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Topic: Need a great easy read

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Subject: Need a great easy read
Date Posted: 5/23/2011 10:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 20
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My brother is in the hospital and will be for a few months. He asked for some Sci-Fi books. He says he likes books about space travel and stuff like that. No witches or vampires or dragons. He said nothing "fantasy". He would need something that was an easier read. Due to the nature and type of hospital he is in I would prefer something that had minimal violence, drugs, or other heavy topics. Something that was not depressing would also be great. I do not read this genre so I have no clue where to start. Any recommendations would be very helpful. Also if you are looking to make any deals let me know.


Thank you so much for your help!

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 3:20 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I'd recommend:

The Warrior's Apprentice, by Lois McMaster Bujold: Fun, fast-paced adventure in space; lots of humor and pathos. Also one of the starts of a long, wonderful series.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: Very British SF romp with some satirical elements. Will most likely appeal if he likes Monty Python.

The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds, by Scott Westerfeld: These are WLed, but they're wonderfully exciting and EPIC the way space opera can be, with battles in space and star system spanning empires and undead cats. ;D

The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat, by Harry Harrison: About the adventures of an intergalactic con man. Again, very funny, and this volume is the first three books in a decently long series.

The Empress of Mars, by Kage Baker: Another WLed one, but I thought I'd mention it because it occupies the same sort of head space for me as Joss Whedon's show Firefly did, particularly the episode "Heart of Gold." So if he's a fan of the show. . .

Hope that helps, and that he gets better soon!

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 3:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Any of Lois McMaster Bujold's SF would be good.  All of them are fun reads but with depth.  It is rare to find humor that is so well written.

John Scalzi

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 7:46 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 20
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Thank you both so much!

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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If he hasn't read the early Heinlein books like Red Planet, he might like those. Can you tell us which science fiction authors he's liked in the past, so we won't be recommending things he's already read? I like Debra Doyle and James Macdonald's series that starts with The Price of the Stars, in fact just recommended it on another thread. Hmm - maybe that means it's time for me to read it again.
Date Posted: 5/24/2011 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 20
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Well he is making this very hard for me. He can not tell me any authors he has read and he can not remember any titles. He has narrowed it down only about as much as telling me no Star Wars or Star Trek. Thank you all so much for your help. It is so hard to go at this blindly.

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 1:47 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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I'd guess the best thing to do would be to get him one each by the authors people have suggested here. Then if he'll tell you which he likes and dislikes as he reads them, that'll give you some ides of which books to buy after he's finished the first round. Maybe you could get him some anthologies, so he could have a small sample of works by different authors and tell you which ones he thinks write well. Both Martin Harry Greenberg and Mike Resnick edit anthologies with themes (Alternate Presidents; Civil War Fantastic - like that) and you might find something here that would fit with other subjects that you know interest your brother.
Date Posted: 5/25/2011 2:01 AM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2009
Posts: 276
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Some of the older sci-fi is dated but still good reading.  You might try to find the young adult ones by Heinlein (Have Space Suit Will Travel, Red Planet, Space Cadet, Rocket Ship Galileo), Andre Norton (not the Witch World but rather her space stories)


Sometimes a little difficult to decide what one person will think of as light vs. heavy reading...other authors include...

James Hogan

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game...it does have some violence but is a book that can be read by young adults...so maybe you could look at the Amazon write-ups and decide if it's appropriate or not.

Robert Asprin's Phule series...they are mercenaries but the stories are more about their interactions, lots of tongue-in-cheek

Elizabeth Moon:  Hunting Party, Winning Colors, Sporting Chance

Tanya Huff's Valor Series....more violence but good "ooh-rah" interactions

Julie Czerneda's Species Imperative

Alan Dean Foster's Flinx series (can't remember which is first but For the Love of Mother-Not is early in his life)

Maria Snyder:  Inside Out and Outside In


Ok...I guess I should stop now, let me know if you have more detailed questions....

Last Edited on: 5/25/11 2:02 AM ET - Total times edited: 1