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Hard Science Fiction

  1. Jan 2, 2015 #1
    If anyone else here is a fan of hard science fiction, do you have any recommendations? I just read Farside by Ben Bova and I really enjoyed it, so I'd say it's worth a read if you come across it.
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  3. Jan 2, 2015 #2


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  4. Jan 3, 2015 #3


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    I grew up on Lem, so I'm going to recommend his books.

    "His Master's Voice" is what you get if you take Sagan's Contact and turn the realism to eleven.
    "The Invincible" is part exploration, part militaristic adventure, with musings about nanomachines and the signature down-to-earth no-heroism approach of his more serious books. A military ship lands on a planet in a search-and-rescue mission.
    "Solaris" is another one in the oft-explored theme of attempting contact with alien intelligence. The crew of a space station above a planet covered in a seemingly alive ocean goes crazy, or do they?
    "Return from the stars". The theme is similar to "a soldier returns from war to find the world he knew gone", only it's an astronaut returing after decades-long exploratory journey.
    "Fiasco" another one in the "Contact for pessimists" theme. This time it's more of a Star Trek setup - the technologically-advanced humans arrive at an alien planet.
  5. Jan 3, 2015 #4

    Doug Huffman

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    Robert L. Forward

    I have recently enjoyed The Forever War and Tau Zero for their portrayals of FTL travel consequences.
  6. Jan 5, 2015 #5
    Thanks for the recommendations guys! How about hard sci fi movies? Of course Gravity and Interstellar were great, but I also saw one called Europa Report which was okay. Do you all have any recommendations for hard space related sci fi?
  7. Jan 5, 2015 #6


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  8. Jan 7, 2015 #7
    I didn't see him mentioned, but Greg Egan's novels are the first things I think of when it comes to hard science fiction. The recent Orthogonal trilogy was excellent. He maintains a web site here: http://gregegan.customer.netspace.net.au/ .
  9. Jan 11, 2015 #8
    Some good science fiction movies::
    *Primer - If you watch the movie once and said that you understood the whole fiasco,you would be lying.
  10. Jan 24, 2015 #9
    I'm pleased to see that someone else besides me has seen Primer (https://www.amazon.com/Primer-Shane-Carruth/dp/B0007N1JC8/). It's one of my favorite movies. And it's enhanced by the knowledge that it's the project of a couple of engineers that produced it for pocket change.
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  11. Jan 28, 2015 #10
    Greg Egan! I like Ben Bova as well (he's got a good grasp on the near-future political culture of Earth), but Greg Egan is hands-down the master of hard sci-fi. He writes the hardest science fiction out there, period. Check out "Schild's Ladder" (named after a construction in differential geometry!) and "Diaspora". He doesn't hesitate to use terms like "set of measure zero", and will gladly go into the gory details of 5-dimensional wormhole travel. He's also a brilliant mathematician / physicist as well as a writer.

    And yeah, Primer is a must-see.
  12. Jan 29, 2015 #11


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    Hard SF. Just off the top of my head: Larry Niven, Jack McDevitt, most of Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, David Brin.
  13. Feb 5, 2015 #12
    I'd like to third Greg Egan.
    I recently read Schild's Ladder and loved it. One of those books where I'd say to myself okay I'm going to read 1 chapter and go to sleep. Next thing I knew it was 2am lol
  14. Feb 5, 2015 #13


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    Here is a free science fiction book called Fine Structure. I read it in a book club a couple of years ago and LOVED it. Check it out, it's free! (and has a lot of physics in it)

    Here's the teaser:

    Every year, a random person on Earth is struck by lightning and gains superpowers.

    Each new superhuman is twice as powerful as the previous one.

    This has been going on for ten years.

  15. Feb 8, 2015 #14

    jim hardy

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    About 1962 somebody gave me two bushels of sci-fi paperbacks and i read them all over a summer.

    Robert Sheckley's short stories stand out in my memory as spectacularly creative.
    "Beachcomber" and "Specialist" in particular, with "Watchbirds" becoming more relevant every year as surveillance technology progresses.

    Early Theodore Sturgeon was delightful for his character development but i dont like his later stuff.
    His "Ether Breather" (Butyl and the Beast?) made me laugh till my sides hurt.
    "Widget, Wadget and Boff" ranks among my top 5 sci-fi stories ever.

    Asimov is well, just the master.

    That's my opinion.
  16. Feb 28, 2015 #15
    Speaking of Asimov, I just recently read Asimov on astronomy. It's great. Some of the info is a bit dated, and it's not exactly sci fi, but I'd say it counts because it's astronomy with a sci fi bend towards. Great read, highly recommended
  17. Mar 13, 2015 #16
    how about the Andromeda Strain Book and movie. Can not get harder than that.
  18. Mar 14, 2015 #17
    Space Tug by Murry Leinster [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Tug_(novel)] is a nominally juvenile novel but is also lots of fun for adults. It involves the operation of a space station, and the plot is, as much as anything, a series of cleverly expressed physics puzzles. IIRC this is actually the second book in a three book series.... this one just comes to mind for some reason.

    Half the fun of this book is trying to work solutions out before the specifics are revealed in the plot.

    There is a Librivox audio version of it available for download, which I recommend if you like audio books.


    Looking around a bit, there is also a Project Gutenberg version of it (and the other two in the series as well as a bunch more by the same author... including his adult works).


    Further digging: Bunch of his books are available in audio form at librivox. Here is a link to the relevant catalog page there: https://librivox.org/author/479?pri...=author&search_page=1&search_form=get_results

    Highly recommended. Lots of fun for the physics minded.

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  19. Mar 14, 2015 #18


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    It was published 3 years before Sputnik! Was the physics accurate??
  20. Mar 15, 2015 #19
    Most of the issues were not concerned with the 'rocket science' part of the process but with a lot of smaller human level concerns with living and operating on the station. One of my favorite issues deals with what happens if you threw something (a tin can, say) directly 'down' towards earth from the platform.

    Short answer: as far as I could tell, yes.

  21. Mar 17, 2015 #20


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