Jump to content
rllmuk
marlonharewood

Sci Fi recommendations

Recommended Posts

Big old thread. I did a search for "Sirens" and "Titan" and it didn't find anything, so I'm honour-bound to suggest everyone read Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan. It's my favourite sci-fi book by a margin. The only book I had to go for a walk after reading to come to terms with the magnitude of the thing. I'd imagine it's been mentioned before, but it can't hurt to big it up again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Picked up these today.

post-2222-0-41509700-1435080064_thumb.jp

I'm really glad I went through this thread and compiled a massive list of all the books I wanted to get. It's nice looking through the sci-fi section of a second hand bookshop and getting a little moment of excitement when I recognise something from the list.

  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice! I haven't read Gridlinked, but I remember enjoying Gateway a lot, and whilst I found First and Last Men hard-going (and a little bit odd) I'm so glad I stuck with it. I found the same with Stapledon's Starmaker too - it's a book I'm so glad I've read (it probably changed the way I think - it's that good), but I remember it being quite hard work at the time. Definitely ones to stick at.

Another recommendation (again a search turned up nothing) - Quarantine by Greg Egan. I can't say too much about it without bordering on spoilers - but it involves the Earth being surrounded by a giant bubble by forces unknown, and it has one of the most OMG! moments I've ever found in a book (it's not quite Ozzy saying he did it half an hour ago, but it's pretty close).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah I loved gateway, and quarantine.

I'm halfway through another attempt at neuromancer. I want to love it. I get that it's conceptually advanced, ahead of its time and all that, but so far it's still leaving me a bit cold. Feels like I'm reading an anime novel somehow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last and First Men is great. My edition has an introduction by Gregory Benford, where he suggests skipping the first six chapters. While I would generally go out of my way to defy any course of action recommended by the right-wing bell-end, in this Benford has something of a point. The start of the book is weird and awful and verging on unreadable, but once it gets past the next 100,000 years into the deep future crazy shit, it really starts to take off.

LaFM is a proper oddity - it's sort of amazing that it was even published, it's like a cross between outsider art and the world's most esoteric RPG manual - but it's full of images that will stay with you forever.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's an idea, I've never been able to get past the first chapter of Last and First Men as I always fall asleep after a couple of pages...and often a page. I might skip forward and see if that makes it more suitable for bedtime SF.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... but once it gets past the next 100,000 years into the deep future crazy shit, it really starts to take off.

Haha -that's why I adore sci-fi! Just skip a hundred thousand years and then it gets going.

And I thought Pride and Prejudice was a bit of a slow starter.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah I loved gateway, and quarantine.

I'm halfway through another attempt at neuromancer. I want to love it. I get that it's conceptually advanced, ahead of its time and all that, but so far it's still leaving me a bit cold. Feels like I'm reading an anime novel somehow.

I flew through Neuromancer. It's quite short and it's just so fucking cool. It doesn't get into too much detail, it's quite loosely written in that way. Just so fucking cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Neuromancer is even better than Schismatrix by Bruce Sterling, which I may have mentioned in this thread before.

I don't say that lightly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished "Slow Bullets" the new A. Reynolds book. I was a bit disappointed when I unwrapped it and it was a thin novella, and even more disappointed when I opened the book and saw the largely space text. It feels a bit like an old short story he had lying around and decided to publish as a stop gap. Not that it's bad, it's quite a good little story.

Is this a recommendation ? I'm not sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last and First Men is great. My edition has an introduction by Gregory Benford, where he suggests skipping the first six chapters. While I would generally go out of my way to defy any course of action recommended by the right-wing bell-end, in this Benford has something of a point. The start of the book is weird and awful and verging on unreadable, but once it gets past the next 100,000 years into the deep future crazy shit, it really starts to take off.

LaFM is a proper oddity - it's sort of amazing that it was even published, it's like a cross between outsider art and the world's most esoteric RPG manual - but it's full of images that will stay with you forever.

Its brilliant, but more so once he gets past the next thousand years or so and again once our species of man is superseded. Did you ever read Star Maker? Not content with a few hundred million years this time he charges forward over 7-8 billion years of galactic history until the heat death of the universe. Again the first 10 or so pages are guff but when other worlds and species pop up you can tell he hits his stride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never read any Bruce Sterling so I bought Involution Ocean when I saw it in my local second hand bookshop, looking forward to that. Currently making my way through Dangerous Visions 1 for the first time, the highlight so far is definitely Dick's Faith of our Fathers. Did he write any other cosmic horror? I'm reading the stories in order but I've left Riders of the Purple Wage till last as it's the longest by far.

I've got Dangerous Visions 2 and Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss to read too. Also what's some good early Ballard? The only things of his I've read are a short story called Build Up, which I loved, and about half of Kingdom Come, which I hated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a massive fan of Ballard's early stuff. Crash, Concrete Island, and High Rise are his best novels; the paving slab-sized short story collections are great too, purely for the sheer quantities of ideas and pieces of imagery that are thrown at you, even if the stories themselves tend to have slightly rubbish endings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any man who claims that Ballard's short stories have 'slightly rubbish endings' is likely to find himself being taken round the back of the sand dunes and subjected to a Vermillion Sands-style art bashing, okay? They all all excellent, without exception, and that's my word.

Super-Cannes is a fabulous read too. But Cocaine Nights is rubbish oddly enough, as they are pretty much the same book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ballard's one of those exceptionally rare authors whose weaker work is still completely fascinating. I found Super-Cannes somewhat annoying when I read it but that's part of the point, really. And now I realise that I was a completely ignorant 18/19 year old when I read it, so I should read it again soon as a 30 something with a largely pointless literature degree.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was 14 I went to a talk Ballard gave on Kindness of Women at BFI by joining my Dad when he drove down for a cigarette card fair. Good times.

Love The Drowned World, The Crystal World, The Drought - but I'm really struggling with Kingdom Come, which I'm on at the moment.

It's one of his later ones and the combination of first person, being overly on the nose with his stuff about shopping being the new religion and dialogue that reads like it might come from BBC1's Doctors is making it heavy weather. I think he's strongest when he's stood back in third person wryly watching events play out in the doomed world he creates.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got back from a 13 night cruise on Saturday. While I was away it appears I read 11 books. The final 3 in TerryP/Stephen Baxters Long Earth series, all 6 Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series and 2 in the follow up series Lost Fleet beyond the frontier (Since then I've moved up to book 4).

The Long Earth books are a fascinating scenario that for me was ultimately wasted in some unsatisfying storylines that went nowhere. I'm slightly hoping Baxter is allowed to continue them. There's so much more he can do with them. Even without Terry (And to be honest they read more like Baxter books than TP anyway). The Lost Fleet books by comparison are lightweight, 2 dimensional and like chinese food. I can't eat enough. I don't normally like military sci-fi but these are hitting the spot just right. They're essentially an endless sequence of problems for the fleet to discover and then fight its way out of. I honestly did not expect to like them this much.

Once I've finished those I'm not sure what to read next. Next week is sorted since the new Charles Stross is out but I'll need something before then. I'm sure Zok will be pleased to hear this but while I was away I chose a "Phone book" to read on my iphone for those times when I didn't have my iPad to hand. I chose Schismatrix Plus and I'm really enjoying it. Very inventive and a nice change from the stuff I normally read. Hard to believe it's from 1985. It feels like a later vintage. Show's how ahead of the curve he was with that one.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am pleased to hear it! :quote:

Have you read any other Bruce Sterling? If you like that one, you'll be pleased to learn that none of his other stuff is anything like it, apart from his fascination with genetics.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Lost Fleet books by comparison are lightweight, 2 dimensional and like chinese food. I can't eat enough. I don't normally like military sci-fi but these are hitting the spot just right. They're essentially an endless sequence of problems for the fleet to discover and then fight its way out of. I honestly did not expect to like them this much.

I didn't really get on with the first book.

I might give it another try, as plenty of people like it and perhaps my tastes have changed enough in the last twelve months to give it a shot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha. I don't think you're going to get anywhere with it man. They are not well written books. Me on the other hand has read L Ron Hubbard Sci Fi and enjoyed it. I have a cast iron brain when it comes to shit sci-fi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps I'll give it a miss :-)

But you'd be surprised at how bad some of the sci-fi I've read has been, yet still enjoyed it.

EDIT: In fact, and I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I've read all of B V Larson's Star Force series. I can't understand why, but I'm hooked on the stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there....

SWARM is the story of Earth’s annexation by an alien empire. Long considered a primitive people on a backwater planet, humanity finds itself in the middle of a war, and faced with extinction. SWARM is an 88,000 word novel of science fiction by award-winning author B. V. Larson.

Fuckng hell. That sounds like garbage.

I`m in

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there....

SWARM is the story of Earth’s annexation by an alien empire. Long considered a primitive people on a backwater planet, humanity finds itself in the middle of a war, and faced with extinction. SWARM is an 88,000 word novel of science fiction by award-winning author B. V. Larson.

Fuckng hell. That sounds like garbage.

I`m in

It's drivel, but in the same way that Big Brother is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody read Synners by Pat Cadigan? First book in a long time that I've really struggled with, to the point where I considered dropping it a couple of times (something I never do).

I'm 50 pages from the end now and it's picked up, slightly, but overall I haven't really been able to follow what's been happening. A 450-page book that feels like it could be condensed down to half that.

It's a sf masterwork, and it won the Clarke Award in 1992. I'm baffled. Maybe it just wasn't for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm half way through book one of the expanse books. Leviathan Wakes.

The story is keeping me interested but the writing and the characters less so.

It's pretty flat in terms of prose. With numerous repetitions of phrases which is a bugbear of mine.

It's not bad exactly just a bit bland and generic. There is little in terms of original thought in there so far just a bunch of standard sci fi ideas reshuffled a little bit.

The story has taken a new twist and is threatening to lose me as well.

As soon as he used the phrase "Vomit zombies" I thought oh oh things are going shit here.

The whole escape from the station felt a bit shit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anybody read Synners by Pat Cadigan? First book in a long time that I've really struggled with, to the point where I considered dropping it a couple of times (something I never do).

I'm 50 pages from the end now and it's picked up, slightly, but overall I haven't really been able to follow what's been happening. A 450-page book that feels like it could be condensed down to half that.

It's a sf masterwork, and it won the Clarke Award in 1992. I'm baffled. Maybe it just wasn't for me.

That's interesting. I love her short stories, butI haven't read any of her novels.

In fact lovely rllmukker Vimster sent me a mint copy of Patterns for free a while back. An excellent anthology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's interesting. I love her short stories, butI haven't read any of her novels.

In fact lovely rllmukker Vimster sent me a mint copy of Patterns for free a while back. An excellent anthology.

Finished it today. Just didn't do it for me. But then, I have always struggled a little with cyberpunk, if I'm honest.

I'll still give her short stories a go. Probably should have started there really, always sensible with a new author.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.