The Best Science Fiction Book (series) you've read
The topic says it all. I wanted to start a thread dedicated to excellent
scifi books. What is the best scifi you've ever read? Why?
Any other scifi books you would like to recommend to others?
For me it has to be the Hyperion saga by Dan Simmons.
It's the most imaginative, breath-taking and mind-blowing epic I've
ever held in my hands.
The most promising "new" author would be Alastair Reynolds.
I've read five of his books - they were all very good.
Currently.. I'm thinking about getting deeper into some of the "classic" stuff.
Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein… etc… What do you think?
I was thinking about picking up some of Clarke's works now that I'm a bit burnt out on fantasy.
I guess my favorite from growing up (read a lot more SciFi back then) was the HeeChee sage by Frederik Pohl. I'm not even sure how I got the first book, Gateway, but it was some random thing like one of my parent's friend had left it at the house.
I thought the series did an interesting job of exploring what other life forms would look and act like, how they might not even be humanoid at all, how they might be already here and we not know it. It also explored the consequences of self preservation pretty well and what being alive really means.
Of course, I read these when I was 12, so it might not seem so deep these days!
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (first two parts) by Douglas Adams easily takes the cake as my favourite sci-fi book. It's also by far the funniest.
Second to fifth place is taken by more serious ones:
2. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A, Heinlein
3. Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
4. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
5. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Beside the sci-fi elements, all of the above possess a significant philosophical examinations of existence and that's probably the main reason (or maybe even requirement) for being in my top 5. I heartily recommend all of them.
I really enjoy most of the classic, well known (and some not-so well known) sci-fi/fantasy authors.
But my favorite series has always been the Berserker series of novels by Fred Saberhagen. There's just something about those books (and there's a lot of them) that fits me (as a reader) just right.
Tough call. I like most sci-fi, even bad sci-fi. However, a few that have really impressed me:
* _More Than Human_ by Theodore Sturgeon.
* _Use of Weapons_ by Iain M. Banks.
* The original _Foundation_ trilogy by Asimov.
* The _Neuromancer_ trilogy by William Gibson.
* _The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy_, by Douglas Adams, except _Mostly Harmless_ which was pretty poor.
* _Ender's Game_ by Orson Scott Card. _Speaker for the Dead_ wasn't half bad either, but the series wilted quickly after that.
* _Dune_ by Frank Herbert. The series went downhill very fast after the first book — _Dune Messiah_ was still tolerable, but past that it became increasingly silly until it became a weak parody of itself.
* _Solaris_ by Stanislaw Lem.
* _Blood_ by Michael Moorcock. (Does this count?)
There's no way I could rank these, but if I had to, _More Than Human_ would likely be at #1.
No love for Robinson's "Mars" trilogy? Although the 2nd and 3rd book veered into politics and psychology a bit much for my liking, the 1st book was absolutely stunning for me.
Dune, hands down, is the best Sci-Fi book ever written. Arthur C Clarke said it best when he said he knew of no other work like it except Lord of the Rings. Originally the book was to be in two parts but his editor talked Herbert out of it. Which was good because there is no real gap in the story to do that.
He deftly weaves politics, intrigue history, religion, economics, environmentalism, anthropology, and geography into a mythology that's been borrowed heavily by Star Wars, Star Trek, The Terminator, Wheel of Time, and almost every major sci-fi series you can name.
Children of Dune was actually the original premise but its so rushed unbearable. The sequels are deep but leave a lot to be desired in terms of entertainment value. Dune Messiah turned the characters on their head for good reason. The sequel with the most depth is probably Heretics of Dune which may get close to the depth of the first but its a difficult read with no real protagonist or antagonist.
The Kid and Kevin J Anderson wrote some fantastic prequels. Anderson's style is deceptively simple and the stories are very complex. They take some liberties with the characters but this can be forgive. Many of the plots and ideas take many books to resolve.
Brian Herbert unfortunately is no Frank, however. In his Bio of his father he explains he's had to be very careful how he talks because his father was so overbearing. The very last book in the series (not the prequels) was based on the outline that Frank wrote and its very disappointing. It seems to me they couldn't make a good story out of the constraints that Frank had put in it which on an outline sound nice.
Because of Anderson's work here I've picked up his current series The Saga of the Seven Suns. The complexity of the story mirrors that of the Dune prequels. I've not read any of Anderson's Star Wars books but I hear they are some of the best.
When I was kid I enjoyed Asimov's Foundation Series. Its a good yarn - a collection of short stories he wrote for the pulps in the 1930's. His first books he wrote were the Galactic Empire novels based on the early years of this setting. Better are his Robot novels. Starting in the 1980's he wove them altogether. His last in the series was a prequel to the Foundation books. "The Killer B's" were commissioned to write three more Foundation books a few years back. They are forgettable, although they have some wild ideas but they are more in line with their own work then Asimov's.
If you don't mind short story collections the Martian Chronicles is a great set of stories. The Illustrated Man has several stories that didn't make the book for various reasons and Farenheit 451 takes place in the same mythology of these books. Ray Bradbury is an amazing writer. X-1 was radio program that broadcast some of these stories. You can find some of them at archive.org. Also, in Canada, some of them were played out on the movie channel in 1/2 segments where the author introduces them.
My favorite would be Dune, too. I loved the politics in it, especially the later books. And I don't like politics. I liked Hyperion too. And Ender's Game etc.
Otherwise I haven't read that much Sci Fi, unfortunately, but that might change after this thread. ^^
Foundation by Asimov
I read a lot of sci fi in HS, all the classics. Dune and Asimov's Foundation trilogy and the Robot series are great books in any genre. I don't read as much of it now, but some books stick in your mind and refuse to be left behind—
The Lathe of Heaven—Ursula K. LeGuin
Stranger in a Strange Land,The Cat Who Walked through Walls—Robert Heinlien
The Amber series-starting with Nine Princes in Amber, I believe, by Roger Zelazny—also that crazy one he wrote about the Hindu gods-Lord of Light ??—title escapes me atm…
Slaughterhouse Five, Welcome to the Monkey House, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, Player Piano—Kurt Vonnegut
Of newer stuff, I recently read The Algebraist, by Iain Banks—reminiscent of Vonnegut to me, and very good.
And a few sci-fi fantasy hybrids—
I always recommend Valerie Leith's Company of Glass trilogy—a bit convoluted at times but some interesting if occasionally long-winded philosophy under the sci-fi fantasy hood.
I like Barbara Hambly's older stuff, too—the Darwath series including Icefalcon's Quest, Mother of Winter,etc, the standalone Bride of the Rat God (a bit satirical) and the Dragonsbane ones, though Dragonshadow, the last, is extremely depressing.
Death of the Necromancer—Martha Wells—great theivery and high fantasy, pretty well written.
The Bone Doll's Twin—Lynn Flewelling—great dark fantasy with some occasional gruesomeness, also pretty well written. This is part of a series but I've never caught the rest of it.
But these are closer to fantasy, not sci-fi. :)
I loved Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series and his Robot Series stories.
Frank Herbert for Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune but hated Chapterhouse Dune (too unfinished) .
Bob Heinlein for the Children's books (star Beast, etc.), Stranger in a Strange Land, and a few others.
Roger Zelanzy for Most of his work.
Clifford Sidomak for his works especially Waystation and the one where Dogs ruled the earth.
Doc E.E.Smith for the Lensman Series. (Classic Space opera)
Larry Niven for the Ringworld Series.
Phillip Farmer for the Riverworld Series and some good pulp parodies (The Mad Goblin - Doc Savage Parody)
Anything by Ray Bradbury is worth reading.
There many more I have forgotten, hopefully I've added some the others haven't thought of.
I loved the Riverworld books—just never watch the sorry movie someone made out of them—uck.
I forgot Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep, The Peace War, Marooned in RealTime etc—
original Foundation Trilogy by Asimov by a longshot in terms of series. I have the entire collection, but the originals are the best.
I also love the Bradbury stuff, but that isn't series, just some cool books.
This thread is just about series otherwise I'd mention the other two best Sci-Fi books ever written.
Someone mentioned Chapterhouse. Chapterhouse: Dune was Part I of a two book ending to the series. Herbert died before it could be written. Brian Herbert found the outline for the second book in a Safe Deposit Box in Seattle and then hired Kevin J Anderson to write the prequels.
Brian and Kevin just finished the last two books.
Foundation Trilogy. While I read about half of Asimov's fiction books, the original three-volume Foundation is the best SF series I ever read - I own two English-language versions, the nerfed German translation of the first edition, one decent (more recent) translation and the best translation of them all, the one by Heinz Nagel.
I also liked Saberhagen's Berserker series (though that's more scifi* than 'serious' SF, Vance's Durdane and Alastor series (though Vance hardly writes 'hard' SF), and Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality series. Hubby is more into Cyberpunk stuff, but that's too close to reality for me ;).
As for stand-alone books: I happen to love Emphyrio by Vance, Mindgames by Cadigan (eventh tough it's Cyberpunk), Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Number of the Beast, and 'The Mote in God's Eye' by Niven & Pournelle (though I can't stand the books each wrote by himself, if for different reasons).
Apart from those, there are gazillions of SF books I like, but these were the first to come to mind. SF was my favorite genre when I was still reading a lot (i.e., had more time).
*In my world, the handle 'scifi' is reserved for cheap TV series and pulp fiction.
Whoa. Seems like I got some reading to doo :D
I once read the first book in the Banks' culture universe.
"Consider Phlebas" I think it is in english.
I thought it was extremely weak. The aliens were laughable and
the whole thing just felt so silly somehow.
Are the later ones somehow significantly better? Cause I've heard
many people praise the "player of games" and "use of weapons" but I've
been unable to pick them up due to my horrible phlebas experiences :D
There are several short-story collections by Asimov claiming to collect most of the robot stories in one book. Any experiences with these? Thinking of getting one of those.
I did read the the original dune books by frank herbert. The first one was very good.
It's a bit like Stephen King and his supernatural critters — IMO he sort of falls on his face whenever he trots out his possessed cars or zombie kittens or time-eaters or vampires; his stuff works (for me) much better without them.
But Banks isn't for everybody, I'm sure. I'm fairly certain that he writes with his tongue firmly in his cheek, with the "never blow up a warehouse if you can blow up a planet" maxim; if you're not willing to cheerfully ignore what he cheerfully ignores, you won't like it.
Personally, I don't care much for Asimov's robot yarns, though. IMO they haven't aged well: Asimov's robot stories are to sci-fi what The Castle Otranto is to the supernatural horror story — significant because they were (among) the first of their kind, but not really that exciting anymore.
I read the first foundation book (in finnish) when I was a lot younger.
I did not really "get" what was so fantastic about it. TBH it bored the phuck out of me. All the characters seemed paper thin and it did not have any of those "mind-blowing" moments that I really love in SF. It is true, of course, that I might have missed most of the substance in it due to my young age back then.
IIRC it had tons and tons of dull conversations and intricate politics.
Perhaps just not my cup of tea.
"The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress " by Heinlein seems intriguing.
Any opinions here?
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