The best/your favourite Sci fi books?

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  • The best/your favourite Sci fi books?
  • bencooper
    Member

    Too many to mention, really – John Wyndham is a good one, definitely, as is John Christopher for more older British SF. Then there’s Iain M Banks of course, Ken MacLeod, Alastair Reynolds, Ursula LeGuin, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Kim Stanley Robinson. Books I’ve probably retread most, though, have been Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon.

    Spin
    Member

    Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Iain March Banks culture series for me, frequently tops the best books never made into films list as I have no idea how you would create half the aliens or agree on any of the pronunciation.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    If you like your John Wyndham, then try The Chrysalids.

    I don’t know if it quite counts, but for some more post-apocalyptic prose, try The Stand by Stephen King (the complete edition).

    The Mote in God’s Eye by Niven/Pournelle is a great view of conflicting cultures.

    Spin
    Member

    The best Sci-Fi is a mirror for real life, it uses fantastical situations to cast light on the mysteries of existence. Not all that spaceships and lasers crap, diverting though it can be.

    Spin
    Member

    Contact by Carl Sagan. Slightly clunky prose but a mind blowing conclusion. There’s a twist in the film but a double and far more interesting twist in the book.

    I’ll say no more.

    JCL
    Member

    Yeah keep going with Wyndham but I think you’ve already read two of the best speculative fiction books ever written.

    Also try Ballard’s, Super Cannes, Drowned World etc.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
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    If you allow for the 50s style SF, you may find Eric Frank Russell very funny, or at least wry.

    Premier Icon kerbdog
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    Tad williams Otherland

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    Ken Macleod’s earlier stuff, love The Star Fraction. Daniel Keyes’ Flowers For Algernon

    Red/Green/Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, ridiculously bloated but that’s part of what makes it so good. My favourite scifi author by far, despite his faults. But, mmm. Maybe for later.

    Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon, yep. And Banks’s Consider Phlebeas. And Stand On Zanzibar.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    Just finished reading War of the Worlds and Day of the Triffids. 2 quite fantastic books. Never really been one for sci fi books tbh, but I’m hooked now(dunno why I love sci fi TV and film).

    So give me your suggestions please? Just bought another of Wyndams books the Kracken Wakes, so that’ll probably my be my next port of call. But interested to see what you lot come up with?

    Premier Icon kerbdog
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    cant forget Douglas Adams.
    The Red Dwarf books, though they’ve maybe not aged well.

    Tri-X
    Member

    Check out Jules Verne’s ‘The Underground City’

    “To Mr. F. R. Starr, Engineer, 30 Canongate, Edinburgh.
    If Mr. James Starr will come to-morrow to the Aberfoyle coal-mines, Dochart pit, Yarrow shaft, a communication of an interesting nature will be made to him.”

    gutenberg link

    Premier Icon Jon Taylor
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    Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids are my two favourite by John Wyndham.

    I’ve munched my way through some of the classic Si-Fi’s – Asimov, Clarke, and some others but you can’t beat Iain M Banks, IMHO.

    I’ll be following this thread for some more recommendations and some greats that I’ve missed.

    wordnumb
    Member

    The short stories of Robert Sheckley, Store of the Worlds, are very good, almost the US equivalent of Ballard’s short stories. Also worth mentioning John M Harrison’s short pieces (don’t about his novels, the space operaness has so far put me off, but the man can definitely write).

    drlex
    Member

    Lots of great suggestions so far; let me add in a few more names:
    Alfred Bester. From the Golden Era; Tiger, Tiger is sublime, and The Demolished Man is a treat (& the first Hugo award winner)
    Ted Chiang. A great collection can be found in “Stories of Life and Others”
    Harry Harrison. Varies between comedic (Stainless Steel Rat) & dystopian (Make room, make room – became the film Soylent Green)

    I can thoroughly recommend Frank Herberts’ Dune and at least two of the sequels. If you’ve seen the film, forget it. The book is so broad and deep, completely immersive.
    Kurt Vonnegut is another great writer too. SF, but not lasers and green tentacles. Slaughterhouse 5 and Breakfast of Champions are good to start with.
    On an aside about Ballard, I’m currently reading The Atrocity Exhibition and finding it hard going. Are all his novels in a similar vein?

    thebrowndog
    Member

    Heaps of great writing up there ^^^ though not sure if anyone has mentioned Isaac Asimov. I was obsessed with the concept of robotics when I was a kid and read everything I could get my hands on that had his name on it.

    Premier Icon nemesis
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    I highly recommend Neal Asher, the Polity series in particular. I think I’ve read every one of his books now.

    vintagewino
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    No love for Philip K Dick?! Read them all but don’t start with The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, because your head will melt.

    …if you get on with Iain M. Banks (Use Of Weapons for me) then I can recommend Peter F. Hamilton’s huge ‘space operas’ (still not entirely sure what makes that genre) and James S A Corey’s Expanse series.
    Most re-read for me would have to be classic William Gibson cyberpunk: Neuromancer / Count Zero / Mona Lisa Overdrive 🙂

    Premier Icon prettygreenparrot
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    The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
    +1 for Iain M Banks.
    +1 for William Gibson’s work. I just re-read Mona Lisa Overdrive. Very enjoyable.
    +1 for Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash and The Diamond Age
    Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
    Audrey Niffenegger’s time traveller’s wife, not tech scifi, but some interesting and emotional exploration of what can happen.
    The handmaid’s tale by margaret atwood
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland

    J G Ballard is literary scifi. Good, and a challenging read.

    bencooper
    Member

    No love for Philip K Dick?! Read them all but don’t start with The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, because your head will melt.

    Yes, definitely, though I much prefer his short stories – he wrote hundreds and they nicely contain his weirdness, if you know what I mean 😉

    jimification
    Member

    “Across Realtime” by Vernor Vinge. Really interesting concept. (time bubbles)
    “The Anubis Gates” by Tim Powers. Sci-fi historical time travel romp. Good fun.
    “Player of Games” my favourite Banks Culture novel.
    “1984” (Orwell) is excellent (though very dark!)

    If you like sci-fi for the ideas (rather than the special effects) and haven’t seen it already, I’d heartily recommend the film “Primer”. (and “Moon” too for that matter)

    WackoAK
    Member

    James Blish – “Cities In Flight” is an absolute classic but seems to have been overlooked by many.

    There is a whole series of “Sci-Fi Masterworks” that have been (re)published, you’d not go wrong with any of them Wiki Linkage

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
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    +1000 for I Banks Culture series.

    For a quick read, Star ship troopers by R Heinlein

    The forever war by J Holdeman

    Really enjoyed Asimov’s books including the foundation series.

    klumpy
    Member

    I concur with all the Iain M Banks recommendations – start with Consider Phlebas and Excession.
    Also concur on James S A Corey – even though he doesn’t exist. 🙂
    C J Cherryh’s Scifi stuff is very good, Heavy Time and Hellburner are a good pair to read.
    Neal Asher’s Owner trilogy. (And all his other stuff too.)
    Michael Marshall Smith’s Only Forward.
    Some similar-ish themes to Snowcrash (which is great) pop up in Babel 17 by Sam Delaney, published 1966 – you seem to like the older stuff.

    Oh, and no account should anyone ever read Otherland. Ever!

    Premier Icon jamj1974
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    Red/Green/Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson, ridiculously bloated but that’s part of what makes it so good. My favourite scifi author by far, despite his faults. But, mmm. Maybe for later.

    Brilliant author and totally concur with Northwind. Icehenge is an easy way in to KSR.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
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    I’ve also started reading Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve with my eldest. That seems great so far.

    Pigface
    Member

    Robert A. Heinlein is good but haven’t read any for ages.

    Dragon’s Egg by Robert L Forward. The aliens are alien and not just like except with tails/scales/different coloured skin. Story is just how they in such a different environment are different to us, but some excellent reading.

    wordnumb
    Member

    Bruise Willies > On an aside about Ballard, I’m currently reading The Atrocity Exhibition and finding it hard going. Are all his novels in a similar vein?

    tAE is quite different from most of Ballard’s other material, though there were several short pieces written at the same time which were equally abrasive, certainly not a starting place. I reckon he got a little excited by what Burroughs was doing around that time. In interviews he claims he never went out to shock people, but he really can’t be trusted as his interview responses are as carefully constructed as his fictions.

    Extreme Metaphors (Collected Interviews) may be a bit much to read in its entirety, but as there’s an interview from almost each year he was writing it’s a very good resource to what Ballard was interested in during the writing of each novel.

    Premier Icon grenosteve
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    Alastair Reynolds for me.

    if you like space opera, try the Revelation Space series of books – very out there, but it’s an awesome universe that’s created and spans over 5 books (3 in the main story, lots of short stories and 2 spin off novels in the same universe).

    Pushing Ice is also a great book.

    null

    Premier Icon thetallpaul
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    Simon R Green – Deathstalker series
    Peter F Hamilton – Naked God trilogy
    Asimov – Foundation series

    Just finished Ben Bova’s Orion series and enjoyed those.

    The Long Earth series by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is what I’m onto now and it has started reasonably well.

    The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies edited by Gardner Dozois are worth picking up too. Lots of short stories to dip into.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    Excellent replies. Thanks all, and keep them coming. Will use this as a reference point in the future. Started the kraken last night, good start. Can see me running through all of Wyndham’s books over the next wee while.

    disco_stu
    Member

    Loads of really good suggestions here, another author to consider is Charles Stross, particularly enjoying the Laundry series of books ( think Cthulhu mythos meets James Bond )
    The Halting State ( near future crime/police thrillers ) and Merchant Princes series of books are also very good

    What Neil Gaiman books should I go for next after just finished American Gods?

    Premier Icon curiousyellow
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    What Neil Gaiman books should I go for next after just finished American Gods?

    Anansi Boys
    Neverwhere (the graphic novel version is beautiful as well)

    Premier Icon tenfoot
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    Peter F Hamilton Night’s Dawn trilogy
    Simon Morden Metrozone trilogy

    And if you’ve seen Blade Runner then you’ll already have experienced Philip K Dick as the film was based on his book “So androids dream of electric sheep”

    Premier Icon Lifer
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    Another lover of the (Philip K) Dick here!

    Dr Bloodmoney is excellent, as is Androids…

    Man Who Japed, Dr Futurity and Vulcan’s hammer too, got them in ‘3 short stories’ collection.

    Didn’t enjoy The Man in the High Castle as much and got Ubik to read.

    Don’t think anyone’s said it yet, so I’m gonna add the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. I’ve nearly finished the first (Hyperion) and it’s pretty ace, takes a similar format to the Canterbury Tales but in a high SF setting…

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