The inhabitants of Banks' worlds are existentially flawed and carry with them a melancholy created by pitting emotional psychology against the vast backdrop and advanced science they have foisted upon them. The scale of his stories could leave the protagonists dwarfed by the spectacle but they end up dovetailing perfectly into the situations thought up by Banks by allowing us to connect to the madness of existance, whether they're human or alien.
Each of his new novels are events in the genre and allow their readers to conduct thought experiments of what it would be like to exist in such a reality surely the goal of any sci-fi? I read it as a teenager and the sheer scale of the technological achievement of building the Ring has stayed with me - even though I cant remember much of the details of the story today!
Totally influenced and encouraged me to pursue my dream of working in the building industry which I don't regret, even today. Atmospheric blend of fantasy and s decadence, with a consumptive, sexually ambiguous heroine whom I'd love to see Tilda Swinton play!
It realistically sets out an anarchist society from an anthropological background; it's a hard life but it actually works! AND it also provides the alien's perspective on humanity! Not just the best SF. But best novel Ive ever read. Impossible to explain its importance so briefly. Art irrelevant? SF escapist pap? Orwell lays it out. It is appropriated by literary fiction like most great SF. It's a thousand pages of wonder and awe at how mindboggling complex the universe is and the joy and fascination there is in trying to understand it with just the human brain.
This is how physics and philosophy should be taught - at the same time and with multi-dimensional spaceships. An Epic Story, with a dark plot. Donaldson creates a very beleiveable universe. As Soon as I finished the 1st book, I was online ordering the remaining 4 stories. This is the third book in C. Lewis's science fiction trilogy. It combines themes of mythology, allegory and religion with some great characters and moments of true horror.
It's a great story that keeps you gripped all the way through. This book is about the simple acts of kindness that can make immense and profound differences to the future. The main character is Shevik: physicist and great scientist who is nearly close to ending up with a great scientific theory that he knows will change the world forever. He makes a difficult decision to travel to the neighbouring planet of Urras to try and use their expertise to piece it together.
The novel weaves around in time: Shevik's present and past are explored: his strength is buoyed by the love he finds from the woman he loves, but also the limitations of living in a real communist world where there aren't enough resources for the people, are both explored. Back on Urras, Shevik begins to realise he is becoming a small pawn in a powerful government's game and has to reconcile himself with the fact that he may never have been able to go home in the first place and may never go home now.
At its centre is Shevik: complicated, resilient, brave and fiercely intelligent. It remains one of the best characters I can remember in any book - at the end the final twist of the twin narratives meets into one of the best endings I have read in any book. It's a different kind of science fiction that allows the reader to be an active creator of the "other timely" world introduced by Koontz. It's not about zombies or aliens or space but it does represent something maybe even more bone-chilling: the answer to the question "what if?
The epic scope of the book, showing the terrifying yet exciting possibilities of the human race as an multi planetary starship faring bunch of brilliently flawed individuals, and organsiations. A really rare find these days as I think it is out of print. Witty and engaging, it draws parralels with life on earth in a profound and imaginative alien galaxy.
First published in , the book documents the many highs and lows of man's struggle for survival. The book contains the first mention of genetic engineering in a sci fi novel, a compelling and truly eye-opening read. So maybe it is the outer fringes of SF where myth and fantasy meets "steam punk" but it does have futuristic dimensions albeit in a retro kinda way. It is the way the characters seem unbelievable yet real which gets me in all of his books by the way and sucks me in to a reading time vortex - as all good books should.
Bradbury's Mars keeps shifting its identity, becoming a symbol of the dreams and fears of America itself. No attempt is made at scientific accuracy this Mars is hot, for example , and the stories reflect the Cold War era in which they were written. Bradbury could overwrite, but he keeps this tendency under control here, and the book has a haunting resonance. It has the fastest start I can recollect any book having, The Affront are hilarious and the Culture ships superb.
I also appreciate that the nature of the excession is never defined. Hard sci-fi at its best. The attention to detail and depth of knowledge of the author make this a compelling and inspirational book to read. This is a strange, compelling and beautifully written story. I'd defy anyone from the most hard-nosed SF aficionado on up not to enjoy reading it. If can get into the language, you'll enter a plausible yet mythical world where you'll get your first knowin from the eyes of a dog and learn the secrets of the master chaynjis. Can't believe that none of these magnificent books were chosen.
Some better than others, but all full of wonderful prose, deep imagination, gripping stories and interesting characters. One of the few books I've read in one sitting. Set in a wonderfully imagined dystopic America, it's very bleak but also savagely funny, always brilliant, and ultimately heartbreaking. This book is a positive, hopeful contemplation of mankind's possible next step.
How we might evolve into something better than we are now. The first hint of this next evolutionary step is not evidenced by those we conventionally think of as brighter, stronger or more beautiful, but by the supposed freaks and invalids that just might come together in some way to become, collectively, something Ringworld is SF on a grand scale in many respects. Set far into the future, it is scientifically well researched and utterly believable, with "alien" characters that are lifelike and convincing: the story is entertaining yet the concept is original and thought-provoking.
A fantastic novel, one of many well-written books by Larry Niven. Excellent book using Sci-fi construct of time dilation to show futility of war. Written after he server in Vietnam. The sheer scope of the imagination: the predatory Kzin and the cowardly puppeteer. The gradual unfolding of the driving force of the novel: all the time you are thinking it is the major characters and the incredible world while in reality it is the minor character and her luck. My son and I discussed it for days. Farmer is woefully under-rated, and really only known for his Riverworld series, but the World of Tiers is, I think, his masterwork.
It contains so much of why I read SF - it has terrific characters, it's overflowing with ideas, it has marvellous set pieces and it engenders a sense of awe and wonder at the possibilities of our universe or, rather, the multiverse. If I had the money I'd personally bankroll a film of the books, now that we have the technology to do justice to them.
It has a breadth, wit and complexity that ensnared me from the first line. Banks has the ability to create fullt formed world's that are totally believable. An utterly wonderful read. Reads like an allegorical account of the Chernobyl disaster, fifteen years before it happened. The love affair between Lazarus Long and Dora Brandon - but much more.
Although not usually classified as Science Fiction, Carter's early novel certainly echoes the themes and styles of the genre. After all, what could be more sci-fi than a plot in which our hero must struggle against a mad scientist, in order to restore a world of order and 'reality'? The surrealist form of the novel and it's passionate portrayal of female sexuality which is quite unusual for a genre largely dominated by men makes it, for me, all the more interesting. But, first and foremost, it is Carter's unforgettable language that puts the Infernal Desire Machines A book about an unbelievably old man and the wisdom that he has learned throughout the years.
Shows the way we grapple with the big questions. Not without problems, but has incredibly high peaks. The story of an alien who comes to earth to in a quest to save his planet, not ours but is destroyed when he becomes all-too-human. The style is nicely understated, the plot, tech and characters believable and the story is full of gentle ironies.
A terrific read. Gripping story,fascinating,immaculately drawn characters living in believable world s. This book,and it's sequel,"Fall of Hyperion",are masterworks,in my opinion. I was so caught up in these books that they seemed more real than fiction to me,and this feeling holds up with repeated readings. The story got it all: believable protagonist, imaginative story and a view of the future that in it's premises goes far beyond the stereotypical Cyberpunk setting.
Compared to his earlier novel "Snow Crash", Stephenson move further away from "Neuromancer" and into the future. To my mind, Dick is the greatest writer of the 20th Century full stop. Never afraid to tackle the big questions, eg what does it mean to be human? Or, as in this case, what exactly is the nature of reality? Banks' love of the genre shines out of every word. He has all the usual suspects in the Space Opera toy box, but he shows them to us through the eyes of a spoilt man-child who wants to play with them as much as we do.
And finally we get the twist, probably Banks' finest, that makes us immediately turn back to page 1 and read it all again in a completely different context. A bonkers, mad book, the story of Dr Frankenstein taken to a grey-goo-fuelled extreme. As the character's life disintegrates under the power of his creation, the narrative expands and fragments.
The structure mimics the plot, sliding deliriously out of control until the reader ends up somewhere quite other than where they expected to. People need to be reminded of its existence; 'Dune,' 'Left Hand Painted with a broader brush than LeGuin's with whose work this one is often compared, it scores through the thought given to its societies and the extraordinary fairness with which it examines the personalities of some truly loathesome characters, particularly the brute like, emotionally retarded Saba and the self loathing vampire beureaucrat Tanuojin, the latter finally emerging as one of the most tragic and pitiable characters in Twentieth Century fiction.
From what I've read of her historical fiction, it's also a tragedy that she's not produced more SF, which she would appear to do far better. This book has so much soul in it. I return to it constantly as a benchmark of how good a book can be when it presumes it has intelligent and sensitive readers. This book also has one of the most pervasive scents, and evocative moods I have read in sci-fi.
I'm not a mad fan of gleaming rocket ships. Not a pill-for-lunch or a personal-jet pack in sight. What happens in this book could happen to any of us today. The ending is set far in the future, but the book is reassuring about man's ability to adapt now, today, to a new life anywhere on earth in this case, at the bottom of the ocean.
I found it compeletly believable and beautiful in its detail. The ultimate in political intrigue and dystopian commentary, all wrapped up in Banks' wonderfully realised Culture. Ostensibly about a man invited to play in a tournament of glorified intergalactic Risk, and yet the depth of the social observations, set alongside the super-cool tech, and written with razor-sharp wit, makes it so much more than this. If you only ever read one Iain M.
Banks book then it should be this one; and if you ever read this one you'll certainly want to read the rest. Extra terrestrial humanoid lands on earth, is captured and kept in an institute where he develops friendship with one of the doctors. Book is written in the form of journal entries and newspaper articles as we see a naive outsider's look at our culture and how his attitudes and preconceptions change as he is influenced by ours.
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A mightily written account of an outsider attempting to come to terms with his new surroundings. Actually there are three books in the trilogy and they effortlessly combine technology, the spirit of pioneers, rebellion, and political and philosophical issues that arise when mankind invades and irrevocably alters an environment. The whole series is so believable that it drags you in and makes you want to explore the character of each hero and anti-hero as they come in and out of focus as events unfold. And a satire of the class system too! Just exciting, if counterintuitive, science and a fantastic journey of discovery for the team sent up there to check that mysterious object Rama out.
This book is too good not to imagine hope?
The best science fiction books
Herbert managed to create a genuinely 'alternative' and unique view of the far, far future, a consistent universe which didn't rely on the common tropes of science fiction. There's also a great adventure story in there too. I loved it the first time I read it when I was about 12, and loved it the last time I read it, aged Azimov - the man who invented the word 'robotics'. He also gives us the three laws of robotics. His robot stories are a huge influence on the way modern sci-fi sees artifical intellegence.
It is a very convincing insight into how the world will be in the near future combined with a grand space opera style plot about danger from outer space. A typical good versus evil, post-apocalyptic novel. The world finally succumbed to nuclear war. As a result of this final act of paranoid hatred between humans, the ultimate in evil is created. It's very hard to choose one particular book from Ian M Banks' Culture series because those I have read have all been outstanding.
Excession stands out in my memory because of the intensity of the story and the amazing concepts that fill Bank's universe such as the Culture's Minds and the artificially intelligent space ships. Incorporates everything from tarzan to sherlock holmes to dracula to wonder woman, all within a world in which our understanding of the physical universe, macro and micro alike, get both explained and questioned in equal measures. Truly visionary and splendidly realised. As with all of his first books, Egan pushes his brilliant ideas to the limit of imagination and then pushes them again in mind boggoling areas and then does it again and again.
A fantastic ride. The stories are also well constructed and engrossing. The best hard science fiction in my opinion. A brilliant look at religion, politics, race and power. I've re-read it 5 times and every time I discover whole concepts not seen before. Because you'll never read anything like it again. It's original, beautifully written, imaginative and highly thoughtful. Really outstanding and the reason I became an SF fan in the first place.
Fresh, exciting, unexpected. A great story with all of the needed ingredients of action, intrigue, suspense and science. This is my favourite Iain M Banks book by light years. I love his "Culture" series of novels, but "The Algebraist" story is his most complete. A complex and exciting novel based in A. Cruel warlords, invasion forces, friendships lost and remade, beautifully described worlds and a compelling detective story all go to make this book a must read for any science fiction fan. Although I'd concur with the greatness of Neuromancer, Pavane and its sister novel Kiteworld are an exciting mix of historical and futuristic thinking from a, now, relatively unsung British writer.
Perhaps it doesn't have the global ambition of the Gibson novels but it creates a logical coherent vision of an alternative Britain that is very intriguing. Having no Kurt Vonnegut on the list would be a glaring omission so why not this chilling end of the world classic. The meaning and future of human life, intelligent life in the universe, and everything. Before there was Cyberpunk, there was Shockwave Rider.
Before there was an internet, there was Shockwave Rider. Back in the 70s, this was the book that told us the direction.
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When everyone was still going on about space travel, this told us what was really going to change our world. As far as I am concerned, Neuromancer which i also like is simply fan fiction for this vision. The scale and detail of this book are without compare. Realistic enough to keep you grounded yet the descriptions and scope of events are so vast that you're hooked and kept interested through the 3 books.
This is a very accessible novel that I would recommend to someone who has little experience with the genre. The story is somewhat conventional beginning, middle, end but manages to include a considerable amount of discovery and mystery. If defines what something truly 'alien' is - not some dude with two arms, two legs, one head and a load of prosthetic makeup, but alien. EE Doc Smith's Lensman series of novels is fantastic. Don't read them out of sequence or you will get confused. Not a classic as such. However a brilliantly formulated and pieced together epic, which is assured to keep you engrossed for a couple of months at least.
It has everything - Banks' Culture novels all share a great setting, but out of all of them The Player of Games just delivers that bit extra in character, adventure, epic grandeur, and a sophisticated plot that resonates on so many levels. Sci-Fi sometimes takes itself too seriously - this five some of the laughs back. Immense in scale, it crafts a entire universe of it's own and then populates it with figures and races over millions of years. It mixes philosophy, Islam, Zen, lesbianism, Cloning into a series of amazing books that stretch our minds and challenge our perceptions of reality and our perceptions of self.
A compelling glance into the future for our technological, alienated, schizoid species. If you think that cyberpunk was invented in the s, then you really need to read this book. Combines both a vicious, futuristic war yarn and the bleeding edge of trippy, Burroughs-style SF. Abraham Lincoln is revived as an android as part of a crazy scheme to re-enact the US Civil War for entertainment only to be hijacked by big business and a darkly disturbed creator - All contribute to this tale in which the author explores his familiar themes of the nature of reality and what makes us truly human.
Fantastic series of books. It does what Asimov tried to do but never quite succeeded, despite his many achievements: it has artificial intelligences far more fascinating than the human and other naturally evolved characters, as well as being a space opera to end all space operas and a terrific entertainment. The humans end up being almost the rather indulged and very much patronised pets of the AIs.
Speaking of pets, David Brin's Startide Rising deserves a mention. And, for the entire body of his work up to the moment, the great Greg Egan: no one makes you think about and doubt existence, including, first of all, that of your own self, like he does. Better than the first volume, Hyperion, this book has a great, dramatic story, fine characters, plenty of time-twisting and some wonderful ideas about AIs, human evolution, religion and What It All Means.
It's not gruesome and funny like Iain M Banks I would nominate all the Culture novels as second choice but it is epic, thought-provoking and a little bit scary the Shrike. Few authors can tell a story from the view of a non human character as convincingly as C. Cherryh can. Her worlds are well developed and it is fun to read her books. Also recommended reading: her Foreigner books.
Mr Banks' science fiction is always absolutely brilliant. The scope and size of the settings in which the plot is set is so much more than other writers. I enjoy them all, Surface Detail, being the latest developed The Culture concept further, full of dark humour and brain expanding vastness of it all. Consider Phlebas is sf at it's best. Awesome in it's scope, speculative in it's ideas, plausible and at the same time beyond what we have thought before.
Huge things in space, sentient machines, a fantastic society and a main character that is on the wrong side in a conflict makes great reading and hopefully some thinking from the reader. Absolutely terrifying, yet zany, satire of Soviet life. Written in this under-appreciated gem is the grand-daddy of all dystopia. It looks at the mechanation and production line culture that was due to rise. Fordism and a Benefactor scream 'Brave New World' and '' in equally delightful prescient horrors. Space rather than science fiction, this is a penetrating look at humanity through an alien's eye.
Lessing is prescient about so much and pulls no punches in her analysis of the human condition. An endlessly fascinating, worlds-within-worlds exploration. Original, thought-provoking and well plotted, not ruined by exposition. It illustrates the utter futility of projects like SETI - even if we did receive a message from the stars, could we ever agree what it meant. And imagine the religious upheaval it would cause if there was any claim that there is no God. I picked it up by accident from the library and just though, "oh well, I'll read it anyway?
It's hero, takeshi kovacs is very much a person who just seems to caught up in incredibly volatile and deadly situations, and he comes through them purely cos he's prepared to do whatever is necessary to survive in an outrageously coldblooded manner while still retaining enough depth of character and humanity to be sympathetic. I've read everything that Morgan's written since - several times - and I can't recommend this book highly enough.
A book that feels just as relevant now than it did in the 70s. Great plot, satisfactory presentation of inner agonies of the individuals, solid characters, irony, suspense. A s masterpiece of black humor that, although dated in the way it tackles sexuality and the place of women in society, stands as a good reflection on utopia, pacifism and personal responsibility. Once read, never forgotten. Dodge the Steamroller! Well written and plotted - lots of strands - androids, repressed memories, ambiguous aliens, action sequences with sudden unexpected abilities, with in depth character development, and open ended.
Would make a great blockbuster film! Seventies utopian and dystopian ideas. Aged a bit, but deals with a lot of issues that never occurred to the boys. It's fun. The author has given himself permission to let his imagination wander. We all need to give ourselves permission to let our imagination wander. That's the nub of it. Suppose we do get off this rock and into inter-stellar space e. What if we did find an inhabited world, because we were following the signals received by SETI, say. Would we even recognize the aliens as living creatures when we encountered them?
The sheer amount of cock, even for the sci-fi genre, is spafftacular. I watched the film first, which didn't have nearly as much cock. By God, I love the cock in the book.
First it's very funny, the author has a real eye for an unexpected gag. But it's also got a serious side. It's a mix of science fiction and fantasy about a world that is like the real world except that all religions and superstations are true. Four people go on a quest to find the soul of a dead magician that has been trapped on a computer. The characters are warm and believable book is quite thought provoking. It keeps you completely off balance the whole way through. Just when you think you know what is going on something shifts and you find out that nothing is what you thought it was.
I like that especially as I realized at the end that one of the main themes is how apparently orderly systems arise out of chaotic situations. I always think it's the sign of a good book that however many times I read it I always find something new to think about and to laugh at. Well, it's a trilogy not a single book and, next only to Olaf Stapledon's works, the most satisfying and simply enjoyable SF I have read. What I like about it is that it mixes science fiction with a good old-fashioned adventure story involving likable people.
And it is brilliantly conceived and told. A voyage into the science fiction future does not always have to be scientific. Banks excels in his nonchalant creativity, placing his main character, who is world class at his own past time of playing games, into the hands of 'special circumstances' an organisation run by super minds to put right the wrongs of the universe As an avid reader of what is know as 'the Culture series' I recommend 'Player' as the entry book to Banks's universe, this book, if you like it, will lead to all the others, 5 or 6 at the last count.
All different, but fascinating, exciting, sexy and above all optimistic about very advanced humanoid civilization, although the culture is categorically not simply us in the future. This trilogy has been the most influential of all science fiction books. Although they are three books, I see them as one long book, broken into three parts because of the nature in which they were purported to be written by a single divine force working through human agents. So even the manner of the writing is surreal and cosmological. They are filled with dictates regarding proper conduct.
The stories document the twisted behaviors of leaders, wars of conquest, socio-political struggles, and moral themes. Among the chief features is the sado-masochistic relationship that the god in these books has with his people. I found the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter to be exemplary of the kind of brutal gamesmanship between the two parties. Additionally, divine imperatives include the extermination of entire peoples and failures to carry these out to their fullest extent results in punishments.
Though often boring and filled with cryptic platitudes, these books are worth reading, if only to look into the psychological space that they have created in billions of fans all over the planet. This, with its three sequels, is a magnificent work of linguistic and mythic imagination, deeply resonant and rewarding.
A brilliant fusion of a noir detective story set in a detailed and believable future world, its pace is relentless and like all good books leaves the reader wishing for more pages to turn. Three interwoven novellas. An excellent introduction to the pleasures of reading Gene Wolfe, before tackling The Shadow of the Torturer. Well worth seeking out, since other writers are to Wolfe as ketchup is to bordelaise.
I love the idea of maths as a predictive tool. Also the twist where one character is not what they seem. An early post-apocalyptic novel and an excellent comment on how quickly society can collapse. This series has everything: time travel, magic, beings from folklore, such as elves, ogres, etc, modern technologies, future developments, politics, alien intelligent species, crime, punishment, ethics and morality, all set against a backdrop of reasoning about the nature of life, of religions, of the concept of god s , the infinite and the cosmos, seasoned with a delightful sense of irony and wit The Foundation series, most epsecially the first book in the series, has a beautiful vision of a galactic empire, doomed by probability to fail, and the preparations for what will replace it.
It's stuck with me for years, and I still lend my copy to friends on a regular basis. This book was simply written with a theological angle, however just read literally it was very resonating for three connected ways of seeing things that are indelible to my reading and appreciation of this story: 1. The translation of what the human says and how it is heard by the aliens. A human seeing the appearance of two different aliens, before realizing they are actually humans.
Earth is a silent planet in a Universe full of communication. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
It is quite simply the best book ever written. I grew up on this book, with my dad reading me excerpts for bedtime stories! Sit down with a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and enjoy! For those not in the know, it's like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.
I read this when I was in my early 20's when it was instrumental in my becoming a life long Sci-Fi fan. I re-read it in my 50's and enjoyed it just as much. I introduced it to the book club I belong to and they enjoyed it despite the fact that they would not normally read Science Fiction. Read this a few years ago now and the images it created while reading it have since stuck in my mind. Its a classic because it remains a terrifying novel to date.
A book that simply defines everything that good sci-fi should be: thought-provoking, relevant whilst retaining a healthy dose of the unknown, perceptive in its understanding of trends in society at the time and in the future and, most importantly, pushing the limitations on human imagination. Brave New World is, ahead of other classics such as , the one sci-fi novel that everyone can recognise in our own cultural infatuation with indulgence and social structure.
It is an epic that joins the distant past to the near future. It is hopeful, as expressed in the "Star Child" I cannot even think about that image without getting major goosebumps yet it contains a warning to mankind about its own folly. It is at least somewhat prescient in how HAL is portrayed. And it is a great story as well as a great film. It is exciting and even breathtaking.
Furthermore, the film made brilliant use of a classical score with Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra more goosebumps and Johann Strauss' The Blue Danube, both electrifying compositions. The spellbinding quality of Wolfe's prose by itself qualifies this as an all-time SF great, as a book we can all point to when someone accuses SF of not being literature. But there's so much more happening here.
Twin alien worlds, decadent, decaying French colonies, and an aboriginal, shapeshifting race that seems to have vanished like a dream. Three narrators, but somewhere in the twists and turns of their narratives, we lose them and find we're holding someone else's hand. I've read this book ten times now and I'm still finding new things to love about it. I read this when I was a young angst ridden sixteen year old and fell in love with it.
It's a great little story of going back in a time machine to the days of christ in search of a meaning to life Excellent riff on the alien invasion sub-genre with aliens we never actually meet. Add political and social satire and a mildly unreliable narrator and you've got it made. Foresaw the dangers of the polar cap melting as well! I love the multilayered approach and the phonetic spelling, and then the main protagonist is such a nice kid!
One of the great space operas. Some critics have said it's too complicated. The richest most complete creation in the whole genre.
- Grey Sister.
- There You Have It.
- Rebis (Italian Edition).
- Cardinal Alberoni.
- Inner Circle: A Private novel.
- The Heart Knows (Indigo).
Comparisons with the contemporary Vietnam War aside, the book was quite simply un-put-down-able! A great story of grunt soldiers training and fighting aliens over a possible misunderstanding with the added concept that the great distances they need to travel to the war zone means the Earth they know goes through changes they could not have foreseen.
Classic ending. This is one of those novels that non sci-fi fans can read without having to think that they are reading a sci-fi story. In other words it is happy to be called 'speculative fiction'. It is funny, witty, insightful, harrowing and shocking and utterly gripping from the start to the finish.
This book displays the broad spectrum of humanity from our best to just how low and evil we can stoop. It moves through time from the past to an awesomely realised post apocalyptic future and back again showing a playful and excellent grasps of multiple literary styles along the way. This was the book I gave my girlfriend who is not a fan of sci-fi as the one example of this genre that she agreed she would read, mainly just to keep me quiet.
She adored it. Well written, extremely good plotting and characterisation, and has elements which stay with you for years after reading it which is the whole point, isn't it? A novel which focuses on how a military-run government would look. Also gives a good description of uber-cool space suits and fighting aliens. Really makes you think about how OUR world works by looking at another.
Am almost completely realised universe, very smart and incisive. I found the contrast between the connections of the culture through neural laces and the inhabitants of Yoleus to be very thought provoking, as it brought up a host of questions about the causes and effects of instant information through the internet. Also damned funny. I first read this book as a pre teen and found it an atypical examination of prejudice and the fear that inspires it. It is however, a very enjoyable, well written read. I have read it in every subsequent decade of my life and found no less enjoyable.
I would recomend it for young and old alike. By far my favorite John Wyndham book. All books of the Robotic series together with the Foundation Series. Alternate history squared, Spinrad posits a world where Hitler went to the US in the late s and became a science fiction writer of the golden age. A spoiler proof story and not actually a very good one, but the shock is realizing how close so much SF comes to it.
Spinrad includes an academic article criticizing HItler on a literary basis to help you process the experience. It has everything, hard Sci-Fi ideas, fantasy politics, religion, philosophy, romance Sprawling SF on a vast scale, violent and hilarious in equal measure, Banks' Culture Novels are peerless, and this is one of his best.
Even non-sf fans like this. Heinlein probably created more libertarians with this book than Hyeck! The first of Smiths books and the first one I had read, picked up at random from a newsagents. From the first page you are hooked by the vivid imagery and shocking storyline.
It was a lesson in how you can put wild imagination onto the page and let it run away with itself. Despite it's complex concepts the vivid imagery and flowing dialogue reall lets you enter the Culture world for the first time with a great understanidng for me the best Sci fi book ever written. Best of the 'culture' novels. Games at multiple levels, very black and very entertaining. There was just something about this book and all the thought that author Clarke put into it that made it stand out for me. There was no wild imaginings just simple and logical prediction. The only thing that was a little hard to believe was the physical size of Rama.
Given the cost and complexity of building the ISS, one has to wonder how long and how much it took to be built and sent on it's way. A super read though. Bill is a pal of mine for starters. He was working on this book years before I met him. He let me read his rough draft when it was done and after that, I hope he will write more. I've downloaded his ebook and it's even better finished. He said that it's the kind of story he wantes to read about.
He's shared it with some other people I work with and everybody loves it. I think he had his brother make a video, but I'm not sure. He was talking about it. Bill can draw, too. I'm friends with him on facebook, and his characters are really cool so now you can actually see what his characters look like as he sees them. I would recommend this book even if Bill wasn't my friend, it's that good.
I thought it was too obvious, but apparently not, based upon the comments below. Dune, along with Stranger in a Strange Land, catapulted sci fi out of the "golden age", and re-defined the genre. These two books are to sci-fi what the Beatles were to rock. Everything after was different. This novel is set in a post environmental holocaust future with both a dystopia and a Utopia. It presents beautifully drawn characters in a technological wonderland with a hellishly corporate backdrop.
The novel revolves around Shira and her quest to be reunited with her son - taken from her by the company she used to work for. In her quest she is joined by a wonderful cyborg named Yod and the novel tells of their relationship and brings into question what it is to be human. The story is interspersed with the tale of the Golem in Prague which brings the questions around what is life into a longer history and gives it weight. As a science fiction novel it is so frighteningly possible - and in the not very distant future - but its real power is that we can already see how close we are to becoming a world in which corporations control private lives.
There's some really wonderful moments like when Shira and co hack into the company's computer system using their minds, but flying in the shapes of birds, and when Shira is trying to teach Yod to understand the beauty of roses. I don't want to give anything else away as there are also unseen twists. Plus there are kittens! Too dense, too pretentious, no likable characters and then for the last quarter Suddenly transformed to profound, disturbing, beautiful and lyrical.
As someone else on this thread says, "Quite unlike anything else i've read". Start with the creation of a mind then follow it on a post-human diaspora through the multiverse. Over 2 generations ahead of its time - Still a contemporary science fiction novel of the highest quality - the central tenet still stands the ravages of time as a truly inspiring and though provoking possibility.
An amazing gem. Not sure if it's SF, biography, satire, or a combination of all these and more, but it's a genius little book which I read over 20 years ago for the first time; I re-read it ocassionally, and it's still fresh to me. An amazing series detailing the interactions between a number of species includinfg humans on a grandiose scale. A must read for any true lover of SF.
When the author tries to explain what a twelve dimensional planet might look like in an alternative universe it boggles my poor little four dimensional mind, but in that giddy, vertigionous way Stephen Hawking sometimes managed in a Brief History of Time.
Except theres no spaceships, aliens, virtual realities in Hawkings book, which makes this book quite a lot better. Diapsora is a novel of big ideas. From the birth of a gender neutral new mind in a virtual reality where most of humanity live in the near future AD to exploration of the galaxy and on to other universes of increasing multidimensional complexity to the ultimate fate of our species and others, all in a pursuit of a mystery - how does the universe hmm, multiverse really work?
How can we survive its indifferent violence? And where are the mysterious species who left microscopic clues behind in the structure of an alien planet warning of galaxy wide catastrophe? As the book progresses the relative importance of these questions and answers change. What happens when the answers are complete? Are they ever?
It does take a while to get going particularly if you're not familiar with 'hard sci-fi' but there are no 'cheats' used in traditional sci fi. No transporters, FTL travel and the intelligent aliens are so utterly unlike the 'human' heroes they need several layers of 'relay-team' interpreters even to communicate. I look forward to the day mind wipes become more widely available so I can read it again for the first time. Like the best science fiction, it portrayed a plausible world growing out of our present - and the central figure is a believable human being doing currently-unbelievable things who grows, over the course of the book.
And totally gratuitously, it led to a number of sequels as rich and believable, in their way, as the first in the series was itself. Larry Niven is mainly know for his Ringworld series books. Generally his books are set in "known space" - a universe not too distant in the future - or close parallels to this creation. In "World of Ptavvs", Larry brings an alien known in "known space" as being extinct for millions of years to the present day.
The alien a Slaver had been in stasis and is unintentionally released and then sets about trying to enslave the earth. Fortunately Larry Greenberg, who had been trying to reach the alien telepathically whilst in stasis, is here to save the day. Without giving too much away, humans are related to the Slaver race, meaning of course that the World of the Ptavvs is earth. Some Slavers that have lost all their family rather than committing suicide will decide to protect the whole Slaver species.
If only Larry knew someone like that to protect earth from this Slaver What I like about the book is that the complete story spans from years into past and future. Space Opera it is not as the books are far too easy to read a couple hours to read this book but none-the-less Larry Niven creates a rich and compelling universe. It is prescient in its understanding of memes, no one else has come close. Not neccesarily the best SF book ever-that would in my opinion be one of Iain M.
Banks's 'Culture' novels-but quite possibly the weirdest. If you thought the end of Herbert's Dune series was getting a bit strange, it has nothing on this-truly out there WTF! By the way, are we including the Gormenghast trilogy in this?
Publication Order of Thomas Prescott Books
It's a beautiful balance of drama, speculation, humor, and the PKD's own special brand of paranoia. Well written, wll thought out, great plot develpoment, and all around awesome!!!! This book so beautifully demonstrates the point that what falls between two opposing, hard-held points of view is truth. Not science fiction by the contemporary definition. This novel deals with what has been coined "inner space" rather than the more outer-space oriented, Le Guinesque fantasies.
JG Ballard was a prominent figure of the new wave of science fiction: a collective of novelists who emerged in the s and were mostly concerned with the birth of the space age and the atom bomb, for example. This was a time when events of the so-called real world began to seem stranger than fiction. As a result, novelists of this era began to write about dystopian near-futures rather than settings vastly remote in time and distance. High Rise deals with the effects of the man-made, physical landscape, in this case an east London aparment block - on the physcology of the tenants.
The rigidly defined social structure, too-easy access to amenities and desire of the tenants to resign from their lives as mindless functionaries, sets in motion a descent into a microcosmic catastrophe. Ballard's ruthless imagination is on show here in all its glory. This book changed my life. Strictly not Sci-Fi, but a theological meditation on perception, sanity and counterculture. One of my favourite books, up there with Camus and Satre in my opinion. The protaginist is a man undergoing a nervous breakdown who interprets his psychosis as religious revelations.
Astoundingly well-written, profound and funny. Refutes the view of science fiction as 'Cowboys and Indians in Space. The author is a bit of a nutter, but the Mission Earth books are an excellent read. And, the hero grows up a little. Eurasia including Britain has been conquered by Bolshevism. All because Adolf Hitler emigrated to New York in to become a science-fiction writer. That's the framing story. LOTS tells of a mythologized Germany "Heldon" in a future post-nuclear world that rose up to defeat the evil mutant forces of Zind and their humanity-destroying rulers the Dominators.
The only reason it's not more popular is because it's too real in many respects. It lacks that warm and fuzzy Hollywood-like ending needed for today's pop culture. Still, it's a brilliant series of books. I recommend them all. Like all great science fiction Shikasta and its four companion volumes has a serious philosphical core; It is beautifully written, and is a cracking read. It is plausible and utopic, offering a glimpse of a future of equality and sexual freedom with humankind and nature in balance, while pointing at the frailties of current reality and pertinently criticising organised religion, ideology, and colonialism.
Lessing's imagination runs riot, and the fourth volume, although slim, has one of the finest takes on survival in a hostile environment I have ever read. One of the most compelling compendium of five book s. Fast paced, excellently written and many thought provoking ideas playing merry hell with history, time, space and logic. Not to mention a great cliffhanger ending. This is not a book, it is a short story, a very short story, but it was the inspiration for Clarke And Kubrick's collaborative epic It sums up humanities constant desire to discover 'someone else, out there. We are so lonely, like a kid who has lost it's mom.
So much SF is devoted to our quest for contact, but the original short sums up the anticipation so well. This collection of short stories is full of wit humour and dystopian futures. Book bindings that rewrite books, aliens infiltrating society as four foot high VW mechanics and faulty time travellers taking part in their own autopsy and ticker tape parade.
This book is the most imaginative i have ever read and i'm overwhelmed by its brilliance whenever I read it. I have laughed, cried almost and felt almost every emotion in between and if one person reads it because of me i shall be happy. Most people read the dystopia - Brave New World, but Island was a utopian dream - one of the first books that really affected me. Also anything by John Wyndham - many of his books successfully made it to films, Day of the Triffids and Village of the Damned.
I also loved The Chrysalids - never understood why it didn't become a film. But the sci-fi crown must go to Peter F Hamilton - he has the ability to create entire universes and includes the entire shebang of sci-fi within each series - aliens, technologies, societies, superhuman abilities, etc. I'd just like to put in a moan about the way bookshops display Sci-Fi - they integrate it into Fantasy.
I've nothing against fairies, elves and goblins, but this genre tends to look backwards to times when knights were armed and everyone else was nervous. Sci-fi generally looks forward to the future with technology or societies or takes alternative universes and extrapolates. So why do bookshops display them together? Do they have no concept of either genre? Moan of the day over. Serves up visual imagery of technological advances that we have now attained or on the way to achieving. Corporate pervasiveness in holographic advertising projected anywhere, futuristic ways of engaging with celebrity idols, cosmetic surgery making people look like an amalgamation of famous stars, old technology lying around in scrap heaps in amongst hi-tech wonderment.
Its all happening. And who could forget the way Razor girl introduces herself to Case after hes just had in effect an organ transplant? Truly unbeatable. In mho, it marks the emergence of contemporary SF as Literature. And because Dan Simmons wrote such a beautiful novel back in , a generation of SF writers has emerged to compose a species of fiction unprecedented in the history of Literature, a species that thenceforth redefined the idea of the SF novel. That may be overstating the case, but the purity and overpowering poetical sensibility of Simmon's writing cannot be disputed.
And in no way to diminish the achievements of Gene Wolfe and Robert Silverberg - the grandfathers of literary SF - but I thihnk that Simmons was the first novelist to deliberately embrace the so-called literary canon and weave it into a profound and beautiful SF tapestry. But it is not simply a story well told, it is SF. And that means it is about ideas. They are, in point of fact, novels that provoke wonder - which is exactly what science fiction has always been about. Unknown to him or us early on in the story is that he is in fact helping the military intercept missiles fired at earth from rebels on a moon base.
Great little book! Wry observations on the military and humanity from the returning soldiers isolated from society by the effects of relativity on time caused by near to light speed travel. A great ending. A pacy read, sexy and like all good SF wrong on lots of details but contains many truths about mankind. In a near-future world where technological progress has been frozen by the all powerful peace authority, renegade scientists discover the secret of the bobbles used to cloak weapons, bases and even cities and turn the technology to their own advantage to bring down the peace authority.
At the local library when I was 17, I discovered the Uplift Saga. Starting with book 2. Star Tide Rising. I loved its exploration of conciousness with the idea of spreading sapience to other animals on earth - dolphins and chimps. I found it very positive about humanity as alien hordes threatened to destroy human cultures or humanity itself. I've not read many sci fi where despite flaws you get drawn into such a pro humanity narrative.
The setting was enjoyable, marooned on a water world with a crew of dolphins. I can easily imagine from his writings that such a place must exist. I would recommend the rest of saga but for me startide rising stood out. It completely changed my view on life, the universe and everything - literally: the absurdity and hilarious nonsense of being alive. To divulge it would be a small spoiler, so I won't, but I always like to learn a bit of something while being thoroughly entertained. Mitchell Book Description: His love life in shambles, Thomas Prescott returns to Seattle, the very place he fled from after his parents' deaths nearly a decade earlier.
Just as Thomas is getting settled in, he sees a body floating in the private cove behind his boyhood home. It is a woman. But not just any woman. The governor of Washington. As the suspense ratchets, and the twists unfold, Thomas is thrown into the middle of the biggest murder investigation in Washington state history. Prescott is forced to confront the demons from his past and unearths a new enemy, one that couldn't possibly be human, one that has haunted man since the dawn of time More reviews: Pirog engages readers with a tight plot, well-developed characters, historical context, and just enough pop culture to keep you begging for more.
Thomas Prescott is witty, arrogant -yet generous, and operates on just enough id to make him adorable. He is my favorite naughty character by far! Every page begs to be turned, every chapter begs to be completed, and the end leaves you begging for the next book! Refreshingly funny, quirky and still produces a many layered well thought out mystery thriller. I was mesmerized from the first page by not only the main plot but by the sub plot as well, the ending left me surprised and with tears in my eyes. News of the World Paulette Jiles.