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View Full Version : Yet another 'What should I read next' thread.



DaveC426913
2017-Mar-07, 02:38 AM
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!')

WaxRubiks
2017-Mar-07, 04:07 AM
Day of the triffids?
Midwich cuckoos
Orbitsville
Bill the galactic hero

I dunno, I hardly read at all now

John Mendenhall
2017-Mar-07, 09:18 AM
Noninterference by Harry Turtledove.

grant hutchison
2017-Mar-07, 04:21 PM
James S.A. Corey's Expanse series seems like it should check the right boxes for you.

Grant Hutchison

msollot
2017-Mar-07, 04:37 PM
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! :D

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?

SkepticJ
2017-Mar-07, 04:57 PM
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.

crosscountry
2017-Mar-07, 05:00 PM
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

jamesabrown
2017-Mar-07, 07:10 PM
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.

grant hutchison
2017-Mar-07, 07:35 PM
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

DaveC426913
2017-Mar-07, 10:53 PM
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.

SkepticJ
2017-Mar-07, 11:09 PM
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.


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.

DaveC426913
2017-Mar-08, 12:42 AM
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.

SkepticJ
2017-Mar-08, 01:14 AM
???

Karl Schroeder writes some good fairly-hard SF.

grant hutchison
2017-Mar-08, 01:29 AM
???

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

DaveC426913
2017-Mar-08, 01:50 AM
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?)

Chuck
2017-Mar-08, 02:49 AM
Harry Turtledove's Worldwar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldwar_series) series is a good first contact story. An alien invasion starts during World War II.

John Mendenhall
2017-Mar-08, 04:19 AM
Harry Turtledove's Worldwar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldwar_series) 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

grant hutchison
2017-Mar-08, 08:56 AM
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

CJSF
2017-Mar-08, 03:28 PM
Are you trying to "branch out" within the SF/Fantasy realms or into a broader world of reading/literature?

CJSF

WaxRubiks
2017-Mar-09, 09:30 AM
Halfhead by Stuart MacBride is a crime novel set in the future.

swampyankee
2017-Mar-09, 10:37 AM
Xelee sequence, by Baxter

The Culture, by Banks

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

Cougar
2017-Mar-09, 01:17 PM
Yeah. Strange New Worlds and Strange New Aliens are probably my preferred trope.

Well, you're in luck! A Door Into Ocean - Joan Slonczewski.

grant hutchison
2017-Mar-09, 01:49 PM
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

CJSF
2017-Mar-09, 02:20 PM
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

Cougar
2017-Mar-09, 04:07 PM
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!

grant hutchison
2017-Mar-09, 04:53 PM
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

SkepticJ
2017-Mar-09, 05:25 PM
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?

crosscountry
2017-Mar-09, 05:31 PM
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.

crosscountry
2017-Mar-09, 05:33 PM
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.

CJSF
2017-Mar-09, 07:41 PM
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

grant hutchison
2017-Mar-09, 09:38 PM
Yeah, professing to admire a ponderous feminist allegory because it has naked chicks in it does have a certain chutzpah.

Grant Hutchison

crosscountry
2017-Mar-09, 10:45 PM
Yeah, professing to admire a ponderous feminist allegory because it has naked chicks in it does have a certain chutzpah.

Grant Hutchison

Are we back to Heinlein?

DaveC426913
2017-Mar-10, 02:00 AM
Are we back to Heinlein?

:rofl:

DaveC426913
2017-Mar-10, 02:06 AM
I'm not sure I know what you mean.

Sorry, not woo. Been a while since I scanned the story summary.

It seems like social fiction that's set in the future. Is there any ambient tension that isn't ... relationship-based?

swampyankee
2017-Mar-10, 03:21 AM
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

Generally, LeGuin is considered one of the greats.

Also, try Octavia Butler.

crosscountry
2017-Mar-10, 03:22 AM
Sorry, not woo. Been a while since I scanned the story summary.

It seems like social fiction that's set in the future. Is there any ambient tension that isn't ... relationship-based?

It's a first contact story. The tension is the first contact, and that pushes the entire story. Our protagonist is trying to win over a planet of people, and they are more than skeptical. Of course some characters are friendly and others not, but what kind of story would it be without that?

swampyankee
2017-Mar-10, 03:30 AM
:think:
Sorry, not woo. Been a while since I scanned the story summary.

It seems like social fiction that's set in the future. Is there any ambient tension that isn't ... relationship-based?

What other kind of tension is there? Stories without relationships are, well, kind of like The Little Engine That Could, writ large :think:

DaveC426913
2017-Mar-10, 03:58 AM
:think:

What other kind of tension is there? Stories without relationships are, well, kind of like The Little Engine That Could, writ large :think:

Well, there's tension driven by external circumstances.

(I didn't mean no relationships, just not the entirety of a story.)

crosscountry
2017-Mar-10, 07:12 AM
Well, there's tension driven by external circumstances.

(I didn't mean no relationships, just not the entirety of a story.)

Since you asked, the first contact planet is an ice world, and the environment itself is a huge tension, which leads up to the climatic ending.

swampyankee
2017-Mar-10, 09:57 AM
Since you asked, the first contact planet is an ice world, and the environment itself is a huge tension, which leads up to the climatic ending.

The other tension is that Le Guin's stories in this sequence have no FTL travel.

As an aside, David Brin's Glory Season has many broad similarities to Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness.

crosscountry
2017-Mar-10, 01:57 PM
Is it worth reading?

swampyankee
2017-Mar-10, 09:14 PM
Is it worth reading?

Glory Road? Yes. Left Hand of Darkness? Absolutely.

Jetlagged
2017-Apr-04, 07:51 AM
If you can find copies then try Eric Frank Russell