Science Fiction - I need some recs

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Kellais

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« on: February 21, 2015, 01:45:29 pm »
Hi everyone,

So, after a long period of "fantasy-only" reading, i decided it is time for some sci fi. To be totally honest, i tried to get into Sci Fi more than once but somehow it never clicked with me so far.

As a reader and big fan of epic multi-volumed fantasy series with deep worldbuilding and above average prose (i know, good prose is a very subjective matter, but just use your own "grading system", so to speak), i am wondering - is there something equivalent in Sci Fi? Epic proportions sci fi with deep worldbuilding and good prose? If so, please recommend it to me.

So far i have on the list:

Hamilton - Night's Dawn Trilogy
Reynolds - Revelation Space
Simmons - Hyperion cantos (tetralogy)
Herbert - Dune

There are a lot of different subgenres...i am not sure which one is "best" for me...if i had to guess, Space Opera (it seems the genre with the most multi-volume content ;D). But i don't know for sure.

Ok, enough rambling from me...let me see your suggestions and/or lists.

Addendum - I am no fan of first-person narratives, so please keep that in mind for your recommendations. Thanks :)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 01:47:54 pm by Kellais »
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Somnambulist

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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2015, 05:15:53 pm »
Hey Kellais,

William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy is a classic of the genre, and he is widely considered the father of cyberpunk.  Neuromancer, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 05:59:00 pm by Somnambulist »
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Wilshire

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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2015, 05:22:00 pm »
SilentRoamer is probably the guy to talk about this, but I'll offer my pittance.

Lots of recs here: http://www.second-apocalypse.com/index.php?topic=1433.0
Its at least the stuff that others have mentioned on the forum

You've got to start with Dune, and "Hyperion" and "The Fall of Hyperion" are probably my favorite pair of sci-fi books (the other 2 are still worth the read imo, just not as breathtaking as the first two).

Asimov's Foundation Trilogy is another one of those classics you should consider.
Neuromance - another kind of classic - was pretty good, but not extraordinary. I'd still recommend it though.

Other than that, I'm sure you cant go wrong with the short list of books that are joint winners of both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards.


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Madness

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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2015, 02:58:31 pm »
Anything Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, to me is a cracking SF read, for sure (PKD, is SF in both modern and unimaginable extremes). I happen think that at least the Ender's Quarter by Orson Scott Card should be read.
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Alia

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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2015, 03:51:57 pm »
Richard Morgan with "Altered Carbon", "Fallen Angels" and "Woken Furies". Kinda cross between cyberpunk and space science-fiction. But then I'm a huge Morgan fan, so I may not be objective.
Iain Banks and his Culture series, starting with "Consider Phlebas", "Use of Weapons" (one of my favourites) and "Player of Games".
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Kellais

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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2015, 06:14:19 pm »
Thanks to all of you for your recs so far.
I am not sure if i am that interested in more "earth bound" Sci Fi. I want Aliens, freaky technology and the infinit space of..well..space ;D As i said, epic in proportions.

Btw, it seems you all think that the classics are a must read?! How did they hold up? I mean in writing-style and, especially, in the "this is what future looks like" department.
I mean, as an example, most of the sci fi series (i mean tv this time) of the 70ies i can no longer watch...they look so ridiculous ^^ No offense intended to anyone who likes them, it's a matter of taste, i know.
And i fear that some of this might happen if i read the classics. I mean sci fi books from the 60ies or even farther back, and, to an extent, also works from the 70ies and 80ies are not really "up to date" anymore....or i imagine some of them aren't...or that's what i am "afraid" of. Can anyone  comment on that?
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SilentRoamer

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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2015, 09:16:57 pm »
Hey Kellais,

Covered pretty well by the previous posts.

Peter Hamilton is a great place to start if you are looking for a large scope, his prose is decent but he is good storyteller. The Nights Dawn Trilogy is a good read and is complete. The Commonwealth Saga is a much bigger series which stands at 6 books now (a duolougy, a trilogy and the first of a trilogy) with another 2 planned books. Fallen Dragon is a great standalone.

The Vorkosigan Saga is probably the biggest of the series mentioned with some of the later books being the best. I can throw an honorable mention to Gary Gibsons Shoal Sequence (Trilogy) and to Michael Cobleys Humanitys Fire Trilogy as I see these aren't mentioned.

Hamilton, Gibson and Cobley both have a tonne of crazy aliens in their series which is why I have recced those specifically.

Some of the older stuff holds up best but it generally doesnt have large worldbuilding (except for maybe the Foundation series), some of the older "hard" sci fi blows the modern stuff out of the water technically lol. The more modern stuff tends to be the soap opera style. Reading Dune series at the moment and it holds up exceptionally well - in fact it could have been written recently. Most of the 60s+ stuff holds up very well.

Hope this helps.


Royce

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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2015, 10:05:10 am »
I second the Philip K Dick recommendation. Just read UBIK and see what you think.

Arthur C Clarke is another one I would recommend. You are probably familiar with the Kubrick movie "2001 A space odyssey"?  That is based on the first of 4 books.

For a laugh you should read "Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy", just to get the sci fi feel:)

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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2015, 01:30:07 pm »
I love Hitchhiker's Guide :P.

Also, yes, Kellais, I think the classics are classic for a reason. Sure, you'll certainly notice anachronisms in writing but the ones that will suck you in, will do just as they do today.
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Kellais

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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2015, 05:44:17 pm »
Thanks again for all the comments and recs. I guess i will start with the list i posted and then try some classics (if i can get through my list, that is...as i said, so far all my efforts to get into Sci Fi were failures. But it looks good this time or at least Hamilton and Reynolds have not lost me on the first 100 pages ;D ).

@ Madness - I am always a bit leery about such titles as "classics" and other pompous words. Sure, there are certainly a lot of people who like those books, but...you know how it goes...if you want to have a big portion of the readers behind your book, you have to find the least common denominator....and, well .... that's most often not a real quality attribute ;) I mean, just as an example, i always have to (almost) hurl when media talk about one of the best fantasy novels when referring to Harry Potter  :o >:(  ::)  ;D
On a more serious note, i will certainly try some of the classics. I was just a bit "afraid" that, especially in the technological department, they might not have aged that well. I'm sure that a lot of them are top notch writing-style wise. Although to be honest, SR's comment about the worldbuilding IS indeed an un-sell for me.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2015, 05:47:36 pm by Kellais »
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"GoT is TSA's less talented but far more successful step-brother" - Wilshire

Wilshire

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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2015, 04:59:43 pm »
I think as long as you stay away from 'earthbound' sci-fi, you'll be fine in the technology department.
 

Neuromancer had a bit of that feel... it lost some novelty once the internet came around, but
I read the Dune saga a few years back and found it exceptional.
Foundation I found a bit dry, but not for lack of advanced technology.
Hyperion Cantos is great, but I was left wanting for aliens in the first 2, though you get more in the latter 2.
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mrganondorf

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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2015, 06:43:49 pm »
a time travel book with some pretty cool aliens - Slaughterhouse 5 (Vonnegut has other good scifi, i quite like The Sirens of Titan)

scifi comedy in the vein of Douglas Adams - The Sheriff of Yrnameer (i also recommend the Eoin Colfer sequel/tribute to Adams)

i have read most or all of the Xeelee books and they are good.  i think probably Ring is the book to get

Kellais--i hope you noticed the love Peter Watts is getting around this forum--read Blindsight!

do you like Star Wars?  some of the sequel books were entertaining


Kellais

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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2015, 06:55:59 pm »
Thanks again fellow SA-ers ;D

@ MrG - I do like Star Wars...as a whole. The novels were....all over the place. There are some i'd like to read yet, but i always lack the enthusiasm to go out and buy them. And i guess SW is more Science Fantasy then real Science Fiction ;) I wanted to try out some REAL (TM) Sci Fi for a change.
As to Peter Watts...yes, i hear good things about him, not only from you all. But...i tried some of his writing on his own page...not sure i am a fan. Some is first person-ish, and i really can't get into that.

I read started some of the books...i am always reading around 100-200 pages into it to see if it is "my thing" ... and i have to say, both, Hamilton and Reynolds, do really well so far. So it seems there is hope yet for my "Sci Fi career" ;D
I'm trapped in Darkness
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"GoT is TSA's less talented but far more successful step-brother" - Wilshire

SilentRoamer

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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2015, 08:28:21 pm »
Hey Kellais,

Hamilton worked for me - I am definetely a fan and read almost all of his stuff. I have quite a bit of Reynolds but not tried him yet, nice to know you are enjoying him.


mrganondorf

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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2015, 05:08:40 pm »
Thanks again fellow SA-ers ;D

@ MrG - I do like Star Wars...as a whole. The novels were....all over the place. There are some i'd like to read yet, but i always lack the enthusiasm to go out and buy them. And i guess SW is more Science Fantasy then real Science Fiction ;) I wanted to try out some REAL (TM) Sci Fi for a change.
As to Peter Watts...yes, i hear good things about him, not only from you all. But...i tried some of his writing on his own page...not sure i am a fan. Some is first person-ish, and i really can't get into that.

I read started some of the books...i am always reading around 100-200 pages into it to see if it is "my thing" ... and i have to say, both, Hamilton and Reynolds, do really well so far. So it seems there is hope yet for my "Sci Fi career" ;D

how do you like 2nd person?  Rule 34 is pretty good and every bit of it in 2nd person (although much of it seems effectively 3rd person)

i must recommend The Forever War!  soldier leaves earth to fight aliens (pretty good aliens too), is on a one year mission, returns to Earth and it's 50 years later.  can't stand all the changes, leaves for a 2 year mission, returns to Earth 200 years later, everything in crazy different again and so on-- really fun, have read/listened to more than once

a big plus for this book is the nitty gritty details of what warfare on other planets would be like what with all the differences in gravity and such

EDIT: i also recommended Ready Player One in the Audiobooks thread-- dystopic future + matrix like gaming + the return of all things 80's + lots of gaming themed adventure = very fun