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What Else Are You Reading? > Need to Expand My Horizons

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Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments I have read so much post-apocalpytic/dystopian science fiction lately that I'm burned out on it. I know that it's the trendy thing, but I'm tired of the end of the world/society. Another SF category I'm getting tired of is military SF. I'm currently reading Beggars in Spain and it's so refreshing. It's about genetic engineering, prejudice and class. No war and the world isn't ending. I also loved Blue Remembered Earth and think it fits well with what I'm looking for.

So, what's new and refreshing in SF? I'd like to keep recommendations to SF rather than fantasy.


Rich (JustAnotherGringo) | 95 comments I saw that you read "The Sparrow" by Mary Doria Russell, but I don't see that you ever read the sequel, "Children of God". It's not as good as Sparrow, which was amazing, but it's still very good. If you like Russell, you might also try reading, "A Thread of Grace". It's not SciFi (historical fiction), but it's tremendously moving.

You had a few Connie Willis books on your Read list, but I didn't see "To Say Nothing of the Dog". It's a bit more lighthearted than the three time travel books you've already read.

They creep around the border between SciFi and Fantasy, but there are two newer Laundry Files books from Charles Stross that aren't on your bookshelf as read, and you might want to try Accelerando too for pure SciFi.

I saw that you have the Adventures of the Slick Six on your To Read list. Once you get over your burn out on the post apocalyptic (and it's more a post financial meltdown anyway), you'll really like it. You might check out Spaceman Blues instead, also by Slattery.

I didn't realize until now that I've suddenly started reading more Fantasyish books than SciFi, but I hope this helps.


message 3: by Sandi (last edited Jan 12, 2013 04:57PM) (new)

Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments LOL. Rich, I've read every book you mentioned except Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America. Spaceman Blues: A Love Song was one seriously weird read, but quite good. It bordered on literary fiction.

Oh, I also haven't read A Thread of Grace yet either. It's sitting on my bookshelf though.

Connie Willis is my favorite author and I have probably read everything she's written. I first came across her back in the early Nineties when I read her short story "All My Darling Daughters" in Asimov's Science Fiction magazine. She's wonderful.


Geoff (GeoffGreer) | 214 comments You mentioned one Alastair Reynolds book, I'll offer another: House of Suns. Far future, no military, awesome technology. Great book!

I'll also say Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey. But maybe you already that since it was club pick in July.


message 5: by Sandi (last edited Jan 12, 2013 07:35PM) (new)

Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments Geoff wrote: "You mentioned one Alastair Reynolds book, I'll offer another: House of Suns. Far future, no military, awesome technology. Great book!

I'll also say Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey. But maybe you..."



Both of those books are really good. I think part of my problem is that I've read too much.

Alastair Reynolds is really good. I've got Revelation Space on my iPod. Maybe I'll give that a listen.


message 6: by Todd (last edited Jan 12, 2013 08:47PM) (new)

Todd (Motorcycleman) | 31 comments I'm having the same issue you are, though am finding remedy in a different way I guess. I've started delving back into the past. There's gotta be gold back there, and I'll dig it up. Ravenor: The Omnibus by Dan Abnett was good for me, just to give a suggestion. Sleuthy. I haven't read much Dick, or Bradbury, or Vance, to name a few.

I always want to read the newest stuff because everyone's talking about it, but I know there are great forgotten things just sitting out there somewhere waiting to be read.


Rich (JustAnotherGringo) | 95 comments Sandi wrote: "LOL. Rich, I've read every book you mentioned except Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America.

Dooh! That just proves the reading of GR bookshelves is a job best left to the professionals! Anyway, I'm relieved to know that my recommendations, if moot, were still on target.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1818 comments Nexus by Ramez Naam was good, getting towards the subject of post humans. It is the opposite of apocalyptic, although the same subject matter in the hands of other authors would be much darker. I've also been enjoying the quantum thief books by Hannu Rajaniemi.

I also highly recommend The Dervish House by Ian McDonald and Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson for cybery romps through middle eastern settings, which is a new trend combining politics and religion into future tech. Wilson may be more on the fantasy side.


Janet | 49 comments How about going international? There is an award for best science fiction and fantasy translations. This years winner was Zero by Huang Fan. I haven't read any of them so I can't vouch for it personally, but might shake you up from your current patterns. I also try to find books from different voices; for me this is more female, non-white, non-American/British/Canadian.


kvon | 538 comments Here's some orbital sf--The Highest Frontier by Slonczewski, Horizons by Rosenblum. More political than military. I find mostly fantasy titles on my shelves these days.


message 11: by Nathan (last edited Jan 13, 2013 02:52PM) (new)

Nathan (Tenebrous) | 269 comments I would recommend the Laundry series by Charles Stross. It starts with The Atrocity Archives (don't judge the book by the cover btw).

It is a very different, yet great paranormal adventure/spy story, set with supernatural elements very different from Vampires/Werewolves/Fey/Angles that crop up in most urban/contemporary fantasy.

The characters and plot are gripping without being well worn or predicatable.

Edit: Forgot to mention why I put this in when you are asking for SF. Namely, the "Magic" in the Laundry series is a type of science, in the sense it is mathematical, follows "natural laws", etc. Strouss mixes freely his "magic" with some emerging ideas in physics on the nature of the universe (the ideas in Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story are an example of this branch of thinking)


Trike | 1263 comments Based on your ratings, you might like Mammoth by John Varley. It's fairly lightweight and Varley is on cruise control, but even like that he's entertaining.


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments Nathan wrote: "I would recommend the Laundry series by Charles Stross. It starts with The Atrocity Archives (don't judge the book by the cover btw).

It is a very different, yet great paranormal adventure/spy st..."



I love the Laundry series. I hope a new one comes out soon. They work especially well in audio.


Trike wrote: "Based on your ratings, you might like Mammoth by John Varley. It's fairly lightweight and Varley is on cruise control, but even like that he's entertaining."

I just took a look at Mammoth and have added it to my Nook wishlist. It sounds right up my alley.

Jenny, I really, really loved Alif the Unseen. I listened to The Quantum Thief and was thoroughly confused. I've read the first chapter on my Nook and it's just as confusing as listening. I actually pre-ordered The Dervish House and never finished it. That's strange because Ian McDonald is one of my favorite authors. I may have to dust that one off.


Frank Hofer | 8 comments If you haven't read Year Zero give it a try. My only regret is that I waited so long after downloading it to read it.


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments Frank wrote: "If you haven't read Year Zero give it a try. My only regret is that I waited so long after downloading it to read it."

I got my son a copy of that for Christmas. I have to wait for him to read it before I can borrow it. Considering that he's only 3 books into the Dreden Files, I might have a while to wait.

I just finished Beggars in Spain. It was exactly the kind of book I was looking for.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1818 comments Sandi wrote: "I just finished Beggars in Spain. It was exactly the kind of book I was looking for. ..."
Good to hear; I recently got a copy myself after liking the short story. Do you think you'll read the other beggars books?


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments There are more?


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments Jenny wrote: "See: http://www.goodreads.com/series/54841..."

Hmm. The sequels aren't available for the Nook. I did find them on Audible though. Book 2 is on my wishlist.


Brian Kasten (BrianKasten) | 2 comments Perhaps you'd enjoy pre-apocalyptic? If so, check out Reign: Genesis.


Dharmakirti | 676 comments How about Embassytown by China Mieville? It's linguistic sci-fi that also deals with colonization.


message 22: by Tamahome (last edited Feb 01, 2013 11:50AM) (new)

Tamahome | 4498 comments Jennifer Pelland's Machine is very different. The main character isn't very happy at some points though.

Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon was a fresh take on sf noir when it came out. (or Steel Remains for fantasy)


Sandi (Sandikal) | 1114 comments Brian wrote: "Perhaps you'd enjoy pre-apocalyptic? If so, check out Reign: Genesis."

That looks good, but pre-apocalyptic is very much like post-apocalyptic/apocalyptic/dystopian.

Dharmakirti wrote: "How about Embassytown by China Mieville? It's linguistic sci-fi that also deals with colonization."

That's a book that I started to read in print and quickly realized that it would probably be better in audio because of the language. I was right. It's one of the best audiobooks I've listened to of any genre.

Tamahome wrote: "Jennifer Pelland's Machine is very different. The main character isn't very happy at some points though.

Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon was a fresh take on sf noir when it came out. (or Steel ..."


I haven't heard of Jennifer Pelland. I'll check her out. I absolutely loved Altered Carbon, can't say the same for The Steel Remains. That was too icky.

In an effort to move away from dystopia, of course I read The Handmaid's Tale. ;} And I'm avoiding apocalypses by reading Flood. I'm probably not going to finishFlood because it will disappear from my Nook on the 5th and I'm only halfway through.


Owen Crabtree | 6 comments snow crash and the diamond age by neal stephenson are both brillant books


Sam | 25 comments Neither of these are new, but they are different than the genres you mention:

The Mote in God's Eye - My favorite first contact novel.

Rainbows End - About a man "waking up" from Alzheimer's after a new medical treatment becomes available, and how he must now adapt to a changed world.


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