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Thread: Science Fiction

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Science Fiction

    Been re-reading some of the Douglas Adams stuff lately. This time around it felt like there was a bit of a quality drop off after the first two and Life, The Universe and Everything was a bit weaker. Going to carry on and will have to see how I find So long, and thanks for all the fish this time around.

    Anyone read any of the Dirk Gently stuff?

    So yeah, thread for Sci-fi books. Any recommendations would be great or as an Asimov fan anyone who really wants to get into that would be very welcome!

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #2
    Senior Member 205 Clive's Avatar
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    I've read the first 3 books in the Foundation series by Asimov. Really enjoyed them!

    I'm a big fan of Peter F Hamilton. He lands very much on the side of Hard Sci-fi, but is more often than not a rewarding read with a pretty bleak look at the distant future.

    Anybody read the Culture series by Iain M Banks? I've read The Player of Games which I quite enjoyed, but after struggling to get into The Algebraist, I was put off. I known it's also helpful to read in order, but if anyone in here suggests that this project would be worth my time, I might give it a bash.
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    I read the first one in the Culture series, Consider Phlebas. I got through it but honestly, I found it a bit of a slog and I didn't get as much out of it as I'd want to from a book of that size. Still, as the first stop in the series, it might be one to take a look at if you enjoyed Player of Games, which I think comes next?

    What I will say though is Algebraist isn't one of the main culture series so if you did enjoy the other one that you've read, maybe don't be put off? But yeah, I didn't get on with it really. I also had a go at reading Matter but I couldn't get into it either so I just don't think it chimes with me.


    I've read all the Foundation stuff that was actually written by Asimov but haven't branched out into the work by other authors yet. I enjoyed Roger Allan MacBride's Star Wars novels so I've been intrigued by the idea of reading his Caliban series in that world.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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    Senior Member 205 Clive's Avatar
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    Oh right - I thought it was Player of Games that wasn't "officially" a Culture book. May need to do a bit of research into that series' reading order etc then.

    Asimov books to me read kind of like a manifesto. The early stages of the Foundation trilogy seemed like what tondo when the possibility of war lands on your doorstep. It was very interesting.

    This may irk some, but even though I really like the sci-fi genre, I've never been a big Star Wars fan. There, I said it!
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    No, I get it. I was into it a lot more as a kid and a teenager and starting growing out of it a bit by the time I was fifteen or so. It's a lot of fun, but I think people sometimes build it into something much more than that because people have a hard time accepting that something they like is just 'fun' rather than being 'good'. And that's led to all kinds of problems in that franchise, I think. But I digress, and really and truly that's a conversation for the TV and Movies bit of the board.

    In terms of the culture series, here is the main run:

    Consider Phlebas 1987
    The Player of Games 1988
    Use of Weapons 1990
    The State of the Art 1991
    Excession 1996
    Inversions 1998
    Look to Windward 2000
    Matter 2008
    Surface Detail 2010
    The Hydrogen Sonata 2012

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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    Senior Member 205 Clive's Avatar
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    I think if I sat down and watched all the films again (for first time in years), I might appreciate them more. Especially with young kids in the house who might lap it up.

    Excellent, thanks. I've taken a note of the series order for future reference.
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    No worries.

    You should have a look at some of the later Foundation novels. They change a lot, but they become more 'epic', for the lack of a better description. Might be up your street?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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    So I started reading something last night called The Mechanical. Best word I can use to describe it so far is steampunk, I guess. Impression I have so far is that it's around 200 years or so ago, religious wars between protestants and catholics are still going on (typified mostly here between the Dutch, who seem to be global players in a way that the English were back then), and the French - and there's a whole lot of mechanical 'slaves', for the lack of a better world, who are compelled to do the bidding of humans through some kind of internal mechanism that causes them pain if they don't comply.

    Hard to really explain so far but it's an interesting set-up so I'll check back in here when I'm a bit further along and more sure of what's happening.


    As the other bits got nuked the other modern sci-fi I'd read lately were Wesley Chu in his Tao series, and Adam Christopher's Empire State. More inclined to recommend the former myself, but if you like sci-fi crossed with superheroes and alternate versions of the world, then the latter could well be up your street.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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    The Brain
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    When will people learn, if you're going to make a mechanical servant don't let it feel pain in the first place! It'll just turn on you eventually!

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    Ok, so I know a bit more about it now. The mechanicals are invented by some kind of alchemical process, which leads to the Dutch becoming the lone superpower in the world. They dominate Europe, and the Catholics are reduced to some holdings in the new world, where the Pope and the King of France operate in exile. The Catholics seem to recognise the mechanicals as having 'souls' so it's a cause of moral degradation amongst the Dutch - while the protestants explicitly deny they can have free will, despite the fact that many escape through a kind of underground railroad to the new world.


    What I will say is I've read enough to recommend it highly. You can't get everything right for everyone, but there's just something about this.... I suspect that it'll go down well with more people than those who don't like it. I'm enjoying it, too - it's both literary and light/plot-driven, all at once.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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