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Author Topic: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre  (Read 4204 times)

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Offline Jinto

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Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« on: February 09, 2007, 10:25:53 PM »
This thread is for you to list your choice of the number one, absolute best Science Fiction novel or series that you've ever read. No honorable mentions, no "this author has also written...", and no ties for first. If necessary, pretend you're going to be stranded in space by your evil mad-scientist boss(es) and you only get to grab one book (or series) to take with you. So think hard, and choose wisely. Oh, and try to say a little something about it, too.

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My own choice for number one would be Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy (1.Red Mars, 2.Green Mars, and 3.Blue Mars). This premise of this series is the terraforming and colonization of Mars and is set in the relatively near future. It is brilliantly written, and covers many topics, including the technological, psychological, sociological, and political ramifications associated with such an endeavor. Every aspect is covered in a realistic and believable manner and while it was a bit slow (not of a "swashbuckling action/adventure style" or anything), it was very well written and thought out. I highly recommend it.


Offline sarcasm_made_Easy

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2007, 01:44:39 PM »
2nd douglas adams.


Offline Brak

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2007, 01:52:22 PM »
3rd! (and i didnt think the movie was half bad, although it could have been done a lot better)


Offline sarcasm_made_Easy

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2007, 01:59:06 PM »
im not sure i really have any complaints about the movie.


Offline Brak

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2007, 02:07:37 PM »
yeah i dont know, i just wansnt completly satisfied with it. But i guess that is true with most movies that come out based on a book these days.  lol oh well


Offline Pak-Man

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2007, 02:11:44 PM »
Fourth on Douglas Adams. :^)


Offline Jinto

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2007, 04:45:21 PM »
yeah i dont know, i just wansnt completly satisfied with it.

I wasn't satisfied with the movie at all, personally. So much was left out, and a lot of that was dialog, and to a lesser extent, narration, though there was surprisingly more of that in the movie than I expected. Dialog (and in Hitchhiker's case, narration) happens to be rather important in British comedy, mostly because that's what defines a lot of British comedy (at least to me), compared to a lot of the crappy American comedy that leans toward slapstick and unintelligent, lacking-in-common-sense-entirely characters. The witty exchange in many situation was just plain absent. It was a crappy movie, completely out done by the mini-series made years and years ago. Anyway, enough about the movie, this is a literature thread.

Quick poll: Is Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the only Sci-Fi book you guys have read or something? :P  Just kidding. I'm just surprised at all the seconding so far of that series, and no mentions yet of books I commonly see in similar threads, like Enders Game or the Rama series, which so many people praise.


Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2007, 08:30:19 PM »
I'm a bug sci-fi nerd, so there's quite a few books that enjoy in the genre.  I've mentioned The Reality Dysfunction trilogy in the "favourites" thread, but there's a couple of other series I'm following.  To Hold Infinity by John Meaney (Colm's brother!) is a great, great book, though the Nulpeiron series which is tangentially spawned isn't quite as good, as it feels a bit too much like Dune.  Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels are pretty good, especially the first, Altered Carbon, which is a great amalgamation of noir and sci-fi.  Neal Asher and Alastair Reynold also put out some pretty great books in their respective universes. 

Dune was pretty awesome too.   ;)


Offline Jinto

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2007, 09:18:37 PM »
I'm a bug sci-fi nerd, so there's quite a few books that enjoy in the genre.  I've mentioned The Reality Dysfunction trilogy in the "favourites" thread, but there's a couple of other series I'm following.  To Hold Infinity by John Meaney (Colm's brother!) is a great, great book, though the Nulpeiron series which is tangentially spawned isn't quite as good, as it feels a bit too much like Dune.  Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels are pretty good, especially the first, Altered Carbon, which is a great amalgamation of noir and sci-fi.  Neal Asher and Alastair Reynold also put out some pretty great books in their respective universes. 

Dune was pretty awesome too.   ;)

That's great and all, but... Which is your #1?  ??? :P


Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2007, 09:35:03 PM »
I'm a bug sci-fi nerd, so there's quite a few books that enjoy in the genre.  I've mentioned The Reality Dysfunction trilogy in the "favourites" thread, but there's a couple of other series I'm following.  To Hold Infinity by John Meaney (Colm's brother!) is a great, great book, though the Nulpeiron series which is tangentially spawned isn't quite as good, as it feels a bit too much like Dune.  Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels are pretty good, especially the first, Altered Carbon, which is a great amalgamation of noir and sci-fi.  Neal Asher and Alastair Reynold also put out some pretty great books in their respective universes. 

Dune was pretty awesome too.   ;)

That's great and all, but... Which is your #1?  ??? :P

Ubik, by Phillip K Dick.   ;D


Offline Trilaan

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2007, 11:45:42 PM »
Jack Chalker's Well World Saga, an 8-book series (5 in the original saga, plus a trilogy sequel) about the Well World, a giant computer planet and origin of all life in the universe.  The planet was created by an ancient race known as the Markovians(named for their first discoverer as the race's true name is unknown) who were the first evolved species in the galaxy.  They became so advanced that they were as gods.  In the end their society began to stagnate because they had achieved all there was to achieve and they began to wonder if perhaps there was something they had missed.  So they constructed the Well World at the center of the universe and on it they designed 1400 mini-worlds(shaped like hexagons) in which to create and test new species.  If a created species was successful they created a planet with the same environmental specifications as the home "hex" and populated it with said species.  Yes, humans were one such successful species.

The main story is about a space cargo hauler named Nathan Brazil, a short, skinny, unassuming(but possibly immortal) Jewish man and, later, a female thief by the name of Mavra Chang and the contact they have with other people and the Well World itself.  The main drive of the story focuses on various people attempting to access and control the Well World computer(known as the Well of Souls, giving them the power to destroy the universe.  Occasionally a gate(sensitive to thoughts and feelings) will open up in some part of the universe and swallow up unsuspecting people, transporting them immediately to the Well World where they are randomly transformed into one of the 1400 different species which were last created by the Markovians before they disappeared.

As you might guess, Nathan and Mavra have to save the universe a couple of times. 



Offline Jinto

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2007, 11:26:07 AM »

Quick poll: Is Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the only Sci-Fi book you guys have read or something? :P  Just kidding. I'm just surprised at all the seconding so far of that series, and no mentions yet of books I commonly see in similar threads, like Enders Game or the Rama series, which so many people praise.

Far from it. I just think it has more re-readability than other science fiction books I've read. And you did ask for -the- favorite, so I think that would be it.

BTW--Rama? Favorites? Guh?

Hehe, yeah, I did ask. And Hitchhiker's is pretty close to the top of my own list of favorite Sci-Fi, so yeah I can certainly understand all the seconding.

Haven't heard of Rama I take it? or is that "Guh" a sound of disgust at the idea of Rama being a favorite of anyone's? heh. Well, just in case it's the former, it's the series by Arthur C. Clarke. First book is "Rendezvous with Rama". It's basically about a giant cylindrical space "ark" that swings through the solar system and both proves the existance of life elsewhere in the universe, and picks up a few passengers from earth.

On another note: Is it just me, or is it harder to find good Sci-Fi than Fantasy? I think Fantasy outnumbers Sci-Fi titles on the shelves at the bookstores these days. Or maybe I'm just not looking hard enough. I don't know. I really need a wider variety of good Sci-Fi titles to read. I've read entirely too much Fantasy lately. There's also the difference between common sci-fi and what you might term "hardcore sci-fi", which I'd kinda like more of in a way, but those also tend to be the snoozer's when reading, being less action packed. I think Rama might lean more toward the hardcore sci-fi type, whereas, for example, books based in the Star Wars universe (like Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy) are written to just be enjoyable and action packed without focusing much on any technology, just throwing it in where a character interacts with it in some way. Thoughts?


Offline Jinto

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Re: Your #1 pick in the Science Fiction genre
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2007, 12:59:27 PM »
1) I read the first two.  I thought the first one was fine, if not really ground-breaking; aside from the concept, nothing in it really happens, you know? They climb around rama, some spiders chase them, and that's it.

The second one turned into too much of a soap-opera backstabbing bitchfest for me to enjoy it. If memory serves, someone else co-wrote this with Clarke.  That's one of the reasons I hated "Red Mars," because it reads like a shitty romance novel half the time.

2) I tend to think that this is because fantasy thrives in the trilogy/tetralogy (or in Jordan's case, the triskaidekalogy) format, while Sci-Fi is usually best in the short story.  Pick up a couple of issues of Asimov's or just some compilations and you'll see what I mean, I think.

I'd say that the Star Wars books (and Star Trek and any other franchise) tend to be space opera, not Sci-Fi. That is, fantasy where amazing technology (TM) replaces magic.  The Star Wars books which are even remotely any good I can count on one hand, I suspect.

1) I do have to admit: Rama was pretty slow. I also didn't like the end of the series, which was just silly. Still, I did like the concept early on and the alien species were fairly inventive, as was the design and function of the Rama spacecraft. It's not one of my favorite series, but I still enjoyed it overall.

2) You have a good point concerning the length of fantasy series as opposed to science fiction often having only one book or a short story. That does tend to lend the illusion of outnumbering just due to book-count, but story count, yeah it might be fairly balanced I suppose.

I've yet to read any Asimov oddly enough. I've only read Timothy Zahn's star wars books and they were pretty good. I dislike Star Trek almost entirely these days though. The aliens were almost always too-human-like. It was so tame most of the time, it was never gritty enough for me to take too seriously (compared to the new Battlestar Galactical especially. And really, there's just been too many different tv series as well in my opinion and so I'd never even consider reading a book based in the Star Trek universe. It's just been done to death. They've run it into the ground and not just milked, but bled the franchise for every bit of profit they could wring from it. I enjoyed Star Trek: The Next Generation for a while when I was younger, more than I ever did the original series, but that was back in the day, and while I've seen some of DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise, it's all been lame as far as I'm concerned. But whatever.