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Recommend Some Books

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15 Feb 2016 14:50 - 15 Feb 2016 15:00 #222532 by Mr. White
I've been off fiction reading for a good long time, but I'm ready to dive back into some. I want to try and read three books from each of these nerd genres before the year is out. So, give me your top three suggestions in the following categories:

Cyberpunk - maybe post-apoc -
Anything beyond Neuromancer and Snow Crash? I hate to say it, but I'm inching towards that first Android novel, Golem,...

Horror Western
I'd like to be sure and include some Joe R. Lansdale here. Which are his best? Which should take one of these three slots? I'm cool if his books take all three.

Sci-Fi
Is this Expanse series really worth it?

Fantasy
Like Landsale, I think I want to know about Joe Abercombie. Are his worth reading? Brandon Sanderson? His name also comes to mind.
Last edit: 15 Feb 2016 15:00 by Mr. White.

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15 Feb 2016 15:10 - 15 Feb 2016 15:11 #222535 by Columbob
Replied by Columbob on topic Recommend Some Books
Fantasy: Joe Abercrombie: flips fantasy tropes over; dark humor; awkward sex scenes (about one in every book); gritty violence; flawed heroes. He recently wrote a YA trilogy which is apparently all but. His previous 6 books are set in the same world, the last of those, Red Country, could fit into your Horror (Fantasy)-Western category.

My personal favourite of the recent epic fantasy bunch is R. Scott Bakker. He's experiencing some unfortunate delays getting his final book published (now done for over a year) because of a seemingly uncaring publisher.

Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series is pretty great, and his books aren't door-stoppers. His Hungarian ancestry brings another flavor to his books.

Jeff Vandermeer's City of Saints and Madmen is wonderful.

China Miéville's homage to Moby Dick, Railsea, can be enjoyed by readers young and old.

Sci-Fi:
Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others. Some of the very best SF you'll ever read. Too bad Mr. Chiang is not very prolific.

Robert Charles Wilson's Spin. This won the Hugo Award back in 2005, for excellent reasons.

Kim Stanley Robinson's latest Aurora, in which we send a generation ship to settle a planet 10 LY away.
Last edit: 15 Feb 2016 15:11 by Columbob.

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15 Feb 2016 15:15 #222536 by Black Barney
Replied by Black Barney on topic Recommend Some Books

Mr. White wrote:
Sci-Fi


How about Stephen King's 11/22/63. I REALLY liked it a lot.

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15 Feb 2016 15:19 #222538 by metalface13
Replied by metalface13 on topic Recommend Some Books
Cyberpunk: Count Zero and Burning Chrome also by William Gibson. Count Zero is kind of a sequel to Neuromancer, and I'm a bit ashamed to just have learned that Mona Lisa Overdrive is the final bit of the Sprawl trilogy. I guess I need to read that one too. Burning Chrome is cyberpunk short stories by Gibson, Johnny Mneumonic is in there.

Horror Wester: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. It goes beyond horror and western though, also includes science fiction and fantasy. I'm "rereading" the series now by listening to it on audio book.

Fantasy: Hmmm I started reading "Best Served Cold" by Joe Abercrombie, it's about some badass woman who gets double-crossed and seeks revenge against the umpteen people who betrayed her. I got a little tired of it after the first 3-4 targets, I felt like it got repetitive. I really enjoy Brandon Sanderson though, his stories have a lot of unique ideas, monsters, magic etc, "mythology" if you will. His Mistborn series is really good. Patrick Rothfuss' "In The Name of the Wind" is kind of interesting. It's about this most powerful wizard in the world who ends up in hiding, and this guy finds him and convinces him to tell his life's story. It's two books into the series, and each book is like 700 pages and it's still very early into this super wizard dude's story. So kind of plodding, it's got an interesting magic system that's part science and alchemy though. But speaking of plodding, I know Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell has been getting flack in the "what books are you reading?" thread, but I really liked it.

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15 Feb 2016 15:22 #222539 by metalface13
Replied by metalface13 on topic Recommend Some Books
Oh another fantasy recommendation, not new by any means but I feel everyone should read The Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny. One of my all time favorite series. There's like 10 books in the series but each one is probably 250 pages.

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15 Feb 2016 15:28 #222541 by Columbob
Replied by Columbob on topic Recommend Some Books

metalface13 wrote: Patrick Rothfuss' "In The Name of the Wind" is kind of interesting. It's about this most powerful wizard in the world who ends up in hiding, and this guy finds him and convinces him to tell his life's story. It's two books into the series, and each book is like 700 pages and it's still very early into this super wizard dude's story. So kind of plodding, it's got an interesting magic system that's part science and alchemy though.


I don't really get that he's "this most powerful wizard" at all. Sure he's special, and he's done some pretty crazy/awesome shit, but he's not all-powerful. I like the latent danger represented by the "fay" in this world, as in any other book with faeries really (such as Jonathan Strange, for instance).

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15 Feb 2016 15:46 #222543 by metalface13
Replied by metalface13 on topic Recommend Some Books

Columbob wrote:

metalface13 wrote: Patrick Rothfuss' "In The Name of the Wind" is kind of interesting. It's about this most powerful wizard in the world who ends up in hiding, and this guy finds him and convinces him to tell his life's story. It's two books into the series, and each book is like 700 pages and it's still very early into this super wizard dude's story. So kind of plodding, it's got an interesting magic system that's part science and alchemy though.


I don't really get that he's "this most powerful wizard" at all. Sure he's special, and he's done some pretty crazy/awesome shit, but he's not all-powerful. I like the latent danger represented by the "fay" in this world, as in any other book with faeries really (such as Jonathan Strange, for instance).


Right, but from the perspective of the older version of Kvothe, he's pretty legendary.

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15 Feb 2016 16:08 #222546 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Recommend Some Books
Cyberpunk, off the top of my head:
1. When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger - excellent cyberpunk set in a futuristic Mideast. First book in a good trilogy. Despite the setting, this book is very accessible to western readers. Amusing takedown of the James Bond concept in the opening pages, more than a decade before Vin Diesel did the same in xXx.

2. Vacuum Flowers, by Michael Swanwick - more sci-fi than just cyberpunk, but still contains definite cyberpunk elements.

3. Altered Carbon, by Richard K. Morgan - the best modern cyberpunk. This trilogy starts with classic cyberpunk style, featuring a hardboiled detective story in a cyber future. I actually prefer the second book, Broken Angels, but your mileage may vary.

4. Hardwired, by Walter Jon Williams - this early work by Williams is solidly cyberpunk, so much so that R. Talsorian Games got him to write it up as an official supplement for the Cyberpunk 2020 rpg.

5. Distraction, by Bruce Sterling - Sterling always does a credible job of speculating on the potential of technology, and here he addresses both cyberpunk and biotech, within a political context. Distraction pulls off the neat trick of nicely handling the texture of politics without basing it on current real-world political divisions. There is a fair amount of humor mixed into this book that might appeal to a fan of Snow Crash.

6. The Glass Hammer, by K.W. Jeter - This story is a low-key look at the potential impact of media in a near-future society, as a race car driver ends up as an object of worship for a religious cult. Jeter is better known for inventing the term steampunk back in the '80s, when he wrote Infernal Devices.

I also recommend additional books by the above authors, especially Island in the Net (Sterling) and Thirteen (Morgan). The Iron Dragon's Daughter (Swanwick) is perfect for Shadowrun fans, but has too many fantasy elements to be considered actual cyberpunk. Everything Gibson has written in recent years is not quite cyberpunk, being set just a few years in the future, though I still enjoyed it.

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15 Feb 2016 16:12 #222547 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Recommend Some Books

metalface13 wrote: Oh another fantasy recommendation, not new by any means but I feel everyone should read The Chronicles of Amber series by Roger Zelazny. One of my all time favorite series. There's like 10 books in the series but each one is probably 250 pages.


I second this recommendation. The first five books are actually more like 150 pages each, but feel longer because Zelazny writes with such economy. He has the remarkable ability to convey more information in a couple of sentences than some writers could say in a page. Definitely try the first book, which has one of the best openings in fiction, allowing the reader to learn about the setting just as quickly as the protagonist.
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15 Feb 2016 16:17 #222549 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Recommend Some Books
Horror Western: Offhand, the only book that I have read that fits this genre is by Joe R. Lansdale, and it was a short story collection called High Cotton. I believe most or even all the stories are horror, but only a few are set in the Old West. I didn't enjoy it as much as any of his books featuring Hap Collins and Leonard Pine.

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15 Feb 2016 16:49 #222550 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Recommend Some Books
Good suggestions, all!

I think I've got the three cyberpunk books picked out: Burning Chrome (some short stories would be nice), Altered Carbon (because I read Morgan's Market Forces and enjoyed that), and the third will be Hardwired based solely on this cover with 'not-Dolph Lundgren'.



I need to solidify the choices on the other three categories. Some sound great, but a 10 book series is not on the docket for me at this time. I'm hoping to spread the genres and 'catch-up' a little which is why I'm only going three from each.

One Hap and Leonard book sounds choice though. Should I read the first one?

Where should I start with R. Scott Bakker?

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15 Feb 2016 17:18 #222556 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Recommend Some Books

Mr. White wrote: One Hap and Leonard book sounds choice though. Should I read the first one?


The second one (Mucho Mojo) is a better story and still a decent introduction to the characters. But apparently there is going to be a Hap and Leonard tv show starting next month, and they are starting with the first book (Savage Season), given that they have cast Christina Hendricks as Hap's ex-wife.

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15 Feb 2016 18:18 #222563 by Almalik
Replied by Almalik on topic Recommend Some Books
Richard Morgan also wrote a pretty good fantasy series (the Steel Remains is the first one).

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15 Feb 2016 18:32 #222566 by the_jake_1973
Replied by the_jake_1973 on topic Recommend Some Books
I would recommend any of Joe Abercrombie's novels. Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding is a fun series. If you haven't read the Elric novels, I would suggest that you check those out at well.

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington. A tale of two graverobbers just looking for a better life.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist.

Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-Reading Monster Hercules Barefoot: His Wonderful Love and His Terrible Hatred by Carl-Johan Vallgren

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15 Feb 2016 19:16 #222574 by wadenels
Replied by wadenels on topic Recommend Some Books

Mr. White wrote: Fantasy
Like Landsale, I think I want to know about Joe Abercombie. Are his worth reading? Brandon Sanderson? His name also comes to mind.


I really enjoyed the Mistborn Trilogy; enough so that I read it twice a year or so apart. It's pretty easy reading and in a lot of ways is pretty traditional fantasy, but the worldbuilding is solid and the world is actually interesting. The style and foreshadowing are probably more young-adult fare, as about half the time I had a pretty good idea what the big reveals were before they were revealed. Still a lot of fun and worth the read though. I haven't read any other Sanderson stuff, but in Mistborn he does a great job of weaving a bunch of different threads in an interesting world and manages to tie them back up in a way that keeps you turning the pages.
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