-omnipotent utopian Culture straight away.

Sadly the latter half of the Culture books have steadily marched down the road to staleness in my opinion (though I've spoken to others who echo it) as the Culture has been set up as too powerful for there really to be much engagement with whatever struggle is the centrepiece of the plot. That and some story elements have become quite repetitive. I'm hoping that for the next book Banks takes it back to how it began and starts telling stories at a smaller scale, removed from the Culture itself rather than repeating the "epic catastrophe that sucks in a few small characters but is ultimately solved by omniscient Minds piloting omnipotent warships" style of plot that seems to becoming endemic to his novels.
phion
#72
Feb6-13, 07:07 PM
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Eon, by Greg Bear.
Foundation's Fear, by Gregory Benford.
Foundation and Chaos, by Greg Bear.
Foundation's Triumph, by David Brin.


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