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Common Bookshelf

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message 1: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Schuster | 1 comments Mod
I haven't actually used the groups feature on Goodreads before, but perhaps the group bookshelf is a good place to share recommendations for the group.

message 2: by Tony (new)

Tony Garnock-Jones (leastfixedpoint) | 2 comments I've just added a bunch of recommendations to the group bookshelf, from a blog post I made lo these many years hence. Here's the text of the post (without links; for those, see the original I guess):

A few of my favourite authors and works of speculative fiction (SF, a.k.a science fiction):

* Vernor Vinge, in particular "A Fire Upon The Deep" and "A Deepness In The Sky". Both are, to me, tremendously exciting books. I particularly enjoyed "Deepness" because of the (at times blunt) allegory with our twentieth century and its accelerating race headlong into the unknown. The climax of the book is thoroughly electrifying. "Fire" has some lovely moments too, both from the viewpoint of a society that has long ago passed the critical moments of a singularity and from the viewpoint of a medieval society undergoing first contact. Vinge is adept at expressing not only the vast potential of the post-human condition, but also its horror and claustrophobia. He is the originator of the very idea of a technological singularity, and his writing has been influential on many other authors whose work I enjoy. (His other books are good, though not great, as well; and the until-recently hard-to-find novella "True Names" is credited with inventing the notion of cyberspace or virtual reality, as well as giving glimpses into what a post-human future could be like.)

* Neal Stephenson, in particular "The Diamond Age" and his most recent, "Anathem", though all his other books are highly stimulating and entertaining as well (in particular "Snow Crash" and "Cryptonomicon"). I have a particular soft spot for "The Diamond Age" for some reason: something about it (the Mouse Army; the way Miranda and Hackworth commit to their charges; the way the Primer teaches) really pushes some kind of emotional button. Stephenson's commentaries on social issues and morality are thought-provoking, too, both in "The Diamond Age" and his other novels.

* Greg Egan, in particular "Permutation City", "Diaspora" and some of his short stories. Another programmer-turned-science-fiction-author, Egan writes the hardest of hard SF. "Permutation City" is a mind-blowing (and at times very difficult) exploration of the fundamental nature of reality and experience that deeply changed the way I see the world and led me down some pretty dark paths in philosophy. His writing isn't quite solely responsible for my current philosophical positions (Absurdism, moral anti-realism), but it certainly helped me get traction on some of the relevant issues.

message 3: by Stevie (new)

Stevie (sstrickl) | 1 comments I feel similarly to you re: The Diamond Age, which seems to be people's least favorite of his SF books. Dunno why they feel that way. I still need to go back and finish Reamde.

I'm just going to go train-of-thought here for a sec, since I should be doing other things, but I'll add recommendations for The Forever War and Blindsight. I also have a soft spot for The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I'll come back to this later and add more.

message 4: by Tony (new)

Tony Garnock-Jones (leastfixedpoint) | 2 comments Stevie wrote: "... Blindsight ..."

Oh, Blindsight is excellent. Horror/SF, almost. A very dark vision indeed. Peter Watts is quite a character, too: I've been enjoying following his blog. I recently read all three of his "Rifters" novels; definitely early works, but I enjoyed them. (More than I enjoyed the early works of Vinge, just as a point of comparison.)

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