It's 2015 - What Sci-Fi book are you reading?

atheling

A Poet of the Khaiem
#21
Half way into Neuromancer. It's weird. I don't like the writing style, it feels choppy and disconnected. It doesn't flow at all. Maybe that's on purpose. It does create a certain atmosphere because of it.
I'm also not connecting to any characters, I couldn't care less what happens to them, if they live or die.
That's bad. I realized that no matter how atmospheric the book is (think Night Circus for example) or how big are the concepts, if the characters don't make me care it's game over.
I would love to hear some suggestions on character driven science fiction books.
ya I struggled a bit with the characters too but I think they sorta grew on me, so I kept it up. But I see ya there: if I don't like the hero(es) of a story, it's hard for me to get through, even if I think it's well done as storytelling.

We recently tried the HBO series Boardwalk Empire (a gift, just the first season on DVD) and I thought it was pretty good--except for all the complete assholes, which was everyone on the show, so I could not get into it.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#22
75% into The Martian. Loved the first half but it's getting a little bit repetitive. still think it's a good book (sorry HoF) although probably others here liked it more. Best way I can describe it is Robinson Crusoe meets Macgyver.
I like it so far (about 20% in). But. I think this is the sort of story I've read a dozen times before.

The Hunger Games comes to mind. Maybe also Mistborn.
Don't think it's a spoiler (it's pretty much along the lines you wrote in yours) but putting it into one just in case:
I got a Lord of the Flies vibe while reading it)
Half way into Neuromancer. It's weird. I don't like the writing style, it feels choppy and disconnected. It doesn't flow at all. Maybe that's on purpose. It does create a certain atmosphere because of it.
I'm also not connecting to any characters, I couldn't care less what happens to them, if they live or die.
That's bad. I realized that no matter how atmospheric the book is (think Night Circus for example) or how big are the concepts, if the characters don't make me care it's game over.
I would love to hear some suggestions on character driven science fiction books.
I liked the MC but I get where you're coming from - the writing is choppy and I think it's on purpose.

Here are a few suggestions for character driven sci-fi books:
Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (nothing I can do I will recommend it regardless, but it is more character driven then other SF) by Dan Simmons
Ilium/Olympos duology by Dan Simmons
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernon Vinge
The Ender series by Orson Scott Card
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Moving Mars by Greg Bear
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#23
We recently tried the HBO series Boardwalk Empire (a gift, just the first season on DVD) and I thought it was pretty good--except for all the complete assholes, which was everyone on the show, so I could not get into it.
Oh I don't mind the asshole characters, they just have to be assholes I like :D
Neuromancer doesn't suffer from that syndrome. They're neither heroes nor anti-heroes. They are just kind of there.

Here are a few suggestions for character driven sci-fi books:
Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (nothing I can do I will recommend it regardless, but it is more character driven then other SF) by Dan Simmons
Ilium/Olympos duology by Dan Simmons
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernon Vinge
The Ender series by Orson Scott Card
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Moving Mars by Greg Bear
Thanks ofer, you da man!
Hyperion is definitely on my ptr for this year. I heard nothing but good things on Vinge's book, and Solaris I already own :woot:
I've read Ender's Game, it was ok, but I don't have much desire to continue that series, especially since I heard Card devolves into philosophical talks in later books and forgoes action and characters.
Never heard of Moving Mars. Thank you again!
@ofer Just saw that Moving Mars is the 3rd book in Queen of Angels series. Is it a standalone or do I have to read the rest of the series before?
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#24
@Alucard I never even knew there was a Queen of Angels series. Moving Mars felt like a total standalone. It's very character oriented. (and one of only 2 Bear books which I've read).
The only thing I didn't like about it is that the science in it was way out there for a book which takes place in the near future - but even so it was of my best 2014 reads.

Solaris can be a bit difficult but it is both a sci-fi classic and one of the few sci-book from that period which is more character-oriented.

As for Hyperion - just read it. I don't even consider it a sci-fi classic - more like one of the best books I've ever read. It would be a classic in any category.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#25
@Alucard I never even knew there was a Queen of Angels series. Moving Mars felt like a total standalone. It's very character oriented. (and one of only 2 Bear books which I've read).
The only thing I didn't like about it is that the science in it was way out there for a book which takes place in the near future - but even so it was of my best 2014 reads.

Solaris can be a bit difficult but it is both a sci-fi classic and one of the few sci-book from that period which is more character-oriented.

As for Hyperion - just read it. I don't even consider it a sci-fi classic - more like one of the best books I've ever read. It would be a classic in any category.
Goodreads makes these things easy to find out ;)
https://www.goodreads.com/series/51175-queen-of-angels

I'll add Moving Mars only for now, thanks.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#26
I would love to hear some suggestions on character driven science fiction books.
Why don't you start a new thread for character driven science fiction works? Then we can continually add to the list as we keep thinking of (or come across newer) examples that emphasise this aspect.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#28
I've read Ender's Game, it was ok, but I don't have much desire to continue that series, especially since I heard Card devolves into philosophical talks in later books and forgoes action and characters.
The opposite. Starting from "Speaker for the Dead", it's all about characters. Less action, for sure. It's just that the final installment, "Children of the Mind", was a little weak - or maybe not even so weak, but that Card took it into a direction that I didn't really like. Well, also weak, especially when compared to the quality of "Speaker for the Dead", which was excellent. In fact, "Speaker for the Dead", the beginning of the trilogy that is the sequel to "Ender's Game", is a superior piece of work in just about every way: more maturely written, far more depth to the characters, an exploration of moral behaviour and psychological wounds. An excellent work. It just doesn't have the more intense pacing of its antecedent. The trilogy following "Ender's Game" is still worthwhile to read, even with the denouement it has.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#30
The opposite. Starting from "Speaker for the Dead", it's all about characters. Less action, for sure. It's just that the final installment, "Children of the Mind", was a little weak - or maybe not even so weak, but that Card took it into a direction that I didn't really like. Well, also weak, especially when compared to the quality of "Speaker for the Dead", which was excellent. In fact, "Speaker for the Dead", the beginning of the trilogy that is the sequel to "Ender's Game", is a superior piece of work in just about every way: more maturely written, far more depth to the characters, an exploration of moral behaviour and psychological wounds. An excellent work. It just doesn't have the more intense pacing of its antecedent. The trilogy following "Ender's Game" is still worthwhile to read, even with the denouement it has.
It's certainly worth a read and the books are good (possibly with the exception of Children of the Mind, which I agree wasn't that weak) but like Alucard, I also preferred Ender's Game. I heard his Shadow books are more similar to Ender's Game. Maybe one day I'll even read them, although I have other priorities at the moment.
What's the other Greg Bear you've read?
Eon. I remember it was ok and that's about it - it's been nearly 25 years, man.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#31
You're gonna be fun to play with.

10% into Golden Son and I'm seriously considering setting it aside for Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising which is finally available for Kindle. I like to save the great ones and keep experimenting with new, and Golden Son is obviously as good as Red Rising, so it goes into the vault with Words of Radiance, Tower Lord and Fell Sword. I wish I knew if Over Sea, Under Stone was necessary before you go to the main books with Will starting with The Dark Is Rising. It's precious, sure, but definitely a children's book, which is not a bad thing at all.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#32
10% into Golden Son and I'm seriously considering setting it aside for Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising which is finally available for Kindle. I like to save the great ones and keep experimenting with new, and Golden Son is obviously as good as Red Rising, so it goes into the vault with Words of Radiance, Tower Lord and Fell Sword.
Wait, so if you're finding a book to be really good, then instead of finishing it, you'll set it aside in your 'vault' while you go look for other authors, whose works might not necessarily be as good as the one you've set aside? Is this some kind of cross-cultural trait I don't understand?
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#33
I also preferred Ender's Game
Me too. It's more fun and easier to reread.
I have a copy, but haven't read. I've only read 3 books by Bear, all of which I liked. "Blood Music" (the novel version), which I found creepy, and his fantasy duology that makes up "The Songs of Earth and Power". At the time, the only other SF writers I knew who wrote fantasy were Zelazny and Cherryh. Now it's a common trend to cross over between SF/F for many authors.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
#34
Wait, so if you're finding a book to be really good, then instead of finishing it, you'll set it aside in your 'vault' while you go look for other authors, whose works might not necessarily be as good as the one you've set aside?
This is outstanding in a good way, never heard of anyone else doing this.
 

Griffin

Journeyed there and back again
#35
I like to save the great ones and keep experimenting with new, and Golden Son is obviously as good as Red Rising, so it goes into the vault with Words of Radiance, Tower Lord and Fell Sword.
How very strange. I have a strenuous need to finish books I've started, let alone a book I'm liking a lot or know I'm going to love. Utterly strange habit!
 

Derk of Derkholm

Journeyed there and back again
#37
One suggestion here: Michael Swanwick.

He's a great storyteller, and I have come to appreciate him recently (after reading one of his stories "Tawny petticoats" in the anthology "Rogues").

IMO he's one of the more underrated SF authors, especially considering that he won 5 Hugo awards and one Nebula award (and that few people seem to know his name).

An easy and cheap way to check out some of his stories is to download the free Kindle books "Some of the Best from TOR.com", the 2011 and 2012 version contain one of his stories each. Especially "The Mongolian Wizard" that is included in the 2012 edition is a fun story.

Best regards,
Andy
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#38
Wait, so if you're finding a book to be really good, then instead of finishing it, you'll set it aside in your 'vault' while you go look for other authors, whose works might not necessarily be as good as the one you've set aside? Is this some kind of cross-cultural trait I don't understand?
I really dislike the empty feeling of finishing a really great book that I don't ever want to end. Like what happened with the ten-star The Abyss Beyond Dreams. Now I know I have Golden Son just waiting to improve my life, and that's comforting.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#39
Not me, @kenubrion. If I'm enjoying a book, I have to read it through. I will most likely not put it aside and start a different one that has the potential to be less enjoyable. If you put a book into your vault, then start another one that you equally enjoy, so you put that into your vault, start another one...ad infinitum.

Started reading again and polished off "Musashi". I'm going back to the two books I've had on hold for a while now, "Singularity Sky" by Charles Stross and "Eisenhorn" by Dan Abnett. Will start chapter 4 of "Singularity Sky" today.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#40
Not me, @kenubrion. If I'm enjoying a book, I have to read it through. I will most likely not put it aside and start a different one that has the potential to be less enjoyable. If you put a book into your vault, then start another one that you equally enjoy, so you put that into your vault, start another one...ad infinitum.

Started reading again and polished off "Musashi". I'm going back to the two books I've had on hold for a while now, "Singularity Sky" by Charles Stross and "Eisenhorn" by Dan Abnett. Will start chapter 4 of "Singularity Sky" today.
OK, I admit, I'm reading a few pages every day, up to 14%. But when I finish it, it will be gone, and I will be lost and sad.