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Good Sci-fi

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Good Sci-fi
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ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5000Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Your Funny Uncle wrote:I can never understand how anyone took the Starship Troopers movie at face value. It was so obviously taking the piss, especially given the tone of Verhoeven's previous sci-fi films Robocop and Total Recall...


Innit! It's so painfully clear, especially given Robocop. I doubt if it was specifically tailored to mock Heinlein, although he was politically to the right and a bit of a fascist by all accounts, but it most certainly holds up a mirror to American society and the barrage of propaganda that (still) fills its airwaves.

On topic, I'd agree about Asimov, Peter F. Hamilton and Iain M. Banks. All good stuff, and obviously anyone who's never read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy should be forced to do so at gunpoint.


I read a Peter F. Hamilton book called the nano flower, was pretty good.
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Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:09 am
ArthurWilbornPosts: 964Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 4:46 pm

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

I'm a huge fan of Baen publishing; they've got a pretty good stable.

The early Posleen invasion books by John Ringo are good; the politics is a bit off putting but I think he manages to sell it. Then he goes off the rails and starts writing straight-up porn/propaganda, so avoid his later works.

The Honorverse by David Weber is good if you like things going boom.

Christopher Anvil's Interstellar Patrol stories have a similar feel to Star Trek, focusing on solving problems with technology and intellect.

Hammer's Slammers by David Drake is a very gritty depiction of the goods and ills of armies.

Most of the Keith Laumer Bolo stories also have a similar mixture of triumph and tragedy.

Best of all, they have a huge free library online with chapters and complete books:

http://www.baen.com/library/
Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:52 pm
kenandkidsUser avatarPosts: 1117Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:00 pm Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

The John Carter of Mars series By Edgar Rice Burroughs. To my knowledge the first mention of computers or internet in literature.
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Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:19 pm
creamcheeseUser avatarPosts: 145Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:47 amLocation: CA, USA Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein
The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson

Lots of good suggestions in this topic.
Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:03 am
Pennies for ThoughtsUser avatarPosts: 237Joined: Fri Jun 18, 2010 5:47 amLocation: San Francisco Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

I live on a planet where Azimov's "Nightfall" is required reading. My home is very far from Earth as you probably guessed.
"It ain't what you don't know that hurts you. It's what you do know that ain't so." -- Will Rogers
Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:22 am
nasher168League LegendUser avatarPosts: 2518Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:34 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Does The Road count? I found it an enjoyable read. My personal speculation is that the disaster is a meteorite strike, since it fits the lack of radioactive cities, ash covering the ground and the vague flashbacks in the book.
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Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:49 pm
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PulsarUser avatarPosts: 872Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:52 pmLocation: Belgium

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Currently reading 'Ilium' from Dan Simmons.
I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. - Robert McCloskey

Science doesn’t know everything … religion doesn’t know ANYTHING.
Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:37 pm
Duvelthehobbit666User avatarPosts: 1136Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:39 pmLocation: On a pale blue dot Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is pretty good. The movie Bladerunner is based on this book.
This is of course in addition to all of the books already mentioned.
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Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:57 pm
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Lurking_LogicUser avatarPosts: 103Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:25 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

As said David Webers Honorverse series is quite good

Also you could try the Vattas War series by Elizabeth Moon

David Feintuchs, Seafort Saga is one that i found good
It does have raging religious overtones (state mandated catholicism lol) but the main characters change on this is good throughout the series
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Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:20 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2947Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Greetings,

Depends on what you prefer - "hard" (sci/tech explained) or "soft" SF (romanticized and/or sci/tech not explained).

I'm a "hard" SF fan.

Anything by Larry Niven or Jerry Pournelle - or both together!

The Mote In God's Eye - THE seminal "first contact" novel!!

I read it back in the seventies as a teenager and seriously considered writing to them with a number of suggestions for a sequel - but didn't, lest they include them(!) Then, the sequel came out - a quarter of a century later: The Moat Around Murcheson's Eye (aka, The Gripping Hand in the US).

TMIGS is still my favourite SF novel.

It had everything you'll find in computing today - not surprising, since Pournelle (who has degrees in CompSci, Political Science and Psychology) had a column in "Byte" magazine. Niven, of course, is a mathematician. The aliens in the books were a variant of Niven's Ringworld engineers.

My first introduction to SF, however, was E.E."Doc" Smith's Lensman series (seven books with a epic scope!), along with the Skylark series - straight out of the comic genre, but great at the time.

I tried Asimov's Foundation series, but wasn't that impressed with it - no real sci/tech in it. His Space Ranger series was more to my liking - science and technology were important. Frankly, I found his "Robot" books uninteresting - strange, since I ended up in the computer industry! [His non-fiction books, particularly his science-oriented ones, were great.]

Heinlein's Starship Troopers is another classic - I've read others of his, but this stands out - not that I agreed with some of the post-WWII attitudes displayed!

By the way, the film was a send-up of Nazism - not Heinlein. Verhoeven, having grown up in Nazi-occupied Holland, saw the opportunity to do so and ran with it. He read the first few chapters but didn't actually finish reading the book!

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhous-Five - another classic. And, of course, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsai series was excellent.

Of the more modern authors, Iain M. Banks (Philosophy and Psychology) and Steven Baxter (degrees in Mathematics and Engineering) are also great writers - Banks' Feersum Endjinn, Use Of Weapons, The Player of Games and Consider Phlebas are astonishing in their imagination, as are any of Baxter's novels (such as Anti-Ice), which resembles H. G. Wells (by whom he's strongly influenced) or Jules Verne's masterpieces.

Fantasy (aka "Swords & Sorcery")

The first fantasy novels I read were the Lankhamar series by Fritz Lieber. Good fun!

Not to mention Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter of Mars books - really great fun!

The real start of the modern fantasy genre, of course, was Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings - seriously good novels. I also read the background novels - yes, I'm a real fan!

Other great series are those by Stephen R. Donaldson - The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant - first and second trilogies, and the latest four-parter. Really amazing stuff.

The late David Eddings' The Belgariad, with its sequel trilogy, The Malloreon series and the alternatives, The Elenium and The Tamuli trilogies. Although the themes and even the characters are similar, they're great.

I have read other SF&F authors, but they don't really stand out.

Well, that's all the ones of which I can think - if I think of more, I'll add them.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Last edited by Dragan Glas on Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:04 am
nasher168League LegendUser avatarPosts: 2518Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:34 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Dragan Glas wrote:I tried Asimov's Foundation series, but wasn't that impressed with it - no real sci/tech in it.


You die!

IMO, Foundation is one of the best series ever written. Being set about 23000 years in the future means it's more or less impossible to really predict the kind of technology that will be around, so Asimov doesn't even try. Instead, it looks at the social side of things and in that regard the series is an absolute triumph.
Personally, I've never really cared much for the technology in science fiction. To me, science fiction's real value is the ability to tell any story you like whilst retaining some plausibility. It allows literally any setting you like. Any culture, any background, any politics. Even magic (as long as you don't call it that) is allowed if you set the story far in the future.
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Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:10 am
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DarkchildeUser avatarPosts: 48Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:54 pmLocation: Athens, Greece Gender: Female

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

nasher168 wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:I tried Asimov's Foundation series, but wasn't that impressed with it - no real sci/tech in it.


You die!

IMO, Foundation is one of the best series ever written. Being set about 23000 years in the future means it's more or less impossible to really predict the kind of technology that will be around, so Asimov doesn't even try. Instead, it looks at the social side of things and in that regard the series is an absolute triumph.
Personally, I've never really cared much for the technology in science fiction. To me, science fiction's real value is the ability to tell any story you like whilst retaining some plausibility. It allows literally any setting you like. Any culture, any background, any politics. Even magic (as long as you don't call it that) is allowed if you set the story far in the future.


I totally agree. I read the Foundation trilogy when I was a teenager and a couple of times afterwards, and I still love it.

Anyways, one of my favorite SF authors is Peter F. Hamilton. His Night's Dawn Trilogy was superb
. I like his Greg Mandell series too, I have read the first book in that trilogy and am halfway through Pandora's Star.
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Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:35 am
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australopithecusAdministratorUser avatarPosts: 4278Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:27 pmLocation: Kernow Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Literally science and fiction: The Science of Discworld. Pratchett writes some Discworld stuff then 2 scientists (forget their names) turn up and explain the real stuff.
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Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:05 am
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5000Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

nasher168 wrote:
Dragan Glas wrote:I tried Asimov's Foundation series, but wasn't that impressed with it - no real sci/tech in it.


You die!

IMO, Foundation is one of the best series ever written.


I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Foundation is excellent. I also liked Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan.
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:09 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2947Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Greetings,

Nice to know my death resurrected this thread! My life has meaning ... :D

I also read Foundation as a teenager - yes, it's good "space drama" - but the technology side (apart from space travel, the only bit I remember was "The Mule" turning dials to control people's emotional responses) was lacking. And there wasn't much else in terms of culture or politics to make up for the lack of science and/or technology.

Frank Herbert's Dune (also set 23,000 years into the future!), appealed to me more, because there was far more cultural background to it - not to mention the more complex political intrigues. It was also the first book with a "hint" of homosexuality I'd read.

And Banks' "The Culture" from his various books, Consider Phlebas, The Player Of Games, etc, are better thought out.

For those who don't know, "The Culture" is a space-faring, secular culture similar to the Western world, which is opposed by a fundamentalist religious culture - the "Idiran" - with a fanaticism rather similar to the worst of Islam(!)

That is some seriously-thought-out concept! :shock:

[Although I had intended reading Brian Aldiss' Heliconia and Harry Harrison's Eden series, I never got round to them - however, the information I had gleaned about them, at the time, indicates that they also have more depth to them.]

So, on balance, I'd have to say that the "Foundation" series didn't measure up, in my opinion.

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:03 pm
PulsarUser avatarPosts: 872Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:52 pmLocation: Belgium

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Dragan Glas wrote:So, on balance, I'd have to say that the "Foundation" series didn't measure up, in my opinion.

Blasphemy!
Btw, I hope that Roland Emmerich catches an interesting disease before he starts raping the books.
I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. - Robert McCloskey

Science doesn’t know everything … religion doesn’t know ANYTHING.
Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:16 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2947Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Greetings,

To be honest, I had only read the "Prelude" and "Foundation" books - not the whole series. After all, it wasn't worth it.... :lol:

[Owww, hey! Stop pushing .... oww, OWWWW!!!]

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:28 pm
nasher168League LegendUser avatarPosts: 2518Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:34 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Dragan Glas wrote:
I also read Foundation as a teenager - yes, it's good "space drama" - but the technology side (apart from space travel, the only bit I remember was "The Mule" turning dials to control people's emotional responses) was lacking. And there wasn't much else in terms of culture or politics to make up for the lack of science and/or technology.

IIRC, the Mule's powers weren't quite technological in nature. I think someone mentions that he's from Gaia in Foundation's Edge. That's before Gaia has truly become a super-organism, so the individuals have a degree of free will that allowed the Mule to become an Isolate and conquer Kalgan and the Foundation.
On a related note, if I think about it for a bit, there are actually quite a few mentions of technology, but the technical details are left out. The "Visisonor" which is effectively a musical instrument of sorts, only they project images, sounds and emotions into the minds of those within range. Molecular-level welding technology sold to the Korellian Republic by Hober Mallow. The "Neuronic Whip" which stimulates pain receptors to incapacitate an enemy. The "Positronic Brain" (mainly featured in the Robots series, but Foundation is a continuation of that, and R. Daneel Olivaw does mention it in any case) as a robotic brain which forces robots to act in accordance with the Three Laws. There are a lot more, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head.

Frank Herbert's Dune (also set 23,000 years into the future!), appealed to me more, because there was far more cultural background to it - not to mention the more complex political intrigues. It was also the first book with a "hint" of homosexuality I'd read.


Dune is good, but I hated the film and disliked the 2000 TV series (although the 2003 adaptation of Children of Dune is fantastic). The book does have its failings. It moves painfully slowly at the start, and the style isn't one that would appeal to me were the storyline not excellent.
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Apologies for my absence of late.
Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:16 pm
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Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2947Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

Greetings,

I think it was because I'd already read some of his science books and the "Space Ranger" series, in which knowledge (of both science and technology) were important to the stories - and then read the first "Foundation" book (because everyone was talking about how good they were).

Perhaps that's why it didn't impress me - coming from the "hard" SF end and finding it too "soft"...

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:28 pm
UnwardilUser avatarPosts: 814Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:32 am Gender: Male

Post Re: Good Sci-fi

australopithecus wrote:Literally science and fiction: The Science of Discworld. Pratchett writes some Discworld stuff then 2 scientists (forget their names) turn up and explain the real stuff.


Second this.

i had several moments when reading that where all the stuff I sort of knew but didn't really know about science clicked into place. There's an explanation of how evolutionary computer simulations works that's just brilliant and when reading it I suddenly understood what a wonderfully elegant and above all simple concept evolution really is.

Also Dune and not just because it was the first real time strategy game I ever played.
Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:28 pm
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