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Science Fiction Books  
User currently offlineSteman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1371 posts, RR: 7
Posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1862 times:

Hello,
I was wondering if there are other people who like to read Science Fiction novels and Space Opera
After having read the whole Dune series, including the prequels and sequels from Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
I have been looking for something new to read.
I have found the Saga of Seven Suns, again by K. J. Anderson and, although very readable and enjoyable, I have found it
a bit shallow, too "fantasy" and too little "techno".

Then I have bumped by chance into the Commonwealth Saga of Peter Hamilton, a British author.
I have read Pandora´s Star, Judas Unchained, The Dreaming Void and I am half way in The Temporal Void.
I think this is the best Space Opera/SciFi fiction since the original Dune saga.
Unlike the Dune prequel/sequel and especially the Saga of Seven Suns, in Hamilton´s books I can find
the right mixture of cutting edge technology, all round characters (not so flat as in Saga of Seven Suns),
intricated yet highly entertaining and exciting plot also from a political and sociological point of view.
The third and last book of the Void trilogy, which is also the last book of the Commonwealth saga, will be probably released
only in 2011.

So I would like to exchange opinions with other fellow a.net members and find out if there is something else worth reading
while I wait for Hamilton´s new work

Ciao

Stefano

25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21530 posts, RR: 55
Reply 1, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1854 times:

I'm a fan of Timothy Zahn's work, though if you're more of a techno sort of guy, his stuff might not be for you, either.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineConnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1845 times:

Almost anything by Ursula K. LeGuin. There is the "Earthsea" trilogy, basically a fantasy series written for older children, but still very accessible for adults. But I think her "Ekumen" series of what she calls social fiction is amongst the best in the genre. "The Left Hand of Darkness" and "The Dispossessed" really stand out, particularly the latter. Characters and issues well drawn. Then there is also "The Lathe of Heaven", which to my mind is one of the few S-F stories ever made into two movies, on a for-TV in the late 70s, and one also for-TV (starring IIRC Jimmy Caan) in the 90s, shot around Montreal.

Ms. LeGuin is now I believe almost 80. Haven't anything about her lately, so I hope she is well. Last I heard she was living in Portland, Oregon.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlineGemuser From Australia, joined Nov 2003, 5621 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1840 times:



Quoting Steman (Thread starter):
So I would like to exchange opinions with other fellow a.net members and find out if there is something else worth reading
while I wait for Hamilton´s new work

Larry Niven's Known Space/Ringworld series! Brilliant!

The original Known Space stories were mainly short stories, but have been collected into several collections. Then there is a jump of 200 years (story time) to the Ringworld series. Niven (with Edward M. Lerner) is currently releasing the "of Worlds" series which is back in the Known Space era, but provides a "LOT" of back story to Known Space as well as advancing the story. There are a lot of characters, situations, cosmology, politics, etc common to all three series. "Fleet of World" & "Juggler of Worlds" are out and "Destroyer of Worlds" is due out in November 2009 (Hardcover).

Amazon is probably your best source.

Gemuser



DC23468910;B72172273373G73873H74374475275376377L77W;A319 320321332333343;BAe146;C402;DHC6;F27;L188;MD80MD85
User currently offlineSteman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1371 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1838 times:

Thank you all,
very interesting contributions.
I´ve never heard of these authors.
I find it hard to look for a good Sci.fi. novel in a book store.
The covers are usually very attractive. But the stories might be so dull and boring.

I forgot to mention my first encounter with Science Fiction novels was with Asimov.
I have read the whole of his robot series, Foundation series and stand alone novels and short stories.
Amazing that some of those stories date back to the 40s and still look futuristic now.

I think Science Fiction, as well as Fantasy, show how our imagination can be creative.
Authors can imagine a whole Universe with different alien species, they can describe till the minimum details exotic technologies and the marvels of space travel but yet our current technological capabilities are well behind any of that!

ciao

Stefano


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1816 times:



Quoting Steman (Reply 4):
I´ve never heard of these authors.

That makes me so sad Sad

It is not cutting edge technology, but I grew up on Robert Heinlein and the authors of the 50's and 60's. It is kind of amazing to see SF writers describe how to get to the moon, then to live through other science fiction fans take those concepts and really do it.

Some days I want to strangle Arthur C. Clarke for invening the trilogy with the Foundation series, but it has it's uses.

Personally right now I like some of the alternate history novels, especially the Ring of Fire series started by Eric Flint's 1632. S,M. Stirling has some great series - especially the Change series.

David Weber's Honor Harrington books are very good, along with anything else he writes. John Ringo and David Drake are good, though their books at times seem to bog down in battle after battle after battle. Despirate troops against aliens who barely survive.

Personally the technology is interesting but not that important to me - it is a novel with good interaction between the characters.

Maybe it is because I've seen that SF writers can never reach the creativity and astonishment of real world techology leaps. Much of the stuff in SF will never happen in my lifetime, but some already has.

And boy did they get computers wrong.


User currently offlineSignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 2998 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1814 times:

I've only really read two SF series and enjoyed them. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. The Mars series I found particularly enthralling, as real "science" fiction, describing how colonisation of Mars could happen in the coming years, and the social effects there and back on Earth it could have. Not so many aliens though!

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineSteman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1371 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1801 times:

I don´t think it takes many weird aliens to make a good SciFi book.
What makes me like a book is the feeling that those things might indeed happen.
So anything which is an evolution of todays technology.
For example, in Hamilton´s books (Commonwealth series) there is an evolution of internet called Unisphere: a true global network, where everything from home appliances to transport systems and human beings are connected, accessed via embedded neural chips with visual projection directly on the rethina, as if it would be a head up display overlapping image!

Way more practical than an iPhone...and faster  Smile

However, one of the best SciFi series escapes from the high tech mania: Dune.
But Dune is a genre in its own, in my opinion. A true masterpiece.

In all of my favourite series there is always a big part of political, military and social interaction between the characters and at higher levels.
Which is exactly what happens today in real world.

That´s what I like, a plausible futuristic story where you don´t have to concede too much to the "fantastic" in order to believe that this might actually happen. In few Centuries time, that is.

Maybe that´s the main difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Ciao

Stefano


User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3740 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 1786 times:



Quoting Steman (Thread starter):
Then I have bumped by chance into the Commonwealth Saga of Peter Hamilton, a British author.

I was going to mention him as soon as I started reading your post.
While waiting for the rest of the void/commonwealth saga why don't you read the Night's dawn trilogy, which he wrote between 96 and 99. It's a similar space opera setup as the commonwealth. Very good, although I'm only halfway through it.

I have to assume you have read Arthur Clarck's work, especially the 2001 and Rama trilogies. Probably the best SF I have ever read.

Alastair Reynolds has some very good novels as well.

Quoting Signol (Reply 6):
and Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.

Funny, while I loved the concept of such a novel, I found it to ramble on and on and on forever until I eventually gave up on it.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5436 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 1776 times:

My favorites have been:

Bio of a Space Tyrant - by Piers Anthony (a true space opera series)

The Vang: The Military Form - by Christopher Rowley
Its part of a loose trilogy:
- Starhammer
- The Vang: The Military Form
- The Vang: The Battlemaster (I think the weakest of the series)

The Gateway/Heechee series - by Frederik Pohl
- Gateway
- Beyond the Blue Event Horizon
- Heechee Rendezvous
- Annals of the Heechee
- The Boy Who Would Live Forever: A Novel of Gateway (I have not read this one)

The Berserker series - by Fred Saberhagen
(too many to list but funnily enough my fav Berserker story was a short story by Roger Zelazny titled "Itself Surprised")

And my all time fav:
Armor - by John Steakley (this is his only book but it is great!)

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2012 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1734 times:

I also enjoy Hamilton's books - especially the Night's Dawn trilogy. Though sometimes he writes like a creep with peverse sexual fantasies that add nothing to the story (Misspent Youth is the worst of these).

I'm a fan of "hard" science fiction and so far as contemporary authors go I rather like :

Greg Bear - he seems to give most genres a limited go from hard SF to fantasy, horror and thriller and writes well enough to pull them off
Gregory Benford - Timescape is my favourite, also the Galactic Centre sequence
David Brin - Try Startide Rising
Stephen Baxter - I greatly enjoy his SF, but couldn't get through the Mammoth and Time's Tapestry series.
Alastair Reynolds - space opera
Dan Simmons - The Hyperion/Endymion series.
Pamela Sergeant - Venus series
John Meaney - Nulapeiron Sequence made me want to do mathematics again
Jack McDevitt - adventures in space
Greg Egan - hard, hard SF - Permutation City was especially fascinating*
George Turner - the impact of climate change, genetics and other issues (he's actually dead now and his writing is a little old fashioned)*
Sean McMullen - the Mirrorsun series (more medieval future, but with an interesting spin on human computers)*

My all time favourite author, although he's not hard SF, is Terry Dowling*. He's an incredible wordsmith, but it might be difficult to obtain his books as they are published by small Australian publishers. You would swear that the fantastic worlds he creates exist, you can see them out the corner of your eye.

* Authors are Australian - not that it means anything.

James Blish is an example of deceased author who I enjoy (along with Asimov, Niven and Clarke etc).

I would suggest that you go to your local library and borrow some short story compilations (eg Year's Best Science Fiction - ed Gardner Dozois) to get a feel for different authors. There are many I would add to the above list but who I haven't read enough of to recall.

By way of reference to tastes, I can't really get into most of Kevin J Anderson's work (especially the "new" Dune series). His writing is a bit pulpy. And the bookshelves are way too full of Star Wars/Star Trek tie ins with too little original work.

Ben Bova is another author who churns out books, but the story lines seem very formulaic.

One author who keeps getting recommended to me (or people who buys books for me at Galaxy in Sydney) is Robert J Sawyer. I've read some of his stuff, own some of his books, but don't much like his writing. But if you like Canadian inferiority complexes then you might like his books.



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineStealthZ From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5678 posts, RR: 45
Reply 11, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1715 times:
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Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 5):
Some days I want to strangle Arthur C. Clarke for invening the trilogy with the Foundation series, but it has it's uses.

Was that not Isaac Asimov??

Cheers



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlineSteman From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 1371 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 1715 times:

Wow,
there are really hundreds of SF authors,
and these are only the English speaking ones.
I read mostly English books, so I tend to stick with Anglosaxons writers but I´m sure
many other Countries have good SF writers too.

Anyway, thank you all for your contribution.
I will dig into Amazon for your suggestions, when I´m done with my current read

Ciao

Stefano


User currently offlineDC10BHX From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 1652 times:



Quoting Tugger (Reply 9):
Bio of a Space Tyrant - by Piers Anthony (a true space opera series)

A superb series of books. Highly recomended.

He has also done a large number of Science Fantasy books (Incarnations of Immortality spring to mind) which I find to be quite relaxing. In the past I tended to be able to get through 3 or 4 books in a week. Now I have a family that has dropped down to one a fortnight.

I tend to go through phases whereby I read a particular genre for a month or two and then change to something totally different.

I feel sure that this thread will give you enough reading material for a long time.



I'm lucky my job is my hobby
User currently offlineIAirAllie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (4 years 12 months 10 hours ago) and read 1633 times:

I love Orson Scott Card. Two of my favorite books are Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. The rest in the series are hit or miss.

User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 15, posted (4 years 12 months 8 hours ago) and read 1621 times:



Quoting StealthZ (Reply 11):
Was that not Isaac Asimov??

You're right

And now I'm really sad because it took a full day and a half before someone noticed !!!


User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (4 years 12 months 6 hours ago) and read 1612 times:

I just read 'Neuromancer' by Gibson which I liked, and 'Starship Trooper' by Heinlein, which was just OK. Next book is 'Lucifer's Hammer'.

Does 'post-apocalyptic' writing count as SF? If so, I liked "On the Beach", by Nevil Shute, the granddaddy of that genre. Wasn't so thrilled by the unrelenting "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19420 posts, RR: 58
Reply 17, posted (4 years 12 months 6 hours ago) and read 1610 times:



Quoting Steman (Thread starter):
I have found the Saga of Seven Suns, again by K. J. Anderson and, although very readable and enjoyable, I have found it
a bit shallow, too "fantasy" and too little "techno".

I agree. It was cute and fun to read, but way too trite.

Quoting Allrite (Reply 10):
Alastair Reynolds - space opera

Best. Sci-Fi. Author. EVER. I read the REVELATION SPACE trilogy once, then picked up the first book and read the whole damned thing again.

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 5):


Some days I want to strangle Arthur C. Clarke for invening the trilogy with the Foundation series, but it has it's uses.

You mean Isaac Asimov who did the FOUNDATION universe? It's an interesting universe, but I have a distastes for other authors who write in a given author's universe. For example, people who write FOUNDATION novels, whether authorized or not. Isaac Asimov created that universe and it lived and died in his mind. Anyone else who tries to write in it is not quite in the same universe!


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 18, posted (4 years 12 months 5 hours ago) and read 1601 times:



Quoting Comorin (Reply 16):
Does 'post-apocalyptic' writing count as SF? If so, I liked "On the Beach", by Nevil Shute, the granddaddy of that genre.

Don't forget "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank


User currently offlineSmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1626 posts, RR: 28
Reply 19, posted (4 years 12 months 2 hours ago) and read 1593 times:

My favourite science fiction novel is the classic The Man Who Fell to Earth, by Walter Tevis, in 1963.

It is the poignant story of an extraterrestrial man who finds himself marooned on Earth.

Ever read it?

This novel gave me an idea for a future autobiography (after I get my "real" autobiography published  Wink ). I would write my life story from the viewpoint of an alien on Earth; it would be first-person (I am the alien), and the story would parallel my life story--from that viewpoint. I have thought of the alien as the perfect metaphor for my life! This would be a science-fiction-novel version of an autobiography.

How about that--an alien autobiography!  Wink

SmithAir747



I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
User currently offlineTheredbaron From Mexico, joined Mar 2005, 2195 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (4 years 12 months 2 hours ago) and read 1589 times:



Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 19):
My favourite science fiction novel is the classic The Man Who Fell to Earth, by Walter Tevis, in 1963.

It is the poignant story of an extraterrestrial man who finds himself marooned on Earth.

Ever read it?

Great Book.


Hands down reading the 5 books of the FOUNDATION series by Isaac Asimov, is the best thing I have ever read in SF.



The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2012 posts, RR: 4
Reply 21, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1571 times:



Quoting Comorin (Reply 16):
Does 'post-apocalyptic' writing count as SF? If so, I liked "On the Beach", by Nevil Shute, the granddaddy of that genre.

Also one of my favs. For those who haven't read it, it's set in Australia as a cloud of nuclear radiation settles across the Earth after a nuclear war. Though the science is a little lacking (the cloud moves from the north to the south rather than following weather patterns), the description of the radiation disease is terrifying and gave me nightmares whenever I heard my baby sister cry. (I had an actual nightmare based upon the book, but there it was a cloud of pollution).

Interestingly, a lot of Australian science fiction has a post-apocalyptic (or apocalyptic) setting. Same with our rare sf movies (eg Mad Max). I rather like it that way.

Quoting Theredbaron (Reply 20):
Hands down reading the 5 books of the FOUNDATION series by Isaac Asimov, is the best thing I have ever read in SF

You realise that he linked the Foundation and Robots series together, which makes for a lot of reading (I think I've read them all - bar Foundation's Edge which always seemed to be missing from every library. I now own a 2nd hand copy but haven't gone back to read the series again)/



Applying insanity to normality
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1564 times:



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 18):
Don't forget "Alas Babylon" by Pat Frank

Done! Will pick up from Borders today.

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 19):
The Man Who Fell to Earth,

What did you think of the movie?

Quoting Allrite (Reply 21):
Same with our rare sf movies (eg Mad Max

All of them brilliant!

I really must tip my hat to Asimov and his Robot series. He defined all future robots, and you can see his influence both in Blade Runner and the Battlestar Galactica series.


User currently offlineSmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1626 posts, RR: 28
Reply 23, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1556 times:



Quoting Comorin (Reply 22):
Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 19):
The Man Who Fell to Earth,

What did you think of the movie?

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I at least know there was a movie at one time (but I don't know when). I want to see it (even though the book is usually better, and more indepth, than the movie)!

SmithAir747



I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4896 posts, RR: 16
Reply 24, posted (4 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1547 times:



Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 23):
Quoting Comorin (Reply 22):
Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 19):
The Man Who Fell to Earth,

What did you think of the movie?

I haven't seen the movie yet, but I at least know there was a movie at one time (but I don't know when). I want to see it (even though the book is usually better, and more indepth, than the movie)!

The movie was made by Nicolas Roeg and starred David Bowie. It went over my head when I saw it: I'll bet the book is much better.


User currently offlineAllrite From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 2012 posts, RR: 4
Reply 25, posted (4 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1359 times:



Quoting Steman (Thread starter):
Then I have bumped by chance into the Commonwealth Saga of Peter Hamilton, a British author.
I have read Pandora´s Star, Judas Unchained, The Dreaming Void and I am half way in The Temporal Void.
I think this is the best Space Opera/SciFi fiction since the original Dune saga.

My library happened to have a copy of The Temporal Void during my last visit, so I borrowed it and am also about halfway through. I had forgotten just how crap a writer Hamilton has become. Oh, he's still got some nice ideas, but I think his success has made his writing quality decrease markedly. And his excessive descriptions of juvenile (not underage) sexual fantasies just wastes space rather than adds to the plot. At least in the Nights Dawn trilogy they served some sort of plot purpose but here he's just sounding like a dirty old man who wants to write for trashy mens mags (especially considering he's almost 50 and married with kids). I'll probably finish this book and read the sequel, but I don't think I'll be buying them for my own collection, as I did for the Nights Dawn trilogy.



Applying insanity to normality
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