/ Big Sci Fi Novels
So UKC hit me with some recommendations please. Specific novels and why would be especially appreciated.
The 'Flood' series by Baxter.
And more sex too.
What do you mean by space opera? Where you get to see the bigger picture? I know Banks but not the others you mention.
Have you tried the old classic stuff like Asimov's robot and empire series - together they tend to get called the Foundation series and inhabit the same 'universe' and deal with big ideas?
Dune I suppose has got to be a contender. The books are so much more than the film if you happened to see that.
For rather harder sci fi I loved the Mote in Gods Eye by Niven and Pournelle (they collaborated a few times). I think this would have stood the test of time well in terms of writing style and am tempted to pick it up again as I write this.
Loved the Mote in Gods eye and re-read it, as a comms engineer I found the tech spot on in description for the time.
The Lost fleet series by Jack Campbell. I'm too busy too dare buying the next book they're that good.
lensman - e e doc smith
> For rather harder sci fi I loved the Mote in Gods Eye by Niven and Pournelle (they collaborated a few times). I think this would have stood the test of time well in terms of writing style and am tempted to pick it up again as I write this.
Yep it's a very very long time ago but I do remember enjoying that - and also Niven's Ringworld.
> lensman - e e doc smith
A great series.
I'd recommend Stephen Donaldson's 'Gap' series. Quite dark but based (apparently) on Wagner's Ring cycle - you don't get much more 'Opera' than that :-)
I tried SOOOOO hard to get rid of my inner geek.
Here it is, reflected in a horrible mirror.
Every shite book I've ever read and thought was brilliant.
I've read the russians too you know!!
(sorry, self rant over)
Like my t-shirt says "geek /= criminal".
I enjoyed Greg Bear's Eon series (I think they are referred to as "The Way"). Smooth and easy to read with a few interesting points along the way.
For something a bit different try Altered carbon more a scifi thriller.
Yes I liked the 1st one a lot. Struggled to get into the 2nd.
this thread is getting bookmarked for payday book splurging!
Stanislav Lem - Solaris. Super classic bit of psychological space opera, juxtaposing very human-scale emotions with the unknowability of a genuinely alien intelligence.
It's one of those books that I can imagine action sci-fi fans finding unbelievably boring but if you like slow burning philosophical stuff then it's brilliant.
Ooh, ooh - how could I forget, almost the ultimate space opera series was/is Perry Rhodan. As a youngster I got quite hooked on this for a while. I think it was written by German authors (a number of them) about a US astronaut (Perry) who discovers aliens and their technology (on the moon of course) becomes effectively immortal and forces the world to unite (which struck a popular note during the cold war of course) and eventually the universe. Kind of. It was real pulp fiction wiht hundreds of books. As you can tell, it's rubbish but was quite compelling to those growing up in the 60's and 70's.
Dan Simmons - Hyperion and Endeymion. Massive scale about the books, I was a bit gobsmacked by them to be honest and I love big, huge stories. There Reynolds, Herbert, NIven, Anderson etc on my shelves but this story is something else.
- Fall Revolution series by Ken MacLeod.
- Paradox, Context, Resolution (and the related To Hold Infinity) by John Meaney.
- Various novels in the Polity universe by Neal Asher; I especially liked The Skinner. Other early books in the series are interesting (Gridlinked) but later ones not so much.
Might think of a few others later, but that's a good start!
> Yes I liked the 1st one a lot. Struggled to get into the 2nd.
Yep I did too but the series does improve again after that, and altered carbon is a brilliant concept! :-)
- Charles Stross! 'Accelerando' and 'Glass House' tend towards the more serious side, and 'Singularity Sky' on the more lighthearted side. Its sequel, 'Iron Sunrise' isn't nearly so good. He's done a load of good short stories too, if you like that sort of thing.
- Adam Roberts. Bit more marmite this one... his stuff's a bit more weird and wild. I liked 'Stone' and 'On', but didn't get on with 'Gradisil' at all.
- L E Modesitt Jr. 'Ethos Effect'. He's done a few other scifi things but I've read none of them.
- David Brin. The 'Uplift' series is a bit of a monster... 6 big fat books.
In a more old-school vein, Ursula le Guin has done a bit of scifi which I'm only very vaguely familiar with, but it might be worth a closer look.
And on a discouraging note: I used to be a fan of Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn series, but upon rereading I found a lot of it rather dull and wished for the rapid demise of several major characters. He badly needed a better editor. His other stuff is quite similar and I gave up on it quickly. Ken Macleod's stuff that isn't the Fall Revolution isn't nearly as good that series. Richard Morgan's non-Kovacs books read like rehashes of his older work in a slightly different universe.
Broadening slightly from the space opera theme, but staying with space I enjoyed the following series:
Arthur C Clarke's Rama sries (5 books)
Kim Stanley Robinson Red, Green, Blue Mars
Orson Scott Card's Ender series (although they fall down a bit towards the end, the first few are very good)
I'm amazed they haven't made a film about Rama yet, it would tick all of the blockbuster boxes!
As others have said Charles Stross, Stephen Baxter, Larry Niven (with or without Jerry Pournelle), maybe Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, Allen Steele.
A great way of discovering new SF authors is to buy "The Mammoth book of best new SF xx" where xx is currently 25 in the UK, (29 in the US, I think), edited by Gardner Dozois. Great annual collections of short stories by authors you have and haven't heard of.
> Dan Simmons - Hyperion and Endeymion.
+1 x 10^6
And, not SF, but very good by Dan Simmons - The Terror
Another vote for Neal Asher - tremendous fun, space opera big-stylee.
Greg bear: eon, eternity and legacy,although legacy is actually shit, you don't need to read it, it's just a tagged on, money spinning prequal. Eon and eternity are F*CKING EPIC! Our post apocalyptic descendants colonise an asteroid starship, get bored with the journey to the nearest star so decide to use their inertial damping technology in their starship to stress space-time in just such a way so as to create a cylindrical artificial universe extending from the end if their asteroid that intersects all points in space time... With hilarious consequences!!!
Seriously though, the vision is astounding.
Slightly less cerebral but equally as epic, Greg Beat, Forge of God and the sequel Anvil of Stars. Also very very readable.
Much better than Peter f Hamilton, who is good, but very one-dimensional.
> Dan Simmons - Hyperion and Endeymion.
+1. Also by the same author Ilium and Olympos. However the four Hyperion books are better, though think of them as one continuous story - they don't stand alone well.
Another recommendation for Peter F Hamilton, but try the commonwealth saga rather than night's dawn (i.e. "Pandora's Star", "Judas Unchained" and the continuation-in-the-same-universe Void Trilogy). Thats five three-inch thick books for starters.
Trouble I found about nights dawn is that the lead character (Calvert) is incredibly irritating, and you just want to slap the smug, arrogant git. Like commented above, I spent a very large portion of the time I spent reading them wishing for him to suffer an untimely death like he soundly deserved.
The commonwealth saga has much more wholly pleasant characters.
Left Hand of Darkness is brilliant if you like that sort of thing. Although now I think about it, I'd be hard pressed to say what "that sort of thing" is...
Less anarchist, more mostly androgynous. I think the main idea is the sense of culture shock and the difficulty of communicating with people who are used to a totally different set of social and cultural conventions, though.
I think you're right about the "K", though.
Another vote for Charles Stross
Also the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold - Really excellent, start with 'Shards of Honour'
I've just started the Dune Trilogy. I've avoided it in the past as it looked long, scary and political. But I'm hooked!! So well written - give it a go.
+1 (only 4 though!)
Not an action series but a deeply developed alternate world, slow but pulls you under like a great tidal current.
Hpyerion et al - Dan Simmonds
Rama from Athur C Clarke
Pete F Hamilton
Dune trilogy (get progressibley worse, gave up after 4? or so)
Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan
Foundation Series - Asimov
Amazing! and then out of the blue - Helliconia. I must have read this series 4 times my the time I left school.
Happy days. Looking forward to my commute home for my latest Peter F Hamilton book - North Road. Only just started but it seems more gritty and not very space opera so far, based in Newcastle in the 2100s !!
Not sure if these are what you're looking for but as I rate and enjoyed the ones that you mentioned, I'll toss them into the pile...
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell - Jesuits travel to another planet 'so they might better know God's other children'. Brilliantly structured, a real page turner, full of well realised and complex characters, it deals with religion and cultural misconceptions in a profound way, a stunning book that won loads of awards.
Neal Stephenson's books...
Snow Crash is pure cyberpunk fun. Diamond Age is more thoughtful, Anathem is long, meaty and you need to stick with it for about 150 pages until you can get your head around what he's doing, but after that - wowser. A unique mix of action, huge stakes and long philosophical discussions. Plus some very weird stuff at the end. Very entertaining book by a very clever guy.
China Mieville - Embassytown - Definitely at the cereberal/high concept end of the market. If you can follow all of this on first reading you're a better man than I, but he's (for my money) the best genre writer around. It's about language and linguistic concepts - Speilberg will not be filming this!. Some of his books are more enjoyable than others but I can't imagine anyone else even attempting a lot of what he does.
Embassytown's pretty clearly sci-fi, albeit in the Ursula Le Guin mold rather than space opera, but generally, yes, he's not sci-fi.
I must have a go at the Gene Wolfe book at some point - I've heard a few people recommend it.
Speaking of which, on the recommendation of someone above, I am now well into the first of the Lost Fleet series. Pretty good if linear dialogue (real and internal) based storytelling is your thing. Seems a litte old fashioned to me but it drags you along nicely.
The Books of the New Sun: the first 'The Shadow of the Torturer' is probably my all time favourite sci-fantasy novel. I think reading it has had an ever lasting impact on my dreams.
There was something about those books, I really enjoyed them or rather found myself totally immersed.
I'll say again, The lost fleet, fairly simple stuff but gripping reading.
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