Good Modern Science Fiction

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Slacker
Posts: 630
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 8:40 am

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).

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5693
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

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 allow a ship to jump through the void. Some people can sense the lines, and fix them by straightening alignment problems. The Linesmen are well respected, especially the Level Ten that 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.
Last edited by Earl Lemongrab on Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

User avatar
Dendritic Tree
Posts: 127
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:20 pm
Contact:

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
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:16 pm

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
Posts: 3946
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:39 pm

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.

User avatar
Ged
Posts: 3619
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

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.

User avatar
Koogie
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:05 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

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
Posts: 614
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 8:24 am

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.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5693
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

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.

User avatar
Koogie
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:05 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

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.

User avatar
Koogie
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:05 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Koogie » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:30 am

Koogie wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:29 am
Just finished Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald. ...... 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.
On holiday again and just finished the sequel, Luna: Wolf Moon.

Pretty decent but not great. You can definitely see that he is setting it up for a whole series of books (perhaps to support the tv adaptation ?)
The strongest bits were still the "harder" sci-fi aspects of what it is like to live in low-G and work in vacuum. The weaker bits were some of the characterizations and a lot of the cultural aspects.

I will undoubtedly read the next one, when it appears.

User avatar
Sid
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:11 pm
Location: Central Texas

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Sid » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:39 pm

I really enjoyed the Red Rising Saga (a trilogy) by Pierce Brown. There is a lot of violence though, so be warned.

I enjoyed all of the prequels and sequels about Dune written by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. I always look forward to their next book.
Sid

Beensabu
Posts: 194
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Beensabu » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:35 pm

There is some amazing speculative short fiction out there as well. Some online magazines to check out are Apex, Strange Horizons, Shimmer, Clarkesworld, and of course Asimov's. It's a great way to find new writers, or ones you might be unfamiliar with because they stay in the short story realm, and track down the rest of their work.

boglesmind
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:07 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by boglesmind » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:17 am

A friend referred me to HPMOR, a fan fiction that was serialized on the web and now available at "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" . It is a looong read and I persisted with it. Liked it very much. David Brin, a sci-fi author and a favorite of many Bogleheads, describes the reasons for reading it in "David Brin's recommendation to read HPMOR" and nails it.
= And Now Lighthearted (intellectually satisfying) Fun! =
Go read some of ther terrific “fanfic” or fan-generated fiction out there. Here’s a great example: futurist/scholar Eliezer Yudkowsky’s ongoing series/novel that is both a tribute to - and deconstruction of - J.K. Rowling’s fantasy universe. HARRY POTTER AND THE METHODS OF RATIONALITY poses an alternate world in which Harry is a genius, not only at magic but also the muggle wizardries of math and science. Oh, and his step-parents, instead of being cartoony/silly villains, were wise, decent and smart. (In other words, Dumbledore did not commit a horrific crime, but put him with the best muggles he could find, duh?) The result is a fiercely bright, logical and infuriatingly immature 11-year old prodigy who is loyal to science and progress and the Enlightenment, unleashed on poor Hogwarts School, vowing to up-end that is corrupt, horrific and insular society that is Magical Britain.

It’s a terrific series, subtle and dramatic and stimulating. I liked especially hearing the vocal rhythms of Maggie Smith in dialogue with Professor McGonnagal. And I (naturally) I loved the dissing of Yoda! Yudkowsky gets it, and lots else. Smart guy, good writer. Poses hugely terrific questions that I, too, had thought of... and a number that I hadn't. Enjoyed all references to the enlightenment.

I wish all Potter fans would go here, and try on a bigger, bolder and more challenging tale.
Edit: The first chapter grabbed my attention and couldn't put it down after that. The series finished in March 2015 and I cannot but marvel at the uncanny relevance for what's happening today. IMO, it is one of those rare books that are fun to read as well as make you think.

Boglesmind

forgeblast
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:45 am
Location: PA
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by forgeblast » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:42 am

This is right up my alley, I love sci-fi.
Neil Stephenson, anatham is by far my favorite book. I have read it about 7 times now its perfect.
Really most of Neil's work is great.
Jim Butcher--the wizard Dresden great book series.
Cyberpunk, love them.
Really if it has a cover I will read it. Just got done with an interesting book called "The Fifth Season", has unique characters and the plot caught me off guard in one spot.
Older books I love A.E. Van Vogt, Heinlein

Thank you all for posting I have been making a list of books to get.

protagonist
Posts: 5435
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by protagonist » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:04 pm

The Long Run, by Daniel Keys Moran. One of the best sci-fi novels ever, and for reasons I don't understand, hardly known to the public. His readers agree with me. Check out the reviews on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Long-Run-Daniel- ... merReviews

Until recently most of his books were out of print and tattered copies were selling for hundreds of dollars.

Other books in his Continuing Time series are also very good (especially Emerald Eyes and The Last Dancer). But The Long Run is, imho, his masterpiece and one of the best sci-fi novels written, and will hook you on the others. It's like William Gibson with humor. Snow Crash is probably the closest parallel I can think of, though The Long Run preceded Snow Crash by at least a few years which is impressive given its insights into the future of the internet.
Last edited by protagonist on Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

protagonist
Posts: 5435
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by protagonist » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:10 pm

forgeblast wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:42 am

Neil Stephenson, anatham is by far my favorite book. I have read it about 7 times now its perfect.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Snow Crash was one of my all-time favorites. I liked Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age as well. But none of his later works that I have started reading have worked for me....they seemed unnecessarily dense for the degree of reward they provided. I will keep Anathem on my list based on your recommendation, after I read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (based on my daughter's strong recommendation).

rxtra8
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:12 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by rxtra8 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:46 pm

Mind bending sci-fi....Cixin Liu's trilogy, "The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death's End". This is hard Sci-Fi and seems like nothing I have read before. The author is from the Peoples Republic of China and his ideas are from space.... I hated to finish the volumes; truly imaginative and I am sure I will read it again. David Brin likes this trilogy also. Winner of the Hugo Award.
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” | — Robertson Davies

Arabesque
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:56 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Arabesque » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:21 pm

The Power by Naomi Alderman: teenage girls take over the world

One of the New York Times's Ten Best Books of 2017
A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2017
One of the Washington Post's Ten Best Books of 2017
An NPR Best Book of 2017
One of Entertainment Weekly's Ten Best Books of 2017
A Bustle Best Book of 2017
A Paste Magazine Best Novel of 2017
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2017
Winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"Novels based on premises like the one at the core of The Power can quickly become little more than thought experiments, but Alderman dodges this trap deftly -- her writing is beautiful, and her intelligence seems almost limitless. She also has a pitch-dark sense of humor that she wields perfectly." --Michael Schaub, NPR

alex_686
Posts: 3946
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:39 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by alex_686 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:45 pm

rxtra8 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:46 pm
Mind bending sci-fi....Cixin Liu's trilogy, "The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death's End". This is hard Sci-Fi and seems like nothing I have read before. The author is from the Peoples Republic of China and his ideas are from space.... I hated to finish the volumes; truly imaginative and I am sure I will read it again.
I am going to take the other side. I am 1/2 way through the series and have been a little bit disappointed.

On the plus side, I enjoyed the Chinese perspective. For example the emphasis on party officers actively shaping mass opinion. The bits on the Culture Revolution. It sounds so alien on my ears - more so than many fictional aliens out there.

On the negative side, it reminds me of bad 1950s SF where big ideas where explored with speculative science. I love that type of stuff when it does well. David Brin did it very well. However good chunks of the science range from mediocre to bad. If you are going to rely on science make sure the science is current.

bloom2708
Posts: 4910
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:53 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:45 pm
rxtra8 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:46 pm
Mind bending sci-fi....Cixin Liu's trilogy, "The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death's End". This is hard Sci-Fi and seems like nothing I have read before. The author is from the Peoples Republic of China and his ideas are from space.... I hated to finish the volumes; truly imaginative and I am sure I will read it again.
I am going to take the other side. I am 1/2 way through the series and have been a little bit disappointed.

On the plus side, I enjoyed the Chinese perspective. For example the emphasis on party officers actively shaping mass opinion. The bits on the Culture Revolution. It sounds so alien on my ears - more so than many fictional aliens out there.

On the negative side, it reminds me of bad 1950s SF where big ideas where explored with speculative science. I love that type of stuff when it does well. David Brin did it very well. However good chunks of the science range from mediocre to bad. If you are going to rely on science make sure the science is current.
Wait until the 3rd book in the series. I enjoyed it. I expect "fiction" in science fiction. I would guess if this area was my area of expertise that there would be dubious aspects. The 3rd book really took off and brought some thought provoking options into play.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

alex_686
Posts: 3946
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:39 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by alex_686 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:46 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:53 pm
Wait until the 3rd book in the series. I enjoyed it. I expect "fiction" in science fiction. I would guess if this area was my area of expertise that there would be dubious aspects. The 3rd book really took off and brought some thought provoking options into play.
I am o.k. with fiction in my SF. Asimov said that every SF author is allowed 1 impossibility in their book. I am generousness when authors speculate where science is going or when science changes. It is the nature of the beast. I am even o.k. with hand waving.

However, I got grumpy when the classic 3 body physics problem was stated poorly and the solution given was wrong. In particular since I am not a math or physics graduate.

I will finish the series - just my thoughts on the weaknesses of it.

bloom2708
Posts: 4910
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:55 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:46 pm

I am o.k. with fiction in my SF. Asimov said that every SF author is allowed 1 impossibility in their book. I am generousness when authors speculate where science is going or when science changes. It is the nature of the beast. I am even o.k. with hand waving.

However, I got grumpy when the classic 3 body physics problem was stated poorly and the solution given was wrong. In particular since I am not a math or physics graduate.

I will finish the series - just my thoughts on the weaknesses of it.
I hear you. Finish books 2 and 3. I'm curious what others think. It must be terribly difficult to write such a series and then add translation/cultural details.

The 3rd book..goes..well..it is hard to explain. Kind of like a tight wound spring unwinding. :wink:
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

larrydmsn
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 8:58 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by larrydmsn » Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:56 pm

Spoiler alert - don't read this post if you want to fully enjoy the "Three-body Problem" trilogy. I praised this trilogy earlier in this thread. I think I understand why some people don't like the first half of the second book "Dark Forest". It is mostly about an antihero, his seemingly mindless actions and fantasies. But after finishing this book you will realize that this was exactly why the Trisolarans got fooled and didn't take forceful actions earlier, even though they were monitoring this guy closely. And the story picks up steam quickly in the second half and goes into high gear. The revelation of Dark Forest Theory was a total shocker to me but it actually makes a lot of sense.

The third book "Death's End" is as grand and ambitious as any SF book can be. The whole book is intricately structured with stores within stories within stories, unbounded imagination, fascinating sciences and technologies, and a totally unexpected powerful weapon that is unlike anything we've seen in Star Wars or Star Trek. The weak point of this trilogy I think is the not-so-great character development but it doesn't bother me too much. Also there are some not very accurate sciences here and there. Anyway this trilogy is a great hard SF novel, very thought-provoking. I now feel totally different when I look at the starry sky after reading this trilogy.
Last edited by larrydmsn on Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:21 am, edited 3 times in total.

bpp
Posts: 1971
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: Japan

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by bpp » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:35 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:46 pm
bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 2:53 pm
Wait until the 3rd book in the series. I enjoyed it. I expect "fiction" in science fiction. I would guess if this area was my area of expertise that there would be dubious aspects. The 3rd book really took off and brought some thought provoking options into play.
I am o.k. with fiction in my SF. Asimov said that every SF author is allowed 1 impossibility in their book. I am generousness when authors speculate where science is going or when science changes. It is the nature of the beast. I am even o.k. with hand waving.

However, I got grumpy when the classic 3 body physics problem was stated poorly and the solution given was wrong. In particular since I am not a math or physics graduate.
The use of quantum-entangled pairs for faster-than-light communication was a more bothersome point I thought, but hey, new physics perhaps. No worse than the liberties taken in Star Trek, say.

Enjoyed the exploration of time dilation effects in the third book.

Overall, really enjoyed the series. Particularly the observation that humanity will keep shooting itself in the foot by engaging in internecine jealousy instead of cooperation and sacrifice.

And as another observed, the Dark Forest Theory is a good, thought-provoking point. Not the first time that something like it has been proposed, perhaps, but probably more thoroughly and forcefully applied than I have ever seen before.

Would definitely recommend the series.

forgeblast
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:45 am
Location: PA
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by forgeblast » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:36 am

protagonist wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:10 pm
forgeblast wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:42 am

Neil Stephenson, anatham is by far my favorite book. I have read it about 7 times now its perfect.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Snow Crash was one of my all-time favorites. I liked Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age as well. But none of his later works that I have started reading have worked for me....they seemed unnecessarily dense for the degree of reward they provided. I will keep Anathem on my list based on your recommendation, after I read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (based on my daughter's strong recommendation).
I agree that his latest books seem more like prequels vs stand alone books. Cryptonomicon (makes me think bit coin with backing) snow crash (i was just telling someone that the new movie coming out "ready player one" seems like its right from there) are awesome!!
Take seveneves most of that book could have been 5-6 chapters and then get into the great part of the book. My thoughts are he needs a better editor, one who will tell him stop talking about the pendulum and get writing about what is really happening. Even Dodo seems like there will be more books coming out after it. Ill have to look at oryx and crake Thanks!

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 48672
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:26 pm

protagonist wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:10 pm
forgeblast wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:42 am

Neil Stephenson, anatham is by far my favorite book. I have read it about 7 times now its perfect.
Thanks for the suggestion.

Snow Crash was one of my all-time favorites. I liked Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age as well. But none of his later works that I have started reading have worked for me....they seemed unnecessarily dense for the degree of reward they provided. I will keep Anathem on my list based on your recommendation, after I read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (based on my daughter's strong recommendation).
Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. Also, thanks for the suggestion.

Likewise, I enjoyed Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. I've read William Gibson - Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, and Pattern Recognition. I do like cyberpunk.

The online reviews suggest this is a "like / don't like" book with little middle ground and you need to read about 200 pages in before you "get it".

I do agree needing a few pages to get settled in. However, it didn't take long for me to start liking it. This is a book that you need to stop and think. The introduction of a new "language" is interesting. The word choices and spelling make a statement on their own.

I think this book appeals to engineers and those with a science background. I'm only 12% into the book and I think I see what might be happening. So far, I'm impressed and want to keep reading.

I downloaded the book from Amazon.com, the current price is $8.49 + tacks.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

User avatar
rhinopylon
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:51 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by rhinopylon » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:40 am

Here's another vote for Snow Crash. I actually plan on rereading that book this year. Maybe I should check out his other books as well. Thanks for all the suggestions in this thread.

tech_arch
Posts: 253
Joined: Wed May 27, 2015 11:47 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by tech_arch » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:11 pm

I enjoy Nancy Kress and would recommend her Beggars trilogy: Beggars in Spain, Beggars and Choosers, and Beggars Ride.

Here's her page for the first, Beggars in Spain - http://nancykress.com/beggars-in-spain/

User avatar
FreeAtLast
Posts: 646
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:08 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by FreeAtLast » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:32 pm

"Gunpowder Moon" by David Pedreira (HARPER Voyager, 2018)

I am amazed by this first "hard sci-fi" novel from a writer who seems to have no formal training in physics, chemistry, geology, space medicine, or any other science necessary to convincingly depict living, working, and surviving in the extremely hostile Moon environment. As far as I can tell, his career has been, up until now, as an accomplished journalist. His story revolves around a bunch of tough, eccentric miners located at the American base in the Sea of Serenity, commanded by a world-weary ex-Marine named Caden Dechert. They are under tremendous pressure to produce after the Earth has suffered a world-wide ecological disaster that killed 3 billion people. The Helium-3 that they gather powers the fusion reactors which are now the primary source of energy for a devastated USA. Then one of his people dies in an "accident"; the investigation quickly demonstrates that sabotage was involved and the search is on for a murderer. The evidence points to the inhabitants of a Chinese mining operation. Tensions escalate between the two nations and the Moon is soon under the threat of a shooting war. Will Dechert discover who the killer is in time to prevent devastating combat on Earth's only satellite?
This book is some of the best "realistic" science fiction that I have read in quite a while. All the technology that Pedreira describes is very believable and probably achievable within the next fifty years. No warp drives, transporters, or phasers are to be seen anywhere in its 286 paperback pages. Quite the successful debut!
Illegitimi non carborundum.

chuckb84
Posts: 227
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:41 am
Location: New Mexico

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by chuckb84 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:37 am

For the -hardest- of hard SF, try "Dragon's Egg" by Robert L. Forward. It's about a human expedition that encounters intelligent life on a neutron star. They live and evolve about 1 million times faster than humans.

The Physics is superbly done, but this was his first SF novel, so the humans are pretty thin. But the IDEAS are mind blowing. Larry Niven(!) said "I couldn't have written this; it requires too much real physics."

User avatar
Koogie
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:05 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Koogie » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:37 pm

I am watching the latest season of The Expanse tv show based on the novels in that series. On a recommendation I read the novella "The Churn" that is by the same two authors, writing under the one pen name (James S.A. Corey)

It is set on the vastly overpopulated and polluted Earth of The Expanse timeline and goes a long way towards explaining why one of the main characters is the way he is. A brief read but I quite enjoyed it.

forgeblast
Posts: 168
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:45 am
Location: PA
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by forgeblast » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:23 pm

Just finished, Silo, Shift and Dust great books thank you for that recommendation.!!Blackbirds by chuck wendig not as much science fiction but a good read. His writing style is great no wasted words.

2pedals
Posts: 630
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:31 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by 2pedals » Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:17 pm

larrydmsn wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:56 pm
Spoiler alert - don't read this post if you want to fully enjoy the "Three-body Problem" trilogy. I praised this trilogy earlier in this thread. I think I understand why some people don't like the first half of the second book "Dark Forest". It is mostly about an antihero, his seemingly mindless actions and fantasies. But after finishing this book you will realize that this was exactly why the Trisolarans got fooled and didn't take forceful actions earlier, even though they were monitoring this guy closely. And the story picks up steam quickly in the second half and goes into high gear. The revelation of Dark Forest Theory was a total shocker to me but it actually makes a lot of sense.

The third book "Death's End" is as grand and ambitious as any SF book can be. The whole book is intricately structured with stores within stories within stories, unbounded imagination, fascinating sciences and technologies, and a totally unexpected powerful weapon that is unlike anything we've seen in Star Wars or Star Trek. The weak point of this trilogy I think is the not-so-great character development but it doesn't bother me too much. Also there are some not very accurate sciences here and there. Anyway this trilogy is a great hard SF novel, very thought-provoking. I now feel totally different when I look at the starry sky after reading this trilogy.
+1, I love this trilogy, "Remembrance of Earth's Past" by Cixin Liu

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 48672
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:18 pm

I've just completed Anathem, which kept me interested until the very end. The 3 appendices were an unexpected bonus.

My craving for cyberpunk has returned in full force. I had a rather complete collection in paperback.* :oops:

With no paperback copies available, I just downloaded Snow Crash and will be working my way through Cryptonomicon, and (maybe) Diamond Age.

Then, switch to William Gibson - Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive.

If I want a change of pace, I will consider the Linesman series by SK Dunstall, suggested by Earl Lemongrab above.

=======
* My spouse and I decided to give our lifelong 1,000 paperback book collection (nearly all sci-fi) to a friend's son. It is much appreciated, as he grew up reading those books. We think they've influenced him in a very positive way.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

WildBill
Posts: 393
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:47 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by WildBill » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:46 pm

Howdy

Do not miss Seveneves. It is excellent.

Now Anathem is my second favorite of Stephenson’s books, instead of my top favorite.

Happy reading

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

User avatar
Koogie
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:05 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Koogie » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:35 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:45 am
Bruce wrote:Just finished reading and enjoyed, The Privateer Tales (an 11 Book Series to date) by Jamie McFarlane.
Rookie Privateer (Privateer Tales Book 1) is a free download at the Kindle store.
I enjoyed the book and quickly moved on to another and another in the set.
The story line in the early books compares very favorably to "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" or "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel" or similar Heinlein books, though these have a bit more humor in the story.
From Book 1: "When you are old enough to finally become an Earth Mars citizen, everything should be perfect. Right? Not for Liam Hoffen. He's stuck on a mining asteroid called Colony 40, helping his father work a claim that is never going to pay out. His best friend, Nick James is set for life in James' Rental business and Liam just discovered that the girl he's known forever thinks he's pretty great and now she's leaving for the Mars Naval Academy"
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MT ... rw_dp_labf
Although the first book is free, I downloaded the whole series using your link. The intro was good enough that I knew I'd be reading them all. I had a $1 promotional credit from Christmas burning a hole in my virtual pocket, so I might as well use it.
I'm more than 50% through Rookie Privateer and can't put it down.
Months and months ago I downloaded Rookie Privateer to my phone since it was raved about here and, frankly, because it was free. I have kept it on my phone since then and read a chapter or two once in a while when I am waiting for DW somewhere. I was on vacation last week so I finished it.

It is great. Simple though. Simple plot, simple characters, simple writing. But well done and enjoyable. I am on a "hard sci-fi" or "realistic sci-fi" kick lately. Mainly due to The Martian, The Martian movie, followed by The Expanse books and The Expanse tv show all being great. The "universe" of the Privateer series seems (so far) to be in that vein. A nice antidote to the Star Trek/Wars fanciful stuff.

Will eventually purchase the rest of the Privateer series.

Bacchus01
Posts: 1942
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Bacchus01 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:56 pm

Based on recommendations here I went and bought Ancillary Justice and Snow Crash today. I’ll be spending Father’s Day at the beach reading one of them. I hope they are as good as advertised!

deskjockey
Posts: 159
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:15 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by deskjockey » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:02 am

Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series is a good "guilty pleasure" read. Not hard SF at all and a fair amount of hand waving and amazing coincidences, but the writing is engaging, the battles are quite realistic (taking days/hours and impacted relativistic concerns), and the plot is interesting. He has two other series set in the same universe (Lost Stars and Genesis Fleet) that are fairly good, if not quite as good as the first series.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 48672
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:48 pm

Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson. This book is classified as "historical fiction", not "sci-fi", and I would tend to agree.

The book is well written and quite interesting, but it's sometimes hard to tell fiction from fact. Wikipedia provides guidance: Cryptonomicon
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

TallBoy29er
Posts: 486
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:06 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by TallBoy29er » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:01 pm

The Terror by Dan Simmons was pretty good. I like books about Shackleton and other Arctic explorers. This was that, plus a nice little slice of science fiction wound in.

User avatar
Artful Dodger
Posts: 483
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:56 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Artful Dodger » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:29 pm

Listening to right now...

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. This is a 1957 novel set in the 25th century about a teleporter's revenge on a ship's company who come upon his damaged ship in space, but choose to ignore and abandon him.

Finished a couple of weeks ago...

Arcadia: A Novel
by Iain Pears. A large part of the story reads like a fantasy novel, but in reality it is sci-fi with a blend of time travel and alternate reality.

Enjoying Bester's book now, and also liked Pear's Arcadia. I picked both up on sale from Audible.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5693
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:13 pm

Artful Dodger wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:29 pm
Listening to right now...

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. This is a 1957 novel set in the 25th century about a teleporter's revenge on a ship's company who come upon his damaged ship in space, but choose to ignore and abandon him.
A feature of the book is "fun with typography" for the telepathic communication. I wonder how they handle that in an audio book. I might check the library to see if they have one.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

User avatar
Artful Dodger
Posts: 483
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:56 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Artful Dodger » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:41 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:13 pm
Artful Dodger wrote:
Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:29 pm
Listening to right now...

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. This is a 1957 novel set in the 25th century about a teleporter's revenge on a ship's company who come upon his damaged ship in space, but choose to ignore and abandon him.
A feature of the book is "fun with typography" for the telepathic communication. I wonder how they handle that in an audio book. I might check the library to see if they have one.
I will do that! thanks for the heads up.

jayjayc
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:38 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by jayjayc » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:19 pm

Koogie wrote:
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.
Do I need to start with book 1 to understand what's going with this Dresden series? If not, which book should I start with. If I need to trudge through a few books to get the really great parts, I may not make it.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5693
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:48 pm

I read the Dresden short story collection "Side Jobs". It was ok, but urban fantasy really isn't my thing. I haven't been motivated to get any of the other books to this point.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

User avatar
Artful Dodger
Posts: 483
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:56 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Artful Dodger » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
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 allow a ship to jump through the void. Some people can sense the lines, and fix them by straightening alignment problems. The Linesmen are well respected, especially the Level Ten that 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.
Reading through these posts on sci fi, I kept stopping on yours, and remembering another series with a similar name. I actually thought it was the same name, but knew the Dunstall books weren't it as the series I kept remembering was old, real old, and had been some of the first space opera published. I finally did some multiple searches and the name "Doc Smith" came up, and he wrote the "Lensmen" series first published in Amazing in the mid 30s with later novels serialized in Astounding in the late 30s, then 40s. Sorry for the digression, but the similarity in name was bugging me, and now I know the answer. The Lensmen stories were way before my time, I started reading sci fi as a kid in the 60s, and I never got around to reading them, and probably won't. But, your review piqued my interest, so may check "the Linesman" out. Thanks.

Dantes
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:38 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Dantes » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:45 pm

Artful Dodger wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:25 pm

Reading through these posts on sci fi, I kept stopping on yours, and remembering another series with a similar name. I actually thought it was the same name, but knew the Dunstall books weren't it as the series I kept remembering was old, real old, and had been some of the first space opera published. I finally did some multiple searches and the name "Doc Smith" came up, and he wrote the "Lensmen" series first published in Amazing in the mid 30s with later novels serialized in Astounding in the late 30s, then 40s. Sorry for the digression, but the similarity in name was bugging me, and now I know the answer. The Lensmen stories were way before my time, I started reading sci fi as a kid in the 60s, and I never got around to reading them, and probably won't. But, your review piqued my interest, so may check "the Linesman" out. Thanks.
I have fond memories of the Lensman series,from E. E. Doc Smith, which I read in the 70's. I liked them at the time, but definitely not "modern" science fiction. Those paperbacks are long gone, perhaps unfortunately (DW would say "fortunately"). I remember them as space opera, and a lot of fun. Wikipedia tells me his day job was food scientist, specializing in doughnuts and pastry - another plus in his favor!

Quaestner
Posts: 68
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:39 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Quaestner » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:24 pm

Neal Stephenson's "Seveneves" has stuck with me (2015). In the first sentence, the moon blows up. Interesting things follow.

Vanrnr
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:08 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Vanrnr » Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:11 am

larrydmsn wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:56 pm
Spoiler alert - don't read this post if you want to fully enjoy the "Three-body Problem" trilogy. I praised this trilogy earlier in this thread. I think I understand why some people don't like the first half of the second book "Dark Forest". It is mostly about an antihero, his seemingly mindless actions and fantasies. But after finishing this book you will realize that this was exactly why the Trisolarans got fooled and didn't take forceful actions earlier, even though they were monitoring this guy closely. And the story picks up steam quickly in the second half and goes into high gear. The revelation of Dark Forest Theory was a total shocker to me but it actually makes a lot of sense.

The third book "Death's End" is as grand and ambitious as any SF book can be. The whole book is intricately structured with stores within stories within stories, unbounded imagination, fascinating sciences and technologies, and a totally unexpected powerful weapon that is unlike anything we've seen in Star Wars or Star Trek. The weak point of this trilogy I think is the not-so-great character development but it doesn't bother me too much. Also there are some not very accurate sciences here and there. Anyway this trilogy is a great hard SF novel, very thought-provoking. I now feel totally different when I look at the starry sky after reading this trilogy.
As a 50 year science fiction fan, this trilogy was simply mind blowing with the unique concepts that were introduced in book 1, and continued to top themselves in books 2 & 3. The unexpected reaction I experienced after finishing these books was that I found myself thinking where does one go to read anything grander in scale and concepts?

So, I took a break for about two months and decided the only way back to science fiction was to go with something of a more comic twist, ‘Gate Crashers’ by Patrick Tomlinson, who was inspired by what he termed the unsatisfactory ending of the Hitchhiker series by Douglas Adams. You will definitely notice the Douglas Adams-ish writing, so that was a chuckle, but the plot stays focused on the story rather than becoming comic nonsense. No towel needed. Say, 3 stars?

Post Reply