Interim Coalition of Stephen Baxter discussion

General > Authors similar to Stephen Baxter?

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message 1: by Neofit (new)

Neofit | 5 comments Hi,

This groups seems to have had a very brief life 5 years ago. "A brief life burns brightly", huh? There is another Baxter group at, but it seems just as dead. I'm not sure if anyone will read this post, and what to do to fix that, but here goes:

Stephen Baxter is my favourite author, replacing Arthur C. Clarke. I only have the Flood and Emperor series left and I'm not sure about those. I need a similar author to read. I keep stumbling in the dark and wasting my time and money.

I like the Hard SF genre, the emphasis on "realism", the almost complete lack of action a-la laser swords and space-magic. Most of the time he offers a new concept to ponder, some new form of life, and of course some trademark cosmological issue threatening mankind or, taa-daa, the whole universe.

I've read a few old "similar to SB" threads on other forums, but haven't gathered anything useful from those so far.

* A.C. Clarke: sure, but I have read it all.

* Alastair Reynolds: I had picked up Revenger before seeing him as a "similar to SB" recommendation, and it blew my mind. That world he came up with, thousands of worldlets in a tiny space, regularly wiped and recolonized, re-discovering remains of ancient civilizations, etc., there is material here for at least a dozen books, not to mention an awesome computer game, but apparently it ended with just this one book.
Then after reading that he was recommended as an SB-alternative I got "Blue Remembered Earth", because I like long sagas. This one was quite disappointing, more like a soap opera, there may be something interesting happening at one point, but mid-way through the first book I felt I was wasting my time. It feels like "The Medusa Chronicles" were 90% Baxter and 10% Reynolds, so I am done picking his books at random.

* Greg Egan: I started with "The Clockwork Rocket". The world is new and interesting. The book is filled with "hard science", but come on. My Kindle says that I had toiled through 26% of it and it feels like 20% were a very boring and obtuse physics lesson. Even though SB can be sometimes a bit heavy on the science stuff, it usually lasts a couple of paragraphs only, not like hours and hours of classroom stuff I was glad to leave behind decades ago.

* Iain M. Banks: I tried "Consider Phlebas", with it being a saga and all. The world seemed interesting at first, but then: "The Querl Xoralundra, spy-father and warrior priest of the Four Souls tributory sect of Farn-Idir [...]". Wow, that's some pretty hardcore teen action stuff, I'll pass.

The first three authors I have listed happen to be the first ones to appear the "similar to SB" page on GR. I'm not sure how this list in compiled, so I'd rather ask readers: any real Hard SF authors I might try then? Anything like the "Xeelee Sequence", "The Long Cosmos", "Ultima", "Time" ? And, if possible, in a few words, what book and why?

message 2: by Neofit (last edited Dec 24, 2018 11:29PM) (new)

Neofit | 5 comments Shane wrote: "I loved Stephen Baxter's Xelee books, and like you have been looking for someone similar. I recently finished Ian Douglas' Star Carrier series. It's not Stephen Baxter, but it was enjoyable. It's m..."
Thank you for your response.

By "military SF", do you mean the kind featuring some ninja-cleric of some_level of some_sect of some_order raining down magic on the galaxy, or closer to Starship Troopers for instance (Heinlein's book, not the teen movie)?

On my side, I've gotten Ben Bova's "Powersat" (The Grand Tour Series Book 1 of 20. It starts a bit like Malenfant building up his company. I doubt there will be 20 variations of some cosmological event threatening humanity and whatnot, but I'll be happy if it gets close to the NASA trilogy. We'll see how it goes.

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