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marlonharewood

Sci Fi recommendations

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I loved Proxima and Blue Remembered Earth. Both are big, galaxy-spanning adventures with a nice mystery at the heart that keeps the pages turning. Unfortunately the follow-up to Proxima wasn't very good.

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Stephen Baxter`s Xeelee books eventually get around to that but I can`t really say that much because spoilers. Love the name Photino Birds though

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Can anyone recommend any sci-fi that plays with the theme of dark matter and what it could be?

If I ever write the story i have knocking around in my head.... could be some time though.

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Hey folks, I have read a ton of sci-fi over the past few years as I have been travelling a lot. I have trawled back through this thread to buy some new stuff, but I need some recommendations. At the moment I would like to grab a few more space opera/military sci-fi books. I really like Peter F Hamilton for the most part. Neal Asher I find pretty crap most of the time but he has his moments (his newest book I thought was good). Also quite enjoyed Into the Steel Breeze (hadn't read other Alistair Renyolds stuff). I thought the Expanse series was ok but generally too cliche and terrible characters.

I am so sick of this cliched military sci-fi shit with the hero ship/captain who single handedly take out generic alien invaders. Not to say I hate the concept but the vast majority of books like this are utter generic drivel. I can't believe the praise a lot of these get. But if anyone has any "best of the best" for military sci-fi (ground based stuff like Aliens is fine too, as long as its interesting), then please throw me some suggestions.

I just One-click downloaded after seeing a recommendation for Lost Fleet in this thread, and then immediately read someone's post which described it as exactly what I what to punch. Oops! Here is stuff on my Kindle I hate or am totally sick of: Terms of Enlistment, Into the Black, Ark Royal, Prador Moon (yes I know you will hate me, but I really thought it was mostly shite - Shadow of the Scorpion and Hilldiggers were also pretty medicore apart from some bits). I really, really hate the Merkiaari Wars books, I can't believe I bought the second one! The Landfall Campaign books, Battle for the Solar System books, Phoenix Conspiriacy books are all ok but the same generic trudge... phew, that's it. I read a lot of sci-fi, and not very good sci fi when I was travelling!

I have also grabbed Pushing Ice, the Sirens of Titan and Hyperion based on recommendations in the last 10 pages of the thread.

Another genre I like is mystery sci-fi post apocalyptic survival horror thingy bobby. For example I loved the Southern Reach Trilogy, Under the Dome, Wool trilogy (didn't like Dust trilogy), The Martian, etc. Feel free to throw me anything of that vein too.

Thanks and I will share my thoughts on 3 years of sci-fi reading soon and tell you some books I actually like, haha!

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Military SF classics include Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Haldeman's Forever War; also Dickson's Dorsai/Childe Cycle series.

I have a soft-spot for David Drake's Hammer's Slammers stories, although it's all a tad dated and not at all PC.

Maybe some Elizabeth Moon? I've read one or two and I thought they were OK, but nothing stands out in my memory.

Although maybe you don't mean military SF, but space opera - ah, wait, you said that.

You mention Asher without mentioning Iain M Banks - you have read some Banks, yes? Consider Phlebas? Try Vernor Vinge's 'A Fire upon the Deep'.

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I agree with Strategos's recommendations (at least until Battlefield Earth because wtf). If you bought Hyperion, then make sure it includes The Fall of Hyperion otherwise you'll be needing that stat. Also, you liked The Great North Road? :huh:

Startide Rising / The Uplift War - David Brin

Dread Empire's Fall trilogy (The Praxis / The Sundering / Conventions of War) - Walter Jon Williams

A Deepness in the Sky - Vernor Vinge

The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester

Dune - Frank Herbert

Old Man's War - John Scalzi (just read the first one, as there is steep drop off in quality)

Ender's Game / Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card (much as I hate recommending Card because he's a homophobic bigot, these two books were really good. Cliffhanger ending, but you should stop because the rest of the series is amazingly bad)

The Risen Empire - Scott Westerfeld (ends on a cliffhanger because more books were planned and then the author went in YA instead and is happily making much more money there)

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Idly picked up my well thumbed copy of Ringworld again, and suddenly got consumed by it once more. I always remember struggling with it the first time I read it, but it's one of those books that has rewarded me with re-reads. It still has the power to bloody amaze me with what's going on with it.

Proper sci-fi book length too - not overly lengthy, just uses the right amount of words to tell it's tale.

God knows what the sequels are like - if they're anything like the the crushing disappointment of the Rama sequels I'll never even touch 'em!

I'm yet to fully forgive Clarke for them.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't read most of them actually, here's the ones you mentioned that I have and what I thought:

Starship Troopers - I've seen the film and enjoyed it but is it worth reading the book too?

Forever War - Read it and liked the concept but didn't blow me away - probably at the time it was revolutionary but seen the basic spiel enough times before, the time concept is great though. Are the followups worth reading?

Old Man's War - I don't get why this is so highly rated. I appreciated that the main characters bucked the stereotypes but didn't find anything else interesting in the book at all and didn't feel any reason to continue with the series. I quite enjoyed Red Shirts by the same author, cool idea and quite funny, they are making it into a TV series soon.

The Dune series I revisited recently having read them as a kid (which of course went totally over my head). The first book I thought was pretty good, a great universe of course and very well thought out with great characters. The second book I am near the end of and although the characters and universe are still intriguing it really hasn't grabbed me like the first, although I hear its worth sticking through with to continue with the series, would you agree?

I don't think I have read any Iain M Banks apart from short stories but what books would you start with from him?

Hyperion I just bought standalone I believe - here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0043M6780/ref=pe_385721_48721101_TE_M1T1DP- but I understood it was the first in the series, do I need to get Fall of Hyperion seperately and read that first?

Enders Game I really liked and didn't see the ending coming, and Speaker for the Dead was interesting if completely differerent. I had heard the followups were pants which is dissapointing as there isn't really a resolution to the book.

"the author went in YA" what does this stand for?

I have started reading Lost Fleet book 1 and it's alright so far, apart from the main character's annoying monologues about how he is not worthy. The action, dialogue and characters are already quite a lot better than the majority of "survivor" military sci-fi I have read. Essentially its a re-brand of the Battlestar Galactica formula, however as it was so well done (especially in the amazing remake series, until it went a bit whacko) I don't see why its worth re-doing. FTL the book? :)

Cheers again, I will add these to my reading list and let you know how I get on.

Oh, Great North Road. I thought it was brilliant. It was my first Peter F Hamilton book and I loved the universe he had fleshed out which was so different to most sci-fi I had read. I loved the detective stuff and how he had these cool ideas of how technology and crime-fighting could play out in the future. The characters were interesting and as I grew up near Newcastle I thought his reimagining of the city was great. The whole other side of the story (you know what I mean) was pretty corny but surprisingly engaging but mainly I wanted to hear more about the crime stuff and the universe, I especially loved the takeover goo stuff (this isn't a spoiler). I've since gone on to enjoy many of his books but I still think it's one of his best.

Another sub genre of sci-fi I love is survival horror/isolation mystery - Alien, Aliens, Event Horizon, Cube, The Abyss, Sphere, Southern Reach trilogy and so forth. Any other recommendations in this sort of vein?

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Well, the daddy is the novella 'Who goes there?' Filmed most faithfully by John Carpenter as 'The Thing'. Language is a tad dated, but the atmosphere is still there.

Sticking with old-school SF, and if you can find it, try James White's 'All Judgement Fled'.

YA is young adult fiction - sounds like the author stopped writing SF.

Iain M Banks - check out the topic here in A&L, but maybe Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons, Player of Games. Phlebas was his first SF novel, and the Culture isn't as fleshed out as his later books. Otherwise, anything - Feersum Endjinn might be a tad out there.

If you liked Hamilton's earth-bound stuff, check out Mindstar Rising and the related Greg Mandel books.

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Another sub genre of sci-fi I love is survival horror/isolation mystery - Alien, Aliens, Event Horizon, Cube, The Abyss, Sphere, Southern Reach trilogy and so forth. Any other recommendations in this sort of vein?

Not horror but for isolation/mystery try 'The Book Of Strange New Things' by Michel Faber. A born again Christian is recruited by a shadowy corporation to travel to a newly discovered planet and convert the natives to Christianity. Once he gets there things start to go really wrong back on Earth and his reasons for being on the planet get murky to say the least. This never goes the way you think it will and is legit one of the best SF books I've read in years.

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In my first post in this thread I recommended an old Sci Fi book called Dragons Egg.

I just ordered it for a re-read and to my excitement saw there is a sequel I never knew about called Star Quake. Can't wait!

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Idly picked up my well thumbed copy of Ringworld again, and suddenly got consumed by it once more. I always remember struggling with it the first time I read it, but it's one of those books that has rewarded me with re-reads. It still has the power to bloody amaze me with what's going on with it.

Proper sci-fi book length too - not overly lengthy, just uses the right amount of words to tell it's tale.

God knows what the sequels are like - if they're anything like the the crushing disappointment of the Rama sequels I'll never even touch 'em!

I'm yet to fully forgive Clarke for them.

The Ringworld Engineers is better than the first book if you ask me, as there's a story that actually does justice to the scale of the ringworld (although it does rely on you having read a few other Niven books). The sequels after that are complete trash, though.

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On the subject of SF horror Larry Niven wrote an amazing short story called Bordered in Black. Completely a-typical slice of Lovecraftian nastiness from Niven, perfect except for the spasm of optimism at the end. It's in a compilation called Inconstant Moon.

Also if you've not read any Lovecraft the Colour Out of Space probably just about qualifies as SF and is incredible.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't read most of them actually, here's the ones you mentioned that I have and what I thought:

Old Man's War - I don't get why this is so highly rated. I appreciated that the main characters bucked the stereotypes but didn't find anything else interesting in the book at all and didn't feel any reason to continue with the series. I quite enjoyed Red Shirts by the same author, cool idea and quite funny, they are making it into a TV series soon.

The Dune series I revisited recently having read them as a kid (which of course went totally over my head). The first book I thought was pretty good, a great universe of course and very well thought out with great characters. The second book I am near the end of and although the characters and universe are still intriguing it really hasn't grabbed me like the first, although I hear its worth sticking through with to continue with the series, would you agree?

I don't think I have read any Iain M Banks apart from short stories but what books would you start with from him?

Hyperion I just bought standalone I believe - here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0043M6780/ref=pe_385721_48721101_TE_M1T1DP- but I understood it was the first in the series, do I need to get Fall of Hyperion seperately and read that first?

Enders Game I really liked and didn't see the ending coming, and Speaker for the Dead was interesting if completely different. I had heard the followups were pants which is disappointing as there isn't really a resolution to the book.

"the author went in YA" what does this stand for?

Another sub genre of sci-fi I love is survival horror/isolation mystery - Alien, Aliens, Event Horizon, Cube, The Abyss, Sphere, Southern Reach trilogy and so forth. Any other recommendations in this sort of vein?

1. Old Man's War - I enjoyed it for being readable and a kind of homage to The Forever War, but yeah it is a bit throwaway

2. Dune - well, the first book is the best. It starts going a bit strange from Dune Messiah, then we get God Emperor of Dune which is nuts and the last two books by Herbert set in the far far future with no members of the Atreides family in it at all (so I've heard, I've not read them)

3. Banks was covered by smac :)

4. Read Hyperion, then read The Fall of Hyperion. Hyperion ends on a cliffhanger and you'll be mildly irritated if you just stop there

5. Xenocide is actually pretty decent apart from the end, but Children of the Mind basically replaces all of the science with magic in the form of science and suffers greatly for it

6. YA = Young Adult

7. No idea. Well, perhaps the Diamond Dogs short story by Alastair Reynolds?

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Interesting seeing Ringworld getting a lot of mentions here, I bought a copy a while back and I think I only read twenty pages, it just bored me.

I'm starting to get into Philip K Dick novels again, after realising I have only ever read Androids. I read The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and am nearly through Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (which is kerbrilliant), and it makes me wonder if all Dick novels make you feel a bit like you are going mad while you are reading them? Because those last two certainly do.

I'm also reading an anthology called The Jack Vance Treasury...has a anyone read this guy's stuff? There is a big intro by George RR Martin citing him as a key influence. I've read the first story, The Dragon Masters, which is a kind of pulpy fantasy / SF crossover that is actually pretty good, it's definitely got something going on. I got it in a humble bundle, it might prove to be a pleasant surprise.

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Haven't read any Vance for a couple of decades, but kinda liked his Dying Earth series. And yes, Dragon Masters, but I really can't remember much about it, other than a lot of people recommended it.

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Jut finished The Martian. Good, light, rompish stuff. It's very much engineering focussed, hardly "sci" fi really. Is engineering fiction a thing? It should be. A tale of a clever man surviving against all the odds alone on Mars. I've heard it described as "that scene from Apollo 13 where they have to connect a square filter to a round hole, but for a whole book" and that pretty much sums it up.

What next? I did The Martian in a few days so perhaps something a bit more cerebral. I'm eyeing up Lord of Light and Last and First Men.

Last and First Men scares me slightly with its scope but the cover makes up for it.

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I'm actually really enjoying the early chapters of Last and First men! There's a lot of characterisation of national traits, it almost comes across as a sort of self indulgent simplification of the modern age. It's still super interesting though and I love his writing style.

America:

"In the Far West, the United States of America openly claimed to be custodians of the whole planet. Universally feared and envied, universally respected for their enterprise, yet for their complacency very widely despised, the Americans were rapidly changing the whole character of man's existence. By this time every human being throughout the planet made use of American products, and there was no region where American capital did not support local labour. Moreover the American press, gramophone, radio, cinematograph and televisor ceaselessly drenched the planet with American thought. Year by year the ether reverberated with echoes of New York's pleasures and the religious fervours of the Middle West. What wonder, then, that America, even while she was despised, irresistibly moulded the whole human race. This, perhaps, would not have mattered, had America been able to give of her very rare best. But inevitably only her worst could be propagated. Only the most vulgar traits of that potentially great people could get through into the mind of foreigners by means of these crude instruments. And so, by the floods of poison issuing from this people's baser members, the whole world, and with it the nobler parts of America herself, were irrevocably corrupted."

Russia:

"Western Europe could reach by way of the intellect a precise conception of man's littleness and irrelevance when regarded as an alien among the stars; could even glimpse from this standpoint the cosmic theme in which all human striving is but one contributing factor. But the Russian mind, whether orthodox or Tolstoyan or fanatically materialist, could attain much the same conviction intuitively, by direct perception, instead of after an arduous intellectual pilgrimage."

Matter/antimatter weaponry has just been demonstrated to the world in Devon even as Europe and the US go to war!

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