Good Modern Science Fiction

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Cloudy
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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.

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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.
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Earl Lemongrab
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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.
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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!

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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.

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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.
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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

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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.

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Earl Lemongrab
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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
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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

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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.
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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).

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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:
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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
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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
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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.

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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.

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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

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.
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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.

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:11 pm

About half-way through Thin Air by Richard Morgan. This is set on a partially-terraformed Mars. Colonization has been going on for many years at great expense. Now an audit team from Earth is there to look into "issues".

Hak Veil is a former overrider. He was literally born to the job, riding in cryosleep on in-system transports and brought out when there's trouble to handle. And he's built to handle trouble. However, some incident ended up with him losing his job and stranded on Mars, eking out a living with various enforcement jobs.

In jail after the latest of those, he gets sprung by the cops in exchange for working protection for one of the "second-string" auditors. Of course, nothing is quite as it seems, which becomes evident when she's abducted and someone tries to take him out at the same time. In spite of many warnings, Hak sets off to the hardscrabble Uplands to track her down.

This is written in the first-person stream-of-consciousness style familiar from Noir books of old.
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by nisiprius » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:09 pm

Not science fiction, but a) I'm finding it fascinating and very well done, and b) it's currently on sale for $2.99 in the Kindle edition:

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee.

I loved the SF of the "golden age" (I was subscribing to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science-Fiction when "Have Space Suit, Will Travel" and "Starship Troopers" appeared in it), and it is interesting learning how it all happened. I read Galaxy rather than Astounding, and I honestly had not understood just how great John W. Campbell's contribution was--never thought much of "Who Goes There?" and never read anything else of his.

A puzzle for me is that in those days I was well aware of Asimov, Heinlein, many of the others mentioned the book--often through Groff Conklin's anthologies--and the "outsiders" Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke. But, oddly, I was completely unaware of L. Ron Hubbard as a science-fiction writer, even though I had heard of him as the founder of what, at the time, he called "Dianetics."
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:55 pm

protagonist wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:55 pm
I just finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Excellent book.
I'm reading this now and am about 70% through. While I would agree the writing is excellent, I don't think I will continue in this path.

The story is categorized as "adventure romance" and "speculative fiction", which is not for me. I was more interested in the dystopian setting than the character development. Worth a try, though.
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by protagonist » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:10 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 8:55 pm
protagonist wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:55 pm
I just finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Excellent book.
I'm reading this now and am about 70% through. While I would agree the writing is excellent, I don't think I will continue in this path.

The story is categorized as "adventure romance" and "speculative fiction", which is not for me. I was more interested in the dystopian setting than the character development. Worth a try, though.
Adventure romance does nothing for me. My term for that is melodrama in space. Not that a little romance doesn't spice anything up...Kirk was always falling in love with aliens which I thought was REALLY weird- not only other species but from other solar systems! But melodrama in space, I think,was a conscious shift in sci-fi starting around the 80s and only getting worse since, back when it was assumed that only boys read it or watched it...I think the marketing idea was to increase female readership and viewing. I could imagine the androcentric Mad Men thinking , "soap opera for the women, explosions for the men!"....and thus a whole sad new genre was created where vampires fall in love with humans and become nice and the like. Ew.

That, however, was not my opinion of Oryx and Crake. To me it was classic dystopic fiction, with a little weird romance on the side, like most good sci-fi. I almost finished the second book. I like it but not as much as the first, so if you did not like O+C you probably won't like its sequel.

ps....I made up androcentric....don't know if it is a word.....

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by HomerJ » Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:40 pm

skeptical wrote:
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
I just read Children of Time last week.

Seriously one of the better science fiction novels I've read in a long time.
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:04 am

MP123 wrote:
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.
I just started Ringworld. Yes, I'm enjoying it.
protagonist wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:10 pm
ps....I made up androcentric....don't know if it is a word.....
Apparently, it is. See: androcentric
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by skeptical » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:52 pm

HomerJ wrote:
Mon Dec 31, 2018 6:40 pm
skeptical wrote:
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
I just read Children of Time last week.

Seriously one of the better science fiction novels I've read in a long time.
Glad you liked "Children of Time". I was hoping for more from the author, but he seems to focus on fantasy/magic, which I do not enjoy.

If you like Children of Time, I think you would also like Semiosis

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by DanMahowny » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:06 pm

DigitalJanitor wrote:
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.
Replay is my all time favorite fiction book. I read it 2-3x per year.

Since you mentioned it, I assume the other titles you mentioned are worth a look.

Which one (or three) should I start with? Thank you.

"The Killing Star" seems like it'll be hard to find.
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:04 pm

Currently reading Noumenon, by Marina J. Lostetter. Humanity has developed a form of FTL travel (handwavy sub-dimensions) and decides to use it for research and exploration. Even though it's faster, it's still not fast to get places. They fund 12 missions to various targets.

The book focuses on the Noumenon project, which will visit an anomalous star. The mission was chosen largely because it was the only proposal that had a chance of finding some other civilization.

This journey will take 100 years ship time and 1000 back on Earth. They decide that the optimal number of people to send on each mission is 100,000. That's a lot of people, besides everyone would be dead or nearly so on arrival. So they make a generation ship (actually ships) using clones of top people in various disciplines. By the time the ships are built, the first generation of clones is ready to board and head out. Over the years of travel, rather than raising their own children, people interested in families will receive a random clone. When you get too old, you are, er, "retired". Which ain't like retirement on Bogleheads :)

So will the mission make it? What will the find if they do?
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Elric » Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:05 pm

ABSOLUTELY second the recommendation for William Gibson's trilogy of Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive! They are fantastic.

Also, Verner Vinge's (not exactly new) Rainbows End. A near future we haven't quite gotten to yet, but much of it seems right around the corner, and a good story.

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by DanMahowny » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:46 pm

Currently reading "The Anubis Gates" per DigitalJanitor's recommendation.

I'm barely 30% into it, but it's very good. And I can tell it's worthy of a second reading in a month or two.
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by themesrob » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:48 pm

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch was tremendous.

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by DanMahowny » Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:49 pm

themesrob wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 2:48 pm
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch was tremendous.
Yes. Hit that one a year ago. Already read it a second time. Tremendous indeed.
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by shawndoggy » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:01 pm

anyone have any good references for post-apocalypto kinda stuff? Loved Warday, Z is for Zacharia, On the Beach, etc as a kid. More recently really enjoyed the Silo series. Not really into the fantasy concepts.

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Liveware Problem » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:04 pm

Huge Iain Banks science fiction fan here, as you probably can tell. He used Iain M Banks for his science fiction novels.

I particularly recommend Look to Windward, Excession, Hydrogen Sonata, Use of Weapons and Matter.
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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by Sandi_k » Thu Jan 10, 2019 1:01 am

shawndoggy wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:01 pm
anyone have any good references for post-apocalypto kinda stuff? Loved Warday, Z is for Zacharia, On the Beach, etc as a kid. More recently really enjoyed the Silo series. Not really into the fantasy concepts.
The Passage series, by Justin Cronin.

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by forgeblast » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:28 am

shawndoggy wrote:
Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:01 pm
anyone have any good references for post-apocalypto kinda stuff? Loved Warday, Z is for Zacharia, On the Beach, etc as a kid. More recently really enjoyed the Silo series. Not really into the fantasy concepts.
There was a whole series out called The Deathlands by james axler good easy reads.

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by KarenC » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:27 pm

Elric wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:05 pm
ABSOLUTELY second the recommendation for William Gibson's trilogy of Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive! They are fantastic.
FWIW, the SFWA just named William Gibson their 35th Damon Knight Grand Master:
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) is pleased to announce that William Gibson has been named the 35th Damon Knight Grand Master for his contributions to the literature of Science Fiction and Fantasy. […]
"How much you know is less important than how clearly you understand where the borders of your ignorance begin." — Jason Zweig

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Re: Good Modern Science Fiction

Post by trystero » Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:52 pm

DanMahowny wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:06 pm
DigitalJanitor wrote:
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.
Replay is my all time favorite fiction book. I read it 2-3x per year.

Since you mentioned it, I assume the other titles you mentioned are worth a look.

Which one (or three) should I start with? Thank you.

"The Killing Star" seems like it'll be hard to find.
Since Replay has come up a couple of times, let me also throw in "The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August" by Claire North. Good alternate real world building around the premise that some people relive their lives again and again... Got a little too 'adventury' towards the end but the aithor has an incredible imagination and explores the various implications of the world she's positing really well.

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