Good Modern Science Fiction

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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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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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