View Full Version : craving a good piece of science fiction or fantasy

Paul Pless
03-07-2010, 09:20 AM
Headed to the bookstore later this morning and seeking recommendations?

something really fresh would be good

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
03-07-2010, 09:26 AM
Last and First Men - Olaf Stapledon.

03-07-2010, 09:29 AM
The Lacuna
Barbara Kingsolver

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
03-07-2010, 09:31 AM
Buy a "Doris Lessing".

bob winter
03-07-2010, 09:34 AM
I think a couple of modern authors who are worth a read are David Gemmell and David Weber. Gemmell died a couple of years ago.

Steve Paskey
03-07-2010, 09:35 AM
A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski ... not new but still fascinating ... the science is biology rather than the hard sciences. (Slonczewski is a biology professor, at one of the small colleges in Ohio, I think.)

03-07-2010, 10:09 AM
S.M.Sterling recently published two good space operas, one set on Venus, one on Mars, both good. "Through the looking glass" by John Ringo, and it's sequels have been fun, also, as was A Hymn Before Battle and it'ssequels. A Princess of Wands was also rather good, 'tho possibly a trifle too"Christian" for some. Travis S Taylor and a gent by the name of Thomas Krautmann have done some good work recently. On a more classic vein, I've seen reprints of Zelazny's Lord of Light and Bester's The Stars my Destination recently, too.

Flying Orca
03-07-2010, 11:14 AM
Vernor Vinge (try A Fire Upon The Deep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fire_Upon_the_Deep)) and Iain M Banks (try Consider Phlebas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consider_Phlebas)) are both worth it in the SF vein; I don't do much fantasy, but Steven Brust (start with Jhereg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jhereg_%28novel%29) for the best smartass, fast-moving fantasy ever) and Steven Erikson (start with Gardens of the Moon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardens_of_the_moon) and give it a few hundred pages, or even a book and a half, before giving up - this gives new meaning to the term "sprawling epic"!).

Disclaimer: the latter two are friends of mine, but that's not why I recommend their work.

03-07-2010, 11:17 AM
No one has mentioned Terry Pratechet...

Perhaps hes not considered real fantasy

Flying Orca
03-07-2010, 11:23 AM
Pratchett's brilliant, Alzheimer's notwithstanding.

obscured by clouds
03-07-2010, 11:33 AM
I've long had a liking for Kim stanley Robinson's output. 'Antarctica' is a favourite. Just far enough ahead to be speculative, close enough for it to seem a real future.

03-07-2010, 11:39 AM
Well, I don't know if it is 'fresh', but the four books that Joe Abercrombie has had published are a little on the 'different' side. I recommend them, but if it's not your cup of tea don't think less of me :).

Mickey Lake

03-07-2010, 01:00 PM
On the same shelf as Conrad and Kipling in my library are a couple of books by Capt F C Hendry, aka "Shalimar" -- Ships and Men is a collection of short stories that stand up very well. The guy was a sure-nuff sailor, with a good nose for a dramatic story. There is usually a switch at the end that is worth a laugh, or satisfaction in a clever revenge, or the guys win who should've done. I have enjoyed them all. Hard to find in N. America -- try ABEBooks on line.

Paul Pless
03-07-2010, 01:03 PM
Well, I don't know if it is 'fresh', but the four books that Joe Abercrombie has had published are a little on the 'different' side. I recommend them, but if it's not your cup of tea don't think less of me :).

Mickey LakeYour previous recommendation of Stirlings/Nantucket series hit the spot perfectly.:)

03-07-2010, 01:27 PM
Iain Bank's The Algebraist is not in The Culture universe -- or a very far way away from it if it is -- but it's one of the best universe-building space-operas I've ever read. Consider Phlebas is the start of The Culture group (they are somewhat connected, but not a series following a character like connection, usually.)

Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series is a grand romp, there used to be arguments about whether to read in publication order or story order, but the new reprints put them into story order, breaking some of the novellas and short stories into others. The first, about how Miles comes to be, is Cordelia's Honor. The writing style is like Georgette Heyer's regency romances, but there are space ships, wars, treason, clones, ... to add to the lover's problems.

Chris Moriarty's Spin State is our people and strong AI against their people and strong AI, and who is really on who's side? I've got the sequel in the pile.

Charlie Stross. I haven't read any of the Merchant Princes series; I have read and greatly enjoyed most of the rest. Singularity Sky, Saturn's Children, Accelerando, ... all excellent. The various Bob Howard tales of The Laundry... those are hilarious horror fiction, right, not reality? The Atrocity Archives is the first.

03-07-2010, 02:39 PM
Have you tried Philip k. Dick? I just read Dr. Bloodmoney. Brilliant stuff.

Dan McCosh
03-07-2010, 02:41 PM
Last one i read was "Next" by Michael Crichton. Funny and timely.

Captain Intrepid
03-07-2010, 02:49 PM
Have you tried Philip k. Dick? I just read Dr. Bloodmoney. Brilliant stuff.

Philip K Dick is brilliant. Twisted and brilliant. And I just want to throw in too, that A Scanner Darkly is possibly the most faithful film adaptation of a book I have ever seen, capturing both the feel and plot of the book without making any meaningful changes.

Dave Gray
03-07-2010, 02:56 PM
Not cerebral but entertaining is Glen Cook, Tales of the Black Company.

03-07-2010, 03:46 PM
Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, The Golden Compass, The Amber Spyglass, and The Subtle Knife, is certainly worth a look.

03-07-2010, 04:11 PM
The most recent piece of fantasy I have read is Obamas paper telling us that his health care plan will actually pay for itself and that it will lower health care costs for the individual...NOW THAT IS FANTASY !!!!!!!!

03-07-2010, 04:21 PM
Is that some kind of new permutation of Godwin's Law?

Flying Orca
03-07-2010, 04:23 PM
Whatever it is, it surely does not belong in this thread.

Re Glen Cook - he's a big fan of Steven Erikson (and was in turn a big influence on him), and has described Steve's Malazan series as being "what he was trying to do with the Black Company books."

John B
03-07-2010, 04:47 PM
I recently discovered the Herbert ( son)collaboration on preqells to Dune. I thought they were pretty well written and true to the originals. House Harkonnen , Atreides ....

Dave Gray
03-07-2010, 04:52 PM
George Alec Effinger's novels with Marid Audran are also entertaining - think early cyborg style fiction.

03-07-2010, 05:02 PM
the wheel of time robert jordan

03-07-2010, 05:14 PM
Oh! If you're looking for new, head for John Scalzi's blog Whatever (http://whatever.scalzi.com/) and the posts in the category The Big Idea Archive (http://whatever.scalzi.com/category/big-idea/); authors write about what was the big idea that inspired their new book.

(His books aren't bad, either. Old Man's War perhaps the best known.)

Peerie Maa
03-07-2010, 05:25 PM
No one has mentioned Terry Pratechet...

Perhaps hes not considered real fantasy

Nation was as mainstream science fiction as many others. I used to like Anne McCaffery, but she has gone off the boil lately.

03-07-2010, 05:45 PM
I am guessing you read all of the s m stirling dies the fires series and are waiting for the final book of 7 to come out this fall?
have you read his draka? novels
ok wait the nantuckit series was adrift in the sea of time? the dies the fires starts from the same point but insteed of nantuckit being sent back to 1250 bc the rest of the modern earth loses high energy things like internal combusiion engines and volt strength electricty . their are 6 f 7 books out right now

I also like eric flints 1632 series a bit of west virgina gets droped into the middle of the 30 years war germany

03-07-2010, 06:11 PM
I'll second almost anything by Glen Cook - The Swordbearer was a good read, as were his "hard " SF novels... I believe that series began with Shadowline and continued from there. His detective novels , set in an alternative universe of fantasy critters, have been rather fun, as were the Dread Empire books. Don't read Ringo, Krautman or Travis S. Taylor iffn you're a lefty. They sure as heck aren't, and make no bones about the fact. Cook did one of the best submarine stories as an SF novel about 15 years ago - I think it was called A PASSAGE AT ARMS.

03-07-2010, 07:46 PM
Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake" and its prequel/sequel "Year of the Flood" are both excellent, if you're into dystopian techno-fascist future stories.

03-07-2010, 11:06 PM
I have enjoyed Sterling's "Dies the Fire" series, and am looking forward to the last book. (That doesn't sound right, does it?) For the frugal out there, for the last few years, Baen books have been putting CDs into the back of some of their hardcovers with tons of fairly current books on them and access to an extensive on-line free library. Worth MY 25 bucks or so.

03-09-2010, 09:43 AM
Probably too late but Niel Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is adult LOTR.

a long read with some great historic research and character development.

Keith Wilson
03-09-2010, 10:27 AM
Hmm - A couple of recommendations:

For fairly hard sci-fi, Michael Flynn; The Firestar series (four novels), The Wreck of the River of Stars, and Eifelheim. Or perhaps Jack Mc Devitt - The Engines of God et al. They aren't Great Literature, but they're fun.

Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch - The Redemption of Christopher Columbus is superb. Much of his other stuff is uneven at best.

Connie Willis's time-travel stories are very good - Doomsday Book, and in a much lighter vein, To Say Nothing of the Dog.

Robert Sawyer's Calculating God has more interesting ideas per page than just about anything.

And if you haven't already read Ursula K. LeGuin's stuff, you really should. At her best, she's so much better than the average run of Sci-Fi authors that she belongs in a different class altogether. I like her short stories best - The Wind's Twelve Quarters, The Compass Rose, Four Ways to Forgiveness, A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, and Changing Planes. For novels, Always Coming Home, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Disposessed, plus the six Earthsea books.

Flying Orca
03-09-2010, 01:32 PM
I'll have to check out some of those, Keith. Incidentally, one reason I like LeGuin as much as I do is the strong anthropological bent to her work. No surprise; her father (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_L._Kroeber) was one of the early giants of anthropology.

Keith Wilson
03-09-2010, 01:36 PM
The single best short story I've ever read is Gwilan's Harp in The Compass Rose. (Not sci-fi; set in a sort of mythic medieval Ireland). It's nearly perfect; not one extraneous word, not one word out of place.