Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 159 total)
  • Definitive sci fi and fantasy book list
  • greentricky
    Free Member

    The Peripheral by William Gibson for something more recent

    Magician by Raymond E Feist is a a fantasy classic
    Assasins APprentice by Robin Hobb
    Gardens of the Moon Steven Erikson

    gecko76
    Full Member

    Perdito Street Station and The Scar by China Mievelle are both amazing.

    YoKaiser
    Free Member

    More fantasy for me than Sci fi but my recommendations would be

    Joe Abercrombie – First Law trilogy, can be read stand alone but I guarantee you’ll want to read them all. Prtty much the best fantasy author out there at the moment

    David Gemmell – The Rigante books and the Druss books are classic, no nonsense big hard c….guy… been wronged, kicks ass.

    Robin Hobb – Assassins apprentice, another huge world to fall into

    George R R Martin – Game of Thrones, there is a reason that the tv series was so successful, they are awesome. Massive undertaking though to start.

    Peter V Brett – Demon cycle, very engaging epic, easily read and a complete story (possibly).

    The first two are quality, I’ve reread them both and will do so again, probably reread Hobb too.

    EDIT: I see you out in the OP that you are not much of a reader. David Gemmell books are very accessible and quick paced, can be picked up as stand alone books. Sword in the Storm (Rigante) or The First Chronicles of Druss would be a great place to start.

    onewheelgood
    Full Member

    Did you read Stars in my pocket like grains of sand @onewheelgood?

    Yes, only recently read that, really liked it.

    Rona
    Full Member

    +1 for Magician by Raymond E Feist … anyone read his more recent books?

    Also really enjoyed Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

    eddiebaby
    Free Member

    OK. My 2 most recent discoveries are The Rivers of London series and The Laundry Files series. Fantasy meets SF.

    beej
    Full Member

    Ooo, one that’s not been mentioned (or I missed it).

    The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, and the two follow ups, “A closed an common orbit” and “Record of a spaceborn few”.

    https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet-is-this-year-s-mos-1730270921

    Daffy
    Full Member

    The Forever War by Haldeman,
    Great North Road by Hamilton,
    Foundation by Asimov,
    The Robot series by Asimov,
    The Thrawn Trilogy (if you like Star Wars)
    Ready Player One by Cline
    Cities in Flight by Blish
    The Neuromancer by Gibson.

    failedengineer
    Full Member

    +1 for the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a kind of (very) grown up Lord of the Rings. The last two ‘Comeback’ novels were hard work, though. The same author (steven Donaldson) also did a Sci fi series, too but I can’t remember the name.
    +1 for Ian M Banks’ stuff, too. Anyone remember Michael Moorcock?

    easily
    Free Member

    Good stuff so far.

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned John Wyndham. The Chrysalids is my fave.
    Short story collections by Ray Bradbury – they’re not all sco-fi, but they’re all good.
    My favourite Philip K Dick is Time Out of Joint.

    … and Judge Dredd. Always Judge Dredd.

    easily
    Free Member

    Oh, surprisingly I don’t think anyone has mentioned Larry Niven. His writing is a bit pedestrian, but his ideas and attention to detail are great. Actually, I’d say that’s true of much science fiction.

    Anyway, Ringworld is fascinating; Oath of Fealty is thought provoking; The Mote in God’s Eye is probably the best ever ‘first contact’ novel; and lots of his shorter stories are clever, especially The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton.

    daviek
    Full Member

    If you go for the series by feist then be prepared as its about 20 books long if i remember but well worth it!

    As mentioned above Joe Abercrombie is really good and a The Dragon Bone Chair by Tad Williams was a good read

    Assassins Apprentice was also very good but wasn’t so keen on one of her later series The rain wild chronicles although looking the name of that up I see there’s some new ones about Fitz! I’ll have to get them now I know they exist.

    Quick edit ….. Brandon Sanderson The stormlight archive kept me going for a while and everything I’ve read by Mark Lawerence had been brilliant!

    And another edit …. Anthony Ryan is another very good author …. I’ll stop now

    montgomery
    Free Member

    Fred Pohl’s Heechee Saga.

    Jack McDevitt – start with the Engines of God.

    Both explore the theme of humans beginning their exploration of a big scary galaxy that they don’t really understand…

    montgomery
    Free Member

    When I had chickenpox as a kid my dad came home one night with ‘The Ringworld Engineers’ and I hoovered up everything about Known Space after reading it. Not sure it’s dated that well, though.

    montgomery
    Free Member

    A Martian Odyssey – brilliant 1949 short story that still stands up.

    vinnyeh
    Full Member

    Easing into sci fi, some of my recommendations for not too heavy going would be:

    To Your Scattered Bodies Go

    Old Mans War

    Contact

    Ender’s Game

    Kim Stanley Robinson – Mars Trilogy

    Larry Niven- I know Ringworld is the correct answer, but I think that’s for the whole concept rather than the writing, like most of Niven’s stuff -truthfully I found the book boring preferred World of Ptavvs, and a lot of the short stories are much better.

    John Wyndham is a great answer, as is Iain Banks, though if you’re not a regular reader, Banks might be a bit heavy going.

    murdooverthehill
    Full Member

    Can’t believe no mention of Stephen Donaldson yet, I found The Chronicles of TC so absorbing as soon as I finished the series I immediately started it all over again.
    Another shout for The Wheel Of Time, gets kind off bogged down in book 6 but still a good read.
    Also try Brian Aldiss and the Heliconia trilogy.

    gobuchul
    Free Member

    No mention of HG Wells?

    He was so far ahead of his time, it was unbelievable.

    From wiki “A futurist and “visionary”, Wells foresaw the advent of aircraft, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and something resembling the World Wide Web.”

    The Time Machine, War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man all absolutely essential.

    Fat-boy-fat
    Full Member

    Try the Lensman books from EE Doc Smith for some very old skool SF. In the name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The League of ungentlemanly bastards by Scott Lynch are worth a go in Fantasy land.

    gingerbllr
    Free Member

    the name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss

    The kingkiller chronicle.

    Absolutely my favourite books of all time. I wonder if we’ll ever get the third?

    Cougar
    Full Member

    Jasper Fforde is really good if you’re in to quirky fantasy. His latest, the constant rabbit, shades of grey and the nursery crime novels being some of my favourites.

    I really should’ve thought of him, given that I finished (re-)reading The Eyre Affair two days ago.

    Shades of Grey is just ace. It’s supposed to be the first of a trilogy but he has the audacity to keep releasing other things.

    andylc
    Free Member

    Although hard work in places the Thomas Covenant Chronicles are well worth the effort in my opinion.
    Enjoyed the Anne McAffrey Dragonrider books (about 20 years ago) – nice mix of sci fi and fantasy.
    Stephen Donaldson sci fi was the Gap series. Remember it starting quite well but not sure I ever finished it.
    Another recent book series I have enjoyed a lot is the Girl in the Box (and then later Out of the Box) series by Robert Crane. A LOT of books to get through. Also same author, quite a lot of violence and sex but the Sanctuary series I also enjoyed a lot.

    jd13m
    Free Member

    Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, Norse Mythology
    Tolkien – Unfinished Tales (does help if you’re a lotr fan though…..)
    Robert Holdstock – the Mythago books
    Stephen King – Dark Tower series, Sleeping Beauties

    I wouldn’t dismiss these as ‘young adult’ books – that’s often more a publishers label than anything

    Alan Garner – Weirdstone trilogy, Owl Service
    Garth Nix – Abhorsen + Keys to the Kingdom series

    funkmasterp
    Full Member

    Shades of Grey is just ace. It’s supposed to be the first of a trilogy but he has the audacity to keep releasing other things.

    Definitely his best novel and I wish he’d just write the other two. He needs to write the alleged third nursery crime book too. The Constant Rabbit is very good if you’ve not read it.

    flyingmonkeycorps
    Full Member

    Some great recommendations in here (including some that I need to get around to reading /rereading) but I’d be conscious of staying away from some of the denser stuff if you’re not (yet) a big reader. I love China Mieville for example, but it ain’t what you’d call light reading. For that reason, I’d not worry too much about investing in 20 book epic fantasy ‘classics’, and focus on some great reads that you can just enjoy.

    For sci fi, if you want spaceships and guns I reckon a great place to start is Old Man’s War by John Scalzi as mentioned above. It’s first in a series but it’s a self contained story. It’s also short (by sci fi standards), punchily written and easy to read and – like the best sci fi – touches on some pretty interesting concepts while still being great fun.

    If you want something a bit more quantum in nature then Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is worth a look (I’ve not read any others of his). Again, complex scientific concepts but wrapped in a story that almost literally leaves you breathless. It’s described as ‘never letting up’ and that’s very apt.

    On the fantasy side, Joe Abercrombie is brilliant. Down to earth, gritty, brilliant characters and great plot. The Blade Itself trilogy is a great place to start, though be aware that once you finish the first one you WILL want to go straight on to the second.

    I also recently read Darien: Empire of Salt by CF Iggulden (I think) which is kind of like a less brutal, slightly more fantastic version of the above. That’s definitely worth a look too.

    Also – and I recommend this to literally anyone who ever shows an interest in books – the Mortal Engines series by Phillip Reeve is terrific. Ignore the awful film and the fact that it’s a ‘young adult’ series, they are brilliantly written books that combine top notch world building with wonderful, flawed characters who have a pretty horrid time in places. The first one is good, I cried at the end of the last one. That doesn’t happen often. They’re brutal on an emotional level rather than a visceral one.

    Then go read China Mieville, Haruki Murakami etc.

    Cougar
    Full Member

    The Constant Rabbit is very good if you’ve not read it.

    It’s on my Kindle, theoretically at least. I’m having a bit of Chris Brookyre first though.

    I’d be conscious of staying away from some of the denser stuff if you’re not (yet) a big reader.

    Yeah. For a non-reader the likes of Stephen Donaldson are bit bit optimistic. A fit ninja just hurl a Thomas Covenant through a tree trunk.

    On the fantasy side, Joe Abercrombie is brilliant. Down to earth, gritty, brilliant characters and great plot. The Blade Itself trilogy is a great place to start,

    I’m met him a few times and he’s brilliant. Intelligent, charismatic and very, very funny. But his books… I got about a third of the way through The Blade Itself and gave up. It just wasn’t hitting the spot for me.

    andylc
    Free Member

    Not sure if we seem to be straying into sci fi rather than fantasy but the Stephen Baxter Xeelee series, which includes very varied books but an incredible imagination that writes pretty much the entire history of the Universe / Multiverse is an amazing and mind blowing read. I started with Flux and then Raft, and then expanded out to the whole series from there. They are not chronological or even all based in the same Universe…

    flyingmonkeycorps
    Full Member

    I’m met him a few times and he’s brilliant. Intelligent, charismatic and very, very funny. But his books… I got about a third of the way through The Blade Itself and gave up. It just wasn’t hitting the spot for me.

    I guess that’s the joy of reading, there’s something for everyone. Think I read The Heroes first and I could barely put it down. Might be worth trying that if you want a different route in, it’s a lot smaller in scale and I think actually better for it. Plus it’s a standalone, though it does feature a few characters from the trilogy, and from the new trilogy too. Good to hear he’s a good guy though, its kinda daft but that always makes things a little bit better.

    I used to love Terry Pratchett when I was younger, but I reread a couple recently and found them a right slog, just couldn’t get on with his writing style.

    WildHunter2009
    Full Member

    Few people have mentioned Brandon Sanderson and the Way of Kings which is a great series so far. His Mistborn series is fantastic as well.
    Lies of Locke Lamora and the Gentleman Bastard’s series is also worth a look.

    Admittedly it’s a bit of an acquired taste but the Malazan book of the Fallen is a monumental labyrinth of a fantasy series.

    Not read as much sci fi recently but the Expanse is very good.

    mogrim
    Full Member

    Anyone remember Michael Moorcock?

    I loved the Elric books “back in the day”, might have to re-read them now. For authors already mentioned and my +1 (with caveats):

    Terry Pratchett – I’d agree with going directly to Mort, or Pyramids, just not the first couple of novels.

    Iain M. Banks – great books, but definitely a lot denser and you’ll need to pay attention… not hard to read, but not easy reading either

    Peter Hamilton – big spaceships, big explosions, big books and definitely easy reading.

    Rivers of London (Ben Aaronovitch) – easy reading, and very enjoyable. Ghosts and magic and policing in modern London. The first 4 or 5 are great, then they get a bit hit-or-miss.

    The SF Masterworks list is great, and an excellent starting point. There are loads of other “Top 10 SF Books You Must Read” lists around, you won’t go far wrong if you read a couple of them and choose the books that are on both.

    And one that hasn’t been mentioned: Watchmen. It’s a comic, and you’ll want to get a paper copy rather than Kindle, but there’s a reason it’s one of the few comics that makes the “100 Best C20 Books” lists in mainstream newspapers/magazines. Along with Maus it’s one of the few comics I can safely recommend to my non-geek friends :)

    CountZero
    Full Member

    Plenty of suggestions that I might have made as well, Charles Stross has quite a range of books that are well worth a read, like Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise, Halting State, Rule 54, Accelerando, Saturn’s Children, Bit Rot, and Neptune’s Brood.

    For fantasy that’s a bit more grounded in our world, with magic that’s not quite away with the faeries, Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift books are well worth checking out, starting with “A Madness Of Angels”. She’s also written a number of stand-alone books under the name of Claire North, starting with “The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August”, “Touch”, “The Sudden Appearance Of Hope”, “The End Of The Day”, “84K”, and “The Pursuit Of William Abbey”.

    Then there’s her Young Adult books, which, considering she wrote the first one, “Mirror Dreams” during her summer break from school, age 14, is remarkably adult, very reminiscent of one of my favourite writers, Roger Zelazney. Those books she wrote under her own name, Catherine Webb.

    Speaking of Roger Zelazney, he has to be on the list, a fantastically lyrical writer, he wrote books that I first bought around fifty years ago, and have re-read most regularly ever since, I never get bored of them. Too long a list, really, I’ll c’n’p a bibliography.
    Easier to just link to his wiki;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Zelazny_bibliography

    Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    Admittedly it’s a bit of an acquired taste but the Malazan book of the Fallen is a monumental labyrinth of a fantasy series.

    I read Malazan back to back, all ten, around the time Crippled God came out. Good way of really seeing how the story ebbed and flowed – thought it was interesting that Erikson wrote like a machine, with apparently rigorous planning, and still couldn’t quite control the story arc (IMO) – was close to disaster and losing it. I guess such a giant book must take on a life of its own and it is impossible not to lose the thread here and there.

    Basically the last word in amps-up-to-11 epic fantasy and will remain so for a long long time I reckon. Very few people capable of such sustained writing around a focussed world-build like that.

    Malvern Rider
    Free Member

    +1 ‘The Owl Service’.

    Genuinely unsettling yet charming. Worth noting that the legend awakened in the story is from the Welsh ‘Mabinogion’ (earliest existing British prose literature)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mabinogion

    flyingmonkeycorps
    Full Member

    I really struggle to read Peter F Hamilton. He has some interesting ideas, and good stories but he always feels like he needs a lot more editing than he gets. I find his prose really ungainly (to the point where I find myself tutting at it as I read) and there often seems to be hundreds of pages of bleh before he gets to the interesting bit.

    Has anyone mentioned Robopocalypse? Can’t remember the author but I actually really enjoyed it (despite the name) – kind of follows a similar structure to World War Z (the book, not the film) but with robots instead of zombies.

    More offbeat stuff that I’ve read recently and enjoyed has included The Book of Strange New Things, Beneath the World a Sea and The Wind Up Bird Chronicles, though calling that sci fi is probably pushing the definition.

    muddy@rseguy
    Full Member

    Not so much books but more authors:

    SciFi: well I started many many years back with 2001: A space oddysey by Arthur C Clarke and rapidly moved to Larry Niven (Ringworld, Footfall, Lucifers Hammer and the Known Space series), Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. Loads of others including Iain M Banks especially the earlier culture novels such as Consider Phlebas, Player of Games and Use of Weapons . Frankly anything by Neal Stephenson is really good indeed (Cryptonomicon is standout brilliant as is Anathem), William Gibson’s Sprawl series (Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive etc) are definitive cyberpunk and the latest books such as Pattern Recognition (awesome) and The Peripheral are well worth reading. I got into reading Kurt Vonnegut and Joe Haldeman recently as well.
    Liu Cixin’s “Three body Problem” trilogy is very different to a lot of Western SciFi: you learn a lot about game theory, Alien invasions as well as the Cultural revolution.

    Fantasy: Ray Bradbury: frankly just everything he’s written as it ranges from golden age sci fi, through fantasy to horror . Neil Gaiman, ditto, also try his Sandman Graphic novels.
    The Rotherwierd series by Andrew Caldicot, also the Rivers of London series by Ben Arronovich (think The Bill meets Harry Potter and you get the basic idea).

    and that’s just scratching the surface, lots of good books out there.

    uponthedowns
    Free Member

    Michael Moorcock. No one has mentioned him so far so I will.

    I think he was the first author to come up with the concept of the universal warrior condemned to everlasting life and rebirth to fight for good throughout time. All his heroes are in fact the same person

    Elric of Melniboné series
    The Dorian Hawkmoon series
    The Erekosë series
    The Jerry Cornelius quartet

    and the decadent lives of the beings at the end of time
    The Dancers at the End of Time sequence

    Oh and if you want to know where they got the idea for Halo from
    Ringworld by Larry Niven

    finbar
    Free Member

    Joe Abercrombie – First Law trilogy, can be read stand alone but I guarantee you’ll want to read them all. Prtty much the best fantasy author out there at the moment

    David Gemmell – The Rigante books and the Druss books are classic, no nonsense big hard c….guy… been wronged, kicks ass.

    Robin Hobb – Assassins apprentice, another huge world to fall into

    George R R Martin – Game of Thrones, there is a reason that the tv series was so successful, they are awesome. Massive undertaking though to start.

    I like your thinking (although, if I’m honest with myself, A DAnce with Dragons was hard work with little reward).

    In a similar vein, I’d add the Ostern Ard trilogy by Tad Williams, and at the other end of the spectrum for gritty grimdark sci fi, the Horus Heresy, er, quinquaginta (?) (the series is over 50 books long and counting…).

    montgomery
    Free Member

    On a related note, did you it was today, Sept 13th, 21 years ago that the moon was torn from Earth’s orbit by gigantic explosions and sent hurling into outer space…

    montgomery
    Free Member

    Best theme tune ever.

    slackboy
    Full Member

    Genuinely unsettling yet charming. Worth noting that the legend awakened in the story is from the Welsh ‘Mabinogion’ (earliest existing British prose literature)

    A bit off topic, but there is a wonderful adaptation of that myth on radio 3

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0003rpn

Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 159 total)

The topic ‘Definitive sci fi and fantasy book list’ is closed to new replies.