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Need a sci-fi book...

zktzkt Registered User regular
edited April 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm trying to get back into reading and am looking for a sci-fi novel that isn't military or hard sci fi. The most recent book I've read and loved was Snow Crash. Something with a protagonist who is more of an average person and gets involved in a grand plot.

zkt on

Posts

  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    I say this every time, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons anyway. It's probably a bit harder on the sci-fi, but especially the second two books seem to be what you're asking for. I don't think they're probably harder than Snow Crash, anyway. The books are:

    Hyperion
    The Fall of Hyperion
    Endymion
    The Rise of Endymion

    They're incredible books.

    JohnDies_zpsfe6c609e.jpg
    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
  • TheSuperWootTheSuperWoot Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    ceres wrote: »
    I say this every time, but I'm going to go ahead and recommend The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons anyway. It's probably a bit harder on the sci-fi, but especially the second two books seem to be what you're asking for. I don't think they're probably harder than Snow Crash, anyway. The books are:

    Hyperion
    The Fall of Hyperion
    Endymion
    The Rise of Endymion

    They're incredible books.

    Seconded!

    Clicked on the thread to recommend these books but as soon as I saw Ceres' avatar I knew I was beat :P

  • November FifthNovember Fifth Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
    Accelerando by Charlie Stross

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  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Vinge is fantastic, but Rainbows End bored me to tears - I'd recommend A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky, instead. They are a bit on the hard side of the spectrum, but Vinge is one of the rare sci-fi authors who can use technology and scientific ideas in a story without allowing the story itself to be dominated by them.

    I'm here to tell you about voting. Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight [. . .] So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades. That's voting. You're welcome.
  • Fizban140Fizban140 Registered User, __BANNED USERS
    edited April 2011
    Not sure how to classify the book but American Gods could fit that.

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  • BlochWaveBlochWave Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The man liked Snow Crash and no one recommended him The Diamond Age, by the same author?

    Very different than Snow Crash, more of just a straight storybook, while Snow Crash was going balls out for the mind-bending.

    If you want something hilarious and non-serious, read To Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis' wit is staggering.

  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I found Peter F Hamilton to be very accessible. He has quite a few series' and standalone books, and I've found him to be quite consistent. Dont be put off by the size, I found them real page-turners.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Seattle ThreadSeattle Thread The fuck am I looking atRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If you enjoyed Neal Stephenson's writing, read "Cryptnomicon." It's not sci-fi, but it's highly enjoyable and a good recommendation on its own.

    For other sci-fi recommendations, try the Stainless Steel Rat series. Or just hit the kingpin of the genre, the Foundation trilogy. If you've seen 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY or PLANET OF THE APES, check out their respective books. And Philip K. Dick has a Deary of books dealing with the nature of humanity vs. technology akin to "Snow Crash." Start anywhere with that guy--if you don't like your first PKD book, chances are you'll like the second.


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  • Hank_ScorpioHank_Scorpio Registered User
    edited April 2011
    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If you liked Snow Crash, get every Wililam Gibson book, though start at the beginning. His last three are, to me, an acquired taste not shared by all his fans.

    If you just want to close your eyes and read one rather than get bogged down in a series, read Idoru.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Yeah, early Neal Stephenson and any William Gibson is what you're looking for, as well as the Neal Gaiman reco's (his stuff is always good, though more mysticism than technology).

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If you liked Snow Crash, get every Wililam Gibson book, though start at the beginning. His last three are, to me, an acquired taste not shared by all his fans.

    If you just want to close your eyes and read one rather than get bogged down in a series, read Idoru.

    Yep... start with Diamond Age, then go for Gibson's Neuromancer. Welcome to cyberpunk!

    Successful Kickstarter get! Drop by Bare Mettle Entertainment if you'd like to see what we're making.
  • NamrokNamrok Herndon, VARegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    A sci-fi novel that isn't military or hard sci-fi? Pick up anything by Ray Bradbury! The man almost never bothered with military or science, and was all about exploring various moral implications were the world different. The science that made it different was never so important.

  • PirusuPirusu Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I found a neat little series on the Kindle store, by a guy named Nathan Lowell. They're certainly nothing amazing, but they're fun reads (listens?). The first two are availble to purchase at all the various e-reader stores, and I believe in paperback, but the entire series is available as a "Podiocast" where he's released 'em all as podcasts, basically.

    http://solarclipper.com/

  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Also: I know you specified a novel, but there are some truly excellent short story compilations out there. Short stories are a lot easier to get into than a novel, especially if you haven't been reading for a while, and they tend to focus much less on the technical details. Bradbury was already mentioned, and his shorts are fantastic. Arthur C. Clarke's are brilliant as well, as are Heinlein's.

    I'm here to tell you about voting. Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight [. . .] So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades. That's voting. You're welcome.
  • LeptonLepton Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Anathem, also by Neal Stephenson
    Seconded Gibson
    Chasm City, by Alastair Reynolds (The least hard scifi of his books, but more of a mystery than anything else)
    Night Train to Rigel (and sequels) by Timothy Zahn

  • ZibblsnrtZibblsnrt Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Vinge is fantastic, but Rainbows End bored me to tears - I'd recommend A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky, instead. They are a bit on the hard side of the spectrum, but Vinge is one of the rare sci-fi authors who can use technology and scientific ideas in a story without allowing the story itself to be dominated by them.

    I'll cheerfully second Fire Upon the Deep and Deepness In The Sky.

    Also, a sequel to Fire's coming out at some point this year. I believe the proper response is "squee!"

  • ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Look to Windward by Iain M Banks

    Actually all of the Culture series.

  • zktzkt Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Thanks a lot for all the recommendations everyone. I'm trying to filter through everything to decide what to read next. I really love the grit and attitude in Snow Crash and would enjoy reading something similar, but set in space. I tried to read Neuromancer before but got bored of it for some reason, so maybe ill revisit it. Some of these books seem to venture on the abstract and dabble in the theoretical...I really just want something thats entertaining with interesting characters and an engaging plot.

  • BlochWaveBlochWave Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I forgot that I've read quite a bit of Fire Upon the Deep. I never finished it, but now I remember it. I need to finish it, very interesting book, intriguing take on an alien species.

    I think that may make Fire Upon the Deep (or at least Vinge in general) have the numerical advantage in this topic, and I think that'd be a fine pick up, though spool and I know what's what ^_^

    I believe the very fine folks that are responsible for this fine website have in the past mentioned their fondness for Altered Carbon. Definitely glad I read it, though I have no interest in the sequels, if that makes any sense...

  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    zkt wrote: »
    Thanks a lot for all the recommendations everyone. I'm trying to filter through everything to decide what to read next. I really love the grit and attitude in Snow Crash and would enjoy reading something similar, but set in space. I tried to read Neuromancer before but got bored of it for some reason, so maybe ill revisit it. Some of these books seem to venture on the abstract and dabble in the theoretical...I really just want something thats entertaining with interesting characters and an engaging plot.

    Grit? Space? Definitely give the Hyperion Cantos a whirl. If you do start it and it's not grabbing you, give it about a hundred pages before you throw in the towel. It picks up.

    JohnDies_zpsfe6c609e.jpg
    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
  • OrikaeshigitaeOrikaeshigitae Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2011
    Murphy's Gambit, by Syne Mitchell.

  • nakirushnakirush Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, by Cory Doctorow. I highly recommend it.

  • Hank_ScorpioHank_Scorpio Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Oh and I don't know if you're into Warhammer 40k at all but Gaunt's Ghosts is fucking awesome.

  • ben0207ben0207 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Oh and I don't know if you're into Warhammer 40k at all but Gaunt's Ghosts is fucking awesome.

    The Gaunt books, Eisenhorn and Ravenor are great even if uou're not into 40K.

  • KelorKelor Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Asimov's Elijah Bailey novels are fun, light sci fi and would fit the bill. They're essentially detective novels set three thousand years into the future, but there's lots of interesting odds and ends that crop up through out.

    Caves of Steel is the first.

  • tallgeezetallgeeze Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    zkt wrote: »
    I'm trying to get back into reading and am looking for a sci-fi novel that isn't military or hard sci fi. The most recent book I've read and loved was Snow Crash. Something with a protagonist who is more of an average person and gets involved in a grand plot.

    You might be interested "The Chronoliths" by Robert Charles Wilson. It's exactly about what your are describing.

    I picked it up on a whim and I'm enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I'm about half done now and I can tell you the Sci-fi elements are very subtle. It's about a normal guy who witnesses the first of many world changing events(the chronoliths) and how it has affected his life professionally and personally.

  • rocketshipreadyrocketshipready Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Makershot wrote: »
    Or just hit the kingpin of the genre, the Foundation trilogy.

    Not to hijack, but, how are the other books in the series? I was planning on reading Foundation soon, and was wondering if I should read them in published order, chronological order, or just the original three?

  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Makershot wrote: »
    Or just hit the kingpin of the genre, the Foundation trilogy.

    Not to hijack, but, how are the other books in the series? I was planning on reading Foundation soon, and was wondering if I should read them in published order, chronological order, or just the original three?

    Someone asked this a few weeks ago. I'd recommend following published order, because the Foundation books started out great, but deteriorated over time. It's kind of appropriate, when you think about it. So, read the original three first, and if you like the universe, keep going with Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth. If you *really* dig Asimov's style, you can read his two prequels (Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation), but for the love of god, avoid the three prequels by Benford, Brin, and Bear - they are flaming poop on a stick.

    I'm here to tell you about voting. Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight [. . .] So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades. That's voting. You're welcome.
  • LegbaLegba Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I'd like to second the Stainless Steel Rat books. They're a great read and neither hard nor military sci-fi. More like sci-fi heist stories. Ocean's 11 - in the future!

    Anyway, they're awesome.

  • Arch Guru XXArch Guru XX Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    BlochWave wrote: »
    I forgot that I've read quite a bit of Fire Upon the Deep. I never finished it, but now I remember it. I need to finish it, very interesting book, intriguing take on an alien species.

    I think that may make Fire Upon the Deep (or at least Vinge in general) have the numerical advantage in this topic, and I think that'd be a fine pick up, though spool and I know what's what ^_^

    I believe the very fine folks that are responsible for this fine website have in the past mentioned their fondness for Altered Carbon. Definitely glad I read it, though I have no interest in the sequels, if that makes any sense...

    Regarding Altered Carbon, I think Richard Morgan's books are right up your alley. I'd actually recommend the sequels over Altered Carbon, which I loved the first time but did not enjoy as much when re-reading. There's a series of three books (so far), Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies, and imo Woken Furies is easily the best of them. Altered Carbon is basically a noirish mystery in the far future with cyberpunk trimmings. Broken Angels is a Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark sort of hunt/race for an alien artifact, in the far future, on a planet in the middle of a civil war (and significant portions toward the end take place entirely in space). Woken Furies is a revenge story and an insurrection story, on yet another different planet. All three have the same main character.

    I'd also recommend Morgan's standalone stories, Market Forces and Thirteen. Market Forces is Mad Max meets Wallstreet. It is a deeply cynical book, and very dark. I really liked it. Thirteen is a fun actiony story about a - ahem - supersoldier (more or less) hired to hunt down another of his kind. When I describe it like that the plot sounds like shit, but the setting and characters make it.

    I understand Morgan has recently put out a fantasy book; by all accounts it is shitty and should be avoided.

    Should have been a rock star.
  • rocketshipreadyrocketshipready Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Makershot wrote: »
    Or just hit the kingpin of the genre, the Foundation trilogy.

    Not to hijack, but, how are the other books in the series? I was planning on reading Foundation soon, and was wondering if I should read them in published order, chronological order, or just the original three?

    Someone asked this a few weeks ago. I'd recommend following published order, because the Foundation books started out great, but deteriorated over time. It's kind of appropriate, when you think about it. So, read the original three first, and if you like the universe, keep going with Foundation's Edge and Foundation and Earth. If you *really* dig Asimov's style, you can read his two prequels (Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation), but for the love of god, avoid the three prequels by Benford, Brin, and Bear - they are flaming poop on a stick.

    Noted.

    As to not not contribute to the thread... Someone mentioned Phil Dick earlier, and I'd just like to re-iterate that, especially if you're into conspiracy fiction. His most popular are Man in the High Castle, VALIS, Ubik, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (the basis for the movie Blade Runner), but definitely look into some of his more obscure ones. Counter Clock World is definitely one of my favorites

  • surrealitychecksurrealitycheck you must go on i cant go on ill go onRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Richard Morgan Altered Carbon is a noir Scifi story without being hugely hard.

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  • SithDrummerSithDrummer Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    As someone who is about 2/3 through reading the first Stainless Steel Rat book for the first time, I give it a hearty recommendation.

    It's an easy game to hate
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    zkt wrote: »
    I'm trying to get back into reading and am looking for a sci-fi novel that isn't military or hard sci fi. The most recent book I've read and loved was Snow Crash. Something with a protagonist who is more of an average person and gets involved in a grand plot.

    "Saturns Children" by Charles Stross

    "Blueheart" by Alison Sinclair

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