Giant Bomb Book Club - SF Novels: A Few of My Favourites.

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JJGIANT

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#1  Edited By JJGIANT

With the impending Giant Bomb book club I was interested in finding out what Giant Bomb users like to read. My favourite genre by light years is science fiction, your K. Dick's and your M. Banks', and I was wondering if anybody out in the infinite sphere of space-time had any beloved texts and good suggestions. Here's a wee list of some choice favourites:

The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester (1956)

A space revenge story with a plot so ingeniously constructed that I almost gave up on trying to become a writer having read it. Also this would make an incredible contemporary sci-fi film.

Valis - Philip K. Dick (1981)

A mini metaphysical masterpiece told from a number of different perspective...but from the same perspective. To tell you what that means would be to spoil it. An exploration of madness and obsession not for the faint of heart.

The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick (1962)

A dystopian tale (again written by the master himself) which explores what would have happened if the Nazi's had won the war. Deeply disturbing in the best possible way.

The Forever War - Joe Haldeman (1974)

An allegory of the Vietnam War written at it's height. Centres around a conflict in the future between us and a foe so distant that time-dilation begins to erode our very understanding of why we're fighting in the first place. Chillingly explores the psychological effect of warfare but in the most mind-expanding way possible.

Use Of Weapons - Ian M. Banks (1990)

One of the most terrifying sci-fi novels I have ever read, with an insane structure that chronologically leads back into the origins of a character's very being. One of ten culture novels by the recently deceased master Ian M. Banks. This entire series is a work of art and I still cannot fathom how one human could create such a richly expansive universe as this. Mass Effect eat your hear out.

These are just a fewof my favourites. Share your thoughts and give me any suggestions for future reads. Yay for books!!!

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Immunity

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I'll throw another Philip K. Dick novel on there by recommending Ubik. If you like questioning reality, then I highly recommend it.

Old Man's War by John Scalzi is very solid military fiction. The title pretty much explains the premise: old people go to war in space. There's more to it than that of course, but I'll let you go discover it.

No science fiction list would be complete without mentioning The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so I'll go ahead and get it in here early.

@jjgiant: Four of your Five books are on my "to-read list" so I guess I should probably get on top of that. I'm adding Use Of Weapons to that list as well after reading your recommendation.

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whitegreyblack

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I am a big fan of Larry Niven. The entire Ringworld series, Known Space stuff, and the newer Fleet of Worlds series written by Niven & Edward Lerner that ties-in both before and after the Ringworld series are great. Also, the stuff Niven has done along with Jerry Pournelle is really good - The Mote in God's Eye & The Crushing Hand, Lucifer's Hammer, etc.

I have only read the first of Arthur C. Clarke's Rama series (later co-written by Gentry Lee and then taken on solely by Lee) but the first one became an instant favorite.

I also love dystopian & apocalyptic fiction (1984, Brave New World, We, The Road, etc., etc.); Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451) as well as HP Lovecraft's short horror fiction (At the Mountains of Madness, and tons more.

I read some short stories from Neil Asher that are in the Polity universe (some of them are contained in his volume The Gabble and Other Stories and I really dug the style. I mean to get into the series but I have too many books on the shelf yet to read right now.

I have always meant to get more into Phillip K. Dick, Asimov, Neil Asher, Heinlein, and others; but again - need to finish what I've got on the shelf.

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Corevi

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#4  Edited By Corevi

Already all of my favourite western SF novels have been mentioned so I'll go with a Japanese one. The Stories of Ibis is a really well done short story collection with a fantastic framing device.

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nonused

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#5  Edited By nonused

I'm reading The Bone Clocks right now. That's kinda science fiction, and I'm really enjoying it. Brave New World is probably one of the best in the genre. I think. I'm not totally sure I know what science fiction is anymore.

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#6  Edited By rorie  Online

The The Expanse series is pretty darn good too if you're interested in something new.

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#7  Edited By Wemibelle

I don't read a ton of sci-fi (for whatever reason), but I do remember Glasshouse by Charles Stross really sticking in my head. It has a lot to do with body dysphoria and impulse control, which I found extremely fascinating.

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Sessh

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#8  Edited By Sessh  Online

My two favourite Philip K. Dick novels have already been mentioned, but I also really love The Three Stigmata of Palma Eldritch and A Scanner Darkly. Anyway Dick was a genius so I pretty much think every single book of his is worth reading.

Off the top of my head also great are:

Island - Aldous Huxley

Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke

A Wrath of Stars - Bob Shaw

Shaw seems to be known as a bit of a bargain bin novelist, but I came to really like his style and imagination.

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WalterCrunkFite

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#9  Edited By WalterCrunkFite

Neuromancer and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy are both entertaining *and* seminal!

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Three books that stuck with me were 'Dune', by Frank Herbert, 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep', by Philip K. Dick, and 'I, Robot' by Isaac Asimov.

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JJGIANT

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@whitegreyblack: Some fantastic suggestions here you seem to know your stuff. Definitely need to check out the Ringworld series, heard that buzzing around before.

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whitegreyblack

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@jjgiant: Glad to help! Unfortunately I have as many unread books on my shelves as read ones, so I've only suggested stuff I have some experience with. I love these threads because they give me a lot of suggestions to add to my list of stuff to check out in addition to the ones I have not yet gotten to.

I have not read it yet but have had multiple people tell me I have to check out the Foundation series from Isaac Asimov. Each time, it was suggested as "...if you love Niven's Ringworld, you'll like this".

Also, if you have not read it, you might want to check out Ender's Game. Some folks steer clear because of Orson Scott Card's real-life politics and views, but it's a phenomenal book. I've always wanted to read his Empire series since it;s the world Shadow Complex is set in.

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I'll do the opposite and say what not to read, since I'm sure someone is bound to recommend it: Ready Player One. It's an exercise in pandering to geeks by throwing every geek/game culture reference in one poorly written, predictable book. If you're still a big fan of the pop culture references in Family Guy, then you might actually like it.

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Honkalot

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#15  Edited By Honkalot

How about an anti-recommendation?

I am almost finished with "2312" by Kim Stanley Robinson. Picked it up on iTunes because I saw it had won several awards, including the Nebula award I'm pretty sure.

I'm fairly sure that this is one of the worst novels I have read or listened to. I do not understand how it could possibly have reviewed so well.

The one thing that is sort of interesting is the world descriptions of places in the solar system. But there is very little plot at all. To the point where they go several hours of reading without anything connected to the main plot happening at all. The thing that turns me off the most is the main character, who is pretty much the best at everything at all times. Super in touch technohippie, super knowledgeable, pilot, physique, mental prowess, hunter, knows every important person, tried every cool thing and was the best at it, famous artist, famous architect, etc. And is at the center of every significant thing that happens despite the impossibility.

The depiction of the main character in this novel is a lot like the masturbatory best-person-in-world depiction of Dagny in Atlas Shrugged.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Richard Morgan's sci fi novels are divine. I love all of them, but especially the Takeshi Kovacs novels. Start with Altered Carbon. It's a shame his fantasy stuff is such a meandering, pointless mess.

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jackburtonme

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Ancillary Justice was really good, I thought. Also, I would second Dune, Hitchhiker's Guide and Neuromancer.