|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Off-Topic » The Best Science Fiction Book (series) you've read

Default The Best Science Fiction Book (series) you've read

April 11th, 2008, 17:08
Originally Posted by Zakhary View Post
Hmm.. I might have to skip Asimov alltogether, then.
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 Foundation trilogy has aged better IMO because its ideas have survived better. Psychohistory is still an intriguing concept, the decline of a great empire and the emergence of a new one from its ashes is as valid a story premise now as it was then. But it does have all of Asimov's weaknesses, too, only slightly mitigated by the fact that he had to work harder at editing and polishing them than his later books, when he was churning out a couple of them a year.
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#21

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540

Default 

April 11th, 2008, 17:31
The Foundation series really picks up in the second book with the introduction of The Mule. To me though, these are just good light reading with some interesting concepts with an interesting examination of expansionism. It invents the Roman Empire in space idea that was picked up by Star Trek, etc. (note one of the character's names was Han Pritchard. Foudnation is basically Ireland.

The most notable features of the series are its lack of any aliens (reflecting Asimov's humanism even at that young age), lack of any sort of romance (boring!), and the use of telling the story entirely in conversations.



The robot short stories are ok but they are best as background stories to the later books. You will see tributes to Asimov in the 'Droids in Star Wars (which he hated), Robocop, Terminator 2, etc. Right now I'm have a problem with the Second Law on my computer here so I have some tinkering to do.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Lucky Day is offline

Lucky Day

Lucky Day's Avatar
Daywatch

#22

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Uncanny Valley
Posts: 3,173

Default 

April 11th, 2008, 20:15
Asimov, especially the Foundation Trilogy, should be read in the original language… at least the (first) German translation proved that translators should read a book to the end before starting to translate. That guy - the translator - quite obviously didn't like several of the author's decisions (especially regarding the Mule) and tried to 'improve' on the original work. Well, his translation kind of ruined the plot of volume 2.

Let's generalize and say that Asimov is not about characters.

Semper HiFi!
Motto of the 54th Groove Bde.
Jaz is offline

Jaz

Jaz's Avatar
SC-2201
Super Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#23

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,318

Default 

April 11th, 2008, 20:35
I'm going to repeat myself here and recommend Alastair Reynolds to everyone interested in epic science fiction.

http://members.tripod.com/~voxish/sf_novels.html

Those interested should begin with the first book in the "revelation space universe".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revelation_Space

For some reason they like to call it "hard sf" but I don't feel that way. This quote propably sums it up best "Gonzo cybergoth space opera: intensely compelling; darkly intelligent; hugely ambitious" - Paul J McAuley

The books just get better and better with each one. They are epic, mind-blowing, dark, chilling and intelligent. They are very grand-scale and do not waste time with romances or getting into a character's personal issues etc etc…

And the aliens are great. They are really alien. Not just "Englishmen in funny costumes" (as PJ aptly put it) like in all the crap in TV they call SF nowadays, or all the crap that has the word "star" in the beginning. They are odd and strange and, in this case, send shivers down your spine.

All the books by Mr.Reynolds are available from all the major bookdealers
in paperback at a very low price.. which is nice. The translator here in finland has done a very good job translating them… but I like to buy them in English.
I did read the first two in finnish.

Excellent stuff. Very, very good.


That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
Last edited by Zakhary; April 11th, 2008 at 20:44.
Zakhary is offline

Zakhary

Zakhary's Avatar
Noble Savage

#24

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: The Frozen North
Posts: 1,044

Default 

April 12th, 2008, 00:37
Only one person mentioned Doc Smith's Lensman series which surprises me a little. Pure space opera goodness. I like everything by Asimov, and all of Heinlein's early work. However, for greatest series, nothing can match Perry Rhodan. Only about 150 were ever translated into English unfortunately (I have them all ), but I believe in the original German it runs to several thousand novels. Perhaps Jaz might know.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#25

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,321
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

April 12th, 2008, 07:46
Over 2.300 in 45+ years, and my boss owns about 1.500 of them.

Semper HiFi!
Motto of the 54th Groove Bde.
Jaz is offline

Jaz

Jaz's Avatar
SC-2201
Super Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#26

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,318

Default 

April 14th, 2008, 12:29
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
The Foundation trilogy has aged better IMO because its ideas have survived better. Psychohistory is still an intriguing concept, the decline of a great empire and the emergence of a new one from its ashes is as valid a story premise now as it was then. But it does have all of Asimov's weaknesses, too, only slightly mitigated by the fact that he had to work harder at editing and polishing them than his later books, when he was churning out a couple of them a year.
Absolutely agree - and also with the thoughts about the robot series. Those two combined are why I am not so big on the later Foundation books!

— Mike
txa1265 is offline

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#27

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,326

Default 

April 14th, 2008, 13:03
Foundation for me as a series. Perhaps in part because Asimov was so much a part of my teenage years (along with the other Golden Age writers) - but I love it.

-= RPGWatch =-
Dhruin is offline

Dhruin

Dhruin's Avatar
Watcher
Super Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#28

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 11,964

Default 

May 7th, 2008, 09:12
The Foundation books may not appeal to everyone. They are very realistic and most concepts are probable. For example, there are aliens, only humans and their petty, interplanetary conflicts. The allure of the Foundation stories is, however, the intricate way Asimov depicts the fall of the mightiest empire and the rise of a new one.

Personally, I favor more bizzare sci-fi.
The Walkin' Dude is offline

The Walkin' Dude

The Walkin' Dude's Avatar
Watcher of the Keep

#29

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 76

Default 

May 7th, 2008, 10:56
Originally Posted by Zakhary View Post
For some reason they like to call it "hard sf" but I don't feel that way.
Mostly because he respects the speed of light unlike a lot of space opera out there. Regardless of how you define him I'd second Reynolds. For density of ideas, world and plot I think he beats many of the classics.

IF you're looking for more recent SF like him you'll probably like Richard Morgan, particularly the Takeshi Kovacs novels starting with Altered Carbon.

I also like Peter Hamaltion though he tends more space-fantasy than SF and is generally lighter in tone, the Nights Dawn Trilogy is probably his best work.

For those of us who like politics Ken MacLeod had some interesting views of near and far future communism, anarchy and capitalism in his first four books; The Star Faction, The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division and The Sky Road (all stand alone but set in the same history). His more recent stuff was weaker.

And Connie Willis, not as recent but always a good read, I thought To Say Nothing of the Dog one of the funniest books I'd read when I first finished it, planning a re-read soon. (Though if you're after spaceship SF, her novels tend to deal with time travel and are set in the past).
V7 is offline

V7

Keeper of the Watch

#30

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 668

Default 

May 7th, 2008, 12:32
These are great: Very Short Stories by 33 sci-fi authors.

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?
- Eileen Gunn

I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss … ?
- Neil Gaiman

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
- Joss Whedon
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/sixwords.html

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Arhu is offline

Arhu

Arhu's Avatar
Feline Wizard
RPGWatch Team

#31

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,309

Default 

May 16th, 2008, 17:31
Just saw a recomendation for this list, already read and loved quite a few there so I'll be looking for the others:
http://blog.pmarca.com/2007/06/top_10_science_.html
V7 is offline

V7

Keeper of the Watch

#32

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 668

Default 

May 16th, 2008, 19:39
As far as I can see nobody's mentioned the "Book of the new sun" tetralogy by Gene Wolf(e?). Those books are my absolute favourites when it comes to series. A strange post apocalyptic medieval world with glimpses of alient technology, and some kind of magic. Great.

I've also enjoyed the Foundation trilogy, Riverworld, and all of Niven's Known Space books. And the Heechee saga. And Jack Chalker's Well of Souls. And A. Reynolds' Revelation Space++. - A really fierce competition for the second position on the list, in other words.

I did enjoy the Lensman series when I first read it at the age of 20. When I reread the books 30 years later, I wasn't too impressed - perhaps I've beens poiled by the books mentioned above.

The top of my single book list goes to Dune. I did not care for the following books or the spin offs. So it doesn't count as a series for me.

Nobody knows anything about the Heechee. except Chuck Norris of course.

pibbur

Guest

#33

Posts: n/a

Default 

May 16th, 2008, 20:18
The two best Science Fiction stories of all time are both by Alan Bester, probably the best of the unsung Sci-Fi writers.

The Demolished Man

The Stars My Destination aka. Tiger, Tiger

Stars won the Hugo award for the Best Science Fiction Story of All Time ( a few years before Dune a came out). Its possibly the most cynical thing you ever read.

It focusses in on mainly one concept: what if people learned to teleport? What would be the consequence. Its clearly the inspiration for the book series and movie called Jumper that was released recently.

Demolished Man is similar in that its a one concept idea: what if telepathy were real? The theme of a crimeless society through mindreading was picked up in Star Trek and several other places.

Critics have compared these two books of Bester's as precursors to the Cyberpunk or the "Future Shock" type sci-fi of the late 70's.

Also an accomplished Comic writer, Bester hadn't written anything (significant) in years after his initial successes. In the 1980's he began writing novels again such as Golem 100 which were mediocre at best.

If you give those first two a read you will have to keep reminding yourself that they were written in the 1950's.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Lucky Day is offline

Lucky Day

Lucky Day's Avatar
Daywatch

#34

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Uncanny Valley
Posts: 3,173

Default 

May 17th, 2008, 01:10
I think it's ALFRED Bester, not Alan!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#35

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,321
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

May 17th, 2008, 01:56
Gah, your right.

Alan Bester was another comic book hack IIRC.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Lucky Day is offline

Lucky Day

Lucky Day's Avatar
Daywatch

#36

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Uncanny Valley
Posts: 3,173

Default 

May 17th, 2008, 03:13
Oh and how could I forget David Zindell's SF; A Requiem for Homo Sapiens and the stand alone prequel to the trilogy Neverness. Personally I don't like his fantasy stuff but Requiem was a great read.
V7 is offline

V7

Keeper of the Watch

#37

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 668

Default 

May 19th, 2008, 23:57
Amazingly The Foundation Trilogy seems to hold up after all these years. I was surprised that so many people know of it.

Zelaznies: Nine Princes in Amber

Herbert's: Dune

And it was Clifford D. Simak, where the dogs ruled the world in 'City'. Actually our world was eventually turned into a giant ant world, an experiment by one of the mutants gone awry.
Who shot cock robin? Man of course.
ffbj is offline

ffbj

ffbj's Avatar
Sentinel

#38

Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 281
Send a message via Skype™ to ffbj

Default 

May 20th, 2008, 05:21
I don't really think Foundation holds up so much as its perfect light reading for teenagers. The dialogue style and lack of aliens (and romance) is highly original, if accidental. Its perfect for the sci-fi fan who thinks the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey is boring.

Later on readers can get into much meatier work like Herbert's, Bester and Bradbury.

Hmm..I need to actually read 2001 one of these days.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
Lucky Day is offline

Lucky Day

Lucky Day's Avatar
Daywatch

#39

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The Uncanny Valley
Posts: 3,173

Default 

May 22nd, 2008, 19:52
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
Hmm..I need to actually read 2001 one of these days.
It's not bad, if you can tolerate Arthur C. Clarke's declamatory idiom. (In fact, IMO it's among his better work.)
Prime Junta is offline

Prime Junta

RPGCodex' Little BRO

#40

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8,540
RPGWatch Forums » General Forums » Off-Topic » The Best Science Fiction Book (series) you've read
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 13:28.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch