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Thread: The Book Thread

  1. #751
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    Started reading The Bridge by Iain Banks today.
    Have just finished this. Not bad by any means, but not quite as good as I had hoped for. Enjoyed it nonetheless.

    Have now started on The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami.

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    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentstriker View Post
    Hard-scifi fans only.
    Are those just the ones that collected the C-3PO boner card?
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  3. #753
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    Are those just the ones that collected the C-3PO boner card?
    Well, Star Wars (and Star Trek) is extremely far from hard-scifi. Hard scifi are generally the type of books by Arthur C Clarke or Stephen Baxter, rather than the space opera type stories such as Star Wars. The reason I say 'only' because it's a slightly more niche market, since it is lower on characterization and big on the ideas, and probably requires a little bit more scientific knowledge (e.g, things like what time dilation is, not mathematically but conceptually).
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  4. #754
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    As an aside, Reynolds is quickly becoming my favorite author in this genre - his books in the Revelation Space universe are consistantly really good, and as I just said, the House of Suns is absolutely brilliant - hard scifi at its best. He just signed a million pound deal to author ten books in the next ten years, so I hope he chooses to write books within the House of Suns universe as part of that - it's certainly big enough to inspire many books within it, and I hope that happens.

    The thing about hard scifi is the lack of truly original ideas - and when the genre depends on the idea instead of the character, it's a pretty big problem. Reynolds has pretty consistantly showed imagination and brilliant set of ideas, rivalled probably only by Stephen Baxter of the hard scifi authors who are alive today. I think Baxter's ideas a re "bigger", but you sometimes feel he gets caught up in his own imagination and lets it run a little too wild, where Reynolds does a good job of grounding his ideas while still going for the Big Picture (e.g, the universe and humanities place through billions of years, not just a person, or a planet, or a species). Baxter also probably requires a bit more background in terms of scientific knowledge to read - especially when he starts going crazy with quantim spaceships and ancient technology built out of the fabric of space-time itself. On the other hand, the books set in his Xeelee Sequence are probably the largest in terms of scope of any book ever written by any person in history...

    There are other promising authors, such as Spin by Robert Wilson, which I thought was the best hard scifi book of that year (and won the Hugo), but the sequels weren't that good (below average I thought). Then you have guys like Peter Hamilton who produce enjoyable books but sometimes it's too close to space opera (while still staying within the outer edge of hard sci-fi) for my tastes, though I am really looking forward for the last book in his Void trilogy coming out in August.

    It's tough being a hard-scifi book fan - not a huge market, and not too many authors who are true to the genre. I read probably 50 hard-scifi novels a year (have over 500 at my home by now), and it's so refreshing to see some truly original ideas back in the genre after the departure of guys like Clarke.

    Anyway, I've no idea who this post was for, but it was just something I was thinking about as I was reading the House of Suns.


  5. #755
    International 12th Man David's Avatar
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    Larry Niven clearly the best Hard Sci-Fi author...

    To suggest otherwise would be to have a different opinion to myself..
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  6. #756
    Spanish_Vicente sledger's Avatar
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    What do you make of Iain M Banks' sci-fi SS? I've read all of his and found the majority of them quite good. That said, I find them to be stories which focus more on character development and relationships set against a sci-fi background (albeit a pretty good one in most cases tbf) rather than a sci-fi novel so to speak. Quite enjoyed a lot of Peter Hamilton's books though. The Night's Dawn Trilogy was pretty epic, if somewhat implausible.

  7. #757
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David View Post
    Larry Niven clearly the best Hard Sci-Fi author...

    To suggest otherwise would be to have a different opinion to myself..
    Haha. For me, the first book in the Ringworld series was really good, the rest were pretty bad. I am not a huge fan of the rest of his work either.

    Quote Originally Posted by sledger View Post
    What do you make of Iain M Banks' sci-fi SS? I've read all of his and found the majority of them quite good. That said, I find them to be stories which focus more on character development and relationships set against a sci-fi background (albeit a pretty good one in most cases tbf) rather than a sci-fi novel so to speak. Quite enjoyed a lot of Peter Hamilton's books though. The Night's Dawn Trilogy was pretty epic, if somewhat implausible.
    Night's Dawn was OK - it's not where my particular interest lies, and as you say, we probably look for different things. Iain M Banks has some decent novels in the Culture universe but I can't really get into it as much. It's not like the Hyperion series and a couple other books by Dan Simmons where sometimes I'm fascinated, but too often I feel myself rolling my eyes at the characters. I mean seriously, she wants to be an architect!!??...yea real smooth...I get it. Anyway, Banks does do characters better than that, so if you're into it, you can do well.

    If you like character driven novels along with the big picture, I'd recommend someone like Charles Stross, who does an excellent job. But I'm an ideas junkie, so I think I'll probably always gravitate to series like the Xelee Sequence where characterization is thin, and probably impossible (considering the series takes place over literally a trillion years...).

    Have you read the Void Trilogy from Hamilton (and the three books from the Commonwealth Universe that precede it)? Also, I'm a bit of a Baxter fanboi as I mentioned, so you should definitely try a few books in the Xelee sequence...I can recommend one if you want .

  8. #758
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    SS, would you characterise Frank Herbert's Dune series as hard-sci-fi? I'm guessing almost certainly not, but in some respects it fits the criteria that you're talking about - a story line that in many ways is how fundamental changes in how our understanding of time works, and how genetics work, and maps how they play out over the span of thousands of years for the species. (I'm not talking about the rubbish 'sequels' written by Kevin Anderson and Brian Herbert btw).
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  9. #759
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79 View Post
    SS, would you characterise Frank Herbert's Dune series as hard-sci-fi? I'm guessing almost certainly not, but in some respects it fits the criteria that you're talking about - a story line that in many ways is how fundamental changes in how our understanding of time works, and how genetics work, and maps how they play out over the span of thousands of years for the species. (I'm not talking about the rubbish 'sequels' written by Kevin Anderson and Brian Herbert btw).
    I would definitely not consider it such. I'm not knocking Dune but it's not my cup of tea and it's far from hard-scifi (IMO). One thing about hard scifi is that it's scientifically plausible (which is also why it is a bit of a niche since it requires a some scientific knowledge to appreciate). Dune is more like A Song of Ice and Fire - in space...dealing with politics, human society, etc.

    I keep mentioning it like a broken record, but the archetype hard scifi book/series would be the Xeelee Sequence and the Manifold Trilogy from Stephen Baxter. Once you read those, I think the difference becomes clear (at least to me).

  10. #760
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    To further expand on Dune, a series which many people consider to be a classic is a the Foundation series by Asimov. It takes place over a long time, involves lots of characters, deals with the entire galaxy, etc. And I really enjoyed Foundation series (the prequels as well, perhaps they were even better) but the Big Idea still doesn't encompass what I'd look for in the traditional hard scifi (and the science isn't plausible - anytime you start dealing with FTL, you lose a lot IMO - especially an appreciation of the size and magnitude of deep space and deep time).

  11. #761
    International Captain cover drive man's Avatar
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    Read to kill a mockingbird recently. Brilliant book.
    Everyone wants to change the world, noone wants to change himself.

    -Tolstoy

  12. #762
    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cover drive man View Post
    Read to kill a mockingbird recently. Brilliant book.
    Remarkable book, my all-time favourite. Have read it a zillion times.

    So many life lessons, all through the eyes of a child.

    If you read it and you're not moved by it, I'd recommend a humanisation program.
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  13. #763
    International Captain cover drive man's Avatar
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    Yeah, really moving.

  14. #764
    Request Your Custom Title Now! Flem274*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgey View Post
    If you read it and you're not moved by it, I'd recommend a humanisation program.


    In my defence I read it in English class back in the day. English ruins every book.
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    There was an article on BBC's website about To Kill a Mockingbird the other day, pushing me to want to re-read it. Problem is it is a book I can't stop once I've started. I have read it in a single sitting before..... and I don't want to waste my week off!

    Read Bernard Cornwell Azincourt the other week, first book of his I've read outside the Sharpe series. Not exactly a classic writer with his prose, but the stories are enjoyable enough, and he does do a decent job of capturing the era in the readers mind without turning it into a fairytale setting... Sometimes do feel he writes by numbers though.
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