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#1 Posted by Rejizzle (1083 posts) -

Dan has recently discovered the joy of reading, rejoice! What's more, he seems to like off-kilter science fiction like Slaughterhouse 5, and the works of Haruki Murakami. I thought he might like it if the GB community gave him some recommendations.

I'll start by recommending Valis by Philip K Dick. Dan seems to like postmodern science fiction stories so far, and Dick is one of the best in the genre.

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#2 Posted by TobbRobb (6568 posts) -

Would Dan like Hitchikers Guide, or hate it? I'm genuinely curious because I could see it go either way. He seems to have a narrow but strong appreciation for the absurd. I just never know what type.

I'll try something out of left field with a "local" Swedish series. Coq Rouge is the first book in a series about a James Bond type figure called Carl Hamilton who is a secret service officer in the Swedish navy. It's similar to Bond in how he's basically a superman agent of unrealistic proportions, but it's an enjoyable series. Author Jan Guillou is a bit divisive, mainly politically but also for his style of writing.

Girl with the dragon tattoo, or rather the Millenium series is also really good, but if he's watched the movie adaptations then it's more or less an equivavlent experience.

I feel like I'm blanking on obvious suggestions, but I tend to lean towards fantasy more, so that takes up more brain space than stuff I would recommend to him.

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#3 Posted by Sweep (10563 posts) -

OK before we begin I think it's important to distinguish between books that we think are good and books which we think Dan will enjoy. For example my favourite book of 2018 was Circe, a feminist retelling of classic Greek myths - however I don't think that's a great match for Dan, based on what I know of his tastes (not because I don't think he's sympathetic to feminism, just because it's quite flamboyant and poetic and I don't think he'd have the patience for it).

Books I would recommend would be things like:

The Wool Trilogy by Hugh Howey

The pitch: This is basically a Fallout-esque post-apocalypse novel where all of humanity has been living in huge undergound concrete silos for generations and have formed a new vault-based society. To even question the idea of leaving is to be cast out, sent out to clean the only viewing window which looks over the desolate surface of the planet, and die within minutes.

The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

The pitch: This is closer to traditional fantasy, with knights and monsters and (kind of?) magic - set against the backdrop of an ongoing brutal war against a speechless race of rock-based humanoids, the Stormlight archive is basically what you get if you give Jedi force powers and Iron man armour to a small group of medieval knights. The book bounces between a wide spectrum of characters, from a slave fighting on the frontlines to the general of the entire army, giving you a broad sense of what life is like in this universe and as a result the worldbuilding is superb. The first three books are available and the fourth is in progress.

The Martian by Andy Weir

The pitch: I loved this book, and as someone who knows nothing about space, science, rockets or math, I was pretty surprised that was the case. The writing is snappy and engaging and everything is paraphrased in a way which explains the science without ever making the reader feel stupid. It's also a lot more methodical and fun that the film, which often skips huge steps in the trial-and-error phase of figuring out how to survive on Mars. Definitely worth reading regardless of how you felt about the film.

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#4 Edited by Asterix_Gaul (3 posts) -

If we are talking about science-fiction, Deadworld by Harry Harrison is my favorite one. Also, it was the favorite book of my dad when he was a young adult.

I think it's best features are dynamic plot based on a mystery with unexpected situations. And I like the main character with his ability to influence the probabilities of events.

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#5 Posted by Justin258 (15584 posts) -

I have been reading The Expanse series rather obsessively and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes space opera ish stuff.

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#6 Posted by nnickers (495 posts) -

@justin258: Yeah, The Expanse books are probably perfect for Dan. Or, you know, whatever extent of a character Dan plays on the internet.

They're [at least the first three books which I read] pure, unadulterated airplane reading. Constant action, the characters are ripped straight from 80's action movies, and the core plot is literally "mad scientists created space zombies." There are Halo-style space marines. The dialogue is primarily tough-guy one-liners and zingers, the sole female character in the first book ultimately falls in love with her roguish captain, et al.

On a similar note, I could see him enjoying the first third of Snow Crash and no one would have to be surprised when he throws it away as soon as the plot u-turns into Sumerian mythology and neurolinguistics.

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#7 Posted by Justin258 (15584 posts) -

@nnickers: I'm most of the way through the third book right now.

On the topic of female characters, it should be noted that there are way more of those throughout the second and third novels. And they're all pretty good characters.

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#8 Posted by TheRealTurk (452 posts) -

Dan is constantly mentioning how he wants to broaden his horizons, so how about some non-fiction? I'd recommend A World Undone, which goes into the causes of World War I, and also Battle Cry of Freedom, which is sort of *the* book on the American Civil War.

And because I don't think I can listen to another conversation about EMPs wiping out all the triangles, I'll put Astrophysics for People in a Hurry on that list, too.

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#9 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8818 posts) -

Harry Potter is a great jumping off point for anyone getting into reading because it covers quite a few sub-genres along its way to its finish. I don't tend to think of them as personal favorites, but once people figure out what they like about it - or don't - then it's easy to point them in some different directions.

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#10 Posted by Shindig (4835 posts) -

Any John Le Carre spy novel of your choice, Dan. I almost want to recommend Dante's Inferno but that book's more about imagery than like ... much else.

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#11 Posted by hermes (2589 posts) -

@sweep: The Martian is a really good suggestion. I recall Vinny also loved that book, so it should be easier to recommend it.

My personal favorite is the Discworld series, but I don't know if Dan would enjoy that brand of fantasy.

If he has even a some passing interest in science fiction, Foundation and I, Robot are great starting points.

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#12 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1238 posts) -

@sweep: While I'm here for The Martian, I think Dan might actually like Weir's second book, Artemis, a bit more. It has elements of a heist story and mystery stuff.

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#13 Posted by Captain_Insano (3477 posts) -

I think Dan would like

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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#14 Posted by hippie_genocide (2417 posts) -
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#15 Posted by redwing42 (498 posts) -

William Gibson is a particular favorite of mine, and his first couple books (Neuromancer, Count Zero) have a good amount of action to them as well. Burning Chrome might also be a good choice, as it is short stories, and if you don't like one, you can skip to the next.

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#16 Posted by Sweep (10563 posts) -

@captain_insano: Irony aside, I don't think ANYONE would enjoy The Road by Cormack McCarthy.

That book is not to be enjoyed, it is to be endured. Eurgh.

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#17 Posted by Captain_Insano (3477 posts) -

@sweep: Yeah it is depressing af. I felt awful after reading it. It was great

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#18 Posted by Superharman (296 posts) -

He should give Oryx and Crake a try by Margaret Atwood, if he likes that, there are two sequels.

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#19 Posted by Meptron (1320 posts) -

I've heard good things about a book called Air Force Gator

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#20 Posted by dudeglove (13680 posts) -

Dan should read John Dolan's recent adaptation of The Iliad. I'm serious.

Dolan outright does not attempt to recreate Greek hexameter poetry (which we don't speak any more anyway) and instead retells it in modern day prose of what The Iliad was actually about - a bunch of larger than life characters beating the shit out of each other and almost all the Greek gods basically being a mafia of jerks. I am sure he would like it because of how violent and funny the story of The Iliad actually is.

And he won't ever have to read the words "Sing, muse" either.

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#21 Edited by wollywoo (232 posts) -

If he likes Slaughterhouse-Five he might also like Catch-22. I read both around the same time so those two are somehow linked in my mind. Catch-22 is great and hilarious.

If he likes dystopian science fiction, I'd recommend Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Very compelling.

Also: definitely American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

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#22 Posted by billmcneal (1202 posts) -

I bet he won't be reading any Jose Canseco book.

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#23 Posted by Pezen (2367 posts) -

I am the first to tell people to read anything by Hunter S. Thompson, and I think for Dan I would recommend he read his book Hells Angels. It's a fascinating crazy ride covering the biker counterculture of the 60s and Hells Angels in particular.

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#24 Posted by billmcneal (1202 posts) -

I bet he would like the Jason Bourne books.

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#25 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7474 posts) -

I bet he would like the Jason Bourne books.

That's a good choice.

I think Dan would have a problem with nay fiction that slipped into fantasy, not much metaphor, or too much philosophy, or what Dan 'thinks is fantasy, metaphor or philosophy'. So I think I woudl recommend what most reader might see as dry fiction that is straigh forward...a gun is a gun, a person is person, and every character action is just to do that action to filled with hidden meaning.

Red Storm Rising: A Suspense Thriller by Tom Clancy - Yes, Clancey was a dick that suffered from the delusion that cops are honest, the FBI is capable, and the CIA isn't run by assholes. Nevertheless, I think this is a good book for Dan because Clancy tend to write still straight forward characters, there is a lot of decriptiosn of tanks rolling over Germany or aircraft flying slowly at 45,000 feet. I can say I like this book mostly because the military characters are straightforward...they are just doing their jobs. There are likable interesting warriors on the NATO and Russian sides.

Medicus (Medicus Investigation Series #1) by Ruth Downie - Rather good medical mystery series. Gaius Petrius Ruso is doctor serving with a Roman legion in Britain. He is cranky, impatient, and kind and generous. Like most mystery stories it about guy who cannot leves a question or and odd occurrence unanswered - Two parts DR HOUSE and one part priveye investigator MONK. For historical fiction, is a fairly easy & fast read.


Into the Storm (Destroyermen Series) by Taylor Anderson - I will regret this because I really don't think Dan can handle fanastys or alternative universes well. However, I think teh Destroyermen books are just Dans speed. It about a WW I destroyer that at that start of WW 2 gets caught in "alternate universe' storm that bring the ship as well as enemy Japanese ship to a plant that is populated by sentient lizards, sentient lemurs, and other people who have been trapped there in the past. It is nice modern ripping yarn tale that I think Dan might enjoy.