Looking for well written "dark" sci-fi?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by fbones24, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. fbones24

    fbones24 Journeyed there and back again

    Hey all. I'm getting kind of burnt out on fantasy and have not read sci-fi in a long while. I don't recall the last sci-fi I did read but I tend to sway towards space opera with darker themes. Perhaps my favorite is Donaldson's Gap Series. I have also read Banks and Reynolds and enjoyed them, but perhaps not as much as the Gap series.

    I guess I'm looking for darker, gritty sci-fi. Any good suggestions come to mind?
  2. Alucard

    Alucard In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge! Staff Member

    I haven't read them myself but I remember @TomTB mentioning Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs series as gritty and noir. He hasn't like them, but according to my GR friend's list, another BFB member Ofer thought it was one of the best sci-fi books he has read in years. That's what it says in his review anyway.

    I also know from Darwin that I should definitely read Richard Morgan's fantasy trilogy A Land Fit for Heroes, because it a well done grimdark fantasy which I like.

    So that gives me an inclination to think that Morgan generally has a darker writing style. You might wanna look into it, see for yourself.
    Sorry if I'm not of much help, I'm sure others will have more to suggest.
  3. fbones24

    fbones24 Journeyed there and back again

    I have actually read the first Kovac novel and did enjoy it. I would not necessarily describe it as dark, I would definitely say it's gritty though. I do appreciate the recommendation. I did read A Land Fit For Heroes and I know it's a love it or hate it affair but I enjoyed it. Check them out. I would say A Land Fit For Heroes was darker than the Kovacs book from him.
  4. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    Yep, the Morgan SF books sound like a good fit for what you're after. I thought the first one was crap, so didn't continue with the rest of the series, but by all accounts they're equally as crap, so hopefully they're right up your street!

    What about the classics - Have you read any Dick books?

    (surprisingly for me that's a serious question .. sort of)
    • Funny Funny x 1
  5. fbones24

    fbones24 Journeyed there and back again

    Well, I have read a few Dick books in my day yes.
  6. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    Solid gold recs for you fbones. Not only are the Kovacs books just perfect for your needs, but Neal Asher's five Polity novels and his three book Spatterjay series are not only dark but action packed as well. You will say "Where have you been all my life, Neal Asher?" Ditto Sara King's Zero series starting with Forging of Zero. The Koban series is also dark and extremely exciting.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    I've been considering starting the Polity books, but if I'm honest I'm a bit disappointed to see you find them 'dark', as that's not necessarily what I'm looking for in my SF. Saying that as long as there are engaging and well written diverse characters, then I suppose I could live with that.

    That's why I don't like Morgan's writing style, I just found every single character in both books I've read to be a slightly different shade of grey.
  8. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    Dick books and shades of grey ... there's a theme developing here .......
  9. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    Polity books are dark in that the hero is serious and lethal like James Bond and his adversaries, whether human or alien, are extremely violent and intelligent. Character development? As good as the world/galaxy building.
  10. paul james

    paul james Mixes poisons and sharpens knives with Kylar

    Hyperion is the darkest sci-fi I have read.

    The 2 PKD novel s I have read Ubik and Scanner darkly are both pretty dark.
  11. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    I think people's perception of a 'dark book' are different to mine. It's more to do with the writing style for me. For example, something terse and macabre would come over as dark to me .. think The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Violence for me doesn't equate to darkness, and I wouldn't classify Hyperion as being dark.

    All down to individual POVs I guess....
    • Agree Agree x 2
  12. CelestialAeon

    CelestialAeon A Muggle

    I'm a big fan of the Culture series from Banks. Some books are more dark and gritty than others. Use of Weapons and Player of Games were both really enjoyable in my opinion. Worth checking out if you haven't run into Banks yet.
  13. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    You should swing by our sister forum over at


    There's several Culture aficionados amongst the rabble!
  14. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    Although, again, I wouldn't necessarily class Culture as dark. It's set in a utopian society.
  15. CelestialAeon

    CelestialAeon A Muggle

    That is true, but in many of the books the story isn't revolving around the Culture utopia but rather around quite dystopian "un-cultures". I found especially the story in Player of Games dark as hell.

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