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#1 Posted by GristleMcThornbody (216 posts) -

The last great series I read was the Hyperion Cantos and it’s sequels. I haven’t found anything as insightful or immersive the last few years though. Any recommendations for my next read would be greatly appreciated.

Other books/series/authors that I thought were awesome:

Dune series

Neuromancer and follow ups

Snowcrash

Prince of Thorns

Name of the Wind

Song of Ice and Fire

Dark Tower series

Phillip K. Dick

Classic Sci-fi, Asimov’s Foundation series, Arthur C. Clarke, etc.

Lately, I’ve read:

Altered Carbon

Reality Dysfunction

American Gods

Imagicka

Small pile of WH40k books

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#2 Posted by BisonHero (11564 posts) -

I was going to say "Well certainly don't read Endymion and Rise of Endymion," but I see I'm too late. They're still well written books, but something about them just bothered me compared to the first two books. I think I'm in the minority on this, though, since it's my understanding that the latter two books were well regarded at the time and still up for plenty of sci-fi awards.

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#3 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1239 posts) -

I just finished Red Mars and it was amazing. If you liked Dune, Red Mars has a lot of similar themes.

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#5 Posted by bmccann42 (395 posts) -

@bisonhero: Simmons gets a bit "religious-y" after that. I like his writing but there is something odd feeling about some of it.

I loved Ilium and Olympos, but they kind of lose the plot towards the end, and it makes a whole bunch of logic jumps to get to it's ending (which is still a bit of mess in my memory).

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#6 Posted by burncoat (544 posts) -

If you're still on a Sci-Fi kick, I'd highly recommend anything from the Culture series. They're a really good collection of Sci-Fi novels taking place in a "utopian" society and its dealings with the rest of the galaxy. There's no real connection between the novels, so it's okay to jump in on almost any and go from there (my first start was Player ofGames) but Consider Phlebas is the first and seems to be the only one that has something they reference in the future.

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#7 Posted by GristleMcThornbody (216 posts) -

@bmccann42: I kinda like the “religious-y” factor of the Hyperion sequels and the Dune books. It’s an interesting rationalization of destiny/divinity/prescience.

However, I don’t like the straight out religious style of Brandon Sanderson where the characters say “storm” instead of swearing and the good guys don’t drink.

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#8 Posted by GristleMcThornbody (216 posts) -

@burncoat: Sounds interesting, I’ll check it out.

@BladeofCreation: Also sounds good.

Anyone read Red Rising, Collapsing Emprie, or Gardens of the Moon? I’ve heard good things about those as well.

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#9 Posted by blackichigo (433 posts) -

I found The Moontide Quartet to be pretty cool. Lots of fun, flawed characters and factions. My only criticisms is that they're are way too many pointless sex scenes peppered throughout it.

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#10 Posted by mavs (379 posts) -

I don't see Cyteen on there, so try it if you haven't read it.

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#11 Posted by Humanity (18587 posts) -

@gristlemcthornbody: if you want to try something extremely new age and easily as interesting as it’s bewildering, try the Quantum Thief trilogy by Hanna Rajaniemi or alternatively (although I found these much stranger and less cohesive) the Light series by M. John Harrison.

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#12 Posted by GristleMcThornbody (216 posts) -

@humanity: you’re speaking my language. Bewilderment is my goal. Thanks!!!

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#13 Edited by acharlie1377 (73 posts) -

I really loved The Forever War by Joe Haldeman; it's about a war fought so far away that by the time soldiers come back, decades and sometimes centuries have passed on Earth. It's a really interesting mix of science fiction and an emotional war story.

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#14 Edited by sparky_buzzsaw (8818 posts) -

Have you tried Joe Abercrombie? He's a fantastic fantasy writer that blends dark and entertaining pretty well. Scott Lynch is really solid too.

If you're willing to step outside of the sci-fi/fantasy genre, Station Eleven is the best thing I've read from the last few years. It's superb. I'm also very fond of David Wong's John Dies at the End novels, and his sci-fi novel Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is pretty great to boot.

Um, what else? 11/22/63 is the best thing Stephen King has written since Bag of Bones, and it's a great entry point for his novels if you haven't tried them. Brotherhood of the Wheel is a fantastically weird take on the horror genre, and is perfect if you liked something like Near Dark. I've been really getting into Joe Lansdale's novels. The man is a multi-genre success story, and is the guy behind Bubba Ho-Tep.

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#15 Edited by BisonHero (11564 posts) -

@bmccann42 said:

@bisonhero: Simmons gets a bit "religious-y" after that. I like his writing but there is something odd feeling about some of it.

I loved Ilium and Olympos, but they kind of lose the plot towards the end, and it makes a whole bunch of logic jumps to get to it's ending (which is still a bit of mess in my memory).

I also remember parts of Endymion and Rise of Endymion just seeming random as fuck. Like there's a lengthy section where the titular character is kayaking around for a few chapters and gets a kidney stone and we get quite a few pages about the excruciating pain, and I remember the passage seeming like a baffling inclusion for any reason other than "OK, I guess Simmons had a kidney stone sometime shortly before writing this book."

But yeah, "religious-y" is maybe the reason. I know there were a zillion other factions at play in the novels, but my overall takeaway from Endymion/Rise of Endymion is pretty much that the Catholic Church are the bad guys because organized religion is The Man, while Aenea is great and magical because she represents personal spirituality or whatever the fuck. The overall implications just felt kinda preachy, not unlike some of my problems with His Dark Materials. Maybe I personally have a hard time caring about this kind of conflict because both organized religion and self-guided spirituality do nothing for me.

And then at the end, it turns out humans can just tap their brains into string theory and teleport to anywhere in the universe if they really want, or something; it's not that I need everything to be hard sci-fi, but if something is magic just call it magic, don't try to justify it. Again, I'll mention that the two books were still very good reads, but it felt like a weird use of Simmons' past work to take the more or less fully resolved ending of Fall of Hyperion (which was maybe a little too neat) and then say "but actually" and proceed to bring up a bunch of new shit and bring back the Shrike and a handful of characters from the first two books.

I have strong opinions on the topic of these books.

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#16 Posted by e30bmw (650 posts) -

@burncoat: Sounds interesting, I’ll check it out.

@BladeofCreation: Also sounds good.

Anyone read Red Rising, Collapsing Emprie, or Gardens of the Moon? I’ve heard good things about those as well.

I recently started re-reading Gardens of the Moon. Malazan Book of the Fallen is easily my favorite series of all time. But it's very dense and the first book just kind of drops you in and it can take a little bit to get your bearings.

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#17 Posted by kopcik (98 posts) -
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#18 Posted by Jaqen_HGhar (1368 posts) -

Since a lot of what I would have recommended already has been (seriously, read Malazan Book of the Fallen, it is great) I'm going to try something a bit different: The Bobiverse. Starts with "We are Legion". I listened to the audiobooks, which I might even recommend doing as they are awesome, but I am sure the books themselves are great reads.

I also liked the two Chronicle of the Fallers books. They are stand-alone books in a series called Commonwealth Saga, which I have not read. But from how the CotF went, I know I am going to read the Commonwealth Saga eventually.

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#19 Posted by bmccann42 (395 posts) -
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#20 Posted by Gooddoggy (552 posts) -

Someone already mentioned Ian M. Banks' Culture books, so seconding that. Fantastic series. I really like Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga, which is character-driven military space opera with a big focus on identity, family dynamics, and parenting. If you liked Name of the Wind, you might want to check out Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (there are like a dozen more books in that series if you like it); the main character reminds me of Kvothe in a lot of ways.

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#21 Posted by DocHaus (2757 posts) -

The Water Knife and The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. You can read them in whichever order you want, but they both take place in a world where climate change fucked everything up and humanity deals with the aftermath.

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#22 Edited by Big_Denim (831 posts) -

This isn't really related to the other stuff you've read, but I recently picked up Uzumaki and it's probably the first thing in years that's really captivated me and hasn't felt like a chore or slog to get through.

I may try Hyperion again. I have started it multiple times and I always fall off after about a hundred pages or so.

Overall, I just really wish I didn't suck at reading :(

EDIT: @gristlemcthornbody - I just remembered a series I really enjoyed that may fit in with your tastes. Consider reading Shadow & Claw by Gene Wolfe. His writing style can take a little while to get used to, but I found the story to be very rich and engaging once I adapted to it.

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#23 Posted by whitegreyblack (1949 posts) -

If you're into trying out some more classic hard sci-fi, try the Ringworld series from Larry Niven. All of it is good, even the more recent series by Niven & Edward Lerner. However, make sure you start at the beginning - I would not jump in on a later book/series because it all works together. Try the first book and see how you feel about it.

If you have not read Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama, check that out, but avoid all the sequels as they answer all the "questions" of the initial book to the point that it renders it all meaningless.

I really like Neil Asher's stuff that I've read thus far.

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#24 Posted by GristleMcThornbody (216 posts) -

@bisonhero: You make valid points throughout your post. I also had the same problem with "His Dark Materials". For some reason all the ridiculousness just gelled for me when I was reading Endymion/Rise of Endymion though.

@whitegreyblack: I loved Rendezvous with Rama and a few other Clarke books as well. Good advice on the sequels.

@e30bmw: Malazan books are sounding pretty great, I think those are next on the list.

This is an awesome list, thanks so much everyone. I knew this community would point me in the right direction.

Now, I just have to find the time to read all of these!

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#25 Posted by whitegreyblack (1949 posts) -

Have fun!

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#26 Posted by wollywoo (233 posts) -

Read Octavia Butler's "Parable of the Sower." Best dystopian/post-apocalyptic book I know of.

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#27 Edited by Charongreed (110 posts) -

What 40k books have you read? The Horus Heresy stuff is generally pretty good, and generally anything that makes it to an omnibus is pretty good(I loved the Ravenor and Word Bearer omnibuses), but what your taste is should inform what you try.

Related, have you every read any of the Mechwarrior world of books? They're really similar to the 40k world in that they just gave it to a bunch of authors and let them build the world, and some of those books are fantastic. I'll see if I can dig up some of my old ones and give you a few specific names.

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#28 Posted by Sarnecki (1347 posts) -

I just finished The Six Gun Tarot, part of the Golgotha trilogy. It was fun and I liked it a lot! Imagine if Stephen Kings Salems Lot was set in a small Nevada town during the wild west, and instead of vampires the villains slowly taking over the town were Lovecraftian Old One horrors. Add in a dash of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural and that's pretty much accurate. A fun Halloween read, as I was specifically looking for a "town being overrun by evil" kind of horror story.

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#29 Posted by hermes (2589 posts) -

Have you read Discworld? It might not be up your alley, since its Fantasy more than Science Fiction, but I can't help to recommend it to anyone.

So, yeah... you should read Discworld.

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#30 Posted by chrispaul92 (149 posts) -

I've been reading through a lot of John Scalzi's books this year. Check out the Old Mans War series and Redshirts for sure. His current series is called The Interedependecy and he just released book 2 (of a planned three I think) this week Tuesday and they're both good.

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#31 Posted by Vamino (284 posts) -

I would recommend anything by Vonnegut, but I adore his work so I am slightly biased. Sirens of Titan is a great book and a snappy read.

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#32 Posted by marceloblvictor (12 posts) -

Here just to echo the recommendations for Malazan Book of the Fallen (Gardens of the Moon). I'm currently reading the third book and it has worldbuilding and lore like I've never seen before. Great fantasy series! I already consider it better than Song of Ice and Fire and Stormlight Archives, just for contextualization.

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#33 Posted by MeMonk (320 posts) -

Check out C.S Friedman she is a great sci-fi author. Start with maybe Madness Season or In Conquest Born.

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#34 Posted by PurpleOddity (97 posts) -

The Broken Earth series is the most compelling work of fantasy I've read since The Name of the Wind. In short, its set on a tectonically unstable world where the threat of Armageddon is ever present (and has happened many times before.) 'Orogenes' are people with the ability to magically manipulate the planet's mantle and keep the earthquakes at bay; they're treated with suspicion though, and are more-or-less enslaved by the powers that be. The first book is called The Fifth Season. It's real dope.

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#35 Posted by vinny (6744 posts) -

I recently wrapped up the current Stormlight Archives and really enjoyed them for the most part, though it sounds like I really need to jump on the Malazan stuff (which I apparently already have in my audible library!). Also, based on the books you have listed you might want to look into Seveneves by Stephenson. Not my absolute favorite, but has some really great and memorable parts.

Staff
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#36 Posted by Rorie (5635 posts) -

I second the Mars Trilogy but then everything Kim Stanley Robinson does has some amount of amazingness in it. I will also always recommend the Dagger and Coin series of books from Daniel Abraham (co-writer of the Expanse books, which are also great) if you don't mind some fantasy.

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#37 Posted by whitegreyblack (1949 posts) -

A couple of other older recommendations:

Jerry Pournelle's Birth of Fire was good.

I absolutely adored Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's collaborations The Mote in God's Eye & The Gripping Hand.

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#38 Edited by Excitable_Misunderstood_Genius (346 posts) -
  • Cryptonomicon, Baroque Cycle Trilogy, and the unrelated Seveneves if you want to lean into Stephenson. Reamde can be safely ignored, Anathem is take it or leave it. It's good but it's also a little more out there. It does however probably have Stephenson's strongest denouement of all his books, something he's been criticized about elsewhere.
  • Ann Leike's Imperial Radch books (starting with Ancillary Justice) are really quite good, and I recommend them wholeheartedly.
  • NK Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy (Starting with The Fifth Season) are a LOT to deal with, but they are also some of the best books I've read in a long time and really have shit to say.
  • If you like the Reality Disfunction series then you probably should check out Hamilton's commonwealth books. Well, Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained at least. Following books jump timelines and settings and become less essential as they go, although I do think there is value in the Void trilogy.
  • Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series (starting with The Way Of Kings) is a very strong series of books, but god be careful because you can just get tossed off in tangents to his other weaker Cosmere books and like, that's a lot of work. A lot.
  • Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy (starting with The Assassin's Apprentice) are some of the best fantasy books I've ever read. The following trilogies and other related and unrelated works of hers have varying quality.

Somewhat tangentially, The Name Of the Wind is the such a piece of god awful embarrassing piece of sad wish fulfillment that I had to stop listening to the McElroy brothers because they like it so much. Truly risible. Just, man, so bad. So so bad. But you know, to each their own.

@vinny Seveneves is basically a great book establishing a universe, the the first half of a book following up on it. Not sure what happened to the rest of it.