What Sci-Fi Book Are You Reading?

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Boreas

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Either that or I'm just picking the wrong books...
I think you should give "Ready Player One" by Ernest Clines a go. If you don't enjoy that, then you're beyond help when it comes to SF. It's an easy read, and most importantly, oodles of fun - high tech virtual fantasy, the perfect blend. I cared for more than just the main character, plus I liked the virtual romance aspect of it, too. I'd also recommend "The Boat of a Million Years" by Poul Anderson. A little more serious in tone, and reads like historical fiction/fantasy for a large part of the book. If you want to try out a light and fun space opera story with lots of cool fight scenes (including with nanomachines), then try out Scott Westerfeld's Succession books, "The Risen Empire" and "Killing of Worlds" (KoW continuing off directly from TRE).
 

Boreas

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I have neither watched nor read Dune.
You should watch "Dune" before you read it. There's a fan 'redux' version available on the internet that is the best version of the movie. The edits this guy did make the most sense. I love the movie, but I still dream of being able to watch Jodorowksy's version.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
Either that or I'm just picking the wrong books
Hmm...as long as we're allowed to bomb you with suggestions, then other than Ready Player One or Hyperion, I can also suggest Ender's Game. One of those rare books that manages to be both deep, character oriented and easy. It's too bad that Card never managed to recapture the brilliance of the first book in the rest of the Ender series (there're not bad, just not as good as the first) but the book works perfectly fine as a standalone. And although I did not watch the movie, I understand from people reactions that the book was much better.

Another book I found easy was Sphere by Michael Crichton. Not deep or anything, just effective.

And BTW currently third way through Anathem. The book did get much better (well it could hardly got worse) after the 15% mark although the occasional unnecessary long descriptive page still makes me want to yank Stephenson's goatee.
 
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Antoxx

Journeyed there and back again
@moonspawn I'm starting to think that Sci-Fi might not be a very good genre for me, and that maybe I should just stick with Fantasy instead.

I would have thought that I would have liked this genre a lot, since I really enjoy watching Sci-Fi films so I can't understand why I'm not enjoying these types of books.

Does anyone have any explanations for this ?

Either that or I'm just picking the wrong books, I'm coming to about the halfway point in the book and it's better than The Martian and it's relatively easy to read. There's nothing I can say that's bad about this book, but it doesn't really standout yet either.

There's action in it, and gunfights but nothing over the top and they are not slammed in to your face at every point possible in the book. I like the idea of the science behind it, and it some parts of it remind me of the film Blade Runner.

The writing is tight and he doesn't waste words or overdo anything, however I don't feel any real connection with the characters if the main protagonist was to die I doubt very much that it would make me feel anything.

Other authors I have read can make you like/hate characters really quickly.
I'm in your camp. Really enjoy Sci Fi movies but just can't seem to get into Sci Fi books. Almost the opposite with fantasy (very few Fantasy movies I like). I stick entirely to Fantasy books now. Not sure why either.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
Almost the opposite with fantasy (very few Fantasy movies I like).
I think you've hit on something here is this generally the same for most of us on here ?

People who don't like Sci-Fi books like watching Sci-Fi.

People who like reading Fantasy, don't like watching Fantasy that much.


Hmm...as long as we're allowed to bomb you with suggestions, then other than Ready Player One or Hyperion,
Bomb away ! I have Hyperion on my bookshelf so will get around to reading that, Ready Player One has been mentioned a few times so I will keep that in mind.

Another book I found easy was Sphere by Michael Crichton.
I have read one of his books The Andromeda Strain and I liked that and I'm pretty sure that there's a film based on the book Sphere that I have seen.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
I think you've hit on something here is this generally the same for most of us on here ?
People who don't like Sci-Fi books like watching Sci-Fi.
People who like reading Fantasy, don't like watching Fantasy that much.
That one is easy. I read both Fantasy and SF but you can't help it, special effects look much more impressive in SF movies. You can't have cool laser guns and spaceship fights in Middle Earth.

I have read one of his books The Andromeda Strain and I liked that and I'm pretty sure that there's a film based on the book Sphere that I have seen.
Yeah, and not a bad movie either.
 

Boreas

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Staff member
Another book I found easy was Sphere by Michael Crichton. Not deep or anything, just effective.
I have read one of his books The Andromeda Strain and I liked that and I'm pretty sure that there's a film based on the book Sphere that I have seen.
I loved the early Michael Crichton books. "The Andromeda Strain" and "Sphere" were favourites. The movie version of TAS is excellent! whereas the movie version of S I found to be just so-so.
That one is easy. I read both Fantasy and SF but you can't help it, special effects look much more impressive in SF movies. You can't have cool laser guns and spaceship fights in Middle Earth.
I like reading both SF & F, and I like watching both SF & F movies, as well. It's true, though, there are more better SF than F movies available.
Bomb away ! I have Hyperion on my bookshelf so will get around to reading that, Ready Player One has been mentioned a few times so I will keep that in mind.
"Hyperion" is truly a fine novel, but I think you need to read something with a high fun-factor to it, just to get into the groove of enjoying SF. That's why I think "Ready Player One" would be a better first choice.
 

Zymologist

Has been in the eye of the world
People who like reading Fantasy, don't like watching Fantasy that much.
This is really interesting. Would any of you agree with me that fantasy seems to be a largely untapped genre in the film world?

I mean, there's basically the Lord of the Rings, and then cheesy stuff like Harry Potter. Not much else. It's almost as bad as the medieval epic: everyone thinks there's a ton of these movies, but ask them to name some and they'll give you Braveheart and Kingdom of Heaven. There just aren't any other than these, hardly.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
The writing is tight and he doesn't waste words or overdo anything, however I don't feel any real connection with the characters if the main protagonist was to die I doubt very much that it would make me feel anything.
That's how most science fiction is. Having said that though I think maybe you probably are reading the wrong books. Modern sci fi isn't that great for the most part so I think you should probably read classic sci fi mostly. That's what I've done and it's worked out very well for me.

"Hyperion" is truly a fine novel, but I think you need to read something with a high fun-factor to it, just to get into the groove of enjoying SF. That's why I think "Ready Player One" would be a better first choice.
I disagree. Hyperion would be perfect for him to read. He's over halfway done with Malazan so I'm pretty sure he can handle complex novels of epic proportions.
 

fbones24

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@Hand of Fear you have to read Hyperion. It transcends genres and in my opinion is one of the best books I have ever read. It is extremely different from any other sci fi I have read. I'm not a huge SF fan. Hyperion will not do anything to change your opinion of sci fi, but it is incredible.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
Throw me a bone here, my SF knowledge is pretty much non-existent. What would you consider good classic SF ?
Without discussing the merits or shortcomings of each author here are those I consider classic SF
Isaac Asimov
Frank Herbert
Robert Heinlin
Arthur C. Clarke
Stanislaw Lem
Philip K. Dick
Samuel R. Delaney
Roger Zelazny
Robert Silverberg
Personally, if you want to read classic SF, my favorite would be Asimov. Start with The End of Eternity and continue with the Foundation series. Also have a look at Ben's list .
Not necessarily agree with the order but most of the big names are there.

There is also what I consider the New classic SF. Authors would be
Dan Simmons
Orson Scott Card
Neil Stephenson
Kim Stanley Robinson
Fredrick Pohl
Iain Banks
Michael Crichton
No need to ask what's my favorite here (hint - it's on your bookshelf).
 

atheling

A Poet of the Khaiem
This is really interesting. Would any of you agree with me that fantasy seems to be a largely untapped genre in the film world?

I mean, there's basically the Lord of the Rings, and then cheesy stuff like Harry Potter. Not much else. It's almost as bad as the medieval epic: everyone thinks there's a ton of these movies, but ask them to name some and they'll give you Braveheart and Kingdom of Heaven. There just aren't any other than these, hardly.
I agree. Also (and maybe this part of the reason why), a few classic Sci-Fi movies were huge, and they had a huge impact later on defining a film genre, such as 2001 (now dated, and rarely watched), obviously Star Wars, Alien. If you go looking for fantasy-type movies pre-LotR, you find a few interesting ones and a score of losers. Beastmaster? Conan the Barbarian (with Arnie)? There are few I'm skipping but... they were not Lord of the Rings. And they were not the fantasy equivalent of Star Wars either (though George Lucas clearly tried...).
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
I've found some of the classic SF decidedly average. I've only scraped the surface though. Will definitely get round to reading some more of the classics, especially the ones that @Boreas waxes lyrical about.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
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People who don't like Sci-Fi books like watching Sci-Fi.
People who like reading Fantasy, don't like watching Fantasy that much.
Not the case with me. I like both sci-fi/fantasy books and movies. It's just that there are very few well done fantasy movies compared to sci-fi movies.

I've found some of the classic SF decidedly average.
I had different experience than Tom. All of what I've read I found good and some I found great. Maybe it's also because I just scraped the surface, but I like how sci-fi books make me think more deeply than fantasy.
 

Boreas

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I've found some of the classic SF decidedly average. I've only scraped the surface though. Will definitely get round to reading some more of the classics, especially the ones that @Boreas waxes lyrical about.
In my opinion Tom, you should stick to more modern SF works (mostly post-1980). Go to the 'classics' once in a while for some SF edification more than enjoyment...at least, initially. I say this because you're already not really impressed with the classics you've read. Maybe reading some of the older examples will be interesting and fun after having sampled modern takes, just to see where the roots of these newer ideas and scenarios lie. Plus, this might make you appreciate the classics even more - since many of them were extremely prescient with their ideas, if not necessarily with the technology they featured. There's a lot of excellent modern SF available.

I've always had the opinion that the older and simpler classics (Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Anderson, Campbell, Sturgeon et al.) is best introduced to kids nowadays. If you're an adult who wants to sample some SF (never having done so before), then I would generally steer the person towards more modern examples.

I've only really waxed on about the Culture, but that's understandable since those books are friggin' awesome.

I disagree. Hyperion would be perfect for him to read. He's over halfway done with Malazan so I'm pretty sure he can handle complex novels of epic proportions.
Nothing to do with complexity. @Hand of Fear isn't enjoying the SF he's reading. RPO is mega enjoyable. I had a sense of pure fun when I read it. Wouldn't that leave a pleasant and more optimistic feeling towards SF after all the 'meh' reads he's had? He can pick up as many complex SF novels as he wants, but he should feel motivated to do so. I just wanted him to try something that would be pure fun - that should provide some motivation for any subsequent SF he might want to try out.

such as 2001 (now dated, and rarely watched)
Maybe rarely watched, but definitely not dated. It's still ahead of 99% of current SF films that feature scenarios in space.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
@Hand of Fear you have to read Hyperion.
I will be reading Hyperion not sure when though.

@ofer thank you, I will check them out and have a look to see if any of them catch my eye.

Nothing to do with complexity. @Hand of Fear isn't enjoying the SF he's reading.
Correct haven't been enjoying the books I've read so far (The Martian, and still working on Altered Carbon which is a little bit better).

The book sounded really good and it's highly ranked on the SF site 16th out of 25.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
Does that mean most SF would give me less of an emotional response than reading Fantasy then ?
That's exactly what I was saying. I don't presume to be an expert on sci fi as I've only penetrated a tiny fraction of all that I should and want to read in that genre but based on my reading experiences I get stronger emotional reactions when I read good fantasy novels than good sci fi. Of course, that isn't always the case but science fiction that gets you crying over the characters is very much an exception. The only science fiction that brought me anywhere near to tears was Hyperion.


Throw me a bone here, my SF knowledge is pretty much non-existent. What would you consider good classic SF ?
In that case you're not going to be getting a very big bone. Here are some classics I enjoyed: The Forever War, A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Left Hand of Darkness, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ender's Quartet, 1984.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
I will be reading Hyperion not sure when though.

@ofer thank you, I will check them out and have a look to see if any of them catch my eye.



Correct haven't been enjoying the books I've read so far (The Martian, and still working on Altered Carbon which is a little bit better).

The book sounded really good and it's highly ranked on the SF site 16th out of 25.
Hand, I really think you should consider the recommendation to read Isaac Asimov. Not Foundation to start, but his earlier, easier works. No hard science knowledge required like with The Martian.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
I'm finally reading a sci-fi novel. Finally because although I check out all the recommendations Amazon throws at me, none are good enough. But the other day they did recommend a sequel to The Greatship by Robert Reed. After checking the sequel out, I went with the original Greatship instead and can't believe how good it is. I was 20% into Fool's Assassin but will be putting that aside until I've read Greatship and it's sequels.
 
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