steman
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Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:30 am

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
 
Mir
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:44 am

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
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connies4ever
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:19 am

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.
 
Gemuser
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:44 am



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
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steman
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:58 am

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
 
rfields5421
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:24 pm



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.
 
signol
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:32 pm

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
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steman
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 2:15 pm

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
 
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Francoflier
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:23 pm



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.
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Tugger
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Wed Aug 05, 2009 6:03 pm

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
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allrite
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:49 am

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.
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Stealthz
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:06 am



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
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steman
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Thu Aug 06, 2009 8:08 am

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
 
dc10bhx
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:53 am



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.
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iairallie
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:44 pm

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.
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rfields5421
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:33 pm



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 !!!
 
comorin
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:07 pm

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.
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:23 pm



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!
-Doc Lightning-

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rfields5421
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:27 am



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
 
SmithAir747
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:21 am

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
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TheRedBaron
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:28 am



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.
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allrite
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:44 pm



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)/
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comorin
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:08 pm



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.
 
SmithAir747
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Sat Aug 08, 2009 4:31 pm



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)
 
comorin
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Sat Aug 08, 2009 9:36 pm



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.
 
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allrite
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RE: Science Fiction Books

Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:26 pm



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.
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