Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Hayley

      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Michelle

SF Recommendations please..

Recommended Posts

I've been enjoying some SF recently, and I'd like to get some recommendations as I don't know what to try next. To give an idea of what I've read so far, I've enjoyed a lot of HG Wells and John Wyndham, and quite a bit of Ray Bradbury. I also loved Ender's Game, and recently Earth Unaware / Earth Afire (Orson Scott Card), and have read and enjoyed quite a few of Arthur C Clarke's books, but couldn't tell you off hand which ones. 

 

At the moment I'm listening to New Earth by Ben Bova, and I know I've read another of his many years ago, although I can't remember much about it. I find some of his writing a little stilted and cliched (especially the 'romance' issues) but overall it's a good read (listen).

 

I do prefer stand alone books to a series, but will try a series if it's particularly strong. I'm not really interested in various planets, factions etc at war with each other, I seem to prefer exploration type stories, mysteries etc. I'm happy to try older SF as well as modern.

 

So, what recommendations do you have for me to try next? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Player of Games, by Iain M Banks, if you've not read it already is a good place to start. 

 

If you like that you might also enjoy his other Culture novels (most of which are stand alone stories but it does help to read them in the order they were published).

 

Also, if you liked Wyndham you will probably enjoy The Death of Grass, by John Christopher and The Black Cloud, by Fred Hoyle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Golden Witchbreed - Mary Gentle  

 

A first contact story in which Lynne de Lisle Christie, a British envoy arrives on Orthe to make contacts for future business. Orthe is a post-apocalyptic world in which various myths and superstitions have arisen about the 'Goldens' the previously technologically advanced race that caused the catastrophe.  Lynne is blonde which results in her being viewed with a lot of hatred and fear. Despite having strict instructions not to become involved with the locals, she does. The story is basically about how she survives the local politics. It is grand adventure on another world, with politics, intriguing people, romance, betrayal and survival.

 

Contact - Carl Sagan - deals with the theme of contact between humanity and a more technologically advanced, extraterrestrial life form. Rather more philosophical in some aspects.

 

Some authors I can suggest you look at - Robert Heinlein - Friday and The Cat Who Walked Through Walls spring to mind. Julian May - series but very good. Pliocene Exiles deals with a future earth that solves the problem of misfits in society by sending them on a way trip to the Pliocene. It's got everything - aliens, advanced technology, alternate history of earth, time travel etc. Anne McCaffrey - also lots of series - her "The Ship Who' series are really good. Also all her novels set on Pern. The story of Pern is that a ship load of immigrants headed for another planet entirely crashes on Pern. The original ship people realised that a. help was never coming and b. they had to set up a self sufficient non-technological society for when all their hi-tech ran out of juice and spare parts and failed. 

 

Robert J. Sawyers Neanderthal series (3 books Hominids, Humans and Hybrids) are just about the best recent sci-fi I have read. Parallel worlds cross paths when a Neanderthal science experiment ends up sending a Neanderthal to earth. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes, I liked The Death of Grass, and The Tripods Trilogy, have you tried any others by him? I think I might have to try The Black Cloud. :)

 

I've seen the Culture series mentioned before, and am undecided - looking at Wiki, that's the 2nd book, is it the best one to start with?

 

CuriousGeorgette, thank you, I'm taking at a look at your suggestions now. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I've seen the Culture series mentioned before, and am undecided - looking at Wiki, that's the 2nd book, is it the best one to start with?

 

It doesn't matter, really, Michelle - they're all stand alone stories :smile:   Alternatively, you could try one of his non-Culture sf novels, like The Algebraist :smile:

 

 

I'll throw in my usual faves:  A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky, both by Vernor Vinge, and Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  All three are fantastic.  If you liked Ray Bradbury, have a look at Richard Matheson, too :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thoughts:

Robert J Sawyer - I loved Flash Forward. I'm not sure about Hominids, but I am going to look through his other books.

I always thought of Anne McCaffrey as being fantasy.. I'm also going to take a look at her books now, especially as I also love dragons!

The first Julian May book has gone on my wishlist.

Robert A Heinlein.. I recently read Starship Troopers. The two you mentioned seem hard to get here, but I'll look at his others. 

Contact also looks a little difficult to get at the moment, but is going on the wishlist.

Golden Witchbreed isn't grabbing me.

Thank you - a lot to look into. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm.. the Vernor Vinge aren't really appealing to me, and Hyperion I'm not sure about, but I feel bad rejecting a suggestion. :-/

 

Added: ooh yes, Matheson - those I'm going to look into. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm.. the Vernor Vinge aren't really appealing to me, and Hyperion I'm not sure about, but I feel bad rejecting a suggestion. :-/

 

Don't feel bad if they're not your cup of tea  :D

 

If you do look into Matheson, try this edition of The Incredible Shrinking Man, as it also contains some of his marvellous short stories :smile:   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes, I liked The Death of Grass, and The Tripods Trilogy, have you tried any others by him? I think I might have to try The Black Cloud. :)

 

I've seen the Culture series mentioned before, and am undecided - looking at Wiki, that's the 2nd book, is it the best one to start with?

 

I've read the Tripods books (there are four by the way, have you read When the Tripods Came? - It is a little light-weight after the others, but an interesting read none the same!).  We did start reading The Guardians in school, but I don't remember finishing it - or much else about it at this distance - so I can't tell you how good it is either way.

 

Re: Culture novels, as Steve said they are pretty much stand alone novels.  The Player of Games is his most accessible, which is why I recommended it over Consider Phlebas which is a bit long winded and may put you off if that style of science fiction isn't your bag.

 

Have you looks at the Stainless Steel Rat books, by Harry Harrison?  I believe they are in a similar vein to Starship Troopers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Have you looks at the Stainless Steel Rat books, by Harry Harrison?  I believe they are in a similar vein to Starship Troopers.

I'm generally not into war/fighting type SF.. but then I liked Starship Troopers, and the Orson Scott Card books! I'll pass on those ones though. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Stainless Steel Rat books, or at least the first one (which is the only one I have read to date), is more comedy science fiction and is more secret space agent based than big battles etc.  I quite enjoyed it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to prefer exploration type stories, mysteries etc.

 

A couple more you could have a look at that fit this description:

 

The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt

 

Eon by Greg Bear

 

Both have elements of Arthur C. Clarke about them :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eon cropped up on audible today, I'm undecided but moving towards trying it. Have you read it? The Engines of God may be worth a try too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read Eon many moons ago, yes.  I can't remember a lot about it to be honest, apart from the initial set up - I must read it again, actually! 

 

I read The Engines of God two or three years ago and enjoyed it, but it was difficult to get hold of the other books in that series at the time - luckily they were re-issued last year so I'm planning on returning to them :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My thoughts:

Robert J Sawyer - I loved Flash Forward. I'm not sure about Hominids, but I am going to look through his other books.

I always thought of Anne McCaffrey as being fantasy.. I'm also going to take a look at her books now, especially as I also love dragons!

The first Julian May book has gone on my wishlist.

Robert A Heinlein.. I recently read Starship Troopers. The two you mentioned seem hard to get here, but I'll look at his others. 

Contact also looks a little difficult to get at the moment, but is going on the wishlist.

Golden Witchbreed isn't grabbing me.

Thank you - a lot to look into. :D

 

PLEASE don't judge Robert Heinlein by Starship Troopers. IMO it is the worst of his books. 

 

Anne McCaffrey is definitely not fantasy and her 'Ship Who' books are totally sci-fi. The premise is that humans who have superior intellects, but who have, for various reasons, severe physical limitations get merged into the computer systems of space ships called 'brain ships'. The ships are therefore sentient human beings forever part of the ship. The physical aspect of the job is done by a partner who is the 'brawn'. Choosing the right partner is of utmost importance given the long distance of space travel. The series are all independent of each other with some cross-over continuity but not so much that they can't be read entirely on their own. The books generally focus on some crisis that ship 'brain' and their mobile partner 'brawn' have to solve together. There is one book that is different which is the 'The City Who Won'. 

 

 

Other suggestions - - Alan Dean Foster - in particular Pip and Flinx - if you liked Avatar there are aspects that are similarish. 

 

http://www.goodreads.com/series/51810-pip-flinx

 

Actually he is a prolific writer and you may find something you like in some of his other books:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dean_Foster

 

 

I'm not sure how you feel about feminist sci-fi but the author to read is Sherri S. Tepper.  Grass, Jinian Footseer, The Gate to the Woman's Country particularly come to mind. It certainly is different from the usual sci-fi space opera, alien wars, dystopian universe, cyber-punk stuff.

 

A.A. Attanasio writes a good post-apocalyptic earth. 

 

There are a bunch of authors but the line between sci-fi and fantasy is a bit blurred. Roger Zelazny's Princes in Amber series is absolutely brilliant and is probably technically sci-fi rather than fantasy. Oberon King Of Amber is missing, Prince Corwin is suffering from amnesia and stuck on earth. His brother is ruling Amber but is he the rightful King? And what did happen to Oberon anyway? Can Corwin save Amber? Parallel worlds with a fair bit of magic. 

 

Another one is Robert Silverberg's Majipoor series. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majipoor

Edited by CuriousGeorgette

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've put a couple of Sherri S Tepper's onto my wishlist.   :)

 

I've ordered the first McCaffrey dragon book, and the ship one has gone on my wishlist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've put a couple of Sherri S Tepper's onto my wishlist.   :)

 

I've ordered the first McCaffrey dragon book, and the ship one has gone on my wishlist.

McCaffrey also has a Powers That Be (PTB) series, Acorna series as well as the Dragons and the Ships brain/brawn series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Hi Michelle- here would be my choices for you.

Anne McCaffrey:  Restoree and The Ship Who Sang.  Both great books and very much female SF, quite radical back in the 60s. No fantasy elements.

Jack Vance : The Blue World Vance's best stand alone novel IMO (Poppyshake has read this one)

Sherri S Tepper : The Margarets again very feminist SF. Multiple versions of Margaret.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the one and only (so far) spacey sci-fi book I've read is The Stars My Destination, which I enjoyed, a bit surprisingly :giggle: It's by Alfred Bester, the Gollancz edition has 256 pages.

Hmm.. a murderous grudge? Was there more to it than that? :)

 

 Hi Michelle- here would be my choices for you.

Anne McCaffrey:  Restoree and The Ship Who Sang.  Both great books and very much female SF, quite radical back in the 60s. No fantasy elements.

Jack Vance : The Blue World Vance's best stand alone novel IMO (Poppyshake has read this one)

Sherri S Tepper : The Margarets again very feminist SF. Multiple versions of Margaret.

I've bought the first McCaffrey dragon book, as I don't mind a bit of fantasy, and The Ship Who Sang is on the wish list. A reviewer described Restoree as 'chick lit in space' which wouldn't be my thing. Is that fair?

The Blue World might be worth a look, I've certainly heard the author mentioned a lot. 

The Margarets also looks intriguing.. but why so many feminist recommendations for me? Do I give off feminist vibes or something? hehe :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm.. a murderous grudge? Was there more to it than that? :)

 

Oh yes.  It's a classic, as is his other best known novel, The Demolished Man :smile:

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



×