Discussion in 'Discussions' started by Createx, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Malazan is Expert level fantasy, from what I keep hearing. As in if ASoIaF was hard for you, Malazan is going to be impossible.

    I've done ASoIaF, but I haven't done Wheel of Time or Shannara, so it'll be a while before I even think about Malazan.
  2. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    Wheel of time isn't that bad, but it has a lot of flaws(particularly the females all seem to fit into one of two archetypes: haughty or motherly, I remember one of the big fansites described the first type as "suffering from post-nasal drip disorder"), I was majorly into it back in highschool though and followed it for many years(indeed I played a MUD themed on it and even had a staff position there for some time, my name here comes from there, it was my Aiel who roleplayed his way up to clan chief rank, IIRC he was a red shield).

    Shannara I didn't really like, I think I read the first book and gave up on it. Even Eddings was less boring.
  3. Createx

    Createx Member

    Oh yeah, Vernor Vinge is great! I heard the "successor" to a Deepness in the Sky is pretty bad though, it's actually an adventure/fantasy novel afaik... Rainbow's End is decent, but not as brilliant as Deepness or Fire in the Sky.
    I'll definitely have a look at Gene Wolfe, have been meaning to read his stuff for quite some time, should be right up my alley :)
    I'll take a look at Erikson, though I tend to skip High Fantasy these days, probably overfed on that when I was younger.
    SciFi - wise I can only repat: Take a look at "Grass" by Sheri S. Tepper, one of the most thought-provoking SciFi- novels I've ever read, very underrated I think.
    I also highly recommend Cherryh (sic), "Cloud"s Rider" or "Rider at the Gate". Believable characterization and interesing aliens, lots of psychology.
    China Mieville's "Embassytown" is probably Science Fiction as well, by way of China Mieville (duh) and linguistics, fascinating read! Well, he is one of my favourite authors, but Embassytown is quite different from anything he has written before.
    Thanks for all the tips, I just got a Kindle and will fill it up now.
    Yes, I love real books much more, but I'll be leaving for Turkey for a year, and I don't want to lug 15kg of books around like I did last time I went away for a year. Yes, I did that :D
    Kazeto likes this.
  4. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    I also probably overfed on it. But note that the Malazans is mainly a fantasy military series, but there's a lot of magic and gods and plotting involved. It's very intricate, and very different from most high fantasy. It's a very mature series.

    If you want thought provoking sci-fi... you could give The Sparrow + Children of God, by Mary Doria Russel a go. It's hard sci-fi, with strong psychological and ethical themes. And reading at least one of Ian M Bank's Culture books should be damn near mandatory.
  5. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Apparently book 2 is where it seriously, seriously gets good.
  6. Createx

    Createx Member

    I'm at 3-4 culture novels, probably my favourite Hard SciFi universe. Reynolds is awesome as well (I love Pushing Ice), but tends to veer towards Space Opera sometimes :)

    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    I read The Forever War over the past few days. It was really depressing.

    Hmm.. Can anyone recommend some sci-fi that ISN'T either
    A: An epic with more characters and details than I will ever possibly remember
    B: Really weird / depressing
  8. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    C: Full of orgies?

    1. Take Back Plenty - Colin Greenland (make sure you order the recently released S.F. Masterworks edition)
    2. Trading in Danger - Elizabeth Moon
    3. Leviathan Wakes - James S.A. Corey
  9. Aegho

    Aegho Member

    Give us a few more parameters to narrow it down. ;)

    But seriously, Ian M Banks. Particularly the more culture-centric ones. The Player of Games is seems like a perfect fit. ;)
  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    The Forever War is about Joe Haldeman's experiences in Vietnam, but told within a science fictional setting. I heard him talk about it when he was a guest of honor at some science fiction convention I attended.. I read it so long ago that I can hardly remember it, but I do recall liking the book.
  11. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Are you talking classics or recent?

    As far as classic science fiction is concerned, I can think of a lot of examples. But a lot of what people consider depressing, others will consider uplifting or thoughtful. It depends on how you look at it. That's sometimes more about the reader and his mood than the nature of the story. For example, one of my favorite novels by Orson Scott Card is the second book in his Ender series (and the one I thought should have been the LAST book in the series, honestly), Speaker for the Dead. It's a book about guilt and taking responsibility for ones actions and consequently, it's about forgiveness (particularly about forgiving oneself). It moved me a whole lot. Unfortunately, Card went ahead and ruined it all with his third book, but I now pretend that the second book is the last in the series, and that makes me feel good about it. The first book is pretty good as well, Ender's Game. They've been trying to turn that into a movie for years, but I have my doubts that it will be any good. I thought the novel was really good but slightly flawed, and that those flaws will only become magnified by turning it into a movie.

    I really liked The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula LeGuin -- it's considered a classic, plus it's relatively short, and it's neither too weird nor depressing, imho. It concerns a young man who can change reality by dreaming about it. It's more science fantasy than science fiction, but close enough. (Btw, also a movie:

    There's also Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (and don't tell me that it's depressing, because if you found it so, you didn't read it right). Bradbury considers that his ONLY science fiction novel.

    There's Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegutt, again, which is defiant, and not depressing. I'd recommend his other science fiction, such as The Sirens of Titan. but it may be slightly weird. And, of course, there's Player Piano, which is probably his most conventional science fiction novel, and consequently, the one that people tend to not talk about very much.

    You can't talk science Fiction without talking Heinlein. You definitely want to read the following:
    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    Time Enough for Love
    to name 3 of his best. But keep in mind that Time Enough for Love is the final part of his future history, so you probably should read his collection first The Past through Tomorrow.

    Larry Niven has so many good novels, and a couple of great collaborations with Jerry Pournelle.

    Solo, I recommend many of the books in his Known Space series, including:
    Neutron Star (a collection of short stories)
    Tales of Known Space
    Ringworld Engineers

    With Jerry Pournelle, I strongly recommend:
    Lucifer's Hammer
    The Mote in God's Eye (a personal favorite)

    I can keep going, if you like.
  12. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    I've got some decent science fiction websites with reading lists, and so on. NESFA (New England Science Fiction Association, Inc.) is one of the best science fiction clubs in the U.S., and they annually publish reading lists for people planning to nominate and/or vote for the Hugo Awards: Also, they used to maintain a list of recommended science fiction, including classics, but they've stopped maintaining it long ago, so it's not up to date. Note that these lists are recommendations by the club's members, so that doesn't necessarily mean that these are widely acknowledged as great, or even good. Some books may also be dated or out of print. So look for reviews elsewhere.

    Then there's I don't read it very often (in fact I probably haven't visited the site in a year or so). Unfortunately some of the better sites that I USED to frequent no longer exist :(

    I used to subscribe to Locus -- it was probably the best magazine ABOUT science fiction. Their website is here.

    And of course, there's which has lots of decent user reviews. It's how I discovered Wool
  13. mining

    mining Member

    If someone came up with a good UX for Ender's Game as a game - I would play the shit out of battle training.

    MOOMANiBE Ah, those were the days. Staff Member

    A novel where everyone in the world dies and then the last survivors of humanity commit suicide out of the futility of it all isn't depressing?
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  15. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    That should have spoilers btw. I'm being very careful not to spoil a really excellent book. But in any case, you didn't get it. It's supposed to be ironic.
    "Cat's Cradle" is about (among other things) free will. In a final irony, the narrator shows his creator supreme defiance in the face of his inevitable death by posing himself in an eternal 'f-u' to God.

    It's a great punch line. You aren't supposed to walk away from the book feeling sad about yourself, but pleased, knowing that in spite of everything, the hero gets the last word.
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  16. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Somehow I don't think Moom would be particularly willing to support Orson Scott Card.

    And Heinlein is terrible. That guy has serious sex-related issues. Have you read Friday? She brushes off a gang-rape. No, really. She gets gang-raped and brushes it off.
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  17. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    First of all, I didn't recommend Friday -- not on my list. I never read it. Second, Friday is an artificial human being. And third, while I'm sure that Heinlein is not perfect in his treatment of women, it is better than the bulk of his contemporaries, in that he actually DOES have important female characters that read like females. (Ever read Asimov -- really his ONLY major female character is Susan Calvin, who's pretty much a cardboard cutout representing Asimov himself for 90% of the stories she appears in. I'm not saying you should admire Heinlein for his female protagonists, but maybe put him into perspective.
    Kazeto likes this.
  18. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I didn't say you recommended Friday. I used it as an example. You can put him into perspective, but his sexual politics are still incredibly questionable, in fact, his women tend to be fairly bad. Poddy from Podkayne of Mars - and I only managed a few pages - was insufferably arrogant.

    He's better in that he has women around (unlike Clarke and Asimov), but it doesn't give him a free pass. There's plenty of classics that are much better than anything Heinlein put out.

    Bester's The Stars My Destination is a must-read, as is Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes?). Both are amazing.
  19. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    So you don't like Heinlein for reasons beyond the content of the specific books I recommended -- ok I get it. What you should get though is why he's considered mandatory reading for any science fiction fan. You really haven't mentioned any of his major novels. I specifically avoided Starship Troopers because (among other things) I didn't like that book, and some of his politics. But that's why I only recommended books that I actually do admire. There's a lot of Heinlein out there, and I don't like a lot of it. I admit that. But when he's good, he's VERY good.

    I get it. As a person who grew up Jewish, I refuse to drive a German car, and I feel uncomfortable in a friend's Volkswagon. But I don't expect everyone else to act as irrationally as I do.
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  20. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I think pretty much every sci-fi fan I know who has read Heinlein will say he's not for everyone and his views (or what happens in his books, at any rate) can be questionable.