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marlonharewood
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The Visible Man by Gardner Dozois

 

Another collection of short stories, a few of which are in "when the great days come" by the same author. The title story gave me anxiety and is almost worth the price of admission alone, there's on or two others that felt a little flat  though. " A dream at Noonday"   is in both collections and is such a melancholic story, will stay with me for a while.

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On 31/07/2022 at 00:04, lolly said:

The Visible Man by Gardner Dozois

 

Another collection of short stories, a few of which are in "when the great days come" by the same author. The title story gave me anxiety and is almost worth the price of admission alone, there's on or two others that felt a little flat  though. " A dream at Noonday"   is in both collections and is such a melancholic story, will stay with me for a while.


Yes, they are both brilliant stories. Which ones didn’t you like?

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I love Horse of Air, but I get why people wouldn’t like it, those kind of stories where the narration is suspect can get on your wick. The other one is a bit of a nothing for me too.

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On 26/05/2022 at 17:11, Stopharage said:

Also posted in the Kindle thread. 
 

As the resident Station Eleven fanboi, I implore you all to purchase How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu. Down to £1.69 and it’s worth that for the second chapter alone. 

 

Just finished this on your recommendation on here: I loved it. Great recommendation, thanks. 

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Just finished Sea of Tranquility - I'd been saving it for holiday to savour it, and wasn't disappointed at all: I loved it. So clever and well written. She's such a brilliant writer. 

 

I'm tempted to go through all her earlier stuff: has anyone read anything pre-Station Eleven?

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Very impressed with Shard of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Nearly finished and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel. Also recently went through Stars and Bones by Gareth Powell. Good stuff, quick and pacey feel to it as well. Keeps you interested.

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Finished Fine Structure by qntm- they of "There is no Antimemetics Division" , similarly mind bending  in parts  but a straighter sci-fi rather than sci-fi horror story, was very impressed again.

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I really enjoyed Fine Structure too. It's a crazy mashup of mindbending, cosmic scale concepts and people with superpowers which sometimes seems a bit messy (or maybe I just couldn't always keep up) but somehow manages to successfully combine it all in an enjoyable novel. 

 

I read Ed last week, Qntm's first novel. That's also really good. Much shorter and less ambitious but a very fun read. 

 

The only book of his I didn't really like was Ra. I felt it was too long and just a little boring. 

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18 hours ago, ZOK said:

Which is the magic one, Ed or Ra? I was quite enjoying it but started reading something else and haven’t bothered to pick it up again.

Ra is the magic one. It didn't really work for me because it seemed to take ages to get going and once it does in the final third it kinda makes the first two thirds obsolete. I also didn't really gel with the characters, it's never really his strength but they seemed particularly one dimensional in this case. 

 

It does have some really cool ideas that stuck with me though, so I guess it's worth finishing it. 

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22 hours ago, Vimster said:

Probably been asked before ages ago but can I have some cyberpunk recommendations that aren't the obvious classics? please? 

Have you tried Altered Carbon (and sequels) ? 

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On 24/08/2022 at 11:20, Vimster said:

Probably been asked before ages ago but can I have some cyberpunk recommendations that aren't the obvious classics? please? 


Have you read the excellent Gardner Dozois / Jack Dann anthology Hackers? £3.76 on Kindle if not! 
 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OA9IOCI/ref=KC_GS_GB_GB_nodl?dplnkId=1170315c-ede4-4b54-8508-70f5d11f1d73

 

It has a couple of shorts you will undoubtedly know, but a nice collection of others you may not have come across too.

 

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So, in the spirit of not asking, without giving. These are my GOATs. I would recommend any without hesitation (although there is a bit of gulf in quality between number 5 and the rest).  if you like any of the following, I would recommend any of the others in the list in a heartbeat. :

 

5. QTMN - weird, meme, post-internet ideas. Which are great weird, meme, post-internet ideas. SCP adjacent greatness. Not a great writer, it's basically fan fiction, but the ideas make up for it. Popcorn fun. Start with: There is no antiemetics division. 

4. Liu Cixin - Chinese sci-fi that's humans feel as alien as aliens (and, unfortunately misognisitic) but the ideas? The ideas are brilliant and stick with you. Start with: Three Body Problem

3. Vernor Vinge - fantastic world building and imagining of really alien aliens, who are also super understandable. Deep, fascinating ideas and filled with a deep, unshakeable faith in humanity. Uplifting. Start with A Fire Upon the Deep.

2. Ted Chiang - the short story GOAT. Magical, deep and inspired. The movie Arrival was based on one. I would recommend these to any and everyone. Unlike the number 1 on this list, this is an author who deeply articulates the human experience first and foremost. Start with Stories of your life and others.

1. Greg Egan - The hardest of hard science fiction. Deep, inspired ideas first, and characters almost an afterthought (in pure Asimov style). Full on maths/physics brilliance. Think Anathem but the next level. Absolutely wrinkles the brain in the most fun way possible. Unlike Chiang, I can't claim it's accessible - I've heard it criticised as requiring a Physics PhD to read (which I have, natch) but I don't believe that is true. What I do think, is that no other author has taken such deep ideas in Physics and used them to look at the world so well. Vital and brilliant. Start with: Permutation City or Quarantine. 

 

Now I suspect no one on this thread will be new to these authors, but if these are my passions, who else should I be reading? Who is adjacent to these? 

 

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Hmm, I like Ted Chiang a lot, but I don’t think he’d make it into my top thirty SF short story writers! He’s decent for sure, but put him above people like Harlan Ellison, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Gardner Dozois as mentioned above…he’s nowhere near guys like that for me. Having said that, I am nuts for his Lifecycle of Software Objects story!

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If you like hard science fiction and deep, fascinating, PhD-proximate ideas, I think you’d like Peter Watts. Starting with Blindsight, which is an awesome first contact novel involving vampires, (and which is nowhere near as cheesy and silly as that short summary makes it sound). 

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2 hours ago, jimmyrazor said:

If you like hard science fiction and deep, fascinating, PhD-proximate ideas, I think you’d like Peter Watts. Starting with Blindsight, which is an awesome first contact novel involving vampires, (and which is nowhere near as cheesy and silly as that short summary makes it sound). 


oh wow, yeah he should be on the list. Blindsight is amazing. Never read the sequel though…

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just read There Is No Antimemetics Division, thanks to a) all the recommendations in here and b) the current kindle sale.

 

Really enjoyed it!

 

I loved the concept of 

Spoiler

ideas as malevolent entities, and of a foe that wipes your memory, so you're not even aware there is a foe.

 

I also appreciated that it was Lovecraftian without being a slavish copy of Lovecraft's style.

 

The only other qntm story I've read is the one about uploading consciousnesses into computers and using them for slave labour, which was also good. I'm going to have to read their other stuff.

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On 12/08/2022 at 05:05, pulsemyne said:

Very impressed with Shard of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

 

Very much enjoyed this too. Tchaikosvky quickly made it into my favourite list of authors.  That being said, I'm nearly done with the sequal now and it didn't stack up to the first IMO. Middle Book Syndrome, I think.

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12 hours ago, Mikes said:

 

Very much enjoyed this too. Tchaikosvky quickly made it into my favourite list of authors.  That being said, I'm nearly done with the sequal now and it didn't stack up to the first IMO. Middle Book Syndrome, I think.

Yeah it wasn't quite as good. I think the third one is out in november.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just finished reading Nona the ninth. As is becoming usual I have no idea what happened in the final chapter and epilogue. Not a single clue but it was a wild ride. Massive amounts of backstory unveiled in the mid chapter interludes and I'm quite impressed with how much of a monster John actually is.

 

It's going to be a *very* long wait for Alecto the Ninth.

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I'm currently read Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds, and I'm finding it a bit of a slog. I've enjoyed some of his other books, but this one isn't very well-written. I think he struggles with creating distinctive characters generally (like a lot of hard SF writers, admittedly), but he is struggling quite a lot in this one. In the other books of his that I've read, the characters have been scientists, astronauts, starship captains, etc, but in this one, the protagonist is a grizzled mercenary, and the tough-guy dialogue is extremely unconvincing. It reads more like some nerds playing a sci-fi pen & paper RPG than any kind of believable war veteran; there's one bit where the narrator is talking about killing and the toll it takes on a man, and I found it hard to believe that University of Newcastle physics graduate Alastair Reynolds is speaking from experience.

 

Iain Banks uses mercenaries and secret agents in his books, but he cleverly sets up the worlds he writes about so that people he is familiar with (huntin' and shootin' Empire types and vain posh women) would believably fill those roles. With this, the so-called tough guys come across as geeks pretending to be geezers. The same goes for the worldbuilding in general - the colonists on the world the book is set on are descended from Hispanic / South American nations, which means they have Hispanic names and occasionally use the handful of Spanish / Portuguese words that Reynolds has looked up, but otherwise just speak like all his other characters.

 

Also, and this is probably a slightly unfair criticism but whatever, some of the nomenclature is very bad. One of the central locations, a ring of orbiting space stations, is called the Glitter Band, which just makes me think of Gary Glitter. I suspect this may be an in-joke for British readers, but it's a bit distracting and doesn't really work with the tone of the novel.

 

It's rare I give up on a book, but I might ditch this one if it doesn't pick up pretty soon.

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4 hours ago, K said:

Also, and this is probably a slightly unfair criticism but whatever, some of the nomenclature is very bad. One of the central locations, a ring of orbiting space stations, is called the Glitter Band, which just makes me think of Gary Glitter. I suspect this may be an in-joke for British readers, but it's a bit distracting and doesn't really work with the tone of the novel.


That is fucking hilarious!

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