G**D*** hippies in my Sci-Fi!
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).
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!