Jump to content
rllmuk
marlonharewood

Sci Fi recommendations

Recommended Posts

 

19 hours ago, deerokus said:

Peter F Hamilton frustrates me so much. Great imagination and world building, but you have to put up with a lot of meandering and gratutitous soft porn.

 

He's so nearly a great writer. 

 

Agreed.

 

Im reading the second Salvation book at the moment and enjoying it more than some of his other recent stuff. But again you always have to put up with more weird sex stuff. He seems incabable of breaking away from some adolescent space fantasy. Nights Dawn managed to carry it just about (well sort of) because it was so batshit and enjoyable (mostly). But it's really jarring in a  lot of his books.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be fair, The Commonwealth Saga is about 3000 pages and there’s only a bit of cringeworthy sex stuff in the first book. It’s super cringeworthy though with the multiples stuff taking an interesting idea and just seemingly making it about sex...

Spoiler

and a bit of a plot twist to get Araminta where she needed to be plot wise. 


Just came off the back of reading the 5 books in a row. Man I needed a break and thought I’d finally get around to reading The Handmaid’s Tale. I adored the first season when it was out but I was pretty disappointed by the second and gave up. You can see why. The source material is just so good. 
 

It’s such a beautifully written and tight little book. Fascinating and terrifying in equal measure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 15/04/2019 at 21:29, Flub said:

I just finished Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky

 

Excellent read. I think I liked it more than Children of Time.

 

 

Just finished this.  Brilliant page turner - highly recommended.  It really reminded me of work by Gene Wolfe (or of Jack Vance) - in particular The Book of the New Sun (general post industrial setting), the Fifth Head of Cerberus (unreliable narrator), very good indeed.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know some of you are aware of my frankly bizarre love for the Robert Heinlein "novel" The Number of the Beast. Read it if you haven't. It's unique.

 

I bet you weren't aware I'm going to have a sidequel to "recommend" as well

 

https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Pursuit-Pankera-Parallel-Novel-Universes/dp/1647100011

4Naze6T.jpg

 

Just look at that glorious cover.

 

The Pursuit of the Pankera is one of the most audacious experiments ever done in science fiction by the legendary author of the classic bestseller Starship Troopers.

Robert A. Heinlein wrote The Number of the Beast, which was published in 1980. In the book Zeb, Deety, Hilda and Jake are ambushed by the alien "Black Hats" and barely escape with their lives on a specially configured vehicle (the Gay Deceiver) which can travel along various planes of existence, allowing them to visit parallel universes.

However, unknown to most fans, Heinlein had already written a "parallel" novel about the four characters and parallel universes in 1977. He effectively wrote two parallel novels about parallel universes. The novels share the same start, but as soon as the Gay Deceiver is used to transport them to a parallel universe, each book transports them to a totally different parallel world.

From that point on the plot lines diverge completely. While The Number of the Beast morphs into something very different, more representative of later Heinlein works, The Pursuit of the Pankera remains on target with a much more traditional Heinleinesque storyline and ending, reminiscent of his earlier works.

The Pursuit of the Pankera was never published and there have been many competing theories as to why (including significant copyright issues in 1977). Over time the manuscript was largely forgotten but survived in fragments. A recent re-examination of these fragments, however, made it clear that put together in the right order they constituted the complete novel.

And here it finally is: Robert A. Heinlein's audacious experiment. A fitting farewell from one of the most inventive science fiction writers to have ever lived: a parallel novel about parallel universes as well as a great adventure pitting the forces of good versus evil only the way Heinlein could do.

 

You can preorder the ebook here

https://www.arcmanorbooks.com/pursuit

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished The Wall by John Lanchester. Not sure if qualifies as sci-fi, it’s more future dystopia. 
 

The critics really liked it. I thought it was ok although a little obvious. The idea of the UK being surrounded by a wall to stop Others coming in is pretty on point and giving it a climate change angle makes it feel not all that unrealistic. 
 

I can see why there are some comparisons to George Orwell but that’s probably overly flattering. Worth a few hours of your time however. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Read this free short:

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/fall_01_20/

 

Quote

I sexually identify as an attack helicopter.

I lied. According to US Army Technical Manual 0, The Soldier as a System, “attack helicopter” is a gender identity, not a biological sex. My dog tags and Form 3349 say my body is an XX-karyotope somatic female.


it’s really very good indeed. 

  • Upvote 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That story has been pulled, by the author's request, apparently (though official statement still to come) because of shitload of trolling and bad faith reaction. Which is weird, when I read it there were about six comments saying things like "this is the best sci-fi story I've read in years" and "I'm a 60 year old man and thanks to this amazing story I finally understand the gender/trans/nonbinary thing, thankyou" and a bunch of tweets saying similarly positive things. Sigh. What a shame, I hope it finds a way back, and I hope a few of you got to read it! I wish I'd kept a copy too, I'd have so much more to say now I know it's gone :( 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read the comments too, they were broadly positive when I read them, I’d discounted the negatives as crackpots.

 

I don’t know that publication, is the story in print?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. If the author is trans (which I understand is the case) it feels unlikely to be intentionally anti-trans at least! I mean, it's quite confronting and confident, but I'd thought entirely positively so as well. Tricky, and not really my place to judge, but if the author's own community is objecting, then I better understand the reasoning for taking it down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/01/2020 at 13:46, milko said:

Read this free short:

http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/fall_01_20/

 


it’s really very good indeed. 

 

That is fucking class. As well as the good writing and the important messages around gender, climate & capitalism it even has a surprising level of good detail on rotor craft theory. I mean come on what's not to like.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am about 70% of the way through This is How You Lose the Time War and I'm not sure what it's about, other than the relationship between the two characters and some very lyrical and interesting prose. 

 

I am really enjoying it. I am a bit worried I haven't picked up on something I was supposed to.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That’s pretty much mirrored my experience. I loved it. It gave me that rather unsettling feeling that great sci-fi can give you, when you’re not sure if you’re missing the point or that it will eventually fall into place. Prose to get your teeth into rather than being imperceptible for the sake of it. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there no Yoon Ha Lee fans here?.  I've just finished his trilogy and the short story collection (don't read beforehand since it includes a post script novella).  Highly recommended for space opera buffs who don't usually go for military sci-fi.  Initially you think its going to be all really high concept and unintelligible stuff but it isn't really like that despite concepts like calendrical warfare and so on - like all stories it focuses on individual characters and their development, even if one of the key players is an indestructible non human revenant by the end.  A bit like a more camp version of Iain Banks too in places.  Cordwainer Smith is also cited as a reference point and I'll add a re-read of The Rediscovery of Man to my long list.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/11/2019 at 20:36, deerokus said:

Peter F Hamilton frustrates me so much. Great imagination and world building, but you have to put up with a lot of meandering and gratutitous soft porn.

 

He's so nearly a great writer. 

 

I just started reading Pandora's Star, certain parts have me hooked, mysterious aliens, dyson envelopment of stars, building a spaceship, but every time he goes off about corporations and political wranglings i find myself scanning text and skipping through.

 

Also i find some of his futuristic naming to be like your parents trying to relate to scifi using horribly outdated phrases, e-butler just doesnt sit well with me, it's like when my dad bought something online for the first time and told my mum he just went cyber shopping.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, sir podger said:

 

I just started reading Pandora's Star, certain parts have me hooked, mysterious aliens, dyson envelopment of stars, building a spaceship, but every time he goes off about corporations and political wranglings i find myself scanning text and skipping through.

 

Also i find some of his futuristic naming to be like your parents trying to relate to scifi using horribly outdated phrases, e-butler just doesnt sit well with me, it's like when my dad bought something online for the first time and told my mum he just went cyber shopping.

Fully agree. Peter F. Hamilton is both great at big thinking / world building but also loves a meander into quint and pointless sidings. He clearly references things he's comfortable and happy with like Rutland but sometimes all this quaint-ness takes away from the story.

 

Perhaps he really needs a good supporting editor / publisher who can constructively help him trim these behemoths down to mammoth size.

 

When he's good he's up there with the best, but sometimes there is too much filler in between the good stuff to endure.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Cosmic_Guru said:

Are there no Yoon Ha Lee fans here?.  I've just finished his trilogy and the short story collection (don't read beforehand since it includes a post script novella).  Highly recommended for space opera buffs who don't usually go for military sci-fi.  Initially you think its going to be all really high concept and unintelligible stuff but it isn't really like that despite concepts like calendrical warfare and so on - like all stories it focuses on individual characters and their development, even if one of the key players is an indestructible non human revenant by the end.  A bit like a more camp version of Iain Banks too in places.  Cordwainer Smith is also cited as a reference point and I'll add a re-read of The Rediscovery of Man to my long list.  

 

I've got the Ninefox Gambit on my to-do list still. Had a very brief attempt but I don't think I was in the mood and stopped a couple of pages in for something else. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, milko said:

 

I've got the Ninefox Gambit on my to-do list still. Had a very brief attempt but I don't think I was in the mood and stopped a couple of pages in for something else. 

It does throw you immediately into the deep end admittedly, but then again so does the likes of Dune.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm not unafraid of a hefty block of impenetrable sci-fi to get through so I'll definitely get to it soon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Yoon Ha Lee series is very good (the first two books mostly), but the third book was somewhat disappointing in comparison. Can't really discuss it without going into spoiler territory, so I'll wait for someone else to read it before discussing. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Talvalin said:

The Yoon Ha Lee series is very good (the first two books mostly), but the third book was somewhat disappointing in comparison. Can't really discuss it without going into spoiler territory, so I'll wait for someone else to read it before discussing. :) 

 

In what sense disappointing?  I thought it added another dimension to the universe in relation to the moths in particular, although probably book 2 is the best of the bunch.  The coda in the short story collection is also worth a read.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some random thoughts.

 

Also, some space, since sometimes the spoiler text is displayed first on loading the page before being hidden, which might inadvertently spoil someone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spoiler

Spreading the focus of the story amongst four characters (Brezan, Cheris, young Jedao and Hemiola) was overkill, and I found myself wanting to skip certain threads to get to the more interesting stuff. 

 

There's something to be said about having a viewpoint character being ignorant of circumstances that the reader is aware of, but that can also make for some incredibly frustrating reading, which is what I found myself thinking when reading Hemiola's thread, plus young Jedao was far less interesting than the older Jedao in Ninefox Gambit, or Cheris as Jedao in Raven Stratagem.

 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and will happily read more of Lee's books, but I didn't think that Revenant Gun matched the quality and tightness of the first two books.

 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/01/2020 at 13:25, ZOK said:

 

This is a brilliant piece, thanks for posting!

 

I read it last week and to be honest was a bit underwhelmed. It was a little too one dimensional for me and perhaps I missed the point somewhere but it didn't seem to deliver any enjoyment. The characters were too flat, I didn't feel anything for them at all.

 

Short stories can be tricky - you need brevity but also enough to convey emotion to the reader.

 

Sexual politics aside (I've no agenda one way or the other, take each person as I find them) it wasn't one I'd personally recommend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm just about to finish Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar. A debut novel by a Czech writer, living in America and writing in English. 


It's the story of the Czech Republics first astronaut, who gets sent into space to investigate a mysterious dust cloud that has appeared near Venus. As he travels further from Earth he starts to lose his mind. And he, possibly, starts to hallucinate an alien companion. 


This is a weird book but I'm absolutely loving it. It can probably be described as Science Fiction but it's mostly about the loneliness and the isolation of the main character. There's lots of flashbacks to his childhood in pre-Velvet Revolution Czechoslovakia and there's a lot of Czech history but it all feels right and coherent in the book. 


It reminds me a lot of The Book of Strange New Things, which is my favourite sci-fi book of recent years. A good space story which is really a human drama at its heart. 


I got it cheap on kindle - 2 quid I think. Total bargain.
 

  • Upvote 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds great. Added to my kindle wish list ready for it to go on sale again.

 

Edit: In fact bought, as it's still only two quid.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 03/02/2020 at 13:59, new666uk said:

Fully agree. Peter F. Hamilton is both great at big thinking / world building but also loves a meander into quint and pointless sidings. He clearly references things he's comfortable and happy with like Rutland but sometimes all this quaint-ness takes away from the story.

 

Perhaps he really needs a good supporting editor / publisher who can constructively help him trim these behemoths down to mammoth size.

 

When he's good he's up there with the best, but sometimes there is too much filler in between the good stuff to endure.

 

I wish i could upvote this more. When the actual scifi is happening it's amazing, but then he goes off on a mundane side story that feels like an entire chapter is devoted uneccessarily to the whittling of small mural in a piece of wood on the floor in the back of a room that you'll never see again.

 

If this book was made into a film it would be like watching Dune and then it cuts away to an episode of columbo or pride and prejudice every now and again.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.