Still amazed at how this thread turned out. Figured it might get a couple responses but nothing like this. It's great to continue to see the reviews and recommendations. I've got a long list of things to read just from what was mentioned here.
I did read something by Margaret Weiss alone, that was set in space, and it sucked huge $#@!ing ballsac. Just because you love Star Wars, and a set of books from an author you were familiar with wrote some new work that has what looks to be a lightsaber on the front cover...don't get excited. That's my advice to everyone here.
Just started the second book in a series by Lev Grossman
1st book is called "The Magicians" and new book is called "The Magician King"
Glen Cook, the Black Company. I haven't read his newer stuff, I'm sure it'll start sucking at some point, but the old ones are awesome.
It's been mentioned earlier but the Hyperion series is unbelievable. It's very dense. I quit halfway through the 3rd book but it kept eating at me to finish it and the 4th book, which is the last. His ideas of future technology and story lines are obviously drug induced. It's worth reading just for the Shrike who may be the baddest mother $#@!er in the universe.
A number of people have suggested some of Philip K $#@!'s work. A lot of the short stories are very good, and some of the novels (though honestly many are crap). I don't think anyone has mentioned VALIS yet, which remains one of the most hallucinatory, intense books I have ever read. I don't even know if it qualifies as science fiction, since it is unclear how "fictional" it is from the author's perspective. The Empire never ended, bitches.
Also, I have a question about Robert Heinlein - I tried to read Stranger in a Strange Land, but got really bored and stopped about halfway through. The endless exposition of Heinlein's rather garden-variety nonconformist social and political positions was pretty heavy-handed. Show us, don't tell us, Bob. Apparently I got some "expanded" edition, whose main additions were more of the stuff I didn't like. Might I have more luck with the rest of his work?
There's some great suggestions here, but not enough short story love.
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
The Witcher video games are based on this book. I believe the author is Polish and has five or six books based in this fantasy world. This book is a collection of short stories (so the book is actually novel length). All revolve around the same character. So it reads almost like tv show episodes. It's an excellent read. This was the authors first book to be translated into english.
They have also translated a full novel of his Blood of Elves. And while I would love to recommend Blood of Elves its hard to when it is unknown whether/if/when the rest of the story will ever be translated over. But if you like gritty dirty fantasy check it out too.
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
By far the best short story I have ever read. Was the first vampire story to have a modern take/scientific explanation for vampires. Vampires are almost a hybrid of what we now consider zombies and vampires. Has been made into a movie THREE times and every time hollywood makes it they decide against telling the amazing ending because they think it's too horrific. The first scene makes my balls shrivel and the ending blows me away. READ THIS STORY. If I remember correctly it's only about 60 pages long. Check it out.
^^^ He has a number of pretty good short stories, I think. As does George RR Martin, although their names escape me. One scifi/horror story set in a decaying Mid-Western town ruled by werewolves is pretty $#@!ing creepy.
Sorry Milk, but I'm a little confused. Who wrote the story about werewolves, Martin or Matheson?
Glad that Glenn Cook's stuff is getting lover here. Also want to re-up my praise for Scott Bakker. Its up to book 5 now, and he writes them pretty quick. Its not six books, more like 2 trilogies. Martin with fewer characters. Dark $#@!. Has anybody mentioned Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber? A classic. Let me point out that lots of these books are pretty old, and you should zero problem checking them out from the library.
This sound like what you're thinking of Milk?
I googled "George R.R. Martin werewolf" and this story pops up in a book called Dark Visions with Stephen King and another author.The best story is the last and also the longest. It's George R.R. Martin's werewolf story "The Skin Trade."
I'm definitely going to check it out. Love Martin, and I've always wanted to read a werewolf story.
Anyone see that flowchart on i09 yesterday?
Last edited by Viper; 09-30-2011 at 08:24 AM.
that graph is great. saw it on google play the other day. sent me straight to my favorite book, Neuromancer.
yo.. how the $#@! have the 2001 and Rama series not been mentioned in here? Both floored me.
I'll second some things already mentioned here:
Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs Series, particularly Altered Carbon, is very entertaining.
Everyone must read I am Legend by Richard Matheson at some point. His take on the last man on earth story is disturbing and has a stunning ending. Do NOT wiki or google it prior to reading it, as spoiling the ending at some level destroys the story.
I'm surprised A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter Miller hasn't shown up yet. It details, over 1000 years, a monastery that protects the meager remnants of humanity's collective knowledge following a total nuclear holocaust.
I'm sure it's come up, but if you read Zombie oeuvre, World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide are musts.
I'm sure he's been mentioned, but if you like Martin's Song of Ice and Fire but don't have time to read 1200 pages at a time, Joe Abercrombie is where you'll want to turn. Epic in the best sense.
I'd also vote for Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell for fantasy.
I haven't come across a ton of really good sci-fi recently. Alastair Reynolds and Robert Charles Wilson are very good. Nancy Kress is okay. Other than that I'm usually disappointed in sci-fi these days.
Edited to add Peter Watts first novel Starfish to the Sci-Fi list. Didn't care as much for the sequels.
Last edited by branthebuilder; 10-23-2011 at 10:12 PM.
I'll admit I may be projecting or making some logical leaps, but I think my premise that quality fantasy is based on an appreciation and exaggeration of the power of words is a sound one, and one that I think The Magicians supports.I was—and, to some extent, still am—the kind of person who thought that, you know, once I got X, everything will be great and perfect. Once I get to Harvard, everything will be great. Once I publish a novel, everything will be great. And so on. And then, only gradually, I came to the realization that, wow, there are still massive problems that exist. I think I linked that in my mind with a series of books that I was obsessed with as a little kid—the Narnia novels.
I think this review states it pretty well, especially the last paragraph.
Last edited by branthebuilder; 10-25-2011 at 09:04 PM.
That being said, I wish I had read interviews and those snippets before I actually read The Magicians. I'm certain it would have added a much more interesting layer to my reading that was otherwise lacking for me, particularly since I take writing fairly seriously. I had no idea of Grossman's background and profession. I just picked the book up on a whim and read it. Now I'm sorry I didn't know all of this beforehand.
Thanks for taking the time to expound for me.
Ubik by Phillip $#@!...I still have 20 pages or so to go, but so far it's a damn good sci-fi book.
I've loved checking in on this thread - I'm a big Sci-fi fan (and a growing fantasy one).
The Culture series by Ian M. Banks made the top 100 in that NPR flowchart. Great set of books. He's an excellent writer as well -- puts out challenging 'artsy' lit as Ian Banks, excellent Sci Fi as Ian M. Banks. The culture books are all great, and there are like 8 of them now or something. Excellent concepts, great writing.
The first is called "Consider Phlebas".
anyone read forever peace or forever free? i heard they under perform but I'm starving for more now. neither is on kindle which pisses me off.
Forever peace is an entirely different universe I think, while Forever Free was the proper sequel. Have not read either after FW.
Just finished Enders game. Fantastic.
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