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Books for hardcore sci-fi geeks

  1. Jan 8, 2010 #1
    Inspired by the "Movies for hardcore sci-fi geeks" thread I thought I'd make one for books in the hope of finding some new gems.
    So list any great Sci-fi books you know of for others to check out.

    I'll start with...

    Dune (all of them) - Frank Herbert
    Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (all of them) - Douglas Adams
    Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (both of them) - Douglas Adams

    Then onto...

    Neuromancer (The Sprawl Trilogy) - William Gibson
    Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
    The Reality Dysfunction (The Nights Dawn Trilogy) - Peter F. Hamilton

    Now their out the way, I'd like to mention...

    Only Forward - Michael Marshall Smith
    Mobius Dick - Andrew Crumey
    The End of Mr.Y - Scarlett Thomas

    The last three are fairly recent and are very good in my opinion. I like really weird sci-fi and tend to find just plain 'normal' weird abit mundane. That said: I found The End of Mr.Y to be pretty weird suggesting that it is, in fact, exceptionally weird. But it's about Quantum Mechanics so was to be expected.

    Only Forward is a mystery comedy set in the future. It's well done and is actually funny. Reminded me abit of Douglas Adams. But its real strength is the gradual decent (or ascent depending on your views) into something that turns out to be quite serious and emotional. The writing is quirky. The main protagonist says things like (to the reader) "You can't trust everything I tell you, and I may not tell you everything, so watch yourself" which makes for an entertaining and engaging read.

    Mobius Dick is a tale of love and quantum mechanics (more QM than love, I'm afraid) and is excellently written. It was nominated for the Booker Prize in 2004 and was written by Andrew Crumey, himself with a PhD in theoretical physics. It definitely has a fantastical element to it. As the plot thickens the story starts to get very, very, very mildly weird. Though, I have to stress this, it's not a weird book. I can only think that being written by a theoretical physicist makes it naturally and inherently a little bit weird. But only a little bit. IMO it really should be read by anyone who frequents PF.

    So anyone else know any good books?

    P.S one more thing... Here is a free to listen short audio story from up-and-coming writer Ted Chiang titled Exhalation.
    http://podcast.starshipsofa.com/podcast/StarShipSofa_BSFA_Nominee_Ted_Chiang.mp3 [Broken]
    It was featured on Star Ship Sofa, an online sci-fi audio magazine. This is a particularly good short sci-fi story, well written and well read. Its about 40mins long, maybe 40meg to download and is WELL worth a listen. I have also heard another of Ted Chiang's audio books: 'understand'. Which was even better than this one. You'll have to find a copy of that yourself though ;)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2010 #2
    I read through most of the "Aliens" and "Predator" books. They are simple reads, but quick and entertaining! The ones by Steve Perry and Nathan Archer are the best.
  4. Jan 8, 2010 #3


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    Snow Crash is good, but I mostly prefer older science fiction.
  5. Jan 8, 2010 #4


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    I like pretty much anything by Asimov (Foundation series) or Crichton (Sphere being my fav).

    I am about to read Flatland by Edwin Abbott.
  6. Jan 8, 2010 #5
    I've read the first alien book. Was pretty fun. And I enjoy the older sci-fi like Asimov (foundation is great). But I prefer newer more uptodate work. I liked Next by Crichton (i've only seen the film sphere) but I never heard of Flatland. I'll check it out...
  7. Jan 8, 2010 #6
    I've recently finished Arthur C Clarke/Baxter trilogy: Times Eye, Sun Storm, First Born. There was a couple of points I didn't like, but the net effect was an Avatar equivalent of reading.
  8. Jan 9, 2010 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Hey, catchy thread title!

    I haven't read much fiction in years - my job requires that I read tons of technical documents, so I prefer movies now - but the two most notable for me were probably Childhood's End, and Ringworld. Frankly, I am struggling to remember many titles. I have now two books from a collection of the great short stories from classic sci-fi [Integral has the entire set of five, I think]. There are some real gems in there. Most were written between the 1930s and the 1950s. One of the more memorable stories that comes to mind was called "Shottlebop".

    Loved the hitchhiker's guide series...
  9. Dec 17, 2011 #8
    i just finished reading 'Stories of Your Life and Others' by Ted Chiang.

    i find that some of those stories are really hard to understand. have to say it's not everyone's cup of tea.
  10. Dec 17, 2011 #9
    Yeah, Ted Chiang has got to be the hottest hard sci fi author today. I'd compare his work to visionaries like Arthur C. Clark and Jules Verne.

    Greg Egan is in a class by himself. I suppose Robert L. Forward comes closest, but this guy manages to squeeze so much real and theoretical physics into his sci fi he's set a new standard that begs the question as to just who actually buys his books? I mean really, its almost like reading a text book with an entertaining story written in the margins.

    And finally a shameless plug for Star Trek novels. They're pure pulp and hardly worth mentioning except that they promote a positive image of science and humanity, while also providing one of the best platforms for female authors to break into the field. If it doesn't make its way back to prime time TV, we need something else to replace it.
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