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Kelfazin
2006-Jan-06, 07:36 PM
I've been trying to find some good science fiction books that have a little more science than fiction. I've read a couple volumes of "The Years Best Science Fiction" anthologies by Gardner Dozois and found some decent authors, but would like to find more.

So what are your favorite sci-fi books and authors?

Some of my favorites: The Mote in God's Eye and The Gripping Hand (can't go wrong with Niven and Pournelle). I liked the Hyperion series as well as most other Dan Simmons books, sci fi or not. Steven Baxters Manifold series was an interesting but not unpleasant set of books to read. And, though is really dislike most everything else by L. Ron Hubbard, I really liked Battlefield Earth.

What other book and authors are out there that have far-fetched but seemingly plausible story lines?

ToSeek
2006-Jan-06, 07:41 PM
Try some of Vernor Vinge's books.

Gillianren
2006-Jan-06, 10:25 PM
What I've begun to realize is that, for the most part, I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, largely because either it's too much science, the fiction isn't very interesting, or, often, both. I mean, to me, sci-fi is more than just spaceships shooting at each other, you know?

With that in mind . . . I'm horribly addicted to the Vorkosigan saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (whom I'll be meeting in April!). It's not more science than fiction, but the fiction is quite good and the FTL travel is more reasonable than a lot I've seen. She's also really good about the limitations of ships' weapons vs. ships' shielding--as one advances, so does the other. I think they're starting to go back to boarding battles in her books.

Certassar
2006-Jan-06, 10:34 PM
Some of my favorites: The Mote in God's Eye and The Gripping Hand (can't go wrong with Niven and Pournelle). I liked the Hyperion series as well as most other Dan Simmons books, sci fi or not.

I couldn't agree with you more. I can recommend:

- "Nights Dawn Trilogy" (Peter F. Hamilton)
- "Ringworld" (Niven)
- "Foundation series" (Asimov)
- "Uplift series" (David Brin)
- Novels by Iain M. Banks, like "Excession", "The Algebraist", "Use of weapons" etc.
- "Neuromancer"/"Count Zero"/"Mona Lisa Overdrive" by William Gibson.

DukePaul
2006-Jan-06, 10:48 PM
One novel off the top of my head I really liked was the first Deathstalker novel by Simon Green.

ToSeek
2006-Jan-06, 11:19 PM
What I've begun to realize is that, for the most part, I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, largely because either it's too much science, the fiction isn't very interesting, or, often, both. I mean, to me, sci-fi is more than just spaceships shooting at each other, you know?

With that in mind . . . I'm horribly addicted to the Vorkosigan saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (whom I'll be meeting in April!). It's not more science than fiction, but the fiction is quite good and the FTL travel is more reasonable than a lot I've seen. She's also really good about the limitations of ships' weapons vs. ships' shielding--as one advances, so does the other. I think they're starting to go back to boarding battles in her books.

I met Bujold at an sf convention a couple of years ago - she's a very interesting speaker and very down-to-earth despite the bulging trophy case.

redshifter
2006-Jan-06, 11:49 PM
I recommend the following:
Just about anything by Ben Bova, particulaly the Orion series (though there is some non-science in those) as well as Moonrise, Moonwar (sequel to Moonrise), Mars, Return to Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, The Precipice, The Rock Rats (sequel to The Precipice), The Asteroid Wars (sequel to the Rock Rats), Sam Gunn Unlimited, Sam Gunn Forever. He's one of my fave authors.

Have you read the "Mission Earth" series by L Ron Hubbard? It's a real hoot!

There is also the Chung Kuo series by David Wingrove. They are somewhat hard to come by, but it's easily the best series I've ever read. Extraordinarily detailed, lots of plot twists, and some really evil SOB's. Great read. Rivals the Dune series IMO.

My favorite SF novel ever: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Fredrick Pohl is a good author as well - I liked the Gateway series among other stuff he's written.

I didn't really get into the Hyperion series though the Baxter stuff I've read has been pretty good as well as Niven/Pournelle. Ever read Footfall, or Lucifer's Hammer?

Gullible Jones
2006-Jan-07, 12:19 AM
I mean, to me, sci-fi is more than just spaceships shooting at each other, you know?

Only bad science fiction. ;)

Let's see...

- Slant, by Greg Bear, a pretty amazing read.

- Legacy, also by Bear, depicts a very convincing alien world, and some very interesting characters.

- Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny is stunning, there's not really any other way to describe it. The main character is intriguing too - noble crusader, holy liar, ruthless killer, the whole lot.

- Kiln People, by David Brin, is a very good read and poses some interesting questions, despite basically being science-fantasy.

- The Left Hand of Darkness is a tour de force. Just go and read it, if you haven't already!

peter eldergill
2006-Jan-07, 02:12 AM
Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card was excellent. Speaker for the Dead, however, was not so good IMO

Chilhood's End by A.C. Clark was cool

Pete

Kelfazin
2006-Jan-07, 10:19 PM
I recommend the following:
Just about anything by Ben Bova, particulaly the Orion series (though there is some non-science in those) as well as Moonrise, Moonwar (sequel to Moonrise), Mars, Return to Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, The Precipice, The Rock Rats (sequel to The Precipice), The Asteroid Wars (sequel to the Rock Rats), Sam Gunn Unlimited, Sam Gunn Forever. He's one of my fave authors.

Have you read the "Mission Earth" series by L Ron Hubbard? It's a real hoot!

There is also the Chung Kuo series by David Wingrove. They are somewhat hard to come by, but it's easily the best series I've ever read. Extraordinarily detailed, lots of plot twists, and some really evil SOB's. Great read. Rivals the Dune series IMO.

My favorite SF novel ever: The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Fredrick Pohl is a good author as well - I liked the Gateway series among other stuff he's written.

I didn't really get into the Hyperion series though the Baxter stuff I've read has been pretty good as well as Niven/Pournelle. Ever read Footfall, or Lucifer's Hammer?


I really enjoyed Bova's Mars books (and a bunch of the oters as well), and then followed them up with the Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson who kind of took Bova's story to the next level and dealt with the terraforming of the planet and stuff.

I tried to get into Hubabrds Mission Earth series after reading Battlefield Earth but could never get past the first few chapters of book one. I think I keep wanting a 2nd Battlefield Earth and it just isn't there.

I read Lucifer's Hammer but haven't got to Footfall yet. Hammer was pretty intersting, dealing with the aftermath of an asteroid (comt?) impact.


Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card was excellent. Speaker for the Dead, however, was not so good IMO

I read the entire Ender series, including the one that just came out a few months ago with Bean and Petra as adults. I'll agree that the best in that series was Enders Game and Enders Shadow, the others were a bit too political for my taste. But not too bad.

A lot of these other suggestions sound really good, I guess I'll be off to Barnes and Noble soon :)

Torg
2006-Jan-08, 12:16 AM
I've gotta mention Stephen Baxter again. I just discovered his Xelee Sequence books and cant stop reading them (I read Vacuum Diagrams, 500+ pages, in 3 days a few weeks ago). I also just read Moonseed - books about the end of the world are always good...:whistle:

One thing I think is absolutely CRAZILY good: Baxter wrote a SEQUEL to The Time Machine - precisely 100 years after it came out:D !! It picks up exactly where the original story leaves off, and he manages to write in the victorian style of the first book throughout. Won't spoil it, but its incredible. Called The Time Ships.

Paul Beardsley
2006-Jan-08, 11:06 AM
Stephen Baxter has done some great stuff, and I agree with the ones Torg mentions (except Moonseed which I haven't read), although there are some that you have to be in the right mood for. Flux is rewarding, but it's not the best piece of storytelling I've ever encountered, and Ring - well, it has some great ideas, really great, but it takes a very long time to get underway, and it's very long.

He also wrote Anti-Ice, which was like a pastiche of Victorian trip-to-the-moon stories, but with some very clever ideas - such as, what if a controllable form of antimatter (the anti-ice of the title, which can be handled safely when it is cold) fell into the lap of the British Empire? It's a good companion piece to The Time Ships. Also worth checking out is Journey to the King Planet, a shorter (and in some ways better) take on the Anti-Ice plot.

I'm currently reading one of Baxter's collaborations with Arthur C. Clarke, Time Odyssey. You don't have to have read any of the Space Odyssey books (which I don't recommend anyway, apart from the first one), but if you have, you get the occasional resonance.

Larry Niven's Known Space stories are always worth a look, as is his A World Out of Time and the Flash Crowd stories. I haven't read any of his recent stuff

It might be worth having a thread of books recommended (or not), giving reasons. Unless there is already one...

Lianachan
2006-Jan-08, 11:46 AM
I really like Star Smashers Of The Galaxy Rangers by Harry Harrison, which is a comedy sci-fi.

I like To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer, although I'm not especially fond of the rest of the Riverworld series.

My dad has a staggeringly vast collection of sci-fi books, but I've not read very many of them.

Kelfazin
2006-Jan-08, 07:29 PM
Stephen Baxter has done some great stuff, and I agree with the ones Torg mentions (except Moonseed which I haven't read), although there are some that you have to be in the right mood for. Flux is rewarding, but it's not the best piece of storytelling I've ever encountered, and Ring - well, it has some great ideas, really great, but it takes a very long time to get underway, and it's very long.

He also wrote Anti-Ice, which was like a pastiche of Victorian trip-to-the-moon stories, but with some very clever ideas - such as, what if a controllable form of antimatter (the anti-ice of the title, which can be handled safely when it is cold) fell into the lap of the British Empire? It's a good companion piece to The Time Ships. Also worth checking out is Journey to the King Planet, a shorter (and in some ways better) take on the Anti-Ice plot.

I'm currently reading one of Baxter's collaborations with Arthur C. Clarke, Time Odyssey. You don't have to have read any of the Space Odyssey books (which I don't recommend anyway, apart from the first one), but if you have, you get the occasional resonance.

My two favorite Baxter books are Manifold: Origin where they end up on the moon that drifts between alternate universes and is populated by the differnet evolutions of humans. The other is a Clark collaboration called Light of Other Days where they invent a wormhole camera that can be anywhere at any time, past or present, and is undetectable.

Other than that, my girlfriend and I just recently discovered the rest of Baxters work and have made plans to read all his other stuff.

Doodler
2006-Jan-08, 07:46 PM
One novel off the top of my head I really liked was the first Deathstalker novel by Simon Green.

Great series, especially the last three books, which till two months ago I was clueless as to their existance. I like how they ended that one.

Ilya
2006-Jan-09, 01:17 AM
My absolute favorite SF is "Galactic Center" series by Gregory Benford. His science is first-rate (Benford is an astrophysicist) and his characterization and plots are IMO among the best -- a rare combination in SF. The six books, in orser are:

Into the Ocean of Night
Across the Sea of Suns
Great Sky River
Tides of Light
Furious Gulf
Sailing Bright Eternity (plus a few short stories set in the same universe)

I must warn that Into the Ocean of Night is rather dated (written in the 70's), and Across the Sea of Suns can be very difficult to read if you are not used to protracted dialogs.

My second favorite is "War Against Chtorr" series by David Gerrold, although I lost all hope he will ever finish it.

I agree with most of the other people's picks, at least those I had read (Niven, Pournelle, Le Guin, etc.). The one I emphatically disagree about it is Ben Bova. Bova's characters are two-dimensional, his plots are completely predictable (and invariably contain a soap-opera style love triangle), his political preaching has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, his science is often sloppy (20-meter rise in sea levels creates beaches in Colorado?), and worst of all, IMO, he does not weave that science into the story but presents it in lectures interspersed between chapters.

redshifter
2006-Jan-09, 06:45 PM
Interesting that you're not a fan of Bova, but liked the Chtorr series by Gerrold. I thought that series got pretty lousy after the second book. Different strokes I guess...

Disinfo Agent
2006-Jan-10, 10:47 PM
Clarke
Asimov
Heinlein
Pohl
(check out their short story collections)
sometimes Lem

Gullible Jones
2006-Jan-11, 01:14 AM
Benford I don't know about, Ilya... I read Against Infinity and thought it was *BRILLIANT*. Then I read Eater, Cosm, and Artifact, and I thought they sucked. In Eater, the science backing up the black hole's intelligence was IIRC sketchy at best. Cosm had interesting ideas and fairly good science, but the main characters actions were sometimes a bit too ridiculous to believe. And Artifact... that just stunk on ice. Bloody ridiculous action-hero plot, some very improbable things relating to the ancient Mycenaeansm, and a cubical singularity that miraculously manages not to cook the hero, despite getting within 20 feet of him (in air) and spewing out radiation like crazy... Oh, and yes, you read that right. I know that Benford is much smarter than I am, but a single, spinning singularity shaped like a cube seems a bit ridiculous to me, as does the fact that the main characters could actually transport the container it was in, which between the two singularities in there must have weighed roughly as much as Mount Everest. So yeah, I'm basically not sure what to think of this guy... I suppose I'll try reading his Galactic Center books at some point, but some of his stories are decidedly so-so.

Regarding Ben Bova... I think you summed it up. I read Return to Mars, and it kind of left me banging my head... I mean, I would have liked to see a bit more of Mars and a bit less of the sexual tension between the main characters. Also, I would much have liked to see Waterman tell off Vijay Shektar, because she was a nasty, manipulative little pest and he bloody well knew it.

(Is it just me, or do Bova's characters all have their sexual impressions floating much closer to the front of their thoughts than is natural? Perhaps Bova is just a horny guy...)

The Supreme Canuck
2006-Jan-11, 01:16 AM
If you don't mind compilations of short stories, I recommend this (http://www.electricstory.com/images/Hard%20SF%20Renaissance450x600.jpg).

Vaelroth
2006-Jan-11, 01:38 AM
I was waiting for someone to say Heinlein so I could hop on the bandwagon for that guy. ;)

I'm a big fan of most of his books, but the Cat Who Walks Through Walls has got to be my favorite.

I'm also getting into Niven. He's got a great sense of detail and some good comic relief as well. Not to mention a tourniquet for treating decapitation. That was a golden idea!

jscotti
2006-Jan-11, 02:47 AM
I used to read lots of scifi, but I've found over the years that fact is a lot more interesting than fiction. So give me a good book on the Apollo program. But you asked for scifi. My favorite scifi author is Arthur C. Clarke. I love the plausible realism of the near future he painted in his books. Rendezvous With Rama, 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Childhood's End would all be high on my list of Clarke novels to recommend. Niven and Pournelle as a team wrote a couple excellent novels, particularly Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall. Niven's "Tails of Known Space" have some excellent short stories such as Wait it Out. And I think anyone who likes Clarke would also like Robert Forward, particularly The Dragon's Egg. When I was younger, I also liked to read Asimov and a few Heinlein books. But like I said, today, give me a good book on Apollo or Celestial Mechanics.... :think:

Kelfazin
2006-Jan-11, 07:08 AM
... So give me a good book on the Apollo program...


Funny you mention this. Over the last 2 years or so I've found myself drawn more and more into the Apollo program. It started with the HBO show From the Earth to the Moon, followed, of course, by the book of the same name by Andrew Chaikin. And then I had about 10 months in an experimental department at the company I work for where we had exactly zero work to do in the course of a day. And as my co-workers and I couldn't spend 8 hours a day **'ing amongst ourselves I spent the time, instead, reading and listening to pretty much all of Eric Jones' Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/frame.html). Since then I've begun buying a bunch of other books about the program as well. In fact the book I just finished reading is First Man, the Neil Armstrong biography that was just released in October. It's an excellent look into the space program back then as well as a glimpse of who Neil really is.

Before that I read Rocketman about Pete Conrad. It was not as lengthy or in depth as First Man but very well written with some parts that just make you laugh.

And now I have three more Apollo astronaut books on their way (Gene Cernan's, Jack Schmitt's, and Mike Collins') that I'm looking forward to reading.

I've also been debating about whether I should buy the Gene Kranz or Chris Kraft books, have any of you guys read these? And are they as good as the others?


edit: added link to LSJ

ToSeek
2006-Jan-11, 04:01 PM
I've also been debating about whether I should buy the Gene Kranz or Chris Kraft books, have any of you guys read these? And are they as good as the others?

Gene Kranz's book is superb. He didn't use a ghost-writer, so the writing isn't as smooth as it might be, but it's totally honest and from the heart. His recounting of the Apollo 1 fire is as gut-wrenching a tale as I've ever read.

Chris Kraft's book is good but not in the same category. It makes a good companion to Kranz's book, though, because Kraft has a similar but broader perspective.