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Topic: New to Sci-Fi

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Subject: New to Sci-Fi
Date Posted: 5/19/2009 12:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 795
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I've read many books over many years and now find myself a little, hmmm, jaded, maybe, with my usual contemporary, suspense, legal or medical dramas.  Thank God for sci-fi!  Untouched realms...

I've read a little of Heinlein, Asimov and Bova, and now have started Piers Anthony's "On a Pale Horse" and think I'm really going to like it.

Any other Anthony fans here?  What else do you recommend?

Date Posted: 5/19/2009 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
Posts: 379
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I read and enjoyed his Apprentice Adept; Bio of a Space Tyrant; and Mode series.

I enjoyed the first 10 or so of the Xanth series. I lost interest in the later ones where long lost twins appear and convoluted magical gifts appeared. They got annoying.


Date Posted: 5/24/2009 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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The Incarnations of Immortality novels (which start with On a Pale Horse) are pretty enjoyable, though the first two are the best; I also enjoyed the first 7-8 Xanth novels before I thought he (and therefore I) started to get bored with them.

I find that Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles have a lot of the same appeal as Anthony's books; you might want to check her out. You could also try Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat novels.

If you liked Asimov's Foundation novels, try Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsai series; my favorite of them is Soldier Ask Not, though I think the one most people prefer is The Final Encyclopedia; they are all intended to be stand-alone with the exception of the couple he published in the nineties (Other and Young Bleys are pretty linked).

I always encourage people to read Lois McMaster Bujold; her Vorkosigan series is just about the best space opera out there and her Chalion series is really well crafted epic fantasy.

And if you want to get a sense for more modern sci-fi, heavier on the science, try Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, Alastair Reynolds, or Sheri S. Tepper (for more ecology based sci-fi).

Date Posted: 5/24/2009 6:49 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 795
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Thanks, Phoenix!  I want to go back and reread some of the authors I liked years ago, and then def want to check out Sheri Tepper.

Date Posted: 6/9/2009 4:15 AM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2009
Posts: 3
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Orson Scott Card gave me bookgasms. He has some amazing insights into human nature and some really wild ideas about the universe. I've read his entire Ender series, which I very highly recommend. It's got a little of everything and plenty of surprises. All the books in that series kept me turning pages and I could hardly put them down. I suggest reading the whole series, but seeing as there are eight books you can start anywhere in the middle, he always explains things so you won't get lost if you start at the end. The first book is Ender's Game: kind of YA but adult friendly.
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 6/19/2009 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I second the Orson Scott Card Ender series recommendation!  I love this series...

CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series isn't too long, and I enjoyed it as well.

Date Posted: 6/19/2009 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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"CJ Cherryh's Foreigner series isn't too long, and I enjoyed it as well." -- Sianeka


Isn't too long?!? There are currently ten novels and at least two more planned. . .


I do recommend them however. Cherryh always features fantastic world-building and really alien aliens, and this is one of her penultimate series. But if you want to try something a little shorter, Hammerfall and Forge of Heaven are excellent (and only two stand-alone linked novels instead of a really long series) and The Faded Sun trilogy is on my top books of all time list.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 6/19/2009 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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Well, I can't stand Piers Anthony, but I do like Heinlein and Asimov.  If you like the older stuff, I'd also recommend Poul Anderson, James Blish, and Alfred Bester.

I like all of Orson Scott Card's books, and not just the SF.

Joe Haldeman is one of my favorites also, but not in a cheery way.  Be prepared for a lot of blood and violence.   

Date Posted: 6/30/2009 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2009
Posts: 20
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Frank Herbert's Dune series is great. Also really enjoy anything by Andre Norton. She really creates great worlds and aliens. She is a bit dated, but is a terrific writer. A good stand alone is Frank Robinson's - Dark beyond the Stars - it was his only sci-fi book he ever wrote. Also recommend Iain Banks - he is a very interesting writer. The Mars series by Kim Stanley Robinson is really a good read too. Welcome to our world and enjoy!

Last Edited on: 6/30/09 5:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/2/2009 9:18 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
Posts: 236
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I'd highly recommend John Varley - what a great writer- reminds me of Heinlein at his best.

Subject: Mind-blowing fun
Date Posted: 7/11/2009 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2005
Posts: 8
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For some more modern and mind-blowing fun, try Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash -- it was a rollicking ride.  William Gibson's Neuromancer was also the beginning of what is now called cyber-punk.  I am also enjoying Kevin Anderson's Saga of the Seven Suns. 

For classic mind-bending fun, try anything by Roger Zelazny.  The first book of his I read which was a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and mythology -- Lord of Light.  Amazing book.  He has written many others, some more sciency and some more fantasy, but they are all imbued with mythology and a quirky sense of humor.  Wonderful author.  If you want to read some action stories, try Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series -- this was pre-terminator, and in fact, probably inspired much of the terminator movies. 

Subject: Post script
Date Posted: 7/12/2009 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2005
Posts: 8
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I will also second the recommendations for any books by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Anything she writes is worth reading.

Date Posted: 7/12/2009 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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I love Vernor Vinge's books, Deepness in the Sky and Fire Upon the Deep in particular.

Date Posted: 7/15/2009 1:35 AM ET
Member Since: 5/26/2005
Posts: 35
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If you liked Heinlein, give John Scalzi a go. His books evoke Heinlein's style while being original and modern. Old Man's War is the best starting point, but The Android's Dream is another good one (and a stand-alone novel). He's also got a very entertaining blog at scalzi.com/whatever. I check it every day - baconcat is the best  :)

Date Posted: 7/15/2009 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2009
Posts: 64
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Michael Crichton is one of my favorites. More techno-thriller really, but still very much sci-fi...Try Jurassic Park or Timeline (please, if you've seen the movie...forget it. The book is MUCH better). Too bad he's dead....

Date Posted: 7/18/2009 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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Just read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville - winner of the British Fantasy Awards; and Hyperion by Dan Simmons - a Hugo Award winner.  Both books are very good but they will require your full attention.  For funny sci-fi read Red Dwarf by Grant Naylor.

Subject: How does one part with their Sci Fi?
Date Posted: 8/5/2009 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 10
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Wow i love Sci fi and parting with good books is so hard to do... I love orson Scott Card  along with Robert Mccamon Swan Song is the Best and lets not forget Octavia Buttler OMG that woman can write and keep ya reading for hours on end.  Octavia Butlers Xogenisis books are GREAT... I always thought of Piers Anthony as Fantasy not Sci fi... Enjoy and welcome to the wonderful world of Sci Fi its the best

Date Posted: 8/6/2009 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/2/2008
Posts: 174
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Juli J -

If you liked Swan Song - - - go get yourself a copy of King's The Stand.

Just my opinion, but Swan Song is but a packet of flower seeds and The Stand is a full-blown rose garden :-)  

Date Posted: 8/6/2009 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,555
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I was completely taken with the first part of The Stand. Even if it is Sci-Fi, I do require some believability (verisimilitude is the technical term). When I got to the part about all the freeways being clogged up with cars full of dead folks, that was far too much. I mean, suppose you have some terrible sickness that nauseates you beyond measure . And the last thing you do before croaking off is get in your car and go out on the freeway. Get real!  THIRD RATE SCI-FI.

Date Posted: 8/10/2009 6:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 10
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I belive I have already read the Stand but much prefer Swan Song... Just discovered a few minutes ago that it is being re released in Novermber of this year.

Date Posted: 8/10/2009 8:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 332
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If you like the humor part of Piers Anthony, you might try Terry Pratchett or Robert Rankin.

For space opera, I really like Lee & Miller's Liad series, starting with Agent of Change, and Doyle & Macdonald's series that starts with The Price of the Stars. There are some prequels to the latter series, but The Price of the Stars will really pull you into it.

Subject: sometimes the best was 50 years ago
Date Posted: 8/26/2009 3:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2009
Posts: 9
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I happen to love Science Fiction...or as I try to say..."Speculative Fiction".


There are some books that really cannot be missed.

One of my personal all time favorite authors is the great Arthur C. Clarke. The book that really opened me up to the possibilites of the genre was "Rendevous with Rama"....it's a short book...but the ideas in it are huge...there is this borderline terrifying tension throughout the whole book as the mystery of Rama is investigated bit by bit...it will stick with you. Also, Clarke's "Childhood's End" is at the same level of quality. Don't put off reading these any longer...I know the name Arthur C. Clarke sounds dry and uninviting on a superficial level...and yes it's true that his books will always be there and he started writing in the 40's...and yes you will be tempted to read 2001 first because of the movie...but anyone...ANYONE OUT THERE...JUST LISTEN TO ME!..check out these two books if you can and are looking for a quick read.

 ps - his older books still have computers and other types of technology in them so there is almost no glaring inconsistancies from what Clarke was imagining the future as and what we have become in the area of science.

Also, I'm suprised that nobody has mentioned the masterful Dan Simmons....everyone raves about "Hyperion" but I haven't read it yet...I can say however that "Ilium" is an amazingly satisfying experiance. Imagine...in the future...man stages a "Re-fighting" of the Trojan war...complete with 8 foot gods that live on Olympos and are parts of the battle...on mars...with "Scholics" who are master historians that observe the events to see if they are like Homer wrote in the "Iliad"....throw in a future generation of humans that are only allowed to maintain a population of 1 million people on earth...and another story of huge intelligent robotic sentinel like machines that read shakespere and proust....it sounds crazy but it all ties together perfectly...a great epic...with a sequel to boot! 

hope I gave you some ideas, friends




Last Edited on: 8/26/09 3:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1