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Author Topic:   Scifi recommendations
PaulK
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Joined: 01-10-2003
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Message 16 of 27 (861770)
08-26-2019 4:18 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by caffeine
08-26-2019 4:06 PM


quote:
I remember really enjoying Dune - are the sequels worth delving into?

Dune Messiah is good. Children of Dune completes the original trilogy. The sequels written by Frank Herbert are interesting enough I won’t tell you not to read them, but don’t expect them to match the originals. If you can get through
God Emperor of Dune
you may as well read the rest.

As for the additions by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson I refer you to my previous answer.


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Tanypteryx
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From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 7.9


Message 17 of 27 (861771)
08-26-2019 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by caffeine
08-26-2019 4:06 PM


I remember really enjoying Dune - are the sequels worth delving into?

I read the sequels that Frank Herbert wrote years ago when they were published and enjoyed them all, but the history of the various factions, and references to events in the past were not well explained and left a void in the saga.

The new sequels fill in many of the blanks. The Butlerian Jihad, laws against "thinking machines," the histories of all the great families and the various organizations are all filled in with compelling stories. Great villains and heroes have epic conflicts and civilizations rise and fall.

Great stories, in my opinion.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 2316
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 7.9


Message 18 of 27 (861772)
08-26-2019 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by PaulK
08-26-2019 4:10 PM


quote:
I also like Neal Stephenson's books, especially Seveneves

I think that Anathem is pretty good. The Rise And Fall of D.O.D.O. is fun.

I have read and enjoyed all his books, partly because I like his style, but also because we are related by marriage.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


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Theodoric
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From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
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(1)
Message 19 of 27 (861774)
08-26-2019 5:08 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Tanypteryx
08-26-2019 4:48 PM


I have rise and Fall of D.O.D.O and I received his newest Fall for my birthday, Have not started either yet. Seveneves was an amazing book.

For caffeine

A couple others I have enjoyed in the last couple years are Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson and The Wayfarer Series by Becky Chambers. Her books are classic space opera, and extremely enjoyable.
The Mars Trilogy by Robinson is in my opinion a must read for Scifi fans.
Another new author I found was Matilda Scotney and her book The Afterlife of Alice Watkins.
Another good old space opera is The Linesman by S.K. Dunstall.

I think writing has gotten better through the years. The old classics tended to be written by a club of misogynist white men, that praised each other. I am not saying the classics are not classics, they just do not stand up to the test of time.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


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dwise1
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Message 20 of 27 (861775)
08-26-2019 5:14 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by caffeine
08-26-2019 12:53 PM


Having always been a great fan of science (name that reference!), I have also been a fan of science fiction for most of my life. Unfortunately, life, family, career (software engineering, which had me doing mostly technical reading for the past few decades), and life changes (divorce) have left me with little time to read fiction.

I've never read Slaughterhouse 5, but I did read Schlachthof 5, the German translation -- that was the only Vonnegut I've read and even then it wasn't him but rather an interpretation (which is what a translation is, after all -- my ex-wife would enjoy novels primarily for the word-crafting, something that gets lost in translation). I also read Es ist Schwer ein Gott zu Sein and was decades later surprised to find an English translation of that Russian novel at a used book store -- a Russian movie based on it was on USA Netflix, but it was just too much of an effort to slog through it.

Isaac Asimov's standard story of how he got started is that as an immigrant in an immigrant family (paraphrasing loosely from memory: "I was born in Russia and upon realizing my mistake, I had my family immediately emigrate to the US"). His father wanted the best opportunities for his son and, since science was just such an opportunity, when he saw a science fiction publication he bought it for his son, unwittingly starting a great career.

As evil and vile a person as she turned out to be, my ex-wife was ideal in a few ways. For one, we both shared the same love of science fiction. German uses two names for it that I know of: Zukunftsromane and Möglichkeitsromane (future novels and possibility novels). Most people seem to gravitate to scifi film and TV for the special effects thrills (a friend's mother loved spy stuff, the more explosions the better, but she was bored by a very real political thriller, Z because there were no explosions), but for us the real interest was looking at how people react and adapt to unique and novel situations. That is the only thing I miss about her.

Science fiction's past is in pulp fiction and apparently it still suffers from that. I heard about Zane Grey, the great Western novelist, that he started out like all writers of Westerns, paid per word, so in all his stories the characters would fire each and every round in their revolver because each and every bang was another buck (or pennies) in the writer's pocket. For my Palm Pilot I downloaded a copy of E.E. Smith's Triplanetary and read it. Great literature, it was most definitely not. Such appalling sexist melodramatic stereotypes (damsel in distress, bad guy with luridly evil intentions towards her, etc). But, that was the nature of the beast back then catering to the audience of the time.

Kind of like comic books in the late 50's and early 60's which was my generation. I did learn some things about science, but not all of them were good. A few years back I saw an interview with Stan Lee in which he declared that he was the least scientific person possible, wouldn't recognize a gamma ray if it came up and bit him, but he'd heard these scientific terms and think, "Yeah, that sounds good. I'll use that!" So the Fantastic Four got their powers from exposure to cosmic rays, which instead should have killed them. Bruce Banner became the Hulk because of gamma rays, which instead should have killed him. The X-Men get their powers from a "mutant gene" and the entire film franchise touts mutation as the be-all and end-all of evolution. Fertile soil for some really great storytelling, but too often really crappy science which ends up shaping much of the public's misconceptions of what science and evolution are.

 
A friend at work clued me into a novel that was online as a PDF and was part of a series: 1632.

From Wikipedia:

quote:
The fictional town of Grantville, West Virginia (modeled on the real West Virginia town of Mannington) and its power plant are displaced in space-time, through a side effect of a mysterious alien civilization.[2]

A hemispherical section of land about three miles in radius measured from the town center is transported back in time and space from April 2000 to May 1631, from North America to the central Holy Roman Empire. The town is thrust into the middle of the Thirty Years' War, in the German province of Thuringia in the Thuringer Wald, near the fictional German free city of Badenburg. This Assiti Shards effect occurs during a wedding reception, accounting for the presence of several people not native to the town, including a doctor and his daughter, a paramedic. Real Thuringian municipalities located close to Grantville are posited as Weimar, Jena, Saalfeld and the more remote Erfurt, Arnstadt, and Eisenach well to the south of Halle and Leipzig.

Grantville, led by Mike Stearns, president of the local chapter of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), must cope with the town's space-time dislocation, the surrounding raging war, language barriers, and numerous social and political issues, including class conflict, witchcraft, feminism, the reformation and the counter-reformation, among many other factors. One complication is a compounding of the food shortage when the town is flooded by refugees from the war. The 1631 locals experience a culture shock when exposed to the mores of contemporary American society, including modern dress, sexual egalitarianism, and boisterous American-style politics.

Grantville struggles to survive while trying to maintain technology sundered from twenty-first century resources. Throughout 1631, Grantville manages to establish itself locally by forming the nascent New United States of Europe (NUS) with several local cities even as war rages around them. But once Count Tilly falls during the Battle of Breitenfeld outside of Leipzig, King Gustavus Adolphus rapidly moves the war theater to Franconia and Bavaria, just south of Grantville. This leads to the creation of the Confederated Principalities of Europe (CPoE) and some measure of security for Grantville's up-timer and down-timer populations.



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Theodoric
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Posts: 6592
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 21 of 27 (861778)
08-26-2019 6:38 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by dwise1
08-26-2019 5:14 PM


I read 1632 quite a while back. It was pretty good. There are numerous sequels. As I remember the sequels were not as good. I think the plot got repetitious and there was way too.much foreshadowing.

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


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dwise1
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Posts: 3712
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 22 of 27 (861780)
08-26-2019 6:51 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Theodoric
08-26-2019 6:38 PM


I haven't read any of the sequels. My friend at work mentioned some, including mention of characters going into the Inn of the Golden Arches.

But my point was that regardless of everything else, placing normal people into novel circumstances and see how they behave is an important outcome of scifi.


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Minnemooseus
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Posts: 3754
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 23 of 27 (861781)
08-26-2019 8:37 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Tanypteryx
08-26-2019 4:41 PM


Things Dune and Doon
Read the first 5 Dunes back in the 80s, really liked the original trilogy but disappointed in 4 and 5. Didn't go beyond that.

If you've read the first book of Dune, I highly recommend National Lampoon's Doon if you can find it (OOP?). Spoiler alert - Probably do not want to read much of that cite.

Moose

Edited by Minnemooseus, : Very minor tweak.


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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 2316
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 7.9


Message 24 of 27 (861786)
08-26-2019 10:34 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by Minnemooseus
08-26-2019 8:37 PM


Re: Things Dune and Doon
Read the first 5 Dunes back in the 80s, really liked the original trilogy but disappointed in 4 and 5. Didn't go beyond that.

My experience was similar, I kind of got bored with the later books.

Quite a few of the prequels were published before I discovered them, and when I did, I jumped right in. I enjoyed them all.

I will check out Doon when I get some time.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by Minnemooseus, posted 08-26-2019 8:37 PM Minnemooseus has not yet responded

    
Taq
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Posts: 8012
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.6


Message 25 of 27 (862000)
08-30-2019 1:06 PM


Gene Wolfe
If you are looking for books with a bit more heft and character depth, I would recommend the works by Gene Wolfe. The Book of the New Sun series is probably his best.

If you like modern fantasy slant mixed with alternative realities (think American Gods), I have often enjoyed Tim Powers.


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Theodoric
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Posts: 6592
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 26 of 27 (862006)
08-30-2019 2:29 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Taq
08-30-2019 1:06 PM


Re: Gene Wolfe
Just recently read The Book of New Sun series. Definitely has some heft to it. I found I needed the Lexicon.

Another good series I read recently was Noumenon by Marina Lostetter.
https://www.amazon.com/...dp/0062497847/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by Taq, posted 08-30-2019 1:06 PM Taq has not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 16104
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 27 of 27 (862106)
08-31-2019 9:47 PM


Another vote for the Culture books and Ancillary Justice.

I recently enjoyed Connie Willis's Blackout and All Clear. Part sci-fi, part historical novels, really, they involve a bunch of time travelling academic researchers who go back to the UK in the early days of WWII and get stuck. This is part of a larger series about time travel and you might want to read the others first, I couldn't get hold of Doomsday Book and so had to infer the technical details as I went along.

Mary Doria Russell's ... duology? is that a word? ... The Sparrow and Children of God.

Sean McMullen's series starting with Souls in the Great Machine.

Greg Egan. He seems determined that everything he writes should disprove the adage that there are no new ideas in science fiction. This isn't always enough to carry a novel but his collections of short stories are excellent.

Neil Stephenson, I found The Diamond Age and Anathem particularly memorable.

The first two books of John Barnes' Thousand Cultures series are good. I found the last two disappointing.

Among the classics, I recommend A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller and Keith Roberts' Kiteworld and Pavane. And for the sheer fun of it, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp and Poul Anderson's The High Crusade.


  
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