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
User avatar
Cloudy
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:55 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Cloudy » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:00 pm

I tend toward the fantasy side of the spectrum, so Wolfe/Mieville/VanderMeer would be my favorites. Wolfe regularly blurs the lines between scifi and fantasy though.

I read Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow recently and I did not like it at all. Would not recommend.

Can Max Brooks' World War Z be considered scifi? That is such a fun book with all its anecdotes. It's a shame what they did with the film adaptation. I need to reread it to get the foul taste of that film out of my mouth!

Now you have piqued my interest in Anathem but Stephenson is so wordy! Cryptonomicon burned me out.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 49304
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:23 pm

I'm almost 2/3 through Cryptonomicon. Anathem was the last book I read.

Give yourself some time to recover, as Anathem takes a while to get adjusted. A lot of words, yes. How they are used will keep you thinking for quite some time.
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
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5866
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:51 pm

I recently started the novel Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente. Her works tend to smudge science fiction, fantasy, and fairy tales to a degree. They have distinct style choices.

I have read some short stories and her novel Radiance. The latter was set in retro solar system with habitable planets everywhere (it's chilly on Pluto). That had a very non-linear narrative as it told the tale of a film-maker's journey to Venus, how she came to be there, and what happened to her. And what did the Callow Whales have to do with it?

Anyway, Space Opera is so far more linear, although with numerous flashbacks. It has a definite Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy feel.

It turns out, Humans are not alone. Not by a long shot. In fact over the centuries new sentient species keep popping up with regularity. This has lead to numerous interstellar wars. After the latest peace, a new process has been developed. Periodically, all species compete in the Galactic Grand Prix - a talent contest.

Earth folk find out when a representative from a recently incorporated species explains it all, to every person in the world, simultaneously. Humanity is invited to perform, and refusal is not an option. It seems that if a new species competes and comes in last, well they've demonstrated their unfitness for Galactic Society and are cleansed from their world so some other species can have a go.

The representative has a list of musical acts that in their judgment have a chance of succeeding. Unfortunately, the list is somewhat out of date, and most are dead and gone. Luckily, one act is still around, sort of. It's Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros.

Founded by Danesh Jalo years before with a some people he met while drinking, the glamrock trio had a meteoric rise and subsequent crash. Literally and fatally for Mira, the female member of the group. Dani had a spectactularly unsuccessful solo career, and the third member (Oort St. Ultraviolet) is off doing the responsible citizen thing.

It's early, but apparently dirty tricks are an integral part of the contest. So, I at least am pretty suspicious of "help" being offered. We shall see.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

2pedals
Posts: 648
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:31 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by 2pedals » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:57 pm

I just finished reading Orbs I, II, III and IV books by Nicholas Sansbury Smith. I really liked it. A thriller about the world being wiped out and controlled by superior multi-dimensional alien masters!

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

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Koogie » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:00 pm

jayjayc wrote:
Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:19 pm
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.
He's a wizard. And a detective. Who lives in Chicago. That's about all you need to know. The books do reference back to past books and shared histories with characters but I think most people could just jump in and muddle through.

Just read a couple of scifi novels on vacation.

The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch. The protagonist, Shannon Moss, is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that deals with space and time travel. I would describe this novel as sort of Silence of the Lambs meets apocalypse fiction. I enjoyed it but wouldn't rave about it. Some very, very haunting imagery is used and the author does a good job of world building and approaches time travel paradoxes well. A few to many plot holes and stereotypes for me though.

Places in the Darkness by Christopher Brookmyre. Humanity has built a city sized space station above Earth as a jumping off point to test intra and interstellar travel technologies. The story focuses on the station though and is basically a whodunit. Lots of pulpish fighting action and intrigues between the haves and have nots. It is near time sci fi and doesn't include to much outlandish tech, so that was appealing. But at end of the day, just another whodunit in a slightly different setting.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 49304
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:02 am

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, by Neal Stephenson. I can see some influence of Cryptonomicon in it.

Based on the time this was written (1995), his ideas of future technology were not that far off. I don't think this is is best work, but it's an interesting plot and I will certainly keep going.
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.

skeptical
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:24 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by skeptical » Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:28 pm

Some of my non-traditional favorites, especially the first three.

Fiasco, Stanislaw Lem
Semiosis, Sue Burke
Children of Time, Adrian Tchaikovsky

His Master’s Voice, Stanislaw Lem
Dragon’s Egg, Robert Forward

Vanrnr
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:08 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Vanrnr » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:27 am

“The Stars Now Unclaimed” by new writer Drew Williams. A unique premise is the setting for this space opera with a strong, very enjoyable female lead. Four stars.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5866
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:04 pm

Recently finished Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=147398&start=3250#p4121404
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Spiff777
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2016 12:17 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Spiff777 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:31 pm

Wow! Lots of die hard SF fans here.

Here's a couple of modern masters...

Blindsight by Peter Watts (just started Echopraxia, which promises to be just as mind blowing) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindsight_(Watts_novel)

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, "cli-fi" near future (I can't imagine that this won't be a movie soon) https://www.npr.org/2015/05/28/40829580 ... -cuts-deep

Hyperion by Dan Simmons, older but still great (part of a quadrilogy) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperion_Cantos

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5866
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:35 pm

Just finished Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey. Told by an unnamed (the closest we get is his nickname from boot camp) soldier in the galactic war against the alien Ryph. The one time he hesitated in his duty ends up with him seriously injured and a decorated hero. Asked what posting he wants, he just wants to be alone. The most alone the can find is manning a Beacon, a modern equivalent to a lighthouse. It sends gravity-wave signals to warn ships in hyperspace away from the asteroids in the system.

Ironically, the alone thing doesn't work that well as a steady stream of visitors comes by. As he battles his internal demons, he has to battle very real dangers. Ultimately he is given a chance to end the war, but at a terrible cost and requiring a huge leap of faith.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Iorek
Posts: 975
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:38 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Iorek » Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:30 pm

For Stephenson fans, I definitely recommend Reamde -- to me it's much more akin to Cryptonomicon (which I read and liked) than Anathem (which I didn't). A friend said it was the first 1000 page book that she thought could easily have been longer.

It is odd sometimes when you read those books years after they were written and you don't appreciate how much he (and Gibson) were on or ahead of the cutting edge (like I think Stephenson was one of the first, if not the first, people to use "avatar" to mean "the pictorial representation of a person in cyberspace"-- now if you read his explanation of what an avatar is you might wonder why there's so much explanation of something you take for granted).

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 49304
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:24 am

I just finished The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, by Neal Stephenson. While it was an interesting read, I was less impressed at the end. Given other choices, I may have skipped this one.
Quaestner wrote:
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.
I couldn't pass up an intro like that. I'm a few pages in and can't put it down.

It was a tough choice, as I was strongly considering Earl Lemongrab's recommendation of the Linesman series, by SK Dunstall (here). I like the concept and was in the mood for some space opera. Perhaps later.

I almost went with Reamde (previous post), but I wanted something closer to the "science" part of sci-fi.
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
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5866
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:39 am

The sisters Dunstall have a new book out, Stars Uncharted. It doesn't appear to be in the Linesman series.

Here's the description:
A ragtag band of explorers are looking to make the biggest score in the galaxy.
Well, I have to try that out. I downloaded the e-book from the library. I'll report back.

Edit: Finished last night, here's some info (not too spoilery).

This is definitely in a different milieu than the Linesman books. Here the part of the galaxy representing the more "civilized" worlds is called Legal Space. Here the big Companies hold sway. The "legal" comes from the "Department of Justice", which was started and is funded by the Companies, so you can guess how much justice people get when going against the Companies.

Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of one of two female characters:

1. Nika Rik Terri: She's a well-known body modder with a thriving practice in custom designs and mods for people. She also has an abusive boyfriend who is a member of the "Eaglehawk" company. The local rep for the Company cuts her a deal, he sends the boyfriend off-planet, but she has to take care of fixing injured Company members. That works until a contract killer has found out about a little invention she's made that lets her use the body mod equipment to temporarily swap minds between bodies. He forces the swap, then commits a murder in her body. She also knows he doesn't leave witnesses. She puts herself (in his body) into the tank with an aggressive mod. When they swap back, she has 12 days to get as far away as possible. She's on the run, along with newbie modder "Snow" who got into his own trouble.

2. Josune Arriola: An engineer on the deep-space exploration ship Hassim. Her captain has her infiltrate the crew of the simple freighter The Road to the Goberlings for some unknown reason. Unfortunately for Josune, when the Hassim finds the The Road, things have gone terribly wrong on board.

Nika and Snow find themselves on The Road when the ship needs her skills, although not in body modding. Soon the ship is fleeing Eaglehawk, who wants information they think the crew has and will take any means necessary to get it.

Note, this book is clearly meant to be part of a series. The ending isn't a cliffhanger, but it's not the end of the tale either.
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 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 2:40 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:35 pm
Just finished Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey. Told by an unnamed (the closest we get is his nickname from boot camp) soldier in the galactic war against the alien Ryph. The one time he hesitated in his duty ends up with him seriously injured and a decorated hero. Asked what posting he wants, he just wants to be alone. The most alone the can find is manning a Beacon, a modern equivalent to a lighthouse. It sends gravity-wave signals to warn ships in hyperspace away from the asteroids in the system.

Ironically, the alone thing doesn't work that well as a steady stream of visitors comes by. As he battles his internal demons, he has to battle very real dangers. Ultimately he is given a chance to end the war, but at a terrible cost and requiring a huge leap of faith.
Thanks for this one. Just finished the e-book version from the library. In the first couple of sections, he himself and the setting reminds me of the the movie Moon, with Sam Rockwell. Decently written and fairly inventive, I enjoyed it.

corysold
Posts: 683
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:58 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by corysold » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:08 pm

I very much enjoyed "Seveneves" when I read it.

Justin Cronin's "The Passage" Trilogy was pretty good I thought, though I liked Book 1 the best and thought it went down from there a little. Might be more pseudo-science fiction depending on your exact definition.

Peter Watts "Starfish" might be worth a read. It's a little weird, but a good plot.

I saw Dan Simmons "Hyperion" above, that is part of a 4 book cantos that I really enjoyed. He also did a two part series, Ilium and Olympos. More or less a sci-fi take on the Illiad and the Odyssey.

User avatar
DigitalJanitor
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:05 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by DigitalJanitor » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:27 pm

Tim Powers, 'The Anubis Gates", a time travel / historical fiction / fantasy novel with compelling characters, great plot, and a twist. Also good are "Dinner at Deviant's Palace", "Last Call", and "The Drawing of the Dark".

One that I keep coming back to is "The Killing Star" by Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski, a pretty good hard-science end-of-the-world story.

A good alternate history novel is "The Alteration", by Kingsley Amis, which takes place in 1976 and posits what Europe would be like had the Protestant Reformation never occurred.

Greg Bear, "Blood Music". This was a short story first, later a novel. The short story is the better of the two. Chilling.

Ken Grimwood, "Replay". A man gets to live his life over and over again.

Michael Crichton, "Timeline". Time travel and historical fiction with some hard science, good characters, and swords.

I also wanted to add a vote for Niven and Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye", which is one of my favorites of all time.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5866
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:11 pm

I started The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, the first of a series. I don't normally read fantasy, but this was highly recommended on the rec.arts.sf.written usenet group. It's a library e-book, so little cost to me.

This is a multiverse setting. The alternate worlds have various levels of tech and/or magic. The Library exists in all of them, so Librarians can travel to any by the proper door in the main Library. They go on missions to retrieve books for various reasons.

Irene is a Librarian, tasked to retrieve a book from a world that is around late Victorian time, with rapidly expanding tech of the mad scientist/steampunk variety. Also vampires, werewolves, and Fae (fair folk), all public knowledge. She also gets to take a trainee, Kai, with her. Things soon turn out to me more challenging than her supervisor had indicated, as "chaos" warnings are slapped all over the portal as she exits.

I'm still not sure I will be continuing the series, but I'll finish the book and report an update.

Edit: Finished the book:

Fairly action-packed, of the "Oh look, mind-controlled alligators/werewolves/steam-powered centipede attack!" sort. Things get complicated quickly because it seems like everyone wants the book Irene was sent to find, including the legendary (not in a good way) rogue Librarian Alberich.
Last edited by Earl Lemongrab on Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:19 pm, edited 2 times 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.

downshiftme
Posts: 1050
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 6:11 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by downshiftme » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:31 pm

Becky Chambers has an excellent series (Wayfarers) which starts with "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet"

It's unusual in that the three books are not sequels but are very different books that happen to be set in the same (very fascinating) future. I was highly disappointed in books #2 and #3 because I so wanted to know what happens next for the characters from books #1 and #2, but I got over it quickly because each book is just so good in its own way. Now I want sequels to all three books so I can see what happens next to all the characters from all of them.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5866
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:59 pm

downshiftme wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:31 pm
Becky Chambers has an excellent series (Wayfarers) which starts with "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet"

It's unusual in that the three books are not sequels but are very different books that happen to be set in the same (very fascinating) future. I was highly disappointed in books #2 and #3 because I so wanted to know what happens next for the characters from books #1 and #2, but I got over it quickly because each book is just so good in its own way. Now I want sequels to all three books so I can see what happens next to all the characters from all of them.
Of the three, I definitely liked the first best. The "oddball crew on a spaceship getting into adventures" is a favorite theme. You might be interested in Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall. It looks to be developing that way (assuming there are sequels and I think almost certainly).

viewtopic.php?p=4172042#p4142458
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
SevenBridgesRoad
Posts: 88
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:21 pm

Many of these are already named by others, but repetition tells us something. ("Wool" trilogy is mentioned a lot for good reason.) These vary from easier-to-read SF (sometimes you need some pure fun! Scalzi, Martha Wells, others) to more challenging (such as Robinson, well worth it). Many of these are trilogies and I may not have put them in correct order.

<<<Bonus for Bogleheads, The Fear Index is kinda about investing. VIX index is featured! Mash-up mystery with some sci fi. Had to throw it in.

Martha Wells – Artificial Condition; All Systems Red; Rogue Protocol; Exit Strategy

Kim Stanley Robinson – Aurora; Red Mars; Blue Mars; Green Mars; 2312

Boyd Bren – The Empathy Gene

Huge Howley – Wool; Shift; Dust

Douglas Richards – Wired; Quantum Lens; Split Second; Time Frame; Seeker

Ben Bova – Survival

Neal Stephenson – Cryptonomicron; Seven Eves

Robert Harris – The Fear Index

Andy Weir – The Martian

John Scalzi - The Collapsing Empire; The Human Division; The Last Colony; The Ghost Brigades; Old Man’s War

Joe Haldeman – Starbound; Marsbound; The Accidental time Machine; The Forever War

AG Riddle – The Atlantis World; The Atlantis Plague; The Atlantis Gene

Greg Bear – Moving Mars

Jennifer Wells – Fluency
There are stars in the Southern sky | And if ever you decide you should go | There is a taste of time sweetened honey | Down the Seven Bridges Road

protagonist
Posts: 5487
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2010 12:47 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by protagonist » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:55 pm

I just finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Excellent book.

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 Nov 14, 2018 12:10 pm

Finally got around to reading World War Z by Max Brooks. Quite a bit different than the film. Quite good, in fact.

He famously copied the format of Studs Terkels book The Good War, which was a collection of oral stories about WW2.

This is crafted as the same sort of thing but some time after a fictional worldwide war against a Zombie uprising. Loaded with stories from soldiers, survivors, leaders and visionaries from around the globe and set in many different countries. The narrator interviews them about their roles in defeating the Z menace. It examines it from geopolitical, economic, cultural and military perspectives. A lot of thought put into what can usually be a pretty lame brained genre.

LesBleus**
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:01 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LesBleus** » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:44 pm

If not already mentioned.. THE EXPANSE book and tv series :happy

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 49304
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:50 pm

The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. I don't know how I missed this one. It's well written and keeps me interested. The reviews say "thought provoking" and I would agree to some extent.
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
MP123
Posts: 804
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:32 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by MP123 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 11:55 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:50 pm
The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. I don't know how I missed this one. It's well written and keeps me interested. The reviews say "thought provoking" and I would agree to some extent.
If you're enjoying Larry Niven Ringworld is his classic work. Also Lucifer's Hammer which is a bit like Neal Stepheson's Seveneves.

forgeblast
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:45 am
Location: PA
Contact:

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by forgeblast » Mon Nov 19, 2018 8:15 am

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MT6ZAS5/re ... TF8&btkr=1

The Genius Plague
great book!! Just finished it and really enjoyed the entire book. Hard to put down read it in a day. lol
NSA, Code breaking, and more and that's just the first two chapters.

User avatar
onthecusp
Posts: 513
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:25 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by onthecusp » Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:38 am

Spiff777 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:31 pm
Wow! Lots of die hard SF fans here.

Here's a couple of modern masters...

Blindsight by Peter Watts (just started Echopraxia, which promises to be just as mind blowing) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindsight_(Watts_novel)

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, "cli-fi" near future (I can't imagine that this won't be a movie soon) https://www.npr.org/2015/05/28/40829580 ... -cuts-deep

Hyperion by Dan Simmons, older but still great (part of a quadrilogy) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperion_Cantos
Wanted to second your Blindsight recommendation. It has been awhile since a book has held my attention like that, then made me think about it for days afterward.

Did Echopraxia live up to the first?

galectin
Posts: 236
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:57 pm

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by galectin » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:44 am

Moderan by David R. Bunch

While this is a reprint of a 1970 book of short stories (An additional eleven stories have been added), it is such a unique bit of writing that it easily could be seen as fresh in any year. Besides, it fits the title as "Good Moderan Science Fiction."

Here is a description from the publisher, the New York Review Books Classics:

A collection of chilling and prescient stories about ecological apocalypse and the merging of human and machine. Welcome to Moderan, world of the future. Here perpetual war is waged by furious masters fighting from Strongholds well stocked with "arsenals of fear" and everyone is enamored with hate. The devastated earth is coated by vast sheets of gray plastic, while humans vie to replace more and more of their own "soft parts" with steel. What need is there for nature when trees and flowers can be pushed up through holes in the plastic? Who requires human companionship when new-metal mistresses are waiting? But even a Stronghold master can doubt the catechism of Moderan. Wanderers, poets, and his own children pay visits, proving that another world is possible. "As if Whitman and Nietzsche had collaborated," wrote Brian Aldiss of David R. Bunch's work. Originally published in science-fiction magazines in the 1960s and '70s, these mordant stories, though passionately sought by collectors, have been unavailable in a single volume for close to half a century. Like Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange, Bunch coined a mind-bending new vocabulary. He sought not to divert readers from the horror of modernity but to make us face it squarely. This volume includes eleven previously uncollected Moderan stories.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5866
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:11 am

Just finished up Nightflyers, by George R. R. Martin. This was an extended novella originally from 1981, out in a new edition with some illustrations added. This is in advance of a SyFy series based on the story that is coming out soon.

Karoly d’Branin is a researcher obsessed with the legendary volcryn, a supposedly long-lived alien species travelling through space at much lower than the speed of light. He believes that he has found one where one of the volcryn is on its journey. He has assembled a team of scientists and a telepath to find and attempt to contact the ship. He has charted a small cargo ship, the Nightflyer, captained by the mysterious Royd Eris.

With a long journey, close quarters, and little to do, the passengers soon get on each other's nerves. The telepath is certain that they are in danger. Suspicion is on Eris, who remains sequestered in his part of the ship, never meeting the rest but only appearing by holograms.

Then things begin to go wrong. Very wrong. Much centers on truth of Captain Eris, and the Nightflyer itself.
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
telemark
Posts: 2332
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:35 am

Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by telemark » Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:09 pm

galectin wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:44 am
Moderan by David R. Bunch

While this is a reprint of a 1970 book of short stories (An additional eleven stories have been added), it is such a unique bit of writing that it easily could be seen as fresh in any year. Besides, it fits the title as "Good Moderan Science Fiction."
Nice to see that in print again. I think it was Joanna Russ who called Bunch "a loud, crude, good poet", which in any case seems an apt description.

Post Reply