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Author Topic:   Scifi recommendations
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 1 of 27 (861752)
08-26-2019 12:53 PM


This is not so much a book review, as a plea for help.

I like science fiction. Or, I should say, I like the idea of science fiction. In practice I find most of it deeply disappointing.

I know the old adage that 95% of everything is shit, and that sci-fi is no different from anything else in this respect. But I'm often surprised by how terrible some of the 'great classics' turn out to be.

I'm currently reading The Mote in God's Eye, which I've been led to believe is one of the all time greats. I haven't finished (no spoilers please!), so maybe it improves, but I'll have to be honest that my initial impressions are that it's really shit.

Cardboard characters, a setting that shattered my suspension of disbelief right from the beginning, tedious writing style. The idea that engrossing fiction should show, not tell, is not a new one, and yet it seems never to have occurred to Niven and Pournelle. Much of it reads less like a novel and more like a sourcebook for an rpg.

The discovery that scientists of the far future have a 20th century journalist's understanding of evolution is not unexpected, but doesn't improve my view of the book.

So, having said all that, can anyone recommend me good scifi? There must be more of it out there. I promise not to complain if I hate your recommendations. Not much, anyway.


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 8 of 27 (861761)
08-26-2019 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Tangle
08-26-2019 1:04 PM


The Iain M Banks series of Culture books is probably as good as SF gets. Also the Wasp Factory. He's a 'proper' novelist writing non-SF as Iain Banks.

Classics like Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 and Breakfast of Champions too.

I've read a lot of Iain Banks, but oddly none of the books where he has a middle initial. I did enjoy some of his books, so will certainly give them a try.

Slaughterhouse 5 is great, but I'm not really sure I'd consider it scifi. Kind of hard to classify.


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 9 of 27 (861762)
08-26-2019 2:43 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by PaulK
08-26-2019 1:12 PM


The Mote in God’s Eye is hardly recent.

The great classics rarely are, by definition. Publication date is not a concern.

Recommendations noted. Ancillary Justice and the Culture novels got multiple votes, so I might opt for them.


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 12 of 27 (861766)
08-26-2019 4:05 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by PaulK
08-26-2019 3:05 PM


For influential works I’d go for E. E. Smith’s pulpy Lensman series (skip Triplanetary for sure and probably First Lensman too). Maybe the original Foundation trilogy, too (although I haven’t reread it at all recently and I was greatly disappointed by a reread of Asimov’s robot stories).

The Foundation books were another in the line of supposed classics that disappointed me greatly, and I've never read I, Robot as a result. They struck me as Asimov more describing a concept than writing a novel.


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1800
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008


Message 13 of 27 (861767)
08-26-2019 4:06 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Tanypteryx
08-26-2019 3:26 PM


I liked Frank Herbert's books, and in recent years his son Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have written a series that back stories to the Dune books that I enjoyed.

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


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