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General Discussion => Books 'n Readin' => Topic started by: msmpls on April 16, 2007, 11:13:18 AM

Title: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: msmpls on April 16, 2007, 11:13:18 AM
For years I was a snob and only read books by one author: Joyce Carol Oates. Then I got my school on for a bit and didn't read anything but textbooks. Now I've gotten back into my old bibliophilic ways and I need some recommendations for good science fiction/fantasy books.

Here's what I know I like:
Oates - Gritty and real. She cuts to the heart of human emotion and experience. Extremely prolific novelist whose characters are usually outsiders with no desire to run with the "in-crowd". Lots of violence, death and misery...a great read all around.
Card - Ender's Game. Fast paced and compelling with characters that were easy to relate to. Not terribly much jargon (I sometimes get confused with cyberpunk books because the tech terminology goes over my head. What can I say? I'm pretty old fashioned). I liked the dystopian setting..anything ripe with politcal overtones is groovy.
Heinlein - pretty much the same reasons I like Card. I dig the "hard" science fiction aspect of his work. (As a nursing major for two years I totally appreciate the scientific approach. I also liked how his work centers heavily on social themes.

Here's what I would prefer to avoid:
Series (at least lengthy series, trilogies are cool) - I like everything in a neat little package. One book is fine, thank you. I don't need to read fifty of them with the same characters.
Typical "hero saves the damsel in distress" - it's sexist and boring and I don't have time for that shit.

Well that's pretty much it. I'm totally open to all suggestions (except what's listed above) but if possible recommend books that are easily available in paperback at my local sci-fi bookstore (rather than newly released material).

Thanks in advance!!!
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: mrbasehart on April 16, 2007, 01:30:39 PM
Richard K Morgan does a nice line in crossing Noir with Sci-Fi, though his first book, Altered Carbon, is by far his best.  John Meaney's To Hold Infinity is pretty cool, too.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: MarkAndrew on April 16, 2007, 01:37:36 PM

Here's what I would prefer to avoid:
Series (at least lengthy series, trilogies are cool) - I like everything in a neat little package. One book is fine, thank you. I don't need to read fifty of them with the same characters.
Typical "hero saves the damsel in distress" - it's sexist and boring and I don't have time for that shit.


Well you just disqualified a heck of a lot with those two...I guess I'd say "The Lies of Locke Lamorra" and "Mistborn" if you MUST have standalone novels.  Also take a look at Guy G. Kay.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: 6079SmithW on April 16, 2007, 01:50:08 PM
ALFRED BESTER

If you like science fiction but find the cliches annoying, he's your man- not only does he play with or avoid them, he deconstructs them marvelously while still telling great stories in a lot of his short fiction

If you like old fashioned sci-fi, you're cool, because his good stuff was all written by the 50's

If you like brevity, you're set, because the man only wrote two good books and one lump of short stories

If you like good authors, he's probably one of the top four or five ever to work in sci-fi, in terms of prose skill alone

Honestly, my father liked The Stars, My Destination and he hasn't read any science fiction in roughly thirty years. It and The Demolished Man are among the few books of the genre I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone, no matter how nerdy they weren't.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: sarcasm_made_Easy on April 16, 2007, 11:37:12 PM
bradbury
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: AmazingThor on April 17, 2007, 03:44:05 AM
If you like more hard sci-fi, Cordwainer Smith has a ton of short stories. Also Cyril M. Kornbluth.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Sharktopus on April 17, 2007, 05:19:29 AM
I recommend Neil Gaiman's American Gods to people who enjoy fiction that doesn't suck.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: msmpls on April 17, 2007, 07:25:27 AM
thanks all, keep 'em coming!
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: SmilinJackRoss on April 17, 2007, 08:52:44 AM
I liked the dystopian setting..anything ripe with politcal overtones is groovy.

Based on this statement, I would highly recommend Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

Plot summary from wikipedia:
The protagonist of Oryx and Crake is Snowman, clad only in a bed sheet and a Red Sox cap, who appears to be the last human being on Earth. He's not entirely alone, however; strange hybrid beasts such as wolvogs, pigoons and rakunks are roaming freely. As well, a group of what he calls Crakers—strange human-like creatures—lives nearby. They bring Snowman food and consult him on matters that surpass their understanding; thus, Snowman comes across as a post-apocalyptic hermit guru. As the story develops, these assorted lifeforms are revealed to be the products of genetic engineering.

I don't want to give any more away, but there's much more to the story, so check it out.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: msmpls on April 17, 2007, 09:49:08 AM
man oh man I loves me some Margie Atwood! Handmaid's Tale is one of my all time favorites.
Anyone read the sequel to Ender's Game? Speaker for the Dead?
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: AmazingThor on April 17, 2007, 10:00:01 AM
I recommend Neil Gaiman's American Gods to people who enjoy fiction that doesn't suck.
Naw, I prefer my fiction to suck. ;D
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Brak on April 17, 2007, 10:32:18 AM
I've read Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide and i liked them. For some reason i stopped in the middle of Xenocide and didnt finish it but they both are great books.  I heard that Children of the mind and the other ender books (Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hedgemon) are good as well but i havent had a chance to read them yet.  But if you like Orson Scott Cards writing then you should like the sequels, but they arent as great as Enders Game (can't beat the original)

Ive also heard that Battlefield Earth the book is good, i havent read it myself.  My uncle said that the movie didnt do the book justice at all, hence why it was made a rifftrax since it was so terrible.

If you like fantasy you could try Greg Park's book called Veil of Darkness.  I know that he has a 2nd book out now and the first book for cheap if its still available on amazon.com.  If i think of any others i'll let you know
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Sinflux on April 17, 2007, 12:46:25 PM
If you like hard sci-fi I suggest Alastair Reynolds.  Some people find him a little dull but he's my favorite writer.  Revelation Space is favorite but Chasm City has more of a plot.  All of his books are a little tied together but you don't need to read any one to understand the others.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: mrbasehart on April 17, 2007, 01:36:04 PM
If you like hard sci-fi I suggest Alastair Reynolds.  Some people find him a little dull but he's my favorite writer.  Revelation Space is favorite but Chasm City has more of a plot.  All of his books are a little tied together but you don't need to read any one to understand the others.

Chasm City is certainly my favourite of his.  The others tend to meander just a little bit, which is cool if you like to wallow in the universe, but I prefer a little more "drive" in my books.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: 6079SmithW on April 17, 2007, 01:47:43 PM
man oh man I loves me some Margie Atwood! Handmaid's Tale is one of my all time favorites.
Anyone read the sequel to Ender's Game? Speaker for the Dead?
Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind are all pretty good, or at least I thought so back when I liked Ender's Game (I tried re-reading it and the shitty prose put me off.) The other sequel series is, the Shadow books, is terrible.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Hebs on April 17, 2007, 03:57:37 PM
Mickey Spillane. 

That is, if you can handle the political incorrectness and the whole "dames is a ticket ta trouble" thing.  Very 40's.  Cool stuff.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Jinto on May 19, 2007, 09:03:59 AM
Here's what I know I like:
Heinlein - pretty much the same reasons I like Card. I dig the "hard" science fiction aspect of his work. (As a nursing major for two years I totally appreciate the scientific approach. I also liked how his work centers heavily on social themes.

Here's what I would prefer to avoid:
Series (at least lengthy series, trilogies are cool) - I like everything in a neat little package. One book is fine, thank you. I don't need to read fifty of them with the same characters.

Based on those two criteria alone, I HIGHLY recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy. The three books are titled, in order: Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_trilogy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_trilogy)

It is an amazing trilogy that covers a fairly realistic theme of the "near-future" colonization and terraforming of Mars. Also, though it is a trilogy, it does not in my opinion simply continue the story ("simply" being the keyword here) as each book covers a distinct and separate period of Mars' transformation into a habitable planet, taking it from harsh and barren (Red Mars), to supporting plant life (Green Mars), to finally having oceans (Blue Mars).

But that's putting it too simply as the series also delves into various other themes. The politics in the creation of a new human world, both for the people living there and the influence of Earth is one of those themes, and mixed with that is the influence of the original colonists and the growth of new societies, mixed with old ones coming from earth. Likewise is the theme of ecological preservation of the planet's natural state. And then there's the pure science of terraforming mars and the massive projects required to do so. Heating the planet with various schemes of CO2 increase and massive space mirrors, the introduction of genetically engineered life forms (both plant and animal) to suit the environment, the changing of the landscape by bringing in more water, and so many more little and big things throughout the trilogy. It even covers the effects of the weaker gravity of Mars in the generations of humans born there, and all sorts of other scientific goodies like space elevators.

There's so many small things mixed with the big things that it all adds up to some of the best and realistic science fiction I've ever read. Although I must note that because of the realistic science and other things that it tends to be a "dry" read. It's not a series for those who enjoy "flare" and "dashing drama" so to speak. But still... a VERY worthwhile series to read.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Sharktopus on May 20, 2007, 08:15:36 AM
Mickey Spillane. 

That is, if you can handle the political incorrectness and the whole "dames is a ticket ta trouble" thing.  Very 40's.  Cool stuff.

Well, dames is a ticket ta trouble...
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Hebs on May 20, 2007, 08:23:37 AM
Mickey Spillane. 

That is, if you can handle the political incorrectness and the whole "dames is a ticket ta trouble" thing.  Very 40's.  Cool stuff.

Well, dames is a ticket ta trouble...

When I check this board, I always look forward to seeing what you have to say, Shark :)  And if you quote me.  haha
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: Sharktopus on May 20, 2007, 08:32:44 AM
Mickey Spillane. 

That is, if you can handle the political incorrectness and the whole "dames is a ticket ta trouble" thing.  Very 40's.  Cool stuff.

Well, dames is a ticket ta trouble...

When I check this board, I always look forward to seeing what you have to say, Shark :)  And if you quote me.  haha

Well, shucks. I've taken it upon myself to keep this forum as cheezy as possible. The Shat over there inspires me.
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: bluefalcon74 on May 24, 2007, 10:18:40 AM
The only two books I couldn't put down were Starship Troopers (Heinlein) and Shogun (Clavell)
Title: Re: Gimme your recommendations!
Post by: SharpMonkey on June 23, 2007, 12:22:53 PM
The Skinner by Neal Asher
Gridlinked by Neal Asher

Two great novels to start of with by a talented new author.  Asher has 7 books set in the same universe, so there's more to read if you enjoy the first.  Check amazon if you have troubles finding these; they're not all that well known outside of scifi specialty shops in my area.