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karan129
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So what are your fav SF books? I love books that are magnificent in their scope and combine SF with philosophical (eg. Dune) or sociological (eg. Foundation) concerns etc... Here are my faves in order :)

 

Frank Herbert - Dune

The greatest piece of science fiction written, if just edging the Mars Trilogy for the honour. Astounding in its scope, spanning thousands of years, across star systems and galaxies, countless worlds and their denizens. And ofcourse the magical world of Arrakis. Parts or the book are almost metaphysical with the characters reflecting and introspecting, for example, the Bene Gesserit viewpoint on history showing how subtle touches can affect the future.

 

The followups by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson are worth reading, they don't resemble the original series as far as the philosophy goes, but they are absolute thrillers and page turners. These book do well to explain the genesis of the many factions you will meet in Dune, while remaining books in their own right.

 

IMO this series blurs the boundary between science fiction and fantasy, I consider it to be a blend of both.

 

Kim Stanley Robinson - Mars Trilogy

The Mars Trilogy consists of three books - Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, the titles reflecting the changing face of Mars as it is terraformed. This series is absolutely breathtaking, not simply as a science function but because of the author's literary style and the literary devices he employs to bring alive the beauty of an alien planet which none of us have seen. Take Sax and Maya trying to put names to the myriad hues of the Martian skies and find themselves lacking because of the sheer variety of colours.

 

"And after that they had a little hobby. Really it was remarkable how varied the colors of the Odessa sunsets were......So most evenings they held up their forearms, and tried different colors against the sky, and found a patch that matched fairly well, and it was a nondescript; no name. They made up names: 2 October the llth Orange, Aphelion Purple, Lemon Leaf, Almost Green, Arkady’s Beard; Maya could go on forever, she was really good at it.......Maya seized his arm in her clawlike grip, “That’s Martian orange, look, that’s the color of the planet from space, what we saw from the Aresl Look! Quick, what color is that, what color is that?”.......Cinnamon, raw sienna, Persian orange, sunburn, camel, rust brown, Sahara, chrome orange ...... they began to laugh. Nothing was quite right. “We’ll call it Martian orange,” Maya decided."

 

Leave all that aside, and this book is still amazing...why? Read it and you will understand what humanity can achieve if we look beyond, to the stars.

 

Issac Asimov - Foundation

Known the science fiction fans all over the globe, inventor of the three famous laws of robotics, I think the Foundations series is Asimov's best known work. I have yet to read everything he has written, but this stands head and shoulders above the stuff I have. It follows the use of a new science called psychohistory, a marriage of psychology and history, to change the future. What will we become? And in the end, you too must choose. The Empire disintegrates. Humanity is on the verge of regression. Yet there is hope. Foundation 1, Foundation 2 or Gaia? Foundation 1, Foundation 2 or Gaia? Foundation 1, Foundation 2 or Gaia???

 

Arthur C. Clarke - Odyssey Series

Not only a great science fiction writer, but a great visionary who predicted developments such as communication satellites long before they came into being and famously claimed that any technology advanced enough is indistinguishable from magic. I read this series years ago, and unfortunately have retained too little of it to say anything more than this is worth reading!! =P

 

William Gibson - Neuromancer

Hailed as the coming of age of the cyberpunk sub-genre, this novel typifies the gritty, run-down, tech-permeated world envisioned in cyberpunk novels. Neuromancer's power lies in its ability to grasp you and throw you into a world radically different from what conventional science fiction potrays. There are no squawking robots, no huge spaceships, no lasers going off. Instead you have sentient AIs and genetic engineering, and hacking has achieved primacy among human vocations.

 

"...Headlong motion through walls of emerald green, milky jade, the sensation of speed beyond anything he'd known before in cyberspace....The Tessier-Ashpool ice shattered, peeling away from the Chinese program's thrust, a worrying impression of solid fluidity, as though the shards of a broken mirror bent and elongated as they fell..."

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Stanislaw Lem - Fiasco: The bar to which I currently hold all sci-fi. I can't imagine a more powerful book in the genre. The Cyberiad and His Master's Voice are also top notch.

Philip K. Dick - V.A.L.I.S.: Highly psychological, innovative and unique, with a drug-like disorienting effect.

Samuel R. Delany - Nova: My first favorite, and I read it again every now and then for the nostalgia. The sensory syrynx instrument the Mouse plays will always stick with me. Delany is a very imaginative writer, and books like Dhalgren and Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand are wonderfully poetic and complex.

Frank Herbert - Dune: Great book. Tried to get involved with the follow-ups, but they were annoyingly unnecessary.

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game: Classic. Great story. Need to read it again.

Sheri S. Tepper - Grass: Sci-fi with a fantasy bent, unusual and more than a little bit terrifying. Raising the Stones, the follow-up, was similarly interesting.

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Frank Herbert - Dune

The greatest piece of science fiction written, if just edging the Mars Trilogy for the honour. Astounding in its scope, spanning thousands of years, across star systems and galaxies, countless worlds and their denizens. And ofcourse the magical world of Arrakis. Parts or the book are almost metaphysical with the characters reflecting and introspecting, for example, the Bene Gesserit viewpoint on history showing how subtle touches can affect the future.

I loved the first book, and I think the second. I started losing interest later on, and I think I stopped reading around the middle of the fourth book, "God Emperor of Dune".

 

William Gibson - Neuromancer

Hailed as the coming of age of the cyberpunk sub-genre, this novel typifies the gritty, run-down, tech-permeated world envisioned in cyberpunk novels. Neuromancer's power lies in its ability to grasp you and throw you into a world radically different from what conventional science fiction potrays. There are no squawking robots, no huge spaceships, no lasers going off. Instead you have sentient AIs and genetic engineering, and hacking has achieved primacy among human vocations.

 

"...Headlong motion through walls of emerald green, milky jade, the sensation of speed beyond anything he'd known before in cyberspace....The Tessier-Ashpool ice shattered, peeling away from the Chinese program's thrust, a worrying impression of solid fluidity, as though the shards of a broken mirror bent and elongated as they fell..."

I haven't read it, but it does seem to be claiming a place as a modern classic. I think I should read it.

 

Philip K. Dick - V.A.L.I.S.: Highly psychological, innovative and unique, with a drug-like disorienting effect.

Definitely a must-read for anyone interested in the psychological and/or metaphysical realms.

 

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game: Classic. Great story. Need to read it again.

One of my all-time favorite books. Not overly-heavy, but full of emotion at the same time. The sequels are also good, but in order of decreasing quality. Orson Scott Card is a great author, I've read a fair amount of his books. He has a stand-alone book "Wyrms", very good, that is about dragons (which I like). I also like his Homecoming series, which is basically about the journey of humans back to Earth from the world they fled to after they destroyed Earth so much they could no longer live there.

 

He's a great writer, but my one criticism is that he often lets religion become too important in his books. I understand, since he is a religious person himself, but the last couple books of the Ender series, and pretty much the entire Homecoming series, are in my opinion way too inundated with religion.

 

I like some sci-fi, but a lot of it I don't like because it seems to have no feeling or human character. Like the authors come up with interesting general plots, but don't have the insight into humanity to make the plots truly interesting on a personal level. That's why I like fantasy so much, because fantasy authors tend to incorporate more actual human emotion and human psychology into their characters. In general.

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I like some sci-fi, but a lot of it I don't like because it seems to have no feeling or human character. Like the authors come up with interesting general plots, but don't have the insight into humanity to make the plots truly interesting on a personal level. That's why I like fantasy so much, because fantasy authors tend to incorporate more actual human emotion and human psychology into their characters. In general.

Asimov's First and Second Galactic series are all about society and have some psychological themes, but the style of his prose is very dry and unadorned. So it maybe about humans and emotions but it is not written in an emotional way.

 

For a plot about humans and human character you should try the Mars Trilogy. It follows several main characters and their thoughts from beginning to end.

 

Dune, I agree could be fairly abstract at times.

 

I love Fantasy too :)

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I used to love it as a teen (I was a HUGE Dune and Foundation fan), but then I just lost interest... I found that in the end most of it is not really that futuristic, it's basically a plot that could very well take place today but they add all these futuristic artifacts like robots and rocketships to make it look fancy. For example a conversation in a car with a friend driving to the next town becomes a conversation in a spaceship with an alien while flying to Mars, but in essence it's the same conversation. And most of the "future" is a mere extrapolation of how we see the world today, like for example all the hype in the 80s about a nuclear WW3 before the end of the century.

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I used to love it as a teen (I was a HUGE Dune and Foundation fan), but then I just lost interest... I found that in the end most of it is not really that futuristic, it's basically a plot that could very well take place today but they add all these futuristic artifacts like robots and rocketships to make it look fancy. For example a conversation in a car with a friend driving to the next town becomes a conversation in a spaceship with an alien while flying to Mars, but in essence it's the same conversation. And most of the "future" is a mere extrapolation of how we see the world today, like for example all the hype in the 80s about a nuclear WW3 before the end of the century.

I think thats simplying it a bit. Dune and Foundation are set thousands of years into the future. Positronics, Bene Gessirit, Three Laws of Robotics, the Spice etc...

are imho quite far removed from today's world.

 

If you want a real peek into the future, I mean very realistic, I really recommend the Mars Trilogy. Its highly under-rated and under-read if you ask me.

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I think thats simplying it a bit. Dune and Foundation are set thousands of years into the future. Positronics, Bene Gessirit, Three Laws of Robotics, the Spice etc...

are imho quite far removed from today's world.

 

If you want a real peek into the future, I mean very realistic, I really recommend the Mars Trilogy. Its highly under-rated and under-read if you ask me.

 

AHA!!! I knew someone would say that. The thing is that most of what Frank Herbert put into his books are actually ancient ideas presented in a futuristic way. Secret orders of witches, initiation rituals and drug usage allowing to share a glimpse into the future are as old as mankind itself. The whole genetic revealing stuff is simply another way of presenting the eastern concept of finding one's true self after reincarnation. And I won't even get into the whole arabic culture and islamic simbology which is like 99% of the description of "planet Arrakis".

 

OK granted, it's a bit different for Asimov but still, the whole concept of predicting the future through mathematical equations and using a small-scale model to predict events at much larger scales is nothing new either, many scientists have spent their lives trying to crack such equations.

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AHA!!! I knew someone would say that. The thing is that most of what Frank Herbert put into his books are actually ancient ideas presented in a futuristic way. Secret orders of witches, initiation rituals and drug usage allowing to share a glimpse into the future are as old as mankind itself. The whole genetic revealing stuff is simply another way of presenting the eastern concept of finding one's true self after reincarnation. And I won't even get into the whole arabic culture and islamic simbology which is like 99% of the description of "planet Arrakis".

 

OK granted, it's a bit different for Asimov but still, the whole concept of predicting the future through mathematical equations and using a small-scale model to predict events at much larger scales is nothing new either, many scientists have spent their lives trying to crack such equations.

Umm...that way you could argue that nothing is futuristic at all, because obviously anything written by any author has to be derived from what they have seen/experienced. I suppose the only way anyone could write anything that would be futuristic by your definition would be to build a time machine, go a 1000 years into the future, note down everything and come back and write about it :ph34r:
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  • 3 weeks later...

I want to add one more author that is Dan Simmons and his tetralogy Hyperion.

 

I was reading this in school and it was great. A lot of things happening at the same time - i mean a LOT! Definately stretched my brain :P

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperion_Cantos

Read the first one last summer. Great stuff.
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Issac Asimov - Foundation

Known the science fiction fans all over the globe, inventor of the three famous laws of robotics, I think the Foundations series is Asimov's best known work. I have yet to read everything he has written, but this stands head and shoulders above the stuff I have. It follows the use of a new science called psychohistory, a marriage of psychology and history, to change the future. What will we become? And in the end, you too must choose. The Empire disintegrates. Humanity is on the verge of regression. Yet there is hope. Foundation 1, Foundation 2 or Gaia? Foundation 1, Foundation 2 or Gaia? Foundation 1, Foundation 2 or Gaia???

OMG! This is the awesomest thing i have ever read among sci-fi. Well, i only started but am addicted already. :o:D

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I have to agree with the Ender series. It's not overly heavy on sci-fi per say, but it's very well written and full of great interaction between all characters.

 

 

Can't think of anything else at the moment. I have this book, The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton sitting on my desk waiting to be read and I think it's a part of a trilogy. It looked interesting when I bought it (impulse buy really); so we'll see how that goes.

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Just finished Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Extremely entertaining book, highly recommended. Also, a Woman on the Edge of Time is a great novel too but maybe less well-known. I can't recall if it's by Marge Piercy or not. Feminist scifi with social commentary I'm sure many here would be interested in.

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The "Ender" series by Orson Scott Card is pretty good, plenty of moral and philosophical issues; especially on Ender's Game.

 

Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth depicts humanity migrating from earth before our sun goes nova, plenty of stuff to think about. Goes really well with Mike Oldfield's musical interpretation.

 

Asimov's The End of Eternity and The Bicentennial Man are also pet favs of mine.

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Can't think of anything else at the moment. I have this book, The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton sitting on my desk waiting to be read and I think it's a part of a trilogy. It looked interesting when I bought it (impulse buy really); so we'll see how that goes.

 

Peter F Hamilton is awesome! I haven't read any of the published books in the Void Trilogy (but planing to). But I have read his epic Night's Dawn Trilogy, fantastic work! Lots great ideas in terms of technological and social evolution...

 

Another writer I really appreciate is Vernor Vinge, I have only read two books (A Deepness in The Sky & A Fire Upon The Deep) but very clever books, with lots of "alien psychology"... really interesting :)

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