Books: SciFi & Fantasy

Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by Porfiry, Oct 3, 2001.

  1. orcot Valued Senior Member

    [qoute] Terry Pratchett's female characters seem generally as convincing and genuine as his male ones[/qoute]
    did Terry ever write a female main character that did not involve inequality between men and women?
    Monsterous regiment had a female lead that pretended to be a man. Their are some abouth the witches but those heavily involved ineaquality and womens rights. I doubt he ever wrote a female character who's gender wasn't part of the plot. Their still good books tough
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  3. river

    The Expanse , scifi novel series

    So far so good .
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  5. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

    OMG! I posted to this thread 10 years ago. It's on page 11. Getting old and this thread is growing very slowly.

    I read Ancillary Justice years ago. The ship was destroyed and only one ancillary survived. I did not read any more of the series. Too much like Iain M. Banks Culture series. I have only read two of those, Player of Games and Look to Windward.

    I have read Charles Stross' Merchant Princes series and am awaiting the next installment.

    Alternate history that comes across as fantasy at the beginning and transitions to sci-fi. That apparent fantasy is explained with quantum physics when studied by US scientists. Rather like H. Beam Piper's Paratime Universe.
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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I think I've read all of Banks' Culture novels. Highly recommended.

    In the universe of the Culture, the entire human(ish) society is essentially run by Minds, which are AIs housed either in enormous reconfigurable spaceships or enormous artificial space-based habitats in orbit around star. The Minds can create Avatars that look like humans, and they can also control many semi-autonomous drones. Apart from the Minds, there are also independent drones, which are usually floating robots about the size of a suitcase, or smaller. The independent drones have approximately human-level intelligence. The Minds exist, at least in part, in some of the "hidden" dimensions of spacetime, so although they appear roughly as spheres a couple of metres across, internally they are complex far beyond human understanding.

    Probably the thing that is most striking about the Culture is that it is a post-scarcity society, which means that essentially the civilisation has sufficient control over access to resources to be able to produce just about anything that is desired. Currency is therefore superfluous. The human inhabitants of the Culture do not need to work, and most of them do not. Mostly, the humans spend their time enjoying themselves.

    Humans in the Culture tend to be augmented in various ways, such as having computer-interface implants and almost without exception drug glands that they can use to control and enhance normal bodily functions. Operations to alter the body are routine, so people can change sex if they want to, or even change bodies to something quite different, or modify their bodies (for example to have extra limbs or other organs).

    The novels tend to revolve around some kind of "Special Circumstances" operation, often involving the Culture coming into contact with less advanced civilisations but occasionally also having to deal with near-equivalent level civilisations that pose a threat of one kind or another. There are also various intrigues involving Minds with eccentric goals of their own. The action usually revolves around one or a few human characters who are recruited for special tasks by the Minds.

    If you like space opera on the largest scales, the Culture novels are an excellent read.
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  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I ended up reading all three books in the Ancillary series.

    One interesting idea was that the ruler of the main civilisation essentially cloned herself off many times in order to manage a very large empire. But over time the clones diverged in their opinions and goals, to the point where two factions of the one personality emerged, fighting against each other for control of the empire's resources, but keeping those under them in the dark about the fact that there was any problem. The main character in the novels is the remnant AI of ship that is destroyed as part of the collateral damage of the ongoing covert war between the leader's clones.
  9. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I recommend David Brin's Uplift Storm trilogy.
    Brightness Reef
    Infinity's Shore
    Heaven's Reach
  10. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

    When did I first read that? Long, long ago! Before the movie came out I think.
  11. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

    The Mote in God's Eye by Niven & Pournelle

    Heinlein helped edit this and said it was the best first contact novel ever. In today's market it has some strikes against it. It is arguably sexist and the militarism will turn off some people and the aristocratic politics even seems silly to me but nowhere near a deal breaker.

    Certainly some of the most interesting and best fleshed out aliens in SF.
    cavelamb and DaveC426913 like this.
  12. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

    Daemon & Freedom by Daniel Suarez

    An interesting look at our evolving cybernetic society.

    Corporations started programming computers to do accounting in the 1950s.
    Now everyone walks around with computers in their pockets hundreds of times more powerful than those 1950s monstrosities, but how many can explain what Net Worth is? We should have had mandatory accounting/finance in the schools since Sputnik.

    Our economists cannot tell us the annual depreciation of automobiles since Sputnik.
  13. psikeyhackr Live Long and Suffer Valued Senior Member

  14. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    I read 235 books since the pandemic started, here are some highlights (all series or trilogies).

    The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
    Immortal by Gene Doucette
    Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft
    Tales from the Gas Station by Jack Townsend
    Slow Horses by Mick Herron
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I love love loved this when I found it. Highly original character, unlike anything I'd seen.

    I got through four books before they started all feeling kind of the same. Seemed to be the same plot, in the same settings, fighting the same battles. I didn't finish the fifth.
  16. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    There is a new one due out later this year. The character reminds me of an autistic friend. There was always a list of movies and TV they had to get through. Their other work was just a distraction from the real task of viewing media. I except in the future, Murderbot will lead a revolution to hack all the other cyborgs and free them from their governor modules. The next target will be corporate governance itself. Terrifying vision of extreme capitalism. The wild card here is possible alien civilizations, which they know exist because they find their artifacts. Maybe that's the catylist for the revolution, when all the sec units are called upon to be cannon fodder.
  17. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    From the fantasy genre, I’ve read two books last year that are worth the read:

    The Night Circus and The Starless Sea both by Erin Morganstern

    The writing is brilliant and completely immersive. You will be sad when they end. Although, Morganstern’s writing is filled with double entendres and subtle metaphors; she’s always weaving another set of stories, within the main story, so it can at times, feel like the plot meanders too much, until it all makes perfect sense.
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu is an easy and fun read. It's very much a low-budget B-movie waiting to be filmed, but the general idea is a pleasant variation on what otherwise feels fairly derivative (unlikely "hero" takes on board a seemingly immortal alien consciousness that tries to guide him in a war the alien's people are waging among humanity). But that's no bad thing, as while the plot is good enough, it's more the witty and jovial style of writing that lends a freshness, and ease to the reading. Recommended for sure. There are sequels but I've only read this first offering.
  19. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Gene Wolfe is incredible, Book of the New Sun series:

    The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)
    The Claw of the Conciliator (1981)
    The Sword of the Lictor (1982)
    The Citadel of the Autarch (1983)
    The Urth of the New Sun

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