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I'm now starting the fifth book in the Foundation series by Asimov and have found them totally gripping - I've actually read them all back to back which is unusual for me. Been mentioned already but I wanted to second it.

Is the rest of his writing up to this standard?

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I've just bought Iain M Bank's 'Consider Phlebas'. Looking forward to getting stuck into his books.

Me too!

Race?

Surprised to see someone finding the Algebraist tedious, I thought it was inventive and fast-paced. I was struck by something odd though - things are mentioned in the book many times before Banks bothers to explain who or what they are in detail later on. I can see some people finding this really annoying or getting half way and giving up, assuming Banks doesn't bother to elaborate on anything.

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I seem to have been on a SF kick all summer long. Luckily I have access to the central London Forbidden Planet store so it is easy to pick up US paperback imports. Some titles I would recommend highly:

Novels

Stephen Baxter - Flood (A sequel is due out soon)

Samuel R Delaney - Babel 17 - so much invention packed into a relatively brief novel. Brilliant.

Gene Wolfe - The 5th Head of Cerberus - three interconnecting tales, the second one is a bit slow but the subtle reveal in the third makes it all worthwhile.

Asimov - The Naked Sun and the City of Steel - two murder mysteries predicated on an agrophobic human population confined to mega cities underground, and following the strict application of the 3 laws of robotics.

John C Wright - Null-A continuum - continuing the work of A E Van Vogt - complex and very high concept stuff but a worthy, intellligent and respectful sequel (he provides a decent summary of the earlier novels which is just as well)

Short stoy compilations

Years best 14 (ed Hartwell & Cramer) - a return to form after being a bit disappointing recently.

The new space opera 1 & 2 (ed Dozois and Strahan). My favourite sub genre.

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I'll second the Zindell (well I did recommend it earlier :( ), and I agree that Hyperion's really good, but… Fall of Hyperion isn't nearly as good because his explanations for the mysteries in Hyperion just don't work properly, Simmons is always great at the set up and rubbish at the pay off. :ph34r:

I agree with you on Fall of Hyperion, but I really enjoyed Endymion and Rise of Endymion.

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Read Alfred Bester's 'The Stars my Destination' to have your face blasted off.

I'd just like to second this one. It's absolutely mental. For a book written in the 1950s, it feels like it could have been written only recently, such is the pace. It's full of cool stuff that will leave you feeling giddy with excitement. I only found out recently that Bester wrote quite a lot of comics, which explains things.

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Anyone read Run to the Stars by Michael Scott Rohan?

I really liked it but a couple of fucking snobs people commented on the Scottish dialogue in it (saying it was unreadbale).

Hogwash. You don't see James Kelman getting pelters for his use of language.

Anyhoo, anyone read it? Whachoo think?

I like Mike's books, haven't seen him for ages though and I"m not sure if he's writing anything these days.

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I seem to have been on a SF kick all summer long. Luckily I have access to the central London Forbidden Planet store so it is easy to pick up US paperback imports. Some titles I would recommend highly:

Novels

Samuel R Delaney - Babel 17 - so much invention packed into a relatively brief novel. Brilliant.

Gene Wolfe - The 5th Head of Cerberus - three interconnecting tales, the second one is a bit slow but the subtle reveal in the third makes it all worthwhile.

These two will need some Amazon digging to get other books by (as they mostly aren't in print over here) but go and find their stuff because it's pretty much all brilliant—though both have written books that can be best described as challenging, they are always rewarding.

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51aZkFKvnFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

I enjoyed it a lot.

Cheers, I think I'll give it a bash when I finish my current novel. I don't really read a lot of sci fi. I mean I've read 2001 and a lot of WH40K stuff but I've never touched any of these huge space operas. I guess I hate the idea of investing time in something that could be utter shite. But then again if I felt like that about other things I'd get sod all done :) Leap of faith time ahoy.

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I was struck by something odd though - things are mentioned in the book many times before Banks bothers to explain who or what they are in detail later on. I can see some people finding this really annoying or getting half way and giving up, assuming Banks doesn't bother to elaborate on anything.

He always does eventually, and it's (nearly) always worth the wait. I'm on a big sequential re-read of all his stuff at the mo, and I can't put it down. I'm past "Feersumm Endjinn" which has to be the M Banks equivalent of The Library.

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Try Peter Hamiltons Night's Dawn trilogy, pretty deep stuff, very detailed and the technology used is not too far fetched and has been really well thought out.

Just started on this after reading his more recent "Dreaming Void" and...the next one (name escapes me. something Void). They are amazingly technical and vast in scope. Was hooked on Banks' Culture novels as the ultimate futuristic vision but Hamilton is a lot grittier and 'believable'. Read Dreaming Void and immediately ordered his entire back catalogue I was that impressed.

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Just started on this after reading his more recent "Dreaming Void" and...the next one (name escapes me. something Void). They are amazingly technical and vast in scope. Was hooked on Banks' Culture novels as the ultimate futuristic vision but Hamilton is a lot grittier and 'believable'. Read Dreaming Void and immediately ordered his entire back catalogue I was that impressed.

Ooh, waits for someone to turn up to complain about the ending of the nights Dawn Trilogy.

I've loved most of what he written, and always try to recommend his books. I have the Temporal Void to read once its in paperback :facepalm:

I've read Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained and Dreaming void. I think their better than Nights Dawn Triology, but its been a longtime since I read them.

You should try some Alistair Reynolds as well. Just as good as Hamilton.

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I agree with you on Fall of Hyperion, but I really enjoyed Endymion and Rise of Endymion.

:facepalm:

You didn't mind the fact that Simmons undermined everything he'd set up in the previous two books for an overly long SF travelogue and slightly disturbing romance?

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You should try some Alistair Reynolds as well. Just as good as Hamilton.

I'll do that, thanks. Might be a while though. Hamilton doesn't skimp on his word count :D

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Tell me about it, I just had The temporal void delivered today. looking forward to reading it after reading House of suns (Alastair Reynolds).

I have to agree with the Reynolds recommendation. very good series of books, the universe most of the books are set is very detailed.

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Tell me about it, I just had The temporal void delivered today. looking forward to reading it after reading House of suns (Alastair Reynolds).

I have to agree with the Reynolds recommendation. very good series of books, the universe most of the books are set is very detailed.

House of Suns was awesome though, new universe and very interesting concept.

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I much prefer Alastair Reynold's work to Peter Hamilton's. The latter has been indulged too much by editors - all his novels could do with trimming 30% of the flab off IMO. AR used to work in astronomy and it shows in his work. I think he recently got a massive advance for his next few books so there will be more on the way.

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Has anyone got anything they can recommend which is similar to the Banks culture novels? Or are they pretty much unique?

I've been getting into Neil Asher's Polity/Agent Cormac yarns, recently.

Not quite in the same league, and heavily - um - influenced by Banks' novels, I found them a decent enough pulp-ish read. Plenty of action.

Let's see what you have . . . a sprawling human galactic society called The Polity; run mainly by planetary AIs, with ship-based AIs acting as eccentric minor characters, or borderline psychotic characters in the case the more non-comformist combat droids; much of the action centres around special agents of the Polity.

Nope, nothing like The Culture novels.

To be fair, there are enough original touches to keep it interesting, but if you like Culture space, you'll find similarities here.

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:facepalm:

You didn't mind the fact that Simmons undermined everything he'd set up in the previous two books for an overly long SF travelogue and slightly disturbing romance?

Nope. It's been over a decade since I read them, but I didn't mind the length or the romance. And to be honest I don't see how he undermined anything from the first two books. Things have changed, but since it's set three centuries after the first two, and the farcasters don't work any more, it seemed a plausible sequel to me.

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Just started on this after reading his more recent "Dreaming Void" and...the next one (name escapes me. something Void). They are amazingly technical and vast in scope. Was hooked on Banks' Culture novels as the ultimate futuristic vision but Hamilton is a lot grittier and 'believable'. Read Dreaming Void and immediately ordered his entire back catalogue I was that impressed.

I find reynolds slightly strange, while the books are often nasty and have elements of horror, they're also very much romps. At various times I imagined the indiana jones music coming in over the top.

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I've read pretty much all of the Culture novels, and I'm still waiting on Hamilton's final Void installment. Apparently it's been finished, but it's being published in September or something equally fucking stupid. I wanna read it now, for fuck's sake.

I need someone to recommend me a decent series, or universe to immerse myself in. I hate reading a good book without any continuation. I've read all the Rama series, too.

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I've read pretty much all of the Culture novels, and I'm still waiting on Hamilton's final Void installment. Apparently it's been finished, but it's being published in September or something equally fucking stupid. I wanna read it now, for fuck's sake.

I need someone to recommend me a decent series, or universe to immerse myself in. I hate reading a good book without any continuation. I've read all the Rama series, too.

Have you tried the Uplift Series by David Brin? I read the books years ago but I remember liking them at the time. They're a set of two trilogies set in a sci-fi universe in which no sentient space-faring race has ever evolved from scratch, they've always been uplifted by an older race. Then onto the scene comes the human race kicking up a fuss with no uplifter parent to vouch for them. The first book is Sundiver, why not check it out?

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I've read pretty much all of the Culture novels, and I'm still waiting on Hamilton's final Void installment. Apparently it's been finished, but it's being published in September or something equally fucking stupid. I wanna read it now, for fuck's sake.

I need someone to recommend me a decent series, or universe to immerse myself in. I hate reading a good book without any continuation. I've read all the Rama series, too.

Read any Alistair Reynolds? He's at least as good as Hamilton if not better IMO.

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