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Thread: Yet another 'What should I read next' thread.

  1. #1
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    Yet another 'What should I read next' thread.

    I have a funny paradox. I enjoy reading, but I am not very adventurous when it comes to exploring new authors.
    So I read every book by a favorite author and then I've got nothing.

    I'm trying to branch out. To refill the coffers of my 'unread' collection.

    I am most attracted to First Contact stories, and New World stories.
    I am not fond of military stories (though Haldeman's Forever War was awesome) or far-future woo stories (this is what has kept me way from Vinge's 'Zones of Thought' series, even though I liked Marooned in Real Time - which I brought on title alone).

    I like sciency adventurey stories. Tend to prefer near future rather than far future.

    Every blurb nowdays seems to finish the blurbs with 'and possibly the very survival of the human race!!'


    I've read every Larry Niven story there is. And every Robert J. Sawyer book there is.
    I like Alan Dean Foster for all his strange worlds, such as Drowning World.
    and Kim Stanley Robinson for his Mars series and for 2312.
    Really liked Reynolds' Pushing Ice.
    Loved Varley's Gaia series.
    Got a love/hate going with Crichton. Read every book, but found his increasing pandering to screen rights irritating. (well, that's moot now, ain't it...)

    Yeah. Strange New Worlds and Strange New Aliens are probably my preferred trope. In Sawyer's 'Starplex', he devoted a good portion of a chapter to the first steps of communicating, starting with 1+1=2.

    Here's where I'll lose many of you.
    I could not get more than 50 pages into Dune.
    Same with Foundation. (I was halfway through Foundation and still wondering when the actual story was going to start. It's all backstory!)
    Couldn't get past the backwards baby in Hyperion. Seems too much like fantasy to me.

    I've pored over Top Sci lists. I've probably checked out every author you can name, some I've read, some not. Gibson is okay in small doses.

    I do like Steampunk, but it seems like a subgenre.

    The last book that blew my tiny little mind was Mieville's Kraken. So then I read, like, six more of his books. All great.

    Long series are all the rage now. If I could find one I like, I might read them all. I'm not specifically looking for series (ADF's planet novels were not a series, but I knew what I'd be getting in each novel - more planets! Drowning World was cool. I know he's got a bit of a formula going there, but hey)


    Suggestions?

    (I mean, other than 'stop using so much bolding in your posts!')
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2017-Mar-07 at 02:44 AM.

  2. #2
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    Day of the triffids?
    Midwich cuckoos
    Orbitsville
    Bill the galactic hero

    I dunno, I hardly read at all now
    Formerly Frog march..............

    She was only a farmer's daughter, but she was outstanding in her field.

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    Noninterference by Harry Turtledove.
    I'm not a hardnosed mainstreamer; I just like the observations, theories, predictions, and results to match.

    "Mainstream isnít a faith system. It is a verified body of work that must be taken into account if you wish to add to that body of work, or if you want to change the conclusions of that body of work." - korjik

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    James S.A. Corey's Expanse series seems like it should check the right boxes for you.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Same with Foundation. (I was halfway through Foundation and still wondering when the actual story was going to start. It's all backstory!)
    Heresy! I name thee witch!

    If you like fantasy (ala Lord of the Rings), have you read the Dragonlance series?
    Steven King writes more than horror. For example, he wrote Shawshank Redemption (it was a short story).
    If you like spy novels, I happen to like Daniel Silva's books.

    Seriously, have you read other Asimov books?
    "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." - Groucho Marx

    "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein

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    I heartily recommend anything by Neal Stephenson, except, ironically, Reamde. Video games, really?

    My favorite of his is The Diamond Age, but I wouldn't start with that one. Go with Zodiac: An Eco-Thriller or Snow Crash (both are hilarious and romping fun) first and read in the order of year published.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post

    I am most attracted to First Contact stories, and New World stories.
    ...
    Yeah. Strange New Worlds and Strange New Aliens are probably my preferred trope.

    Definitely read the Left Hand of Darkness.

    "It was voted the Hugo and Nebula awards"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Left_Hand_of_Darkness
    Last edited by crosscountry; 2017-Mar-07 at 05:03 PM.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

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    You might like John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation for a First Contact story.

    I prefer his Old Man's War series, but it's Military SF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    I heartily recommend anything by Neal Stephenson, except, ironically, Reamde. Video games, really?
    The use of the MMORPG for illegal purposes was the best bit, I thought.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Day of the triffids - Read it
    Midwich cuckoos - well-used trope by now
    Orbitsville - 40 years old now but maybe I'll give it a shot (some hard sci-fi ages poorly)
    Bill the galactic hero - looks irreverent, maybe I'll take a look
    Noninterference - this looks kind of interesting
    Expanse - I just finished reading the first one in prep for watching the TV series - but have lost interest in watching it. Might still read the books though.
    Lord of the Rings - read it a dozen times - despite that, I have no interest in fantasy
    Dragonlance -I roleplayed it a few decades ago. Played the wizard with the hourglass eyes.
    Steven King writes more than horror. - He does??
    Shawshank Redemption - great film. So was Green Mile
    Daniel Silva - shrug
    other Asimov books - Yes. Quite a few.
    Neal Stephenson - Read SnowCrash. It was OK, but enough or me.
    Left Hand of Darkness - I keep coming back to this one. I really want to read it, but it's full of woo.
    John Scalzi - I liked Android's Dream
    Fuzzy Nation - I'll take a look
    Old Man's War - Read it. It was OK, but not interested in more.

    Thanks guys, Keep em coming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Neal Stephenson - Read SnowCrash. It was OK, but enough or me.
    He does evolve as an author. He was in his late 20s when he wrote Snow Crash, hardly at the top of his game. Give him another chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Left Hand of Darkness - I keep coming back to this one. I really want to read it, but it's full of woo.
    It's fiction, who cares?

    I loved Dune. Is a drug that lets you see the future actually possible? No. Total woo. Does it bother me? Not a bit. Same with luck being a real phenomena in Ringworld.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    I loved Dune. Is a drug that lets you see the future actually possible? No. Total woo. Does it bother me? Not a bit. Same with luck being a real phenomena in Ringworld.
    Ouch! That's hitting below the belt.


    No, the woo is robes and chambers and candles and and rituals and families and politics and mind powers.
    If I want all that I'll go back and reread LotR.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2017-Mar-08 at 01:53 AM.

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    ???

    Karl Schroeder writes some good fairly-hard SF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkepticJ View Post
    ???

    Karl Schroeder writes some good fairly-hard SF.
    Yes. The Virga series is good fun - reasonably hard science in an unusual setting, which reminded me slightly of Niven's Smoke Ring.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes. The Virga series is good fun - reasonably hard science in an unusual setting, which reminded me slightly of Niven's Smoke Ring.

    Grant Hutchison
    Ooh! This looks interesting.

    Uh, which is the correct first book?

    There's Virga Sun of Suns and Virga Cities of the Air.
    (looks like the latter is books 1 and 2?)

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    Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series is a good first contact story. An alien invasion starts during World War II.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series is a good first contact story. An alien invasion starts during World War II.
    Last book of the series, Going Home, (title?) is excellent, and can be read indepently of the others
    Last edited by John Mendenhall; 2017-Mar-08 at 11:40 PM. Reason: clarity

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Ooh! This looks interesting.

    Uh, which is the correct first book?

    There's Virga Sun of Suns and Virga Cities of the Air.
    (looks like the latter is books 1 and 2?)
    Yes, Sun of Suns is the first novel, Cities of the Air is a compilation of Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Are you trying to "branch out" within the SF/Fantasy realms or into a broader world of reading/literature?

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Halfhead by Stuart MacBride is a crime novel set in the future.
    Formerly Frog march..............

    She was only a farmer's daughter, but she was outstanding in her field.

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    Xelee sequence, by Baxter

    The Culture, by Banks

    Cherryh's Chanur, Alliance/Union, and Foreigner series.

    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Yeah. Strange New Worlds and Strange New Aliens are probably my preferred trope.
    Well, you're in luck! A Door Into Ocean - Joan Slonczewski.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Well, you're in luck! A Door Into Ocean - Joan Slonczewski.
    Have you read it recently? I don't think it aged well. Or maybe I haven't aged well, but the society described seems to get less plausible (and more annoying) the older I get.
    Then again, I find Le Guin unreadable, and this seemed like a very Le Guin kind of novel.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Have you read it recently? I don't think it aged well. Or maybe I haven't aged well, but the society described seems to get less plausible (and more annoying) the older I get.

    Grant Hutchison
    Just reading the premise makes me both want to have nothing to do with it and to find out how "...they resist nonviolently because they refuse to believe in power. Thus, the Sharers can never be subdued by force." (Yes, this is Wikipedia, Grant, but I think in this case it's probably safe). That seems to make no sense. You can choose not to believe someone can punch you in the face, but the fist will still hurt you when it breaks your nose.

    I guess I'm intrigued, but not expecting much.

    As for Le Guin, I think I may have read one of her books, but it was so long ago, I can't remember. I thought she was generally well received?

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Have you read it recently? I don't think it aged well. Or maybe I haven't aged well, but the society described seems to get less plausible (and more annoying) the older I get.
    Oh, it's not perfect. I agree whitetrance is not a very plausible survival strategy. But there was a lot to like about the Sharers, including their lack of clothes, their purple skin, they're all female, they're advanced geneticists.... I read it as a story, not a screed. Maybe you'd like her Brain Plague better. I thought that was great!
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    As for Le Guin, I think I may have read one of her books, but it was so long ago, I can't remember. I thought she was generally well received?
    I'm certain she is. But I often struggle to appreciate things that are generally well received.
    My point was that on rereading Slonczewski I find here less than engaging in the same way I found Le Guin less than engaging. So people who enjoy Le Guin's style may well also enjoy A Door Into Ocean.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    But there was a lot to like about the Sharers, including their lack of clothes, their purple skin, they're all female . . .
    Clothes and males are bad things?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Left Hand of Darkness - I keep coming back to this one. I really want to read it, but it's full of woo.
    I'm not sure I know what you mean.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I find Le Guin unreadable, and this seemed like a very Le Guin kind of novel.

    Grant Hutchison
    I admit having trouble in the first ~15 or so pages of Left Hand. There was a lot of extraneous description that really slowed down my reading speed. After those pages the story really picked up, and the ending was pretty exciting.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Oh, it's not perfect. I agree whitetrance is not a very plausible survival strategy. But there was a lot to like about the Sharers, including their lack of clothes, their purple skin, they're all female...
    From what I've gleaned about the story, and Slonczewski in particular, I think you may have (deliberately?) missed the author's intent!

    CJSF
    "A scientific theory
    Isn't just a hunch or guess
    It's more like a question
    That's been put through a lot of tests
    And when a theory emerges
    Consistent with the facts
    The proof is with science
    The truth is with science"
    -They Might Be Giants, "Science Is Real"


    lonelybirder.org

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