Ah see I like the hi-tech side of it more than nearly anything else. Other stuff I have tried I have found a bit frustratingly unimaginative in the tech area! I should probably give some more stuff a try though
I second Ken Macleod. As his books have, in my opinion, been getting better in recent years, there is some consolation for the loss of Banks so young (exactly the same age as me, i.e. young!). The earlier Macleod novels are worthwhile but feel as if they were written by someone who spent his spare time standing on street corners selling Socialist Worker.
Amongst earlier writers some obvious suggestions not mentioned so far are:
- Cities in Flight series by James Blish
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Last and First Men + Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon
In reply to NaCl:
Have you read the Night's Dawn Trilogy? I was really disappointed with it. It started off really well but seemed to lose focus and end up very unsatisfying. It almost put me off trying the Void books but someone recommended I gave him another go.
Another Vote for Alister Reynolds especially his Revalation Space series. I just finished them and they are a fantastically epic and imaginitive space opera with so much depth.
I also loved Dan Simmons Hyperion and Endymion Series. The 1st book can be a bit slow as it sets the scene, but it is worth it as the rest is great and an addictive page turner.
Dune is a classic that is a must read for any Sci Fi fan but it is less tech orientated appproach to sci fi.
The old stuff like Assimov and Arthur C Clarke are great as well in an interesting way as I find it fascinating how the sci fi authors of the past view the possibilities for future technology and things like the internet and mobile phones arent even dreamt of
Perhaps you're right with TC&tC, though there is at least a distinct futurism about it. I'd have to argue that Vurt is blatantly Sci-Fi, copious references to future-tech, I'd say it's almost verging on Cyberpunk.
'Light - M. John Harrison' or 'Accelerando - Charles Stross'.
Another shout for Alasteir Reynolds. As Climbingpixie said, Century Rain is good but not really typical of his writing. Most is worth reading (though maybe ignore Blue Remembered Earth which is a bit of a let down).
Bob Shaw's "Orbitsville" books are good and have a fairly substantial tech content. Personally love the best Philip K Dick, but he is wildly variable and not really tech focussed - The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Ubik are essential reading though.
The death World Series. ( Harry Harrison)
The gap series can't remember who by but rather good.
The saga of the seven suns by Kevin j Anderson. I'll warn you the first book is hard work for the first half but so worth it.
> Alastair Reynolds on the other hand sounds spot on!
For an Iain M Banks fan, definitely.
I would disagree with climbingpixie though - you're probably going to end up reading all of it, so you may as well start with Revelation Space. (Which is excellent, and the first of a series of loosely connected novels set in the same universe.)
I'd also second (third?) Ken Macleod, starting with The Star Fraction. More overtly political than Banks, but he has some very interesting ideas.
Peter F Hamilton's two Commonwealth books are good - they preceded the Void trilogy (by some centuries). Fallen Dragon is a stand alone story which I think may be his best work.
I don't think his Void series is a patch on the Night's Dawn. Night's Dawn at least had loads of interesting imaginative things all the way up to the end. The Void series is (being unkind) a below-par fantasy story interleaved with a boring by-the-numbers futuristic action adventure, all with an equally deus-ex-machina ending. I read it to the end, hoping that something interesting would turn up, but I don't think I'll read another Hamilton series again.
On the good side:
Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief. High tech, great concepts, loads of action.
Neal Stephenson. I've read Snow Crash and The Diamond Age. Good stuff.
I'll echo Dan Simmons' Hyperion and Endymion series - they're simply fantastic; Illium is also good. They're not Hard Science Fiction, though.
I loved the Night's Dawn Trilogy, or at least the start of it. The first book, The Reality Dysfunction, blew me and all my mates away when we were in our late teens, just sad the series seemed to run out of steam. I'd second the SF Masterworks - I've bought quite a few with no research and enjoyed them all, with the exception of Cities in Flight which was just too techy for me. The Frederick Pohl Gateway stuff was excellent too brilliant premise.
Not yet mentioned - the Forever War, Joe Haldeman.
Coincidentally just started Asimov's Foundation and for the first time in ages have that great "This is going to be a REALLY good book" feeling.
In reply to Mike Peacock: I read the whole Seven Suns series and enjoyed the plot but you're right, the writing is pretty terrible. It felt like the sci fi equivalent to a McDonalds - you enjoy it at the time but it makes you feel a bit dirty afterwards and you wouldn't want anyone to see you with it.
I'll give you that the Reality Dysfunction was excellent, I got really excited when I read it. But the series just seemed to fizzle out and get a bit weird and it definitely didn't live up to its earlier promise.
I found those Gene Wolfe books incredibly draining when I read them. Should have ticked all the boxes, but (and I don't know if this was just his writing style) they were just really dreary. Along with Thomas Covenant, the turgid (too strong?) prose meant I've never read them again since I was 18.
> I found those Gene Wolfe books incredibly draining when I read them. Should have ticked all the boxes, but (and I don't know if this was just his writing style) they were just really dreary. Along with Thomas Covenant, the turgid (too strong?) prose meant I've never read them again since I was 18.
Hm. I'm in the same boat. I read all those Wolfe and Donaldson books when I was about that age too. I don't remember a great deal about them, but I do know I wouldn't be at all interested in reading them all again.
(I've read most of the Iain Banks, Ken MacLeod and Alastair Reynolds books twice and may well read them all again some day.)
Thank you I couldn't remember if he (Donaldson) was the author. I agree with others found the Thomas C books rather dreary but the gap series were great, what a difference. I am invested with authority on this matter. The cyborg enhancements were rather good too.
> (In reply to Cheese Monkey)
> Neal Asher "Gridlinked" and follow up novels
Beat me to it. I don't think these are quite as good as the Culture series but they are certainly comparable. Similar tech, though the Polity AIs lack the wit and flair of the Culture Minds and I also think Neal Asher struggles a bit with the multiple plot-line style that Ian M used to such great effect.
I still can't believe there will never be another Culture novel
Have we mentioned Neal Stephenson yet? Not all are sci fi, but Anathem, the Diamond Age and Snow Crash are worth a read. Not to say that the Baroque Cycle or Reamde aren't worth reading, but not what you'd call sci fi. Cryptonomicon is a wee bit dated now, but worth a look nontheless
> I don't think his Void series is a patch on the Night's Dawn. Night's Dawn at least had loads of interesting imaginative things all the way up to the end. The Void series is (being unkind) a below-par fantasy story interleaved with a boring by-the-numbers futuristic action adventure, all with an equally deus-ex-machina ending. I read it to the end, hoping that something interesting would turn up, but I don't think I'll read another Hamilton series again.
+1 to this, I don't understand why so many people seem to like it!
If others had problems reading seven suns how on earth have you managed to get through Dune or any other book in that series.
Pulp sci fi is the way forward. Fine yourself the lens man series by E.E. Doc. Smith or Ringworld.
I've struggled to find much modern sci fi authors I enjoy. Interestingly Raymond E. Feist at a book signing said he'd had a sci fi concept book he wanted to write for years but his publishers kept telling him that sci fi didn't sell.
In reply to Cheese Monkey:
Julian May, Many coloured Land books will keep you going for a while. Unusual in that they kept getting better as they went on.
All of William Gibson's stuff is brilliant....