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Science Fiction

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Biff Webster

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I'm a huge fan of science fiction novels. The problem with this, is that it is hard to find good ones to read. I have searched unsuccessfully for years to find something as enjoyable as the Dune novels. Is there an author out there that compares to Frank Herbert?

Other Sci fi that I feel are great:

Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the Lazarus Long stuff.

Asimov: Foundation was a good premise, but it got goofy near the end, much like the last couple Dune books.

Joe Haldeman's Forever War books. Great idea and "believable".

Philip Jose Farmer: Dayworld. Books about how the future is going to suck are fun to read.

My dad reads space opera/military sci fi like David Weber, and it's okay. I tend to stay away from the "hard" sci-fi as I don't really care how it works, just as long as it isn't too ridiculous.

So what do I do? Is Sci Fi just a genre that is prone to disappoint?

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You want something Dune-like but aren't a big fan of space opera? O_o

Well most space opera doesn't deal with religion/politics/economics quite as much as Dune did. But maybe our definitions differ.

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I'm going to recommend the Night's Dawn trilogy. I remember the first book dragging just a little bit in places on my first read through (though I enjoyed the whole thing the second time I read it so your mileage may vary). The premise also seems kind of silly if you're just reading a blurb about the story, but it's extremely well told. To this day it's one of my favorite science fiction universes. It also might fit what you're looking for if you want something that covers those broad themes of civilization. It's fairly expansive.

Just to note, as a result, it's also fairly long. When I first bought the series, each of the three "books" were broken into two separate volumes that were quite long. The story as a whole is several thousand pages long.

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I'm going to recommend the Night's Dawn trilogy. I remember the first book dragging just a little bit in places on my first read through (though I enjoyed the whole thing the second time I read it so your mileage may vary). The premise also seems kind of silly if you're just reading a blurb about the story, but it's extremely well told. To this day it's one of my favorite science fiction universes. It also might fit what you're looking for if you want something that covers those broad themes of civilization. It's fairly expansive.

Just to note, as a result, it's also fairly long. When I first bought the series, each of the three "books" were broken into two separate volumes that were quite long. The story as a whole is several thousand pages long.

That looks really good! I'm going to keep my finger's crossed that the library or bookstore has them. As far as size, the bigger the better. I hate when good books end. I also ride the bus in Los Angeles, so anything to keep wierdos from talking to me is a good thing.

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Vernor Vinge

Larry Niven

Philip K Dick

Is niven the guy that wrote about the floating trees in the gas torus thing? I've been looking for those books. Another thing that is sad about sci fi is that the selection at the library is pretty hit or miss.

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned William Gibson. The Sprawl Trilogy: Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive. Excellent stuff.

Battlefield Earth. Hubbard was undoubtedly a scam artist, a liar, and a fruitcake. But he was also a hell of a writer. This book proves it.

I would highly recommend:

Souls in the Great Machine, by Sean McMullen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souls_in_the_Great_Machine

Very creative.

Swan Song, Robert R. McCammon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Song_%28novel%29

There are tons more but it's been so long since I've read any sci-fi that it's all sort of faded. But those I remember, check 'em out, they're great.

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I'm going to recommend the Night's Dawn trilogy. I remember the first book dragging just a little bit in places on my first read through (though I enjoyed the whole thing the second time I read it so your mileage may vary). The premise also seems kind of silly if you're just reading a blurb about the story, but it's extremely well told. To this day it's one of my favorite science fiction universes. It also might fit what you're looking for if you want something that covers those broad themes of civilization. It's fairly expansive.

Just to note, as a result, it's also fairly long. When I first bought the series, each of the three "books" were broken into two separate volumes that were quite long. The story as a whole is several thousand pages long.

This.

This, this, this, this, this.

Peter F. Hamilton also did reasonable books in the Commonwealth Saga, but nights Dawn is still his best.

Might I also recommend Arthur C. Clarke?

Childhoods End is a fantastic novel, more-so when you realise how old it is.

Rendezvous with Rama, and the rest of the Rama Cycle

A Fall of Moondust

2001 was overrated in my opinion

If you can get his short stories in a compilation, there are some great old ones - first was Travel by Wire

If you want some humour in Flashman style, try Space Captain Smith

http://spacecaptainsmith.com/

Failing that, collect these like I did (yes, have them all)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SF_Masterworks

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned William Gibson. The Sprawl Trilogy: Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive. Excellent stuff.

Battlefield Earth. Hubbard was undoubtedly a scam artist, a liar, and a fruitcake. But he was also a hell of a writer. This book proves it.

I would highly recommend:

Souls in the Great Machine, by Sean McMullen

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Souls_in_the_Great_Machine

Very creative.

Swan Song, Robert R. McCammon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Song_%28novel%29

There are tons more but it's been so long since I've read any sci-fi that it's all sort of faded. But those I remember, check 'em out, they're great.

I read one Gibson book, it was about a rock star that was going to get married to a computer program and the guy's boss kept teasing him about the thread count of his shirts. Wasn't Gibson also the guy that wrote Johnny Mnemonic?

I've read Battlefield Earth a couple of times. The other Hubbard book I read was Mission Earth. i tried to get through the whole dekalogy(sp) but I got bored after 3 or 4.

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I happened across a book called "Chindi" by Jack McDevitt and absolutely loved it. Naturally, I checked to see if he had written any more, and he has quite a few novels out.

So far, I've enjoyed every one of his I've read. My only disappointment is that I've read almost all of his stuff now. :)

My favorite author overall is Orson Scott Card. He's best known for Enders Game (and the sequels to it), but he's written a lot more than that.

Heinlein is my other "favorite". If you can find any of his stuff you haven't read, then read it.

If you enjoy Star Wars there are about a million star wars novels available. Some are just so-so, but a few of them are very good. One I liked a lot has several short stories all taking place (simultaneously) during the time period where Luke was in Jabba's palace to rescue Han. (That's a bit surprising - I'm not usually a fan of short stories.) Also, there is a Star Wars series by Timothy Zhan that I liked a lot.

Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke (the ABC's of SciFi) are all good, of course. I really liked Clarke's "Rendezvous With Rama" series.

Heinlein, of course.

The Hitchhiker's series by Douglas Adams. Very funny, well thought out.

Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Animal Farm, 1984, these are classic "Must Read" books.

Put Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut on your list.

Michael Crichton isn't really thought of as a SciFi writer, but a lot of his stuff touches on it (and some couldn't be termed as anything else) and he's an excellent writer.

Read all of those, then re-read the Heinlein and the Orson Scott Card, then get back to me and I'll give you a fresh list. :)

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I'm gonna second Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" and also "Ender's Shadow", two fantastic books that create great series overall. They have politics, religion, and some economics.

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As soon as I read "Stranger in a Strange Land" I immediately followed it with "Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs Invasion"

Also, ever heard of this "Star Trek" series?

A random tidbit I learned for a history paper: Copernicus invented sci-fi.

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Hmm, I've read all but about two of the books mentioned so far...

Going to have to second Gibson, Clarke and Hamilton (though I liked the commonwealth saga better, had a better ending).

Also:

Iain Bank: The culture novels are the best science fiction I've read

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Banks#Fiction_as_Iain_M._Banks

Alastair Reynolds: Comes in as a close second though:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alastair_Reynolds#Novels

As for Heinlein, read the famous ones (stranger in a strange land & starship troopers), then read two or three of the others & you've read them all.

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Wait, you read Dayworld by PJ Farmer and didn't read Riverworld? It almost as good as the first books from Dune.

Also, Songmaster, from Orson Scott Card is really good.

As someone mentioned before, Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light is a good read too.

Philip K. Dick also(i'd recommend Ubik).

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As for Heinlein, read the famous ones (stranger in a strange land & starship troopers), then read two or three of the others & you've read them all.

I think the only Heinlein book I didn't like was the one where the old rich dude got his brain transplanted into his hot secretary's body.

Wait, you read Dayworld by PJ Farmer and didn't read Riverworld? It almost as good as the first books from Dune.

Also, Songmaster, from Orson Scott Card is really good.

As someone mentioned before, Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light is a good read too.

Philip K. Dick also(i'd recommend Ubik).

I did read Riverworld, I just never got all the way through the books. I'm not sure why I put them down, but I did.

This turned out to be a success and I appreciate all the suggestions, thank you.

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You want something Dune-like but aren't a big fan of space opera? O_o

He means Doc Smith by space opera, I think.

Is niven the guy that wrote about the floating trees in the gas torus thing? I've been looking for those books. Another thing that is sad about sci fi is that the selection at the library is pretty hit or miss.

That is The Integral Trees and the Smoke Ring. Yes.

He also wrote the Ringworld series.

Integral Trees is actually my favourite Niven, but Ringworld is more popular. The first book in the series is Ringworld. Most of Niven's books are set in the same universe as Ringworld, if you see "Known Space" around the title somewhere it's the same future history.

Dream Park is also an extremely good book, especially if you are a roleplayer, in the SCA, or know someone who is at least one of those two things.

Of course there are no gamers here. :D

I would also suggest Bill Gibson, especially the Sprawl series (four books; Burning Chrome and Other Stories - Neuromancer - Count Zero - Mona Lisa Overdrive. In that order. Read Burning Chrome first, it's amazing stuff. Also, if you ever meet him, call him Bill. It drives him bananas.)

Some of my other favourite SF books.

Asimov - The Gods Themselves. I still feel it was his best book. If you like Foundation, at least try it. I adore Asimov though, he is one of the authors whose bookshelf space is measured in feet and it goes into double digits.

Brunner - The Shockwave Rider, Stand on Zanzibar. British new wave. You sound like a New Wave kind of reader. However Brunner is also a double-digit author for me. :)

Gordon Dickson - Dorsai! and its sequels in the Childe Cycle.

John Varley - Titan/Wizard/Demon. Great books.

Pat Cadigan - Most of her stuff. Mindbending cyberpunk. Expect to go wtf this is really weird at least once per page or so. Especially her earlier books, she gets a bit better at writing transparently as she gets older.

H. Beam Piper - The Fuzzy series. Little Fuzzy is first. A lot of interesting social commentary and discussion of what intelligence is.

Fred Pohl - Lots of things. I suppose Gateway, first book in the Heechee series, is probably the easiest to find. Fred can be a bit hit or miss, but I generally like him anyway. Also possibly The Space Merchants, a collaboration with Kornbluth from way back.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some others. I've mostly been reading fantasy lately though, as Cadigan seems to have retired and Asimov and Brunner passed on. :(

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Oh yes. Also about Niven. The Flying Sorcerors, which he wrote with Gerrold, is one of the funniest books ever written. However it is swarming with in-jokes. Probably you do not know enough about SF to get most of the jokes. But reading it after having wasted half your life reading + watching other things is a way to produce much joy. :)

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I just picked up Reality Dysfunction, and you weren't kidding about the size. I hope I don't drop it on my foot.

I read the time line at the beginning and I think this is pretty much what I am looking for. Thank you.

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