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science fiction recommendations - Souls in the Great Machine by Sean McMullen

 
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Howdy all.

I am looking for some science fiction recommendations.

Something refreshing and mind boggling.

Have to choose carefully, books are expensiiiiive over here in Malaysia

Anybody read Souls in the Great Machine by Sean McMullen?
I came accross it on a blog. Went to the local Borders to check it out, not sure about it - sounds a bit science fantasyish from reading a part of a chapter.

While we are at it, any favourite Dean Koontz books?

Cheers.
[ July 22, 2005: Message edited by: Sonny Gill ]
 
Sonny Gill
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More candidates -

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

2001 The Space Odyssey
I know it is Arthur C. Clarke, and a must read, I am just wondering what other ranchers have to say on this one.


The Stand by Stephen King
Interesting quote on Amazon -


In 1978, science fiction writer Spider Robinson wrote a scathing review of The Stand in which he exhorted his readers to grab strangers in bookstores and beg them not to buy it.

 
Sonny Gill
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So, I am having a very productive Friday!!
Any Babylon 5 books?

such as -
Summoning Light (Babylon 5: The Passing of the Techno-Mages, Book 2)
 
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I just finished Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds. Good Hard Sci Fi. Ive started reading his other books on the basis of this.

Pandoras Star by Peter Hamilton is the first in a new series of Sci Fi books from this author. Some really interesting ideas. Id especially recommend this author, Ive read nearly all of his books and I havent been disappointed.

HTH

Mark
 
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I'm a Neal Stephenson fan. "Snow Crash" is outrageously great and funny. "Diamond Age" didn't grab me quite as well, but has some good future vision stuff. "Cryptonomicon" is not SF but it appeals to the same geeks. Includes a PERL program and an appendix about an original encryption algorithm.

"The Baroque Cycle" trilogy takes place in 1600s & 1700s, is not SF at all, features Newton, Leibnitz, kings, queens, vagabonds, etc. It has some wierd connections to characters & events in the Cryptonomicon. Some like the anachronistic humor, some don't. It's a very long read at 900 pages per book.
 
Mark Fletcher
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Yknow,

This topic is something that comes up every so often in Miscellaneous Drivel. I wonder if Bunkhouse Books could have a section devoted to reviewing sci fi ? Sheriffs, pretty please?

Mark
 
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Dune by Frank Herbert. You can't say you're a sci-fi reader without it.

And Asimov's robot novels.

And The Mote in God's Eye, Niven/Pournelle.

And The Two Faces of Tomorrow, Hogan. A must-read for computer geeks.
 
Bear Bibeault
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And Colossus, Jones.

And The Humanoids, Williamson.
 
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Babylon 5 books: Actually I will recommend several of these, yes. Assuming you're a fan of the TV series, as I am. Normally I have little to no interest in media tie-in books, but the later B5 books are an exception. Several of them were written with extensive input from the series creator, and thus are pretty well-integrated into the overall story. I highly reommend the Technomage trilogy by Jeanne Cavelos, and the Bester books by Gregory Keyes. The Centauri books by Peter David are pretty good too, though not as good as the other two trilogies. I think that with the Centauri books, the problem is that there were specific expectations about certain significant events to occur on Centauri Prime - but seeing them actually play out is somewhat less enthralling than the anticipation was. In contrast the Technomage books - I really had little idea what to expect, and the author ended up going in some very interesting and unexpected directions. And for Bester, well I thought I knew what to expect, but often I was wrong. Particularly the last book - I found I was actually starting to feel sorry for the arrogant little creep.

Also recommended are To Dream In the City of Shadows by Kathryn Drennan, and The Shadow Within by Cavelos. Stay away from any of the other B5 tie-in books though. Seriously. They are really not worth your time. I read a few; other trusted friends read the others. It was painful, but someone had to do it, to warn off the others (while still being aware of them enough to detect when the quality of the series later improved substantially.)

I should also note that, since you asked about Summoning Light - you really should not read this trilogy out of sequence. So read Casting Shadows, first. (If you've already read book 1 then you didn't need this info anyway - if you liked it, read the rest; if you didn't, don't.)

---

As for your other candidates, I'll comment on those I've read:

2001 pretty good, but not Clarke's best, and not as good as the movie. You're probably better off reading Childhood's End or The City and the Stars if you haven't, and watching 2001 off DVD on a high-definition widescreen, if you can. And get a short story collection of Clark's too, while you're at it - that's where much of his best work is. (For fun, count how many times exploding stars occur as major plot points in his stories.)

The Andromeda Strain - pretty good.

---

And now, a bunch of other books you (Sonny) didn't mention, but should have. In no particular order:
  • Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons.
  • Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.
  • Startide Rising and Earth by David Brin.
  • A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein.
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. Or one of his early short story collections.
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick
  • The Foundation trilogy by Asimov.
  • Robert Silverberg - I can't decide what, but preferably something he wrote in the seventies


  • I'm sure I've forgotten many others that should be listed here. And if you want to include fantasy too, then I'll put George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones and sequels at the top of my list, followed shortly thereafter by Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan, and Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates. And a whole bunch of other stuff.

    ---

    There are also some past threads here worth checking out, e.g. here and here.
    [ July 22, 2005: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
     
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    This thread is priceless...
     
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    I asked for and received for my last birthday a number of short-story anthologies of writers I like. I tell you what: if I was going to be stuck on a desert island I'd be hard-pressed to find better books to bring. One is the complete stories of Isaac Asimov (Volume I), the other is Ray Bradbury's 100 best. The Bradbury book is fantastic because he wrote in so many different genres: Scifi, horror, mystery, travel, comic tales. I can't think of a person to whom I wouldn't recommend this latter book. And of course the Asimov rocks, too -- but he's not everybody's cup of tea.
     
    Ernest Friedman-Hill
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    I asked for and received for my last birthday a number of short-story anthologies of writers I like. I tell you what: if I was going to be stuck on a desert island I'd be hard-pressed to find better books to bring. One is the complete stories of Isaac Asimov (Volume I), the other is Ray Bradbury's 100 best. The Bradbury book is fantastic because he wrote in so many different genres: Scifi, horror, mystery, travel, comic tales. I can't think of a person to whom I wouldn't recommend this latter book. And of course the Asimov rocks, too -- but he's not everybody's cup of tea.
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    Childhood's End



    Forgot that one! Another must-have.

    Robert Silverberg - I can't decide what, but preferably something he wrote in the 1970's



    Downward to the Earth, perhaps?
     
    Bear Bibeault
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    Great suggestions Ernest, They're now on my wish-list.
     
    Sonny Gill
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    Whoa!!
    I knew when it comes to SF, I can trust the Ranchers Thank you all.

    Okay, so I went to the local Borders the other day with a short list -
    - 2001 The Space Odyssey
    - Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
    - The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
    - The Stand by Stephen King

    And after a couple of hours of browsing, I stumbled upon an illustrated unabridged hard cover edition of The Stand. There was one copy left with a price tag of RM52 (about USD 12-13). I guess it was from a previous promotion they may have had, it was the last copy left and the good folks at Borders insisted on giving it to me at that price . The normal price would have been 3 times as much.

    Before that I almost bought a collection of stories by Philip K. Dick, but I will be going back for that one and some other excellent books suggested by every one here
     
    Sonny Gill
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    Now, going through the suggestions made -

    Dune. Oh yeah, definately a must have, I read all 5 ( 6??) books a few years ago. I agree, the first three are the best of the lot. By the time I got to the last one, I was just wishing for it to end, hoping that the finish would justify all the time spent.

    And Asimov! One of these days, I have to go back and read the Foundation series from the start again. Definately a must have. And get some of his short stories too. As an aside, I believe Asimov must be one of the most recognized SF authors in 80s India. I wonder if it was because he was born in Russia.

    Jim, thanks a lot for the Babylon 5 books analysis. I am a long time Babylon 5 fan, and would love to visit the B5 universe again. I generally stay away from books based on any series, but going by your recommendations and the fact that JMS had a lot of input in those, I will definately be getting some of those.
    And the rest of your post looks like a pretty comprehensive list too. Cheers.

    Lucky you, Ernest. I think I should start making lists of my favourite books on post-it notes, and leave them around my house. Hopefully, somebody will take the cue Ray Bradbury is one of my favourites too, infact I am surprised no one else mentioned him.

    I read Rendezvous with Rama by Clarke a while back and quite liked it. Perhaps a bit slow for some. Have to get some more of his work.

    Off I go to bookmark this thread on del.ic.ious ....
    [ July 25, 2005: Message edited by: Sonny Gill ]
     
    Sonny Gill
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    For anyone interested, here is a top-100 list of SF books with a short synopsis on each one.


    http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/lists_books_rank1.html
     
    Stan James
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    Some of those take me back. "Man Plus" is still on my shelves somewhere.
     
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    the novel "Ender's Game" is based on a short story by the same name/author. the short story is much tighter, skips over a lot of the fluff in the book, and is, IMHO, better.

    Don't get me wrong, the novel is one of the best i've read... i just prefer the other (perhaps because i read it first).

    The author has a large collection of short stories, called "Maps in a Mirror", which i'd reccomend. There are many varieties of stories, from Fic to horror to Sci-Fi to Morman Fic (seriously).

    Not all stories will appeal to everyone, but many of them are just outstanding.
     
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