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Thread: Good sci-fi novels

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kanamori View Post
    I liked The Gods Themselves.
    Shit, you're right, that is good. REALLY good.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Array Oso Mocoso's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by ed111 View Post
    Oh, I forgot to mention: read anything and everything by Philip K. Dick as he is THE MASTER OF SCIENCE FICTION!
    While I really enjoy PKD, I'd be reluctant to give it a blanket recommendation to someone starting out with S.F. Great stuff. But I think it has limited appeal. Can you think of a good starter PKD book? Maybe Man in the High Castle or some of his short stories?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasticus View Post
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
    Dear God no, the suck of that book was legendary. Cryptonomicon was boring too.

    Quote Originally Posted by disregard View Post
    The Dune trilogy.
    The first book was good. I drifted off during the second one and wasn't interested enough to pick it back up.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6sticks View Post
    Oh, and Stranger in a Strange Land sucked too. Made it halfway.
    I agree. I didn't even make it halfway.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Array ed111's Avatar
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    Sep 2008


    [QUOTE=Oso Mocoso;321598]While I really enjoy PKD, I'd be reluctant to give it a blanket recommendation to someone starting out with S.F. Great stuff. But I think it has limited appeal. Can you think of a good starter PKD book? Maybe Man in the High Castle or some of his short stories?

    You could look at one of the collections of his short stories ... there's plenty of good stuff in those.

  4. #34


    Have space suit - Will travel by Robert Heinlein is good, so is The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert.

    Dark Universe by Daniel Galouye is one of my favourites, though it's one of those books you either hate or love. It's a really weird piece of fiction.

  5. #35
    insert random title here Array Randomnity's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed111 View Post
    The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
    Another anti-hero. Fast and furious stuff: amusing and entertaining.
    Nice. I acquired an old copy of this book from my dad and like it a lot....but I haven't seen anything by Harry Harrison anywhere since, either new or second-hand (though admittedly I rarely tried to look for him).

    And I own the cat who walks through walls too...I found it ok for a boredom-killer, but pretty slow and hard to get into.

    Though, ender's game is one of my all-time favourite books, so maybe you shouldn't trust my opinion.

    Edit: a few of my favourite sci-fi books are by authors I've never heard of before or since, but they had a really original concept for one novel, anyway. one of those is "don't bite the sun", by tanith lee (had to google that one, ha). The others I don't remember.

  6. #36


    Some sci-fi is just so original it changes everything, such as:

    Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
    Heinlein, Starship Troopers
    Herbert, Dune (but not the sequels.)
    Gibson, Neuromancer (and the sequels too.)

    Other sci-fi is merely excellent, like:

    Niven & Pournelle, Ringworld
    Asimov, the Foundation trilogy
    Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles

  7. #37
    Senior Member Array kuranes's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by 6sticks View Post
    Much like Asimov, Phillip K. Dick's short stories are quite good but his books are horrible. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein are probably my favorite sci fi books. I have crappy taste though.
    Many people like Heinlein, and "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is certainly one of the ones most Heinlein fans consider a classic. I read it so long ago that I don't remember what its about, but that's not a good sign. I remember some conservative philosophy thrown in there for good measure.

    I liked "The Forever War" and IIRC it reminded me of a book written later by Vernor Vinge. I met Joe briefly.

    I'm not a huge Asimov fan, but I have read his more notable creations. I would agree he is a better short story writer, and that this is generally true of PKD also. However, there are some good PKD novels..

    Quote Originally Posted by Oso Mocoso View Post

    Bruce Sterling[/b] is also worth checking out. If the concepts of his books sound appealing to you, you'd probably like him. Distractions is one book of his I reread lately that stood up well.
    I like Sterling a lot. He started out writing more traditional Fantasy and SF, then went into more "hard" science fiction, and in his later books is writing stories so much more plausibly connected with the reality of a near tomorrow, that they almost belong in a category of their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by ed111 View Post
    Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future by Olaf Stapledon
    Written in 1930 it plots the rise and fall and rise (over and over) of the human race over a period of two billion years. I found it helps put my life and the world in perspective!

    The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
    Gully Foyle is a classic anti-hero.

    The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison
    Another anti-hero. Fast and furious stuff: amusing and entertaining.

    Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
    Very deep and a difficult read, but worth the effort - 'On a colony planet, men have established a society based on technological means of imitating the Hindu religion. It is possible to reincarnate the "mind" or "soul" to a new body, even an animal. But some of the earliest colonists have additional powers, which give them the status of gods. And a faction among them is using that means in political ways: punishing their enemies with reincarnation as animals, or with the "true death."'
    "Last and First Men" would try the patience of most people on these boards, IMHO. Having said that, I think Stapledon was more of an influence than he is generally credited with being on the shaping of the entire genre. An under rated master. The scope of some of his books is huge and sweeping. However, i think people are best off ( if never exposed to him before ) reading something like Sirius, a novel about a dog who gains more intelligence than most dogs can ever aspire to.

    Alfred Bester - "The Stars My Destination" was so popular among some that the only Sci-Fi bookstore in the city of Chicago named itself after that. I liked it, but my favorite Alfred Bester was undoubtedly "The Demolished Man".

    I like "The Stainless Steel Rat" stories by Harrison, since they remind me of pulps and early Jack Vance and E.E. "Doc" Smith, but my favorites of his are the books in the "Eden" series about competing with intelligent dinosaurs as cave men.

    My favorite Zelazny series was the Amber series. Most of his books are fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by SensEye View Post
    Lol. Stay away from his next two books then, which make Perdido seem positivel focused. I don't actaully mind his work though. 7/10 stuff which is tolerable.

    You might try Scar Night. Similar ambience to Meville's work but a bit more plot/character driven.

    I try to make suggestions that aren't the same moldy old tombes written 20+ years ago (not that there is anything wrong with them).
    Thx for the link Sens Eye. I found some other good stuff there in addition to the review of the "Scar Night" book, which might also be interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    Easily one of the worst novels I've ever read.
    "Stranger in a Strange land" was one of the first "adult" sci-fi stories that i read, and so I put up with a lot that I might not have otherwise, thinking myself immature then for finding some of it boring. I still remember the sequence where the person is trying to figure out how to get through to decision makers that are protected by screeners, which is something I have to contend with IRL as part of business. His comments on that were the first i ever read on "social engineering".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flak View Post
    Shit, you're right, that is good. REALLY good.
    Who wrote "The Gods Themselves" ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oso Mocoso View Post
    While I really enjoy PKD, I'd be reluctant to give it a blanket recommendation to someone starting out with S.F. Great stuff. But I think it has limited appeal. Can you think of a good starter PKD book? Maybe Man in the High Castle or some of his short stories?
    Good novels by PKD are " A Scanner darkly" and "Flow My Tears The Policeman Said", and "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" ( my favorite ) . "Flow My Tears.." is a "man on the run" pulpey piece though. "Ubik" was interesting as well as "Eye in the Sky". He's hit or miss. Some of his short stories are stinkers, too. He wrote at a fast pace to actually try to make a living full time at this. Probably the worst thing I read by him was "Galactic Pot Healer". There are novels of his, beloved by some, that don't hold my interest, such as the one where the people on each planet each share a mental illness. Everyone on one colony has schizophrenia, for example, while everyone on another is depressed. Meh. His short story "Autofac" is a much anthologized classic.
    Last edited by kuranes; 10-04-2008 at 03:52 PM.
    "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
    Reichsfuhrer Herman Goering at the Nuremburg trials.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Array Lucifer's Avatar
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    Sep 2008


    The single greatest book is "Inherit the Stars" by Paul Hogan. It creates an extremely impressive version of invents leading to the creation of humanity. In retrospect it also has a large number of MBTI characters in all their forms. If you were going to read one last book, or only one Sci-Fi book this is a must.
    This world is mine - in time.

  9. #39


    Quote Originally Posted by kuranes
    Who wrote "The Gods Themselves" ?

  10. #40


    I absolutely loved "JEM" by Frederik Pohl. It's the book that got me interested in science fiction in the first place. I like hard sci-fi more than I do soft sci-fi. (Soft is when you mix in too many elements of fantasy.) Fantasy is great, just keep it away from the science.

    "Reason" is my favorite short story by Asimov. It gave me quite a bit to think about.
    "When a resolute young fellow steps up the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find that it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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