Books: SciFi & Fantasy

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

  1. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

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    1,762
    Yo paul,
    I read the 1st gap book. The gap into conflict I believe...I enjoyed it and meant to pick up the others but I guess I never got around to it.

    I really enjoyed his thomas covenant fantasy series also.

    Has anyone read any new sci-fi out there that leans to the more realistic/near term side of things? I want to read something new and not so 'out there'.
     
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  3. paulsamuel Registered Senior Member

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    882
    reply to fadingCaptain

    I am glad you started reading Gap series, however I guess I am surprised you were able to put it down. IMHO, these books were so compelling I couldn't stop reading.

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  5. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    1,917
    For anyone interested in older SF, I would recommend Before the Golden age, Three volumes edited by Isaac Asimov. Which contains some of the best SF stories form the years 1929-1938
    and the 20 volume series, The Best SF Stories, also by Asimov, which covers the years 1939-58.

    One author I haven't seen mentioned yet is Hal Clement, (Mission of Gravity & The Nitrogen Fix )

    And what about "Doc" E.E. Smith, The 'Lensman' series?
     
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  7. cyborgrrl Registered Member

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    25
    If you've never read any Samuel Delany, you don't know what you're missing. William Gibson and Neal Gaiman are my favorite writers - but DHALGREN by Samuel Delany is the best book I've ever read.

    William Gibson writes:

    "Samuel Delany's DHALGREN is a prose-city, a labyrinth, a vast construct the reader learns to enter by any one of a multiplicity of doors. Once established in memory, it comes to have the feel of a climate, a season. It turns there, on the mind's horizon, exerting its own peculiar gravity, a tidal force urging the reader's re-entry. It is a literary singularity. It is a work of sustained conceptual daring, executed by the most remarkable prose stylist to have emerged from the culture of American science fiction."

    Delany has even been called by some to be the father of cyberpunk, although he doesn't at all claim that title for himself, not even really knowing (at least at the time that he was asked about it) what cyberpunk IS.

    Gibson's statement above is not hyperbolic - it is completely accurate. A part of my brain has been altered from reading this book - and it does stick with you like a memory of something you experienced. It could be months later, and you'll see something that makes you think of this book . . . but it doesn't feel like remembering something you read, it feels like remembering a place where you were. I am not exaggerating.

    What's more - Delany has an incredible series of essays called Silent Interviews that will blow your mind. He's even done some work with comic books/graphic novels - that combined with his deep theoretical understanding and his radical politics makes him my hero.

    By the way - nobody's even bothered to mention Philip K. Dick?
    Someone did mention Iain Banks, and he is by far one of my favorites. The Wasp Factory is a gorgeous book; completely unpredictable. He's especially brilliant because he writes these masterpiece novels, and then he also writes the "trashy" sort of sci-fi under the name Iain M. Banks (like "Look To Windward").

    Anyway, you must read Dhalgren before you die.
     
  8. Klaatu Registered Member

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    9
    From Deena in August:

    and September:

    I wish I'd been on the forum then to back her up.

    The best novel Gregory Benford ever wrote, and probably the best time travel (sort of) novel ever written was Timescape. If you have not read it, quit whatever you are doing now, find a copy and read it.

    Another candidate for the best time travel (sort of) novel was Thrice Upon a Time by James Hogan.

    The worst time travel novel is, of course, Timeline, by Michael Crichton.
     
  9. Dystran Hart Agnostic Registered Senior Member

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    39
    Some fantastic books (in no particular order)



    Guy Gavriel Kay - Tigana
    China Mieville - 'Perdido Street Station' and 'The Scar'
    Robert Mccammon - Swan Song
    Mathew Woodring Stover - Hero's Die
    Neil Gaiman - American Gods
    Clive Barker - Imajica and Weaveworld
    Philip Pullman - His dark materials triolgy
    Robert Zelazny - Great book of amber (read the first 5 at least!)
    Michael Marshall Smith - only forward and Spares
     
  10. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

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    I saw on scifi.com that they're in the early early stages of making a "The Golden Compass" Movie. Should be pretty sweet...
     
  11. ChildOfTheMind So dark the con of man Registered Senior Member

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    337
    Well, then I guess that I am helping sciforums.com by buying every single one of those books

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  12. Dystran Hart Agnostic Registered Senior Member

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    Fantastic! going to go and check it out!
     
  13. Krassos Registered Senior Member

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    Authors whom I've enjoyed:
    Robert Heinlein
    Robert Jordan
    Frank Herbert
    JRR Tolkien
    JK Rowlings
    John Christopher
    James Clavell
    Margret Weiss and Tracy Hickman(Dragonlance Chronicles)
    Brain Herbert
    Richard Adams
    Douglas Adams
    Glen Cook

    And probably some more that've slipped my mind
     
  14. Dana D It's all about balance Registered Senior Member

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    paulsamuel - Just finished Gap into Conflict. It was enjoyable. The characters were pretty twisted, though.

    Oh, speaking of a little off... I forgot to mention the Gateway series by Frederick Pohl. That's an interesting story.

    fadingCaptain - for "new" sf try Neil Stephenson - he pretty much rocks! Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Cryptonomicon (last is not really sf, but excellent).
     
  15. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    I was disappointed having bought the book. Wish I could have waited till it showed up at the library. Oh...well...win some lose some...
     
  16. barsoom Registered Member

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    I love them! I don't even mind the three non-Smith follow ups, although I find them too cerebral for the all-out enjoyment of the original series.

    I'm glad I'm not alone. I've harboured this guilty secret for so long... I must confess... I didn't even finish "Timeline". I found it too boring (and I finish almost everything... on principal if for no other reason).

    I read "Five Patients" when it first came out and "Andromeda Strain" was a worthy first novel. Then I loved "The Terminal Man". I thought I'd found a writer that would never disappoint me. Then came "Sphere" and eventually "Timeline". Oh well... you always seem to find some bad ones.

    Hey here comes a new thread...

    barsoom
     
  17. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Wow, First time here and already Im posting like crazy. Lets see.......


    S R Delaney is good, but sometimes difficult. Anyone, for example, read and enjoyed 'Triton"? One of my friends who is a Delaney fan couldnt finish it because the central character is a moaning minny.
    Ive recently read "Stars in my pocket like grains of sand" and enjoyed it immensly, except I understand he hasnt written the second in the series!!!!!!!!!! ARghhhh.

    As for Banks, Im getting a bit tired of him, since his culture novels are rather samey, you know, they have too much
    ( And this word has to the best of my knowledge been invented by me, I leave it here for peopel to use, but remember who made it up.)
    Omnipotech, which makes life rather dull and boring, because they can do anything. All the interesting stuff happens at the edge of the culture, the interface between it and lower tech more desperate cultures, and hes virtually mined that out in my opinion. When look to windward has things liek the lava rafting, banks is being clever but not ultimately anything more. (except entertaining, in a rather familiar fashion)

    Benfords good, I have the first two in that series, which is ocean of night and sea of suns, but there is a third isnt there? I find it an extremely depressing series.

    Then E E Smith, his writing is well, entertaining. His books other than lensmen ones are sort of OK, such as teh Skylark series and "Spacehounds of ICP and so on, but they shorter. But in essence they are all the same, mindless entertainment.

    As for teh gap series, lets see, maybe I was having an off day, but I found the first one a little boring. Donaldson seems slow in building up to things, but I dont find myself enjoying the tension and character building very much.

    Talking of characters, Alastari reynolds "Revelation space" has rubbish ones. One of my friends threw teh book across the room half way into it because he didnt like any of them and htought Mr Reynolds did them really badly. Which I agree with, I didnt start atually getting on with any of them until the last few pages, then when it was all over I thought oh well, that was barely worth it. And now hes done a wheen more?? Hey, I can write just as well as him, but I dont see anyone approaching me to publish anything. (thatll be because I havnt had anything published then....) Wake up people, and see beyond the nice gadgetry and knowledgable use of physics.


    Then what about Greg Egan? I loved "Distress", got kind of bored with Terranesia, and thought Quarantine was ok, but was fed up with him using quantum wibble as the explanation. Its like reversing the whatsernames on star trek.

    I sympathise with FAdingCaptain, in my opinion theres too much far out wibbly Omnipotech (see above) getting in the way of realistic exploration of hte next 30 years. Rememebr the golden age! Remember Heinlein and Clarke and others stuff, all set 10, 20 years ago, with rockets and space stations and stuff. It seems that getting across how a cell works is a bit more complex and more boring than how a rocket works, and seeing as biotech is beggining to show promise, someone will have to write mroe on that.


    "Herbert is a scifi~writing god. It was taking me awhile to finish Heretics of Dune, I didn't have much time, and my friend got pissed off at me for not being quick enough about it so he took it back"

    Quick, Pollux V, get it back off him now. Did you enjoy God Emperor?
    (*SPOILER ALERT*)
    I like the way that killing off half the main characters by the end is actually the whole point of the book, I mean where else does that happen?
    Finish Heretics first, it finishes great. then get onto Chapterhous Dune, in one way its more of the same, yet is gripping and flavoursome in a distinct fashion, like all the previous novels.
     
  18. barsoom Registered Member

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    20
    How about...

    Dean Koontz

    I like the fact that his books (by that I mean books originally published under his name), fool you by postulating a supernatural cause for the events in the book and by the end of the book, he has given you a rational, science based answer for the weird stuff.

    A couple of good one to try first are;

    Midnight - It's not a werewolf story... really!

    Lightning - A SF fan will pick up quickly on the kind of story this is, however there's still a surprise you probably won't see coming.

    Watchers - A love story with a twist. Genetic enhancement anyone?

    Anyone who has stayed away from Koontz because of the "Horror" image should gave him a try.

    barsoom
     
  19. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

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    6,495
    I'm actually re-reading Dune right now. It is thoroughly enjoyable, however if I hadn't seen the miniseries I bet I'd be more confused than a Tlielaxu at a midget's convention.
     
  20. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    4,089
    What do you mean confused? Dune itself is fairly self explanatory, I understood it well enough first time ruiond, but it took a second and third reading to make full sense and get the hang of the nuances in it.
     
  21. contrarian Registered Senior Member

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    110
    My favourite continuing series are

    Fantasy: The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay edges out LOTR

    Sci-Fi: The Deathstalker series by Simon R. Green is a real fast paced, breezy, fun read, like Star Wars meets the X-Men.

    For sheer world building you have to doff your hat to the Dune series.(Although I do think the last two books are somewhat hard to read)
     
  22. Teg Unknown Citizen Registered Senior Member

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    There are an number of factors that could have inhibited your judgment in these matters. I can imagine that perhaps you were probably turned off by the completely distinct story arc, only one character from the previous books, and certain events concerning the titular planet. But all of these are great twists.
     
  23. Dana D It's all about balance Registered Senior Member

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    Concur, barsoom, Lightning was very good. I'll have to try the other two.

    Is that the same "Watchers" as the movie Keanu was in a year or so ago?

    I'm reading what there is of the Otherworld series. It's not really doing it for me. I'm just slogging through.
     

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