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Hi. I am kind of new to the whole sci-fi genre, and was wondering if there are any books you could suggest based upon ones I have read and enjoyed!

 

Sci-Fi books I have liked:

 

Dune (my favourite book of all time), and all of Frank Herbert's other novels;

 

Hothouse by Brian Aldiss;

 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy;

 

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon.

 

These are all the science fiction books that I have ever read, and am wondering if there are any you can recommend based upon this list.

 

Thanks,

 

Sasha.

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I am not a fan of sci-fi but I do have 3 on the shelves that have been recommended on BGO over the years: Do Androids Dream Of Electrical Sheep by Philip K Dick, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel...somebody...Keyes? Grammath is the man to ask re Philip K Dick recommendations though.

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I am not a fan of sci-fi but I do have 3 on the shelves that have been recommended on BGO over the years: Do Androids Dream Of Electrical Sheep by Philip K Dick, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel...somebody...Keyes? Grammath is the man to ask re Philip K Dick recommendations though.

 

Wow, thanks for the speedy response. I shall have to look into those. Oooh, that Philip K. Dick one, I think I have that in eBook form somewhere. Shall have to wait for my eSlick to arrive though.

 

As you mention you're not the biggest Sci-Fi fan... could I ask maybe about non sci-fi books that might be similar? :P Or would that not be allowed in this forum?

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As you mention you're not the biggest Sci-Fi fan... could I ask maybe about non sci-fi books that might be similar? :P Or would that not be allowed in this forum?

:D I haven't read any of the books/authors that you mention other than Hitchhiker...so it is impossible for me to recommend books that you may like! Don't worry though, other members will pop on and help out!

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Grammath is the man to ask re Philip K Dick recommendations though.

I suppose I am a bit of an evangelist for the great man's work, but I still have a lot of it to read myself. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" is a good place to start - it was the source material for the film "Blade Runner". "The Man In The High Castle" is also very highly regarded. There's a brief thread on "A Scanner Darkly" here.. My most recent read was "Dr. Bloodmoney", which is set in a post-nuclear attack USA and also struck me as one of his better efforts.

 

H2G2 is probably my favourite book of all time. I'd love to be able to say it was something more intellectual and literary, but there's no getting away from it. Douglas Adams' worldview shaped my own. There's very few other books I can say that about, and none of those made me laugh as much.

 

I've not read the other books you've listed, and I have to say, I tried "Dune" years ago and couldn't get on with it. I do have a giant slab of a book with the first three novels in it so I intend to have another go someday.

 

I read a lot of sci-fi in my teens, but not so much these days, although as it happens I am reading some just now, "Pandora's Star" by Peter F. Hamilton. This is what often gets called "space opera" - far future settings, big spaceships, mysterious aliens, lots of technical guff. It's about as deep as the average puddle, but is pleasantly mindless entertainment.

 

My tastes when I started exploring sci-fi as a teenager were guided to a certain degree by my father, so much of what I read was actually originally published in the 1950s and 1960s, which I still think was probably the genre's golden era.

 

Many of the greats of the genre from this time were prolific short story writers as well as novelists. It might be worth starting with an anthology of short fiction such as the Penguin Modern Classic "Science Fiction Omnibus" edited by Brian Aldiss and using it as a springboard to go off and investigate the writers of stories you like.

 

From the more recent past William Gibson's "Neuromancer", published in 1984, is certainly worth a look. Generally credited with foreseeing the effects of the then infant concept of cyberspace, its mixture of sci-fi and fast paced hardboiled thriller has spawned a lot of imitators, none, with the possible exception of Neal Stephenson, as good as far as I know.

 

I find these days that, rather than reading hard sci-fi, I'm attracted to a lot of mainstream fiction which flirts with the margins of sci-fi such as:

 

"Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood

"Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell

"Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro

"In The Country of Last Things" by Paul Auster

 

You'd never find any of these in the sci-fi & fantasy section of your local bookstore.

 

I'd second Hazel's nomination of Ray Bradbury as one of the other great sci-fi writers from what I can remember - I haven't read anything of his for perhaps 20 years, although I too have a copy of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" on the pile. Some other random names that spring to mind:

 

J. G. Ballard's early work such as "The Drought" and "The Drowned World"

Kurt Vonnegut's early novels like "The Sirens of Titan"

John Wyndham - more or less anything

 

Have fun in your search.

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Of course there is also Isaac Asimov whose work was the basis for the film "I, Robot".

 

His short stories can be very effective. And the "Foundation" series.

 

Sci-fi was very much a teenage thing for me, and I have lost the passion for it although I still love fantasy.

 

Iain M Banks I find impenetrable.

 

I quite enjoyed Ilium by Dan Simmons but not enough to buy the sequel which is now out.

 

(Cloud Atlas is one of the few books i failed to finish :o )

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I would recommend:

 

The shockwave riders and Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner. Particularly the former, which to my mind is the original cyberpunk story, written many years before the term was used.

 

William Gibson's Sprawl series - novels Neuromancer, Count Zero and Mona Lisa overdrive and the short stories Johnny Mnemonic, New Rose hotel and Burning Chrome. Neuromancer was visionary in its day.

 

David Brin's first Uplift series - Sundiver, Startide Rising and The uplift war, which are separate stories that can be read in any order, althought the order I give them is better.

 

Time, Space and Origin by Stephen Baxter. Grand space opera.

 

The Gap series by Stephen Donaldson. More grand space opera, quite brutal in places though, especially the opening novel.

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The best sci-fi type novel I have enjoyed the most to date would be "The Taking" by Dean Koontz. I recommend giving it a go, it certainly gets you wanting to keep turning the pages and at the same time also makes you hesitate a little before doing so (read at night in bed for the best effect..and I'm 38!!) :D

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Sasha, you've already read the best sci-fi work ever (the Dune saga), so I'm afraid it's all downhill now!

 

Seriously, I would echo the recommendations already made for the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen Baxter. Donaldson can be bloody hard work if you're not in the mood (and I only read the first 2 volumes of the Gap series).

 

A little known British author called Christopher Priest wrote a couple of superb books back in the '70s (I think). One was called The Space Machine, the other was Dreams Of Wessex. The former was based upon H G Wells' Time Machine and War of The Worlds, and very cleverly brought the two into a single story. It's probably the only book I have ever bought twice. Dreams of Wessex was set in the south of England, but in a world where some event (can't recall the details) had caused Dorset and nearby to be separated from the rest of the country by a stretch of water. These two books carry my heartiest recommendations. I managed to find a compendium of the two in a single volume about 6 years ago.

 

Another sci-fi book that no-one else seems to know about is Romanitas by Sophia McDougall.

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Well, thanks for the massive list of recommendations. I appreciate all the time you all spent in trying to help me out!! I will go through this list eventually, fear not, your time wasn't wasted.

 

I have actually got plans to pick up a Philip K. Dick book named Time Out Of Joint, so I shall see how that is.

 

Grammath: I am a very big fan of Fiction, so thanks for the non-Sci-fi recommendations also. I do actually own a copy of Cloud Atlas, which I definitely plan to getting round to at some point. I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Dune, and I know from personal experience it certainly isn't to everybody's tastes!

 

Elfstar: If you are up to the task, you can always recommend some fantasy! I am a newbie fan of that too. I am going to be receiving Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice in the not too distant future, and am very eagerly looking forward to reading it.

 

MarkC: I have never read anything remotely close to cyberpunk, as far as I am aware, but have been eying up William Gibson's Neuromancer for quite some time, so shall try and get a look and see if it is my kinda thing.

 

cobboldblue: 21 here, and I do love a good bit of reading before I sleep. Actually, if I don't read before I attempt sleep, I end up staying awake for hours just thinking about random crap, so reading helps me quite a lot. I will look into Dean Koontz, thanks for the recommendation!

 

And finally, my friend My Friend Jack. Dune... was great. I love it, you love it, even Grammath secretly loves it, but pretends to not have done so. I know that in future times, if ever I have a bad sci-fi book, I will always be able to read my beloved Dune and enjoy the genre for what it is meant to be. I shall have a perusal at your recommendations when I get a chance. As the saying goes: A book liked by a fan of Dune is a book liked by me.

 

Apologies for the long post! Thanks all again for your help, muchly appreciated!

 

Sasha.

 

P.S. Anybody read any of Greg Bear? Somebody mentioned him to me, but I'd never heard of the guy!

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I think you should also consider Iain M Banks. His Sci-Fi is a little unusual in that it avoid explaining the (to us) future, rather letting us accept and learn. His "Culture" novels are brilliant.

 

I'm also a fan of Richard Morgan. Try his first novel "Altered Carbon". You won't be disappointed.

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Sasha you are just like my good lady, if she doesn't read at least 3 chapters before lights out i'm in for a right old night (no i don't mean you know what!!) The Taking is a good read, let me know what you thought of it when you get around to reading it.

 

 

Well, thanks for the massive list of recommendations. I appreciate all the time you all spent in trying to help me out!! I will go through this list eventually, fear not, your time wasn't wasted.

 

I have actually got plans to pick up a Philip K. Dick book named Time Out Of Joint, so I shall see how that is.

 

Grammath: I am a very big fan of Fiction, so thanks for the non-Sci-fi recommendations also. I do actually own a copy of Cloud Atlas, which I definitely plan to getting round to at some point. I'm sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Dune, and I know from personal experience it certainly isn't to everybody's tastes!

 

Elfstar: If you are up to the task, you can always recommend some fantasy! I am a newbie fan of that too. I am going to be receiving Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice in the not too distant future, and am very eagerly looking forward to reading it.

 

MarkC: I have never read anything remotely close to cyberpunk, as far as I am aware, but have been eying up William Gibson's Neuromancer for quite some time, so shall try and get a look and see if it is my kinda thing.

 

cobboldblue: 21 here, and I do love a good bit of reading before I sleep. Actually, if I don't read before I attempt sleep, I end up staying awake for hours just thinking about random crap, so reading helps me quite a lot. I will look into Dean Koontz, thanks for the recommendation!

 

And finally, my friend My Friend Jack. Dune... was great. I love it, you love it, even Grammath secretly loves it, but pretends to not have done so. I know that in future times, if ever I have a bad sci-fi book, I will always be able to read my beloved Dune and enjoy the genre for what it is meant to be. I shall have a perusal at your recommendations when I get a chance. As the saying goes: A book liked by a fan of Dune is a book liked by me.

 

Apologies for the long post! Thanks all again for your help, muchly appreciated!

 

Sasha.

 

P.S. Anybody read any of Greg Bear? Somebody mentioned him to me, but I'd never heard of the guy!

:D

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Robin Hobb's Assasin books are very good as are The Tawny Man trilogy which follow on. Tolkien of course. Terry Brooks ..Magic Kingdom. Stephen Donaldson The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant etc etc. Check out the fantasy thread too.

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Why has no-one mentioned Arthur C. Clarke? His books do vary but you have to read 2001.

 

ACC is the opposite to PKD. Much more optimistic. And much nicer to his characters than Stephen Baxter. But all three are masters of the genre.

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