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Best science fiction- your suggestions

  1. Mar 30, 2005 #1
    science fiction books that you think are worthwhile for a reading list? What of these books are based on a firm/possible "scientific" basis (kind of visionary science if you would like)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2005 #2
    Asimov's Foundation Saga
     
  4. Mar 30, 2005 #3

    DaveC426913

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    This might not be quite what you were looking for, but it's science, and visionary, and quite "close to home".

    Buzz Aldrin (the astronaut) wrote a book called 'Encounter with Tiber'. It is set in a near future where Mankind discovers evidence of an alien visitation on Mars.

    The book exploits Aldrin's carefully thought-through vision of a fuel/time efficient system of orbital transfer between Earth and Mars (or any other orbiting body such as the Moon). It uses a sort of looping bus schedule-like arrangment as a way of economically exploring the solar system using available technology. The book is a vehicle for demonstrating the system (though it is still a legitimate work of fiction).



    Kim Stanley Robinson wrote 'Red Mars' (and three sequels) which explores beanstalks (or space elevators, or skyhooks, but personally I've always prefered 'beanstalks').
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2005
  5. Mar 30, 2005 #4

    DaveC426913

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    Lash me with a wet noodle, I could not stand Foundation. Never even got through the first book.
     
  6. Mar 30, 2005 #5

    Gokul43201

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    Asimov and Douglas Adams are my preferred sci-fi authors...but I'm hardly a sci-fi-guy.

    <<lashing Dave with wet noodle>>
     
  7. Mar 30, 2005 #6

    Integral

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    Most anything by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle is good reading and good science fiction. Niven's Ringworld is a classic.

    EDIT:

    Note that Billy T is pushing his own book. Because it is offered as a free d/l it did not delete the message as spam. It is still questionable whether it is either decent reading or science.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2005
  8. Mar 30, 2005 #7

    DaveC426913

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    Well, that goes without saying. (Waitaminnit there's a thread for that too!)

    Niven is my fave author. I have every book.

    But I understood the poster to be interested specifically in books that dwelt on a "firm/possible 'scientific' basis".

    While Niven definitely puts a lot of Math behind his works, he does make 'leaps of magic' - indestructible materials, hyperdrives, etc. I can't speak for Pournelle, since I've only read him as collaborations.
     
  9. Mar 30, 2005 #8

    selfAdjoint

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    Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky.

    Ken MacLeod's future Trot series "The Fall Revolution" comprising The Star Fraction, The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division, and The Sky Road.
     
  10. Mar 30, 2005 #9

    Integral

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    Of course Niven makes some leaps, you have to to get space travel. The question is how many leaps are taken and how are the effects of the leaps dealt with. To me that is good science fiction, it is necessary to break some laws, that is the fiction, how breaking the laws of physics is dealt with is the science.
     
  11. Mar 30, 2005 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    That is one of my all time favorites. That and Childhood's End, by Clarke.
     
  12. Mar 31, 2005 #11
    I would say avoid the field altogether, don't waste your time on it, and concentrate on science non-fiction. Much more interesting, imaginative, and mind-bending. But if you must, then have a look at some of the works of Stanislaw Lem, who is much funnier than Douglas Adams, and philosophically deeper than any other author of the genre. Also, if you like physics, then Greg Egan may be worth your while, although his writing is ordinary.
     
  13. Mar 31, 2005 #12

    Janus

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    You might want to try Hal Clement.
     
  14. Mar 31, 2005 #13
    I would like to thank all of those who contributed to this thread, the information above gave me some prespective into the world of science fiction

    what I meant by scientific basis is the use of theories/hypothesis proposed by physicits or cosmologists (especially in the recent decades) in science fiction writing. Since many of these seem to be contrary to commen sense and every day experience (at least to lay persons), I have thought that it would make good sci fi.

    When it comes to respected scientists who have wrote science fiction, I know of Carl Sagan (Author of Contact). There might be others, but I haven't heard of yet.
     
  15. Mar 31, 2005 #14

    Janitor

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    A couple of Clarke novels can raise those little hairs on the back of my neck. [Disclosure: these days it's also those little hairs all over my shoulders.] That happens when I get to the Star Gate part of 2001, and also in Rendevous with Rama when the human explorers encounter a seemingly-alive thing inside the gigantic extraterrestrial spacecraft known as 'Rama.'
     
  16. Apr 1, 2005 #15
    Well, then Greg Egan is definitely your man. No other science fiction author comes close to the advanced level of physics/cosmology he directly deals with in his fiction.
     
  17. Apr 1, 2005 #16

    selfAdjoint

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    Oh my, yes! Schild's Ladder is my most favorite sf novel of recent years! Just to forestall a misunderstanding the last time I posted about it, Schild was(is) a real person. He devised his Ladder, a geometrical construction, to solve the problem of moving a vector parallel to itself through dynamically curved spacetime. The construction is discussed in Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler's great text, Gravitation. Egan uses the construction as a metaphor for his characters' approach to keeping one's moral balance through a vastly extended lifespan that passes though widely varying ethical systems.
     
  18. Apr 1, 2005 #17
    Wow... I can't believe nobody's mentioned Robert Heinlein yet. He is simply the grand master of science fiction writers... so on point, so sharp... messages so timeless and meaningful... what great sci-fi should be.

    Cheers...
     
  19. Apr 2, 2005 #18

    selfAdjoint

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    I read everything Heinlein wrote in my younger days, and grooved on it (or should I say "Grokked it"?) but I think he got rather self-indulgent in those big novels in his latter days. Getting to be a counter-cultural hero with Stranger in a Strange Land and then converting to a counter-culture villain with Starship Trooper seems to have fazed him.
     
  20. Apr 2, 2005 #19
    Lem, Philip K. Dick, Asimov, Card, Neal Stephenson, and, William Gibson are all guys I can recommend. Never really got into Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein.
     
  21. Apr 3, 2005 #20

    arildno

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    No one has mentioned Brian Aldiss' Helliconia yet, so I'll do that.
     
  22. Apr 3, 2005 #21
    No one seems to have noticed that Larry Niven really is a pervert! I liked his books, but he could have cut down on all the sex; it really just becomes absurd, even though he's trying to... I don't know... I guess I'm just one of the people who easily gets embarrassed.

    I would recommend anything by Joanna Russ. She's one of few feministic science fiction writers and truly enjoyable. I also seem to recall that Robert Silverberg has written quite a few pieces that are really good. He also crosses the border into fantasy (the same realm of writing, really). Ursula K LeGuin is also a good writer, try "The Dispossessed" which is claimed to be her best book.

    Otherwise, Neal Stephenson's SnowCrash is a good representative of the cyberpunk genre.

    I just recently read a few short stories by Jeff VanderMeer that can be found on www.infinityplus.co.uk that are worth checking out. They've also got a large set of short stories put out on the web for anyone to read, which means basically there's always something for everyone.
     
  23. Apr 12, 2005 #22
    I agree with LuchBox, Heinlein has writen quite a few really good books. The most famous and best according to me is "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress". It's personal chemistry between the main character and the intellent super computer, who's leading the Lunar revolution, is absoultely fabulous.

    Another book well worth reading is "Fahrenheit 451", in which the society burns all non-trivial information to make people happier.
     
  24. Apr 12, 2005 #23

    Ba

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    I've always liked L. Sprague De Camp, with Harold Shea it starts with The Incomplete Enchanter.
     
  25. Apr 15, 2005 #24
    Antyhing by Asimov, A.C. Clarke (though not the sequels to Rendezvous with Rama :yuck: which itself was a great book). Loved Douglass Adams. Stephen Baxter. And as far as can't believes, I cant believe no one has yet metioned Frank Herbert's classic Dune. Thats my two and a half cents.
     
  26. May 13, 2005 #25
    For Hard Sci-Fi, I would recommend the Mars tirlogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. The first, Red Mars is pretty feasible, and they get more far fetched through the trilogy.

    Also Contact, by Carl Sagan. Much better than the movie, really gets into the religion/science discussion. One of my favorite books ever.


    For sci-fi in general, Easton Press has a list of the 'best sci-fi of all time'. I haven't read them all, but here's the list with comments next to those I have read.

    City - Simak
    Flowers for Algernon - Keyes
    More Than Human - Sturgeon
    Stand on Zanzibar - Brunner
    The Invisible Man - H. G. Wells
    The War of the Worlds - H. G. Wells (I liked it, but didn't love it. Definitely a major milestone in sci-fi though, and worth reading)
    The Left Hand of Darkness - LeGuin
    The Disposessed - LeGuin (Really great book, and the main character is a physicist!)
    Fahrenheit 451 - Bradbury (AWESOME book, very relevant to today's society)
    Timescape - Benford
    Dune - Herbert (A must read, really awesome book. A story with real depth to it.)
    Slan - Van Vogt
    Startide Rising - Brin
    2001: A Space Odyssey - Clarke (Very good, very weird. I had to sit and think for a good long time when I finished it)
    Speaker for the Dead - Card (Sequel to Ender's Game (also excellent). Has a different "feel" to it but is really good.)
    The Gods Themselves - Asimov (The original quote is: "Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain." Good, but hard to describe. Aliens and alternate dimensions are involved.)
     
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