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Old 12-14-2011, 10:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry G**D*** hippies in my Sci-Fi!

\rant

I love sci-fi novels, but I'm starting to get kind of pissed. Back in middle school I read most of what Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark wrote with a healthy dose of Frank Herbert as well. I found that I wanted to move onto more recent Sci-Fi and maybe some that felt a little less "Dated".

When I was in Egypt, we had a copy of Hyperion by Dan Simmons at the dig house, and I read that book when I had time away from working. That book was simply Amazing. I loved the Chaucer-like framework, the characters were well developed, the story was complex, and most importantly, it felt like "hard" Sci-Fi, like their were no boundaries that the author felt constrained by.

As some will know, Hyperion was the first book in a 4 book series. After the first, I pressed ahead into the next books, and though I found the main character kind of a whiny douche, the story more than seemed to make up for it. However, 1/2 way into the last book I just cant take it anymore.

The whole "void which binds", "one who teaches, "love and memories are the energy behind the universe", etc thing is just really stupid. It is so far away from what Hyperion set out as, a whole lot less intense, and as a major plot device, it makes most of what the main characters do pretty goddamn ridiculous as they follow the "messiah" through a series of ridiculous encounters. Im pretty pissed b/c I thouroughly enjoyed most of the series up until this point, but its gotten so stupid that I cant even finish the last book. I get enough of this hippie crap in my anthropology program, it was originally a welcome respite to get away from all that kind of rubbish. When all the hippie bull**** gets involved, the story gets lost in simplicity and characters and issues become black and white instead of gray. I stopped reading fantasy novels for the same reason (the death-gate cycle and sword of truth series being prime examples).

\rant

I'm looking for suggestions on good Sci-Fi (or fantasy I suppose; maybe someone can make me a believer again) series on the "harder" side, the kind of stuff with a complex storyline and where the author doesnt feel the need to put in "bad" guys and "good" guys diametrically opposed to each-other. Im not looking for stuff that is gratuitously violent or racy just for the hell of it but that kind of stuff can be used by a good author to advance plot/story lines if used correctly. Also, as I said before, Im looking for stuff that's less "dated" (something like Dune is timeless, whereas talking about Pan-am in 2001 or MC Escher in Neuromancer is not).

thanks for the help!
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, I can suggest that you don't read L. Ron Hubbards books toward the end of his life.

I am back to reading the Asimov books again. I have read them all a dozen times, but they hold up, even the wordy drawn out stories.

Try Ben Bova. He wrote a series that ended up being called the Grand Tour which was fun.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As a mass consumer of stories sci-fi and fantasy I'll hold off on giving a list of recommendations for the time being. However, I will say, the problem you might have is in setting expectations. Using food as an example: There is so much material out there that although the authors wish was prime-rib actually turns out to be fast food sci-fi.
I'm not saying that fast food sci-fi is horrible, I eat a great deal of it. Roughly a paper back or two per week. Its fun, typically predictable, and fast reading. If I were to dig into fast food sci-fi expecting prime-rib and lobster, I'd be pretty let down. But, I've gotten pretty good over time with picking out what is what and setting my expectations accordingly. Really I only treat myself to the high class sci-fi or fantasy novels once or twice a month.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Daniel Keys Moran.

Fun stuff there, although if you've been reading a while, you've probably run into him already.

Vernor Venge. "Fire Upon the Deep" cooked my noodle in the best way possible.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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the Sten series from allan cole and chris bunch

anathem by neal stephenson

leviathan wakes by by james s.a. corey

pretty much anything heinlein

the strugatsky brothers have good stuff - just do not be surprised at references to historical imperative, etc.

cherie priest if you like steampunk stuff

china mieville has good stuff - the city and the city is good
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Larry niven is still active and putting out new stuff. He has been writing for a very long itme but I don't find any of his stuff dated.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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+1 for anything and everything Neal Stephenson.

For hard scifi, haven't read any of his works yet, but heard lots of good stuff about Kim Stanley Robinson. Been meaning to get his Mars series and seeing if what I've heard is true.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Depends on your kind of sci fi... Action?

John Scalzi: Old Man's War

It's the start of a three book progression and it's good to the last drop.
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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if you like scalzi then you'll also like joe haldeman
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Walter Jon Williams... "Voice of the Whirlwind" was really, really good.

+1 for Cherie Priest. Not a lot of science, but very good fiction.
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