Sci-Fi & Fantasy Recommendations...?

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Matthew Graybosch
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Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:47 pm Post

antony wrote:(And if we're getting into non-trad fantasy territory, Gaiman's SANDMAN comic series - which is where he first made his name - is excellent, and well worth reading.)


I agree, and recommend American Gods as well.

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Sat Jan 26, 2008 9:15 pm Post

Since the thread split up I've lost track, but I can' t say too many good things about Alfred Bester.

The Stars My Destination and The Demolished Man are absolute classics of speculative fiction. I've coerced snobs into reading them, and they wandered away with their minds blown.

Keith, or anyone, don't feel badly about not keeping up with science fiction lately. I'm not that impressed with it... and when I talk to people who are, I find they are not familiar with some of my favorite writers. Gibson is still great, and so forth, but it's ripe for some reinventing of its own.
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mary
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Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:11 am Post

Wow! it's interesting how different peoples' opinions can be, even when they like what others would describe as "the same thing"!

I would say that I like fantasy and SF - and am working on an SF novel that may end up becoming straight fantasy - but I also like stories about *people*, and not massive landscapes, machinery and battles. That's why I like "Trek" (especially DS9; I'm a passionate niner) and "The Lord of the Rings". LOTR is ultimately about the human soul, and so is DS9 at its best. And, as Le Guin says, aliens can be a way to examine human societies more closely - I absolutely love her, too. Her "Annals of the Western Shore" is well worth a look, though it's fantasy rather than SF. If you are open to fantasy for kids, I'd also highly recommend Hilari Bell's "Farsala" trilogy and anything at all by Megan Whalen Turner - she has a wonderful trilogy out beginning with "The Thief". Both my sister and I were also tremendously impressed with Hovig's "The Dream Merchant". It's beautifully plotted and quite unique.

Pullman is a wonderful stylist, but, in the end, his trilogy left me cold. I just couldn't care all that much about any of his characters, and I found him too polemical and heavy-handed. But he is worth reading one.

I will third (fourth? fifth? I've lost count) all the recs for "A Canticle for Liebowitz" A brilliant book, and very funny if you're in the mood for dark humor. The best SF I've come across recently is, again, a teen novel; it's "The House of the Scorpion" by Nancy Farmer. Dark, scary, fast-moving and very human - it reads like something that could be happening right now.

That's it for now! Nice to meet you all.

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matt
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Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:27 am Post

mary wrote:I will third (fourth? fifth? I've lost count) all the recs for "A Canticle for Liebowitz" A brilliant book, and very funny if you're in the mood for dark humor.


I'm still trying to track down a copy of this after all the recommendations.

Matt

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Wock
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Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:54 pm Post

I think on Fantasy novel no one has mentioned yet that needs mentioning is...




The Karma Sutra


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Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:22 pm Post

Wock wrote:I think on Fantasy novel no one has mentioned yet that needs mentioning is...

The Karma Sutra

Thank you for keeping this to sex. I was afraid you were going to mention my checkbook.
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Studio717
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Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:51 pm Post

FYI: Neil Gaiman's American Gods is up for free online reading and is reachable through his website. I think it's only up for a month. (It's actually on the HarperCollins site, but there's a link on his website.)

Here's his website:

http://www.neilgaiman.com/

And here's the HC direct link (if it works):

American Gods

:D

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Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:31 pm Post

I like the books of Jenny-Mai Nuyen very much - the three books of her published yet are all fantasy, but it's not that typical.
I read, for example, "Nijura" and was often surprised - when you read it as a fantasy-fan, you often think "yeah, sure, now that happens" - and it will happen completely different. Nuyen said that she thought of a typical fantasy story going totally wrong, but it's not a parody or comedy, it's a good story.
Dunno if they are available in English, though, she's a german authoress.

To get to Sci-Fi:
I read Eric Nylund as I had some "yay Halo"-phasis and was quite surprised how good they turned out. Anyway, Michael Marshall Smith is quite interesting. Just thought of him cause he's quoted at the Scrivener Main Site :D
I have to browse the public library, I rarely buy Sci-Fi books... I'm more into fantasy.

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Slothapotamus
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Sat Apr 12, 2008 1:41 am Post

I don't think anybody has mentioned Philip K Dick yet. Brilliantly prescient sci-fi author and all his books are pretty short too. Most people recommend starting off with the Hugo Award winner "The Man In The High Castle". This is probably one of PKD's most widely read books, but hardcore fans (like myself) don't necessarily believe it's his best. My personal favourite is "Time Out of Joint" (one of his lesser known works) which deals with PKD's favourite themes of identity and the nature of reality. He was a master at describing ordinary characters in a twisted world. My other favourites are; "A Scanner Darkly", "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch", "Martian Time-Slip" and his latter short stories.

I'd leave his harder works like "VALIS" until you've read some of the more common books. Dick had a breakdown in 1974 and most of the stuff he wrote after this time was pretty nuts. His ideas on religion, identity and reality become more frenzied and confused but a lot of fun to read if you're into that kind of thing.

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Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:03 am Post

Slothapotamus wrote:I don't think anybody has mentioned Philip K Dick yet. Brilliantly prescient sci-fi author and all his books are pretty short too. Most people recommend starting off with the Hugo Award winner "The Man In The High Castle". This is probably one of PKD's most widely read books, but hardcore fans (like myself) don't necessarily believe it's his best. My personal favourite is "Time Out of Joint" (one of his lesser known works) which deals with PKD's favourite themes of identity and the nature of reality. He was a master at describing ordinary characters in a twisted world. My other favourites are; "A Scanner Darkly", "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch", "Martian Time-Slip" and his latter short stories.

I'd leave his harder works like "VALIS" until you've read some of the more common books. Dick had a breakdown in 1974 and most of the stuff he wrote after this time was pretty nuts. His ideas on religion, identity and reality become more frenzied and confused but a lot of fun to read if you're into that kind of thing.


Actually, Dick did come up before, and I have actually bought Man in the High Castle as a result, although I have not read it yet (started to, then got distracted with some other books for a while and haven't gone back to it yet).

But thanks for the additional info, and other books. If I like his style, I will certainly consult the ones you have mentioned next.

Matt

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Wed May 14, 2008 9:03 pm Post

William Gibson, Kim Stanley Robinson, Anne McCaffrey, Orson Scott Card, and Neal Stephenson, because the Barouque Cycle rocks!
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Thu May 15, 2008 1:12 pm Post

As a new member of the forum (proud new owner of a Scrivener license), I have only just now gotten to reading this thread.

I was weaned on science fiction as a young reader... I loved the tall tales of E.E. "Doc" Smith and Edgar Rice Burroughs. As I became a bit more sophisticated in my reading (just a bit), I graduated to Isaac Asimov and Cliffard Simak, among others. Then I lost my interest in science fiction for some time. In the past few years, however, I've rediscovered the genre and have enjoyed several authors who I have not seen mentioned on this thread:

Dan Simmons. I greatly enjoyed his book Hyperion and its sequel The Fall of Hyperion. The universe he creates is full of wonder. There are two follow up books, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion... while these are entertaining, they do not rise to the level of the first two books. Also by Simmons worth taking a look at are Ilium and Olympus... All of these books have many literary references enlaced in the stories.

Verner Vinge's novel A Fire in the Deep fascinated me with its intertwined story that alternates between a galactic-wide battle between good and evil, and an intimate adventure story set in a medieval society of canines.

Robert Charles Wilson writes about ordinary human beings dealing with extraordinary phenomena... especially time distortions. His novel Spin is a great read.

I would also second the recommendations for Richard Morgan's novel Altered Carbon and its sequel Woken Furies.

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matt
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Fri May 16, 2008 12:24 am Post

I was going to say "welcome to the forums", but then I saw you are a 19 post veteran, so that is no longer required.

Instead I will say: thanks for the tip.

Altered Carbon is already sitting in my to-read pile. But I haven't managed to track down Clifford Simak's City anywhere.

Matt

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matt
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Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:09 am Post

KB wrote:Yep, the film The Golden Compass was... bleh. Pointless...


I actually saw the film for this the other day. Have had the books sitting in my to-read pile for several months without them getting any closer to the top (the ones I borrowed were huge heavy hardcovers and just not suited to reading on the train). The original owner has since claimed them back, but I will get them back when my pile dwindles.

Anyway, I didn't think the movie was too bad. I usually dislike any kiddie-oriented movies, but found this one to be quite watchable. There were things I found annoying about it (yes, including the continual mention of "golden compass" in case we had forgotten) and perhaps it would have been easier to follow had I read the book, but it was actually quite good.

So I will probably get to the books sooner now, as from what you have said, they seem to make up for what I found most lacking in the movie. No doubt my view of the movie will decrease as I read the book it came from.

Matt

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Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:15 pm Post

I do recommend almost everything form Iain Banks. I've never, ever read so many...well, twisted novels in my lifetime. His Non-Scifi-Books are even spookier - The Wasp Factory is ... completely insane, but the story in itself is strictly logical. Excession is probably his funniest. Consider sentences like this: "It (the warship) looks like a dildo" - "Thats appropriate. Armed, it can fuck solar systems."

Peter Hamilton's Armageddon series is someting to consider as well - it is a bit bloated, but a good read.

Ken Macleod (or so), David Weber (as mentioned before, pretty militaristic and a tad too simple, still good fun), David Brin, William Gibson...the list could get pretty long.

Oh, yeah, I forgot one of my favourite authors: C.J. Cherryh, especially the earlier books. She is very helpfull as well...
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