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Author Topic: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels  (Read 4915 times)

Matt Timson

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #15 on: 28 July, 2008, 12:21:09 PM »
A golden oldie- 'Time and Again' by Clifford D. Simak.
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LARF

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #16 on: 28 July, 2008, 12:23:06 PM »
Footfall - Larry Niven and Jerry Purnell
Legacy of Herot - as above

Jim_Campbell

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #17 on: 28 July, 2008, 12:31:31 PM »
Quote from: "His Lordship rac"
... and The Island of Dr Moreau which is an astonishing book with one of the bleakest endings of anything I've ever read.

+1 from me.

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petemaskreplica

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #18 on: 28 July, 2008, 01:00:39 PM »
Obviously Wells's "The Time Machine" and "The War of the Worlds" have to be on any list worth its salt too.

Regarding the Dune sequels, if you care to trust my 37 year old self's recollection of my teenage self's opinion, as I remember it the other two in the original trilogy ("Dune Messiah" and "Children of Dune") are pretty good, "God Emperor of Dune" is over-long but agreeably mental, and everything after that's shit on a stick.*


*By "everything" I mean the book and a half I managed to get through before I gave up.

thinky

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #19 on: 28 July, 2008, 01:04:32 PM »
another vote here for "the stars my destination" and "consider phlebas"

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #20 on: 28 July, 2008, 05:22:50 PM »
Quote from: "petemaskreplica"
Obviously Wells's "The Time Machine" and "The War of the Worlds" have to be on any list worth its salt too.

Regarding the Dune sequels, if you care to trust my 37 year old self's recollection of my teenage self's opinion, as I remember it the other two in the original trilogy ("Dune Messiah" and "Children of Dune") are pretty good, "God Emperor of Dune" is over-long but agreeably mental, and everything after that's shit on a stick.*


*By "everything" I mean the book and a half I managed to get through before I gave up.
Dune is a great stand alone book, the problem lies with the rest.  Dune Messiah and Children of Dune are really the same book.  Im not sure why the writer or the publisher cut them up, maybe to get the whole LOTR vibe.  But the two books could  be combined and read as one.  God Emperor is a cracking book and really explains the whole of the original trilogy in respect of Leto, Paul's son.  The book is set hundreds maybe thousands of years later (Its ten years since I read them so I may be addled) and still has the reoccurring Duncan Idaho (due to Cloning).  The rest of the books do have a diminishing return thought Chapter House I think is pretty good, Herectics is rather poor, so the whole series ends on a relative high.  Avoid anything by any other author, as what Ive read isnt great.  

Also Id add in
The Mote in God's Eye by Niven and Purnelle, which describes in Hard science fiction the first meeting between humans and aliens, I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did.  For Asimov, Id go with the robots series The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn& Robots and Empire which are very good and have a likeable lead character.  I also like Heinlen's Time Enough for Love, which is a discussion of immortality and long life.  Sounds dull but it is made up of a number of short tales told by the worlds longest living man, so has the 20th century on discussed.  Out of the Banks sci fi novels, my personal favourites are Against a Dark Background and Consider Phlebas

TordelBack

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #21 on: 28 July, 2008, 06:57:32 PM »
Lordy, where to start!

The Dispossesed and Left Hand of Darkness, perfect companion pieces, both by Le Guin, and I just have to add the novella collections Four Ways to Forgiveness and  The Birthday of the World - in particular the incredible "Old Music and the Slave Women" short, which will move you to tears.  Not only is she original and thought-provoking, but she can really, really write.  

For first contact novels, Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky takes some beating, and its forerunner A Fire Upon the Deep has more weird well-thought-out aliens than you can shake a stick at.  He's not that prolific, but anything you can find by Vinge is good.

David Brin's long Uplift series lost its way a bit at some point, but middle entries Startide Rising and The Uplift War are fantastic novels of a complex inter-galactic civilisation.

Niven and Pournelle's gung-ho alien invasion novel Footfall is everything Indepenence Day should have been.  The human's solution to their devastated launch capability is astounding.

Fountains of Paradise.  As much a novel about Sri Lanka as a SF novel, this is my favourite Clarke book.

Asimov's first three or four Foundation books should not be missed, I forget which one you should bail out at, although to be honest I even enjoyed the endless prequels.  The early Robot books are also awesome SF mysteries, Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun, and The Complete Robot.

On the Wyndham front, another vote for The Kraken Wakes and Triffids, but basically everything he ever wrote is worth a go.

John Christopher's brilliance doesn't stop with Death of Grass, I'd add personal fave Wrinkle in the Skin and The World in Winter.  Avoid 'The Caves of Night', though.  Gakk!

Moorcock's stunning Behold the Man and intriguing quasi-sequel Breakfast in the Ruins are his best 'SF', in amongst all his other wonderful psychadelic weirdness.

I always like to add Pohl's Merchants of Venus/Gateway/Heechee saga, in particular the incomparable second movement Gateway.  See also Man Plus.

If all these are a bit old-hat, you could do a lot worse than Ken MacLeod's Learning the World, another first contact corker, and I really enjoyed the Alastair Reynold sorta-generation-ship story Pushing Ice.

One not to miss is The Time Ships, Baxter's brilliant authorised sequel to Wells' The Time Machine, well worth reading both in one go.  Baxter's Titan and Raft also kick ass. Also good is Bear's amazing duology Hammer of God and Anvil of Stars - epic SF tragedy.

There's no need here to further endorse I Am Legend, The Stars My Destination, The Forever War or Flowers for Algernon - they're all classics that exceed expectations.

I equally feel no need to praise Iain Banks: as well as the awesome Player of Games and Use of Weapons, it's all good, with the possible exceptions of the conclusion-less "The Algebraist", drifty "State of the Art", and the "no-M" books "Song of Stone" and "Canal Dreams".  Everything else is superb.

I have to stop. I have work to do.

TordelBack

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #22 on: 28 July, 2008, 07:11:21 PM »
Addendum, deserving of a post to himself:  the woefully underrated Jack McDevitt.  Every one a classic of adventure-SF, from The Engines of God to Deep Six and Omega, A Talent for War, Moonfall, The Hercules Text, Ancient Shores, he just keeps churning out light-weight gripping SF fun at Pratchett-like speeds.  

He's not the most brilliant writer there ever was, but boy do his novels rip along, peppered with disaster on a cosmic scale, xeno-archaeology, insane hard SF rescues, ancient weapons, the occasional good SF idea and plenty of unstoppable countdowns. If you read one of his novels where the fate of an expedition doesn't hang on a single dial veering ominously into the red or a tether that's two inches too short, you've skipped a chapter.  Perfect holiday reading.

The Enigmatic Dr X

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #23 on: 28 July, 2008, 08:15:40 PM »
I'd recommend:-

China Meiville's stuff, especially Perdido Street Station and The Scar

Good Omens, by Pratchett and Gaimen

Greg Bears's early stuff, especially Eon and the even better The Forge of God (for the bleakest, funniest, SF ending, evah) and the better still Blood Music

The Diamond Age, as mentioned, by Neal Stephenson

Anything by Michael Marshall Smith, particulalrly Spares and One of Us.
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Richard

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #24 on: 28 July, 2008, 09:36:42 PM »
By Isaac Asimov: Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation, which are sometimes collected together in one volume as the "Foundation Trilogy." Also the fourth book, Foundation's Edge.

(The last book (in reading order) is Foundation and Earth, is not as good as the others, but is alright. At least it isn't as bad as the prequels, and it ends on a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant cliffhanger, which unfortunately was never resolved as the author went back and did two rather pointless prequels instead, and then died. I wouldn't bother with the prequels.)

Also by Asimov, a stand alone book, The End of Eternity, is really good.

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. This is actually three separate stories, but they all link together to make one novel.

Lest Darkness Fall, by L. Sprague de Camp.

The five Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, Douglas Adams.

Mindbridge, by Joe Haldeman - written in a rather different style to most novels.

A Far Sunset, by Edmund Cooper - not famous. Out of print. Absolutely worth tracking down on ebay and reading.

If we're voting, I would add my vote to The Forever War and to Use Of Weapons.

Dandontdare

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #25 on: 29 July, 2008, 04:24:18 PM »
I enjoyed the interminable Foundation series many years ago, but the thought of wading through them again makes me shudder!
But I do have to lob in a vote for Larry Niven's RINGWORLD and all its sequels and spin offs (the "known space" books, including the man-kzin wars). These are hard sci-fi at its best!!

I, Cosh

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #26 on: 29 July, 2008, 10:23:29 PM »
A lot of good stuff mentioned here. Pretty much anything that appears in the SF Masterworks series is worth a look. From the original list, the authors will be elated to hear that I'd particularly endorse these:

The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock

A couple of others that I'd add to the list are Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny - a fantastic melange of sci-fi, Hindu mythology, hippies and cynicism - and Cordwainer Smith's The Rediscovery of Man. This last is an extraordinary collection of vaguely connected stories and novellas (mostly written in the fifties, I think) set across thousands of years of the same future. I only discovered it a couple of years ago and was astounded by how "modern" some of it's truly outstanding sci-fi ideas. Also contains a strong, thin strand of social allegory not dissimilar to the current Mutie Laws in Dredd.

I'd recommend Crytonomicon over the Diamond Age.
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Kerrin

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #27 on: 15 August, 2008, 09:03:29 PM »
Blimey there's a load of stuff here I forgot I'd read in my yoof, great range of suggestions. To add my tuppence,

  Julian May :-  The Pleistocene series. The Golden Torc etc.
                       The Galactic Milieu series. Intervention etc.

  Ken Macleod :- The Fall Revolution books. In fact I've enjoyed all of Mr.Macleods stuff that I've read.

  William Gibson and Bruce Stirling :- The Difference Engine.

  Gene Wolfe :- The Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun and The Book of The Short Sun. Though "New Sun" is the      
                        classic.
 
  Dan Simmons :- Hyperion and Endymion.

  Peter F Hamilton :- All good, Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained are my Faves so far.

  Richard Morgan, Neal Asher and Charles Stross all good modern writers and Iain M Banks goes without saying ( I've got a        
   soft spot for Feersum Endjinn).

 On the Classic side of things, others here have mentioned The Mote in God's Eye and I couldn't agree more but I wouldn't bother with the much belated follow up, The Moat around God's Eye.
 
 Any body mentioned Kim Stanley Robinson's  Mars Trilogy yet? They're triffic.

  Anyhow just realised this is probably where I should have put the post which I stuck in Suggestions earlier. Hey ho, I'll try to keep fuck ups to a maximum of one a day in future.

Cheers Kerrin.

hag

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #28 on: 16 August, 2008, 10:11:51 PM »
Baroque Cycle Baroque Cycle Baroque Cycle!

About to go buy Quicksilver as a birthday present for my dad. Unquestionably good stuff. Not really sci-fi, not really fantasy, definitely brilliant.

TordelBack

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Re: Your Science Fiction Classic Novels
« Reply #29 on: 16 August, 2008, 10:32:36 PM »
Another vote for the Baroque Cycle.  Now there's a good solid read - don't forget to read Cryptonomicon before or after, though.