Good Modern Science Fiction

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Slacker
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Slacker » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:39 pm

This is a really old thread, but if anyone enjoys reading Heinlein as the OP does, then I recommend giving Ian Douglas a try. The "Star Carrier" series is one I really enjoyed (I'm about to read the 7th book in the series which just came out this year).

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:40 pm

I'm currently reading the Linesman series by SK Dunstall (actually two Australian sisters). The "lines", sort of energy threads ranked by distinct numbers, are used to control the function of many devices, including starships. The "highest" lines all a ship to jump through the void. Some people can sense the lines, and fix them by straightening alignment problems. The Linesmen are well respect, especially the Level Ten than can sense and fix the highest lines.

Ean Lambert grew up a slum kid on the capital planet of the Alliance. His sort don't usually get a chance to be Linesmen, but he knew that could. His self-taught ways are at odds with standard training, but he perseveres and gets certified as a Level Ten. His background and unorthodox methods keep him from the fame and respect the job usually carries. And his desperation led him to a bad contract with the smallest outfit. Things change when his contract is purchased by the Crown Princess of the Alliance. An artifact has been found, and they need Linesmen to assist in exploring it.

If you like Space Opera, these might be for you.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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Dendritic Tree
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Dendritic Tree » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:53 pm

I know the golden age of sci-fi was in the 60s-70s, but I'm going to go ahead and interpret "Modern" to mean in the current millennium, if not the current decade. Here are a few of my favorites:
  • Oryx and Crake: dystopian fiction at its best on a backdrop of genetic engineering from the true master of dystopian fiction, Margaret Atwood. First book of a trilogy, but really shines as a standalone.
  • Seveneves: starts out as a relatively hard sci-fi treatment of how it would look if the human race had to get off Earth in a hurry using existing, ISS-level (non-hand-waving) technology. Morphs into a totally different book when it fast-forwards into the future.
  • The Expanse: a nice break from all the faster-than-light zap-back-and-forth space battle books out there. A great space series with political intrigue, horror, noir detective stuff, and tons of space battles. The space travel and battles are extremely realistic, where it takes at least weeks to get anywhere, missiles take hours to close on you, and there are no "inertial dampeners" so acceleration forces are such a major issue, they're almost like another character.
  • The Girl With All the Gifts: (if you consider zombie to be a subgenre of sci-if) A great zombie postapocalypse story with the interesting twist (not a spoiler, it's the premise) that the protagonist is a zombie.
  • The Frontiers Saga: ok, a guilty pleasure. Not hard sci-fi at all. Characters are flat, plot is fairly predictable. It's predicated on one ship having instantaneous transport "jumping" when the rest of the galaxy still uses standard faster-than-light warp-speed style travel. But it's really fun to see how that could be used in combat, interstellar travel, etc. Totally gimmicky but fun, too.

emoore
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by emoore » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:46 pm

Not sure if it was mentioned earlier but I'm a huge fan of Peter F. Hamilton and the commonwealth universe. Starts with Pandora's Star and continues with two more books. Then there is the void trilogy and the faller series. Great science fiction.

alex_686
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by alex_686 » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:51 pm

Dendritic Tree wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:53 pm
  • The Girl With All the Gifts: (if you consider zombie to be a subgenre of sci-if) A great zombie postapocalypse story with the interesting twist (not a spoiler, it's the premise) that the protagonist is a zombie.
Zombie stuff can be sci-fi or not. It depends on how it is handled. The Girl with All the Gifts is sci-fi in my opinion. And it is a decent, but not great, book. The movie is also decent. Usually books tend to be of higher quality but in this case they are more or less equivalent. I thought Oryx and Crake was a better "end of the world" book then The Girl With All The Gifts.

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Ged
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Ged » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:27 am

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:16 pm
Ged wrote:
Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:58 pm
Left Hand of Darkness Ursula LeGuin
Snowcrash Neal Stephenson
Neuromancer William Gibson
Ringworld Larry Niven
The Forever War Joe Haldeman
Startide Rising David Brin

Edit: added authors
I thought OP said modern. Some of these are 40 years old. Any modern stuff, like the last 5 years?
The OP didn't specify a time frame. The consensus in the field is 'modern' sci-fi certainly includes Dune which was first published in 1965. Some would say that Hugo Gernsback's Ralph 124 C41+ (1911) was the first modern sci-fi, however that context includes a broader view of what the genre includes. One that I think makes sense.

This categorization of what constitutes 'modern' also fits in pretty well with the rise of modernist writing, techniques of story telling that developed in the late 19th - early 20th century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_modernism

The most expansive view coincides with the historical view of 'modern', that is anything post-enlightenment. So anything after say Galileo. That viewpoint would classify Homer as a science fiction author. Personally I disagree with this because science to me implies post-enlightenment.

What you are asking for (5 years) is better described as contemporary.

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Koogie
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Koogie » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:59 am

Gadget wrote:
Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:58 am
Koogie wrote:
gerrym51 wrote:Harry Dresden novels. I started number 1 2 months ago and know have completed all 15.
Harry dresden/detective/practicing wizzard.
The Dresden Files
Just finished the first Dresden Files novel, Storm Front, by Jim Butcher.
Pretty decent. Sort of a mix of crime noir and supernatural fantasy. A bit fluffy but entertaining. I'll probably do another one.
The first 3 or 4 books of the dresden files start off slow compared to the rest. He sort of becomes a much better author after the first few. The series gets pretty addictive after that. So if you liked the first, it only gets better.
Just finished a collection of the first six Dresden novels. Gadget is very correct. The writing gets better and it is getting addictive. It's not staggering stuff by any means but more like fantasy/crime noir fluff. Decent enough at least that I have #7 on hold at the library already.
Sometimes all you want is a good, fast paced read.

lhl12
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by lhl12 » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:10 am

+1 to the "Ancillary" series ("Ancillary Justice", "Ancillary Sword" and "Ancillary Mercy") by Leckie - outstanding.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:30 am

lhl12 wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:10 am
+1 to the "Ancillary" series ("Ancillary Justice", "Ancillary Sword" and "Ancillary Mercy") by Leckie - outstanding.
She has a new book out, Provenance, that's set in the same universe but not featuring the same characters or even the same culture.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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Koogie
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Koogie » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:29 am

Just finished Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald. It is a "hard-ish" sci-fi novel set on the moon in the not to distant future. Mankind has settled the moon for commercial purposes (resource extraction mostly) and it has developed its own economy and society, which is dominated by a handful of powerful family run corporations.

Quite a decent read. The technologies referenced aren't outlandish and a lot of the realities of life in low-G are acknowledged and used in the plot. His constant use of ethnic terms and titles specific to this moon society does get a bit tiresome when he could of used plain English instead but I suppose that is part of his world building efforts. The conflict between and within the families is well written and comparing that aspect of the novel to Game of Thrones (as one reviewer did) isn't to fanciful. The parts describing the early days of moon settlement were particularly well done. Some of the minor character chapters not as well. He also, if I recall correctly, has pretty blatantly stolen at least one of the subplots from Heinlens The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

The sequel was just published and I have it on hold at the library. I have read it isn't as good as the first book but that isn't normally a surprise. They have also apparently both been optioned for a tv series. Again, pretty normal these days.

Lastly, this was just another book lately where I am PLENTY annoyed by the publisher. There are typos or word repetitions on almost every other page as well as spelling errors. This is a mass market hardback. Can't they make the effort to hire a decent proof reader !
I find the same sort of thing in probably 2 out of every 5 books I read lately. It is very tiresome and distracting.

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