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Topic: Looking for a certain type of Sci-Fi book. Need some help.

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Subject: Looking for a certain type of Sci-Fi book. Need some help.
Date Posted: 12/10/2011 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 2/4/2010
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I love space-driven Sci-Fi.  I can watch that kind of movie/TV Show over and over again.  While some of what I'm going to list below has horror in it, the book recommendation doesn't have to be Sci-Fi horror.  I'm just generally looking for a book that is a lot like the following movies/TV Shows.

- Defying Gravity (TV Show)
- Apollo 18 (Movie)
- Pandorum (Movie)
- Battlestar Galactica (TV Show... the 2003-2008 one)
- Sunshine (Movie)
- Red Planet (Movie)
- Firefly (TV Show)
- Serenity (Movie)

Any recommendations would be appreciated.  If possible, it would be great if they were available for Kindle as I'm doing my best to switch my library over to completely electronic.

Thanks in advance!


Date Posted: 12/11/2011 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
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I think the Star Doc series is like these listed video.  Author is S.L.Viehl.

Date Posted: 12/12/2011 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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You might also like to browse by genre, using the somewhat-new sublisting for "Space Opera" (has nothing to do with music).  It can be found under Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera.

Ender's Game and John Scalzi's trilogy which starts with Old Man's War come to mind.  Also, Ann Aguirre's "Sirantha Jax" series, starting with Grimspace.

Brad -
Date Posted: 12/12/2011 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/27/2009
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Maybe Timothy Zahn's Night Train to Rigel

Date Posted: 12/12/2011 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
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I haven't read any of them, but I believe the Lensman series might suit your tastes. I was a bit disappointed in Pandorum--I think I hoped it would be comparable to Event Horizon--but Sunshine and Serenity are both excellent films. I'm interested to see if anyone has recommendations along those lines.

For what it's worth, Danny Boyle said that Sunshine was inspired by 2001: a Space Odyssey and Tarkovsky's version of Solaris. While not even close to an action novel, Stanislaw Lem's novel Solaris, on which the movies were based, was quite an excellent read.

Last Edited on: 12/12/11 4:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/13/2011 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,282
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When you are talking about space books, there are three main types (it seems to me) ... military oriented, alien oriented, and technology oriented. I tend to prefer the more alien oriented, although I will read the other types too. Anyway, I can't get a good read on what you like from the movies, as I haven't seen all of them ... .I would say that my recommendations are more along the Star Trek line (aliens) and perhaps similar to something like Avatar.

The Stardoc series (already mentioned) is really good. The author improves tremendously as the series goes on .... there are 10 books in the series, the first 2 are good, the 3rd is terrible, the 4th and 5th are good again, and the 5th thru 10th are very good. So don't give up at book #3, whatever you do. (The author also writes other paranormal series under a different name, and that's part of the reason that the books become better ... she gets more polished as a writer and the book and story construction gets better).

You could try Susan R. Matthews and the Jurisdiction series ... it's not particularly well known but I love it, and have found every book fascinating, altough it is  more military oriented.

You could also try Julie E. Czerneda, particularly the Trade Pact Cycle, starting with "A Thousand Words for Stranger" ... I've read all her books, these fall slightly more to what you seem to be looking for.

If you have never read Vernor Vinge, try "A Deepness in the Sky" and "A Fire Upon the Deep", both multi-award winning novels and fantastic.

If you like the military aspect, you could try Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series. Also award winners and highly popular.


Last Edited on: 12/13/11 12:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/13/2011 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 2/4/2010
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I've been reading a lot of HALO novels recently.  Yes, it's one of my conformist vices per se.  I just love everything HALO.  There are currently seven HALO novels out, and I've read six of them (well, didn't finish one because it was so terribly written, but read all the way through the other five) and a collection of short stories.  Minus that collection of short stories and the additional, most recent novel, I've had an overload of military and alien science fiction.  The HALO books stick to a strict military chain of command using the Navy's ranking system fighting against an alien force bent on wiping out all of humanity.  As far as the technology goes, the books go semi-deep into technology of the races that came before them as well as the alien race they are fighting.  So, the HALO series does a good job of military, alien, and technology... which is kind of why I want to move away from those types of books for a while.

So, let's go for a good example of a very well known TV series that airs on A&E right now... The Walking Dead.  The TV Series tries to add more horror to the story than was in the original comics that inspired the TV show.  So, I'm going to use the comics (and to a point the TV Show) as my basis for what I'm looking for (BTW, for anyone who wants to know, the comics are dramatically better than the TV Show).  TWD is absolutely Sci-Fi... post apocalyptic scene where most of the people in the world have turned into zombies.  In the comics, you'd almost not notice that there were zombies around (bit of an exaggeration, but not a huge leap).  The comic story is about the group of people... who they pick up, where they stay, who they feel the safest with.  Yes, there is romance.  Yes, there is drama.  But, I wouldn't really call it a Science Soap Opera.  It's more of a Science Fiction based action/adventure where you get to see how people interact with each other during some very dire situations.

Defying Gravity (not very well known, but I loved every minute of every episode) was very much a space-based TV Show, but the majority of the show was how people reacted to situations.  Personal situations, problems, the mission itself, and any other issues that might come up.  The show didn't rely very much on the crew's trip through the solar system.  It's the same with Sunshine as well as Red Planet.  Both of the latter are about how people react with each other during bad situations, good situations, fun times, boring times, bad times, sad times, happy times, etc. and much less to do with the fact that they are traveling to the Sun or to Mars.

What I describe above is the reason the genre has been labeled as a Space Opera or Science Opera because it's a space-based or science-based plot that has a story arc amongst the characters in the show that goes on for several episodes or the entire length of the movie.  I dislike these terms as I don't think a show that has a story that spans multiple episodes or seasons should always be compared to a Soap Opera (which is where the Opera part comes from).  Many of them, while having romance, also have a lot more adventure/action plots than romance or drama.

That's what I'm looking for.  A book that's space-based science fiction where the story focuses much more on the characters and how the interact with and react to each other versus a book where the core of the story is exploration, fighting off aliens, or trying to find new technology.


Last Edited on: 12/13/11 10:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 8:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
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Ahhh. Now, The Walking Dead, I know....

I would say that pretty much any of my recommendations are character-driven space sci-fi. I referenced aliens more from the perspective of the human characters acting and reacting to the alien cultures, not in terms of fighting aliens.

I have a lot of female authors on my list that I recommended to you, but that's because I find that female sci-fi authors tend to focus on the character driven aspects of the plots more than the popular male authors, who usually tend to focus more on the science. Of course that's not universal. Just my generalization.

So, I'm not amending my recommendations yet ......

But I'm going to add C. J. Cherryh, who has written a ton of books and series, particularly all the books around her Alliance-Union universe.

Last Edited on: 12/14/11 8:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: space opera
Date Posted: 12/15/2011 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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I didn't know how to answer your question when I read your first post - I think you want space opera books. 

But I'm going to add C. J. Cherryh, who has written a ton of books and series, particularly all the books around her Alliance-Union universe 

And I agree with Sara P.  The very first book that came to mind was Rimrunners by Cherryh.   i also agree with the recommendation on Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series, buy her last book in hardback and you will get a CD that has ALL the books in the series.  A bitchin good value.

Good space opera is Iain M Banks (Culture series) Alaistair Reynolds, or Neal Asher.

Date Posted: 1/8/2012 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/4/2007
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I really enjoyed the Night's Dawn series by Peter F. Hamilton.  I think it fits in very well with the movies & shows you listed (Firefly & Pandorum particularly) and it also has a touch of horror (why are the souls of the dead beginning to possess the living?). The first of the series is The Reality Dysfunction Part I Emergence. 

Date Posted: 1/9/2012 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
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As far as movie series, I loved 'Babylon 5'.  I liked it almost as much as Star Trek Next Generation or Deep Space Nine.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 1/9/2012 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
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I was going to suggest C.J. Cherryh as well, for the Alliance-Union books for good space opera, or some of her other series for alien relations, such as her Chanur series or her Foreigner series.

Alliance-Union series starts off with Heavy Time and Hellburner, and then comes three books that are more renowned: Downbelow Station, Merchanter's Luck and Rimrunner

Chanur series starts off with Pride of Chanur and Chanur's Ventures.

Foreigner series starts off with Foreigner, Invader, then Inheritor.

You can use this Wikipedia link to see other books in her various settings: CJ Cherryh bibliography

Subject: Hamilton
Date Posted: 1/9/2012 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2006
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I really enjoyed the Night's Dawn series by Peter F. Hamilton.  

I keep putting Hamilton's stuff on the TBR stack and it keeps sliding off.  Stack is too big.  Will keep trying, good to know somebody likes him.  

Date Posted: 1/11/2012 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
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Look into some of the "classic" older things: Foundation series, or Robot series by Asimov, Bio of a Space Tyrant, 6 vols, by Piers Anthony (nothing like his so-called funny stuff), can't go wrong there.  Steel Beach by John Varley, also excellent.

Cheers, Margaret

Date Posted: 1/12/2012 2:38 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I second (or third) recommendations for Lois McMasters Bujold and C.J. Cherryh.

Subject: The Empress of Mars
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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I see Brandt's original list included the show Firefly and the movie Serenity.  Based on that, I am going to recommend a book I just read, and I know a few others here have as well.  That would be The Empress of Mars, by Kage Baker.  It has roughly the same balance of Western motif with a science fiction setting.  A little less shooting action, but fun none-the-less.

This is, as opposed to a fairly dumb movie I just watched, called Cowboys and Aliens.  I was laughing at it, but I don't think it was supposed to be funny.

-Tom Hl.

Date Posted: 1/20/2012 9:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
Posts: 266
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Anne McCaffrey Pern Series I came to love dragons.  I know almost fantasy except she does go back and give them a scientific backstory farther into the series.  Great interpersonal relationships.

Subject: Other authors to consider
Date Posted: 1/21/2012 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2009
Posts: 276
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I also think the Czerneda books fit your criteria.


You might want to try David Weber, Linnea Sinclair, Ann Aguirre (the Sirantha Jax series), Eve Kenin


and keep in mind David Drake, Sharon Lee/Steve Miller, Maria Snyder, Marion Zimmer Bradley

Subject: Another vote for Drake
Date Posted: 1/29/2012 2:24 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2007
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From reading your list, I think you would very much like some of David Drake's series, especially the"Hammer's Slammers" books/short stories and the "Lt. Leary" series of novels.   The Hammer's series is a little more action oriented, while the Leary books are a little more character driven.  I think both would be in line with what you're looking for.

Date Posted: 1/29/2012 9:27 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2012
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I haven't read david drake in years.  I really should go back and reread them.  I remember I really liked them.