#1  
Old 09-27-2006, 07:35 PM
Science Fiction Novels

What are some of the great Science Fiction novels?

I don't read much science fiction but I need to read a sci-fi book for one of my classes.

Just list your favorites or something. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2006, 08:13 PM
Two that I can highly recommend are The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and Gateway by Frederik Pohl. I read them recently (i'm on a Sci-Fi binge) and they were two of the best novels i've read in years.
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2006, 09:24 PM
Thanks, I'll look in to them.
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2006, 11:11 AM
Get Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Amazing amazing book.
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  #5  
Old 09-30-2006, 01:38 PM
Anything by Timothy Zahn is reccommended. His background in advanced science truly makes him the Tom Clancy of Sci Fi.
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  #6  
Old 09-30-2006, 02:08 PM
I've been a heavy scifi reader for 20 years now. I think that a lot of the old, classic stuff is dated and has been surpassed by later writers. So usually I find myself NOT recommending stuff from Clarke, Asimov, etc. But some old books, like Frederik Pohl's repertoire, still rock. Anyway, here are some of the very best - These are in my top 5 scifi stories::

Ender's Game - Easy to approach for a beginner and a great book

Hyperion 1 & 2 - A mammoth book duo, but absolutely brilliant.

Use Of Weapons - But read another "culture" book, Player Of Games, first. UOW might be too hard to read for a beginner.

Last edited by Tuukka; 09-30-2006 at 02:12 PM..
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  #7  
Old 10-11-2006, 07:27 PM
I love the Dune series, personally. Though some people find it boring, probably because of the amount of descriptive detail, especially in regard to psychological and political ongoings. But I loved that, and I loved the epic, mystical feeling. It's also just really cool to set a story on a desert planet.

Last edited by Powerslave; 04-09-2009 at 12:09 PM..
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2006, 08:14 PM
I'm reading Hyperion right now, and its crazy good. I need to go and get the others in the series so I can read them all. Highly recommended.
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  #9  
Old 11-07-2006, 12:46 AM
If your a Star Wars fan than you can probably get away with reading one of the EU books for your project. If so, the aformentioned Timothy Zahn is the man to go see. I recommend the Heir to the Empire Trilogy. Its crazy delicious, and if your a Star Wars fan, a must read.

Along those same lines the novelization of Ep. 3 was surprisingly good as well. Waaaaaaayyyy better than the movie.

It seems Hyperion is a popular choice. I'm not familiar, whats it about?
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2006, 10:07 AM
Why not try some of the classics? They're usually quite short and easy to read, and great stories to boot.

I would recommend:

1984 by George Orwell
War of the Worlds by H.G Wells
The Time Machine by H.G.Wells
The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham


Knock yourself out!
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2006, 09:51 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Danger^Cart

It seems Hyperion is a popular choice. I'm not familiar, whats it about?
Its about seven people who are going to the planet Hyperion to see this crazy thorny creature called the Shrike. The book talks about their journey there as well as the story of each person and why they are going to the planet.

Sorry, not a very good description, but I definitely recommend you check it out!!!
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  #12  
Old 11-12-2006, 12:23 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Danger^Cart
It seems Hyperion is a popular choice. I'm not familiar, whats it about?
"On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands."

Basicly the two books tell a story of a small group of people, who each have their important part to play in the ultimate war and chess game between the humans, the Outers (Humans who have travelled to interstellar space and changed into gene- and technology-manipulated alien species), Technocore (The A.I society which largerly controls all human technology) And Shrike (The most dangerous and powerful being in the known universe, and nobody knows what the fuck it is or what it is trying to achieve).

Like Horror Junkie said, Hyperion is constructed as a Canterbury Tales -esque book with all the pilgrims telling their story to each other - It's kinda like 6 novellas told one after another, and the book ends with a cliffhanger, when they finally reach the Time Tombs, and prepare for confrontation with Shrike (Shrike is easly one of the all-time great villains).

The Fall Of Hyperion picks up where the first book ends and cut's back and forth all the difrerent storylines, this time in real time, as they fight to save themselves and the mankind. So it's a more traditionally structured book.

I thought both books are extremely imaginative, full of sense of wonder and grand ideas. They also have very human and relatable, memorable characters, fast moving and intriguing plots, and lot's of great action and suspense.

Stories don't get more epic or imaginative than Hyperion 1 & 2.

The series continued later on with Endymion and The Rise Of Endymion, but I find them much lesser in quality, and quite unsatisfying. Hyperion 2 ends with a great ending, by giving answers to everythign that needed to be answered and leaving just enough open-ended. So you can just ignore the Endymion books.

Last edited by Tuukka; 11-12-2006 at 12:33 AM..
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  #13  
Old 11-17-2006, 06:55 AM
Ooooh that's got me excited for that. I have never heard of these boks before. I'm definitley going to get them to check it out.

I've not really been a big reader of sci fi novels. I enjoy sci fi movies and tv series so I should get more into them.

A book i'm currently reading which is sci fi ish:

Nemsis by Bill Napier:

It reads like the da Vinci coed a little so that may hurt or excel the chances of you liking this book. It's quite technical but not hard. The writer is a major in astronamy which helps you soak in alot of knowledge.
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  #14  
Old 11-17-2006, 09:28 PM
I actually havnt read these but they are books I want to read: Dies the Fire and The Protector's War (the sequel). It is about a permanent black out in modern society.
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2006, 04:18 PM
I haven't been reading sci fi for that long, but Hyperion is definitely a good one to start with. The first couple of pages might seem a little confusing, but once you figure out what certain things mean, its a lot easier to follow.
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  #16  
Old 11-20-2006, 03:15 PM
Ok my Hyperion omnibus come today and the cover alone as got me feeling it.

Just got to finish the other book i've mentioned then i'm on it. Tukka it better be worth it or you owe me 10 bucks.
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  #17  
Old 11-20-2006, 09:26 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Tuukka
"On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands."

Basicly the two books tell a story of a small group of people, who each have their important part to play in the ultimate war and chess game between the humans, the Outers (Humans who have travelled to interstellar space and changed into gene- and technology-manipulated alien species), Technocore (The A.I society which largerly controls all human technology) And Shrike (The most dangerous and powerful being in the known universe, and nobody knows what the fuck it is or what it is trying to achieve).

Like Horror Junkie said, Hyperion is constructed as a Canterbury Tales -esque book with all the pilgrims telling their story to each other - It's kinda like 6 novellas told one after another, and the book ends with a cliffhanger, when they finally reach the Time Tombs, and prepare for confrontation with Shrike (Shrike is easly one of the all-time great villains).

The Fall Of Hyperion picks up where the first book ends and cut's back and forth all the difrerent storylines, this time in real time, as they fight to save themselves and the mankind. So it's a more traditionally structured book.

I thought both books are extremely imaginative, full of sense of wonder and grand ideas. They also have very human and relatable, memorable characters, fast moving and intriguing plots, and lot's of great action and suspense.

Stories don't get more epic or imaginative than Hyperion 1 & 2.

The series continued later on with Endymion and The Rise Of Endymion, but I find them much lesser in quality, and quite unsatisfying. Hyperion 2 ends with a great ending, by giving answers to everythign that needed to be answered and leaving just enough open-ended. So you can just ignore the Endymion books.

Great synopsis, thank you. This inspired me to do some research, and, if I'm not mistaken, the Hyperion books are the equivalent of Watchmen regarding the Sci-fi genre? Watchmen being the best comic of all time, Hyperion being...

Im curious though, how is the writing style? I've found that, no matter how great a concept is, its only as great as the scribe. For instance, Tom Clancy creates fantastic stories, but his writing is so convoluted with needless trivia and jargon that reading one of his books gives you a headache. Does Hyperion flow? I only ask because when constructing a science fiction world from scratch a lot of information is necessary, and if you don't know how to manage said information, it weighs down the writing.

Either or, I'll definetely be picking these up, as they seem well worth the chance.
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  #18  
Old 11-21-2006, 11:04 AM
Hyperion is definitely very readable. Its easy to understand without being too simple, and the author does a great job of conveying emotions, action, etc. I can't speak for the other books in the series, but the first one shouldn't be any trouble.
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  #19  
Old 11-21-2006, 12:08 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Danger^Cart
Great synopsis, thank you. This inspired me to do some research, and, if I'm not mistaken, the Hyperion books are the equivalent of Watchmen regarding the Sci-fi genre? Watchmen being the best comic of all time, Hyperion being...

Im curious though, how is the writing style? I've found that, no matter how great a concept is, its only as great as the scribe. For instance, Tom Clancy creates fantastic stories, but his writing is so convoluted with needless trivia and jargon that reading one of his books gives you a headache. Does Hyperion flow? I only ask because when constructing a science fiction world from scratch a lot of information is necessary, and if you don't know how to manage said information, it weighs down the writing.

Either or, I'll definetely be picking these up, as they seem well worth the chance.
The emphasis on visuals and ideas by sacrificing story and characters is one of the main flaws in scifi literature. In particular if you read the old school classics like Clarke, Asimov, etc, this becomes very apparent. It's also the main reason why I think most old scifi books are very dated and have diminished their appeal.

A great idea is not enough, especially since scifi genre always cannibalizes all the new ideas very fast: When someone comes up with a new grand idea and concept, in the next 5 years several other authors have take the idea, and expand it even further, therefore lessening the impact of the original book in retrospect.

While ideas and concepts become easily dated, good stories and characters don't.

Anyway, while Hyperion has descriptive passages, even lenghty ones, I would argue that they are primarily character- and story-driven books. And Dan Simmons is a very, very fine writer also in his use of language.

But a word of caution should be said to anyone who is not familiar with scifi books: A complex story like Hyperion probably isn't a best option for a beginner, since scifi stories can get pretty far out there in their imaginative ideas.

Something like Ender's Game would be highly recommended to beginners, since while it's a great book, it's also a rather simple and streamlined one, and can be easily understood and taken in without any scifi background.
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  #20  
Old 10-31-2008, 12:11 PM
Just finished searching for this thread. A big thank you to Tukka and others that reccomended Hyperion.

I have finaly got around to reading it and have just finished the frist book and started the The Fall Of Hyperion. I must say it is magnificent. I can't wait to read it agian. Such a great story and charcters. I love the relationship the Author obviously has with the poet John Kets in the series as well. He's clearly a very enthusisatic fan.

I'd reccoment it to anyone. Great great read. Thanks again.
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  #21  
Old 10-31-2008, 02:07 PM
Definitely check out Battlefield Earth. It's like the Lord of the Rings for science fiction.
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  #22  
Old 04-08-2009, 04:30 PM
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
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  #23  
Old 04-09-2009, 03:30 PM
Rendezvous with Rama

John Dies at the End

Ender's Game

The Sparrow

Sphere
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  #24  
Old 04-09-2009, 05:46 PM
Any Philip K. Dick fans?

I've only read A Scanner Darkly, and that was years ago at this point, so I barely remember it. I'm looking for a good starting point for his work. Ubik seems to be one of his most highly acclaimed.
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  #25  
Old 04-09-2009, 09:43 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerslave View Post
Any Philip K. Dick fans?

I've only read A Scanner Darkly, and that was years ago at this point, so I barely remember it. I'm looking for a good starting point for his work. Ubik seems to be one of his most highly acclaimed.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, aka Blade Runner, is a very good book.
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  #26  
Old 04-10-2009, 12:38 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerslave View Post
Any Philip K. Dick fans?

I'm looking for a good starting point for his work.
The Man In The High Castle.
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