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Recommend Some Books

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15 Feb 2016 19:50 - 15 Feb 2016 19:53 #222581 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic Recommend Some Books
Cyberpunk Nothing to add but Shellhead's recommendation of Altered Carbon, and also Morgan's Thirteen, which I liked as well.

Post-Apoc Strongly recommend Paolo Bacigalupi. Pump Six is short stories and a good intro to his style, he has novels set in some of the same energy-starved post-warming world. Top recommendation from him though is his most recent The Water Knife, which is near-future cutthroat water politics in the desert Southwest, featuring Texas as a failed state.

Sci-Fi I liked Neal Stephenson's Seveneves, but reviews from other FATties were mixed. I talked about it in book thread. I don't read much scifi anymore, though.

Nothing in the other categories, I really don't read world-building fantasy at all anymore. Near-future, magical realism, or historical fiction are my go-to books.
Last edit: 15 Feb 2016 19:53 by Not Sure.

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15 Feb 2016 20:16 #222583 by Jarvis
Replied by Jarvis on topic Recommend Some Books
I've read a bunch of the Sanderson books and enjoy them. I agree with what wadenels said about them. I've been catching up on his continuation of the Mistborn series (first trilogy was in a fantasy world, second was a few hundred years later in an old west style world).

One thing I want to see how he does is that he is creating a sort of Multiverse/Cosmere in his books, where they are all connected in some weird way. I don't know how that will pan out but I'm curious.

Overall I enjoy his books though and recommend them. I do think he could slow down his writing speed to edit and develop them a little better, but they are good.

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16 Feb 2016 01:47 #222596 by Cranberries
Replied by Cranberries on topic Recommend Some Books

wadenels wrote:

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.


My kids love MIstborn. My colleague at work plays boardgames with Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and some other uber nerds. Kevin J. Anderson made fun of the length of his stuff, in a non-mean way.

With some reservations I would recommend The Book of the New Sun. It is sprawling, fantasy/sci-fi and not for the easily bored or plot hungry. At times you will wonder where he is headed but the payoffs were impressive. You get the sense that acid was eaten during the writing of this book. I need to reread it, as I think it would be very satisfying to go through it a second time.

In his four-volume ''Book of the New Sun,'' Gene Wolfe stretched the boundaries of science fiction, claiming for himself the freedom to create an imaginary world of the far, far future unconstrained even by the laws of science as we know them today. Although such a narrative strategy makes good sense both esthetically and scientifically (considering how our view of the universe has changed in the last century, who can say what science will resemble in a million years?), the risks are great; few writers can body forth an entire universe on their own authority without seeming arbitrary. Mr. Wolfe demonstrated in ''The Book of the New Sun'' that he could dream a future so rich in detail and so persuasive in its internal logic that readers were eager to inhabit it on the author's terms --NYT
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16 Feb 2016 09:19 - 16 Feb 2016 09:23 #222604 by Columbob
Replied by Columbob on topic Recommend Some Books

Mr. White wrote: Where should I start with R. Scott Bakker?


The Prince of Nothing trilogy (The Darkness Before the Dawn being the first one). It's a Mediterranean-type setting which turns into the Crusades in the second book. The magic is really well-done, some deep philosophy in there as well (Scott teaches philosophy at university), really high ideas, also some detestable goings on. Think about a Middle-Earth type world (there are some pretty sweet homages to Tolkien, especially the Moria part in book 4) where the "evil" came from outer space. "Elves" (called non-men in the series) are immortal, but immortality came with the price of sterility...and slowly losing their minds over the centuries and millenia.

Many people hate this series because of its bleakness and the portrayal of women as whores/things to use and abuse. There are some pretty gratuitous detailed sex scenes in the first trilogy, guess he toned that down later on following criticisms.

You can follow the author on his Three Pound Brain web site.

I wanted to add: If you want some standalones, while I've yet to read a single one of his books, I keep hearing high praise for Guy Gavriel Kay's work. Each book is standalone or thereabout (except for his early trilogy, Fionavar Tapestry, which isn't rated that highly), and set in a parallel earth-like world. It's almost historical fiction. Tigana (alt-Renaissance Italy), Lions of Al-Rassan (alt-Medieval Spain), Last Light of the Sun (alt-Viking invasions), Under Heaven + River of Stars (both set in alternate-China).
Last edit: 16 Feb 2016 09:23 by Columbob.

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16 Feb 2016 09:31 - 16 Feb 2016 09:32 #222608 by Columbob
Replied by Columbob on topic Recommend Some Books

craniac wrote: My kids love MIstborn. My colleague at work plays boardgames with Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and some other uber nerds. Kevin J. Anderson made fun of the length of his stuff, in a non-mean way.

KJA ain't exactly known for his brevity. He's the author of this series of 7 sprawling 500 pages books. Those Dune books are all at least 600 pages, even if he only writes half of them.

With some reservations I would recommend The Book of the New Sun. It is sprawling, fantasy/sci-fi and not for the easily bored or plot hungry. At times you will wonder where he is headed but the payoffs were impressive. You get the sense that acid was eaten during the writing of this book. I need to reread it, as I think it would be very satisfying to go through it a second time.

In his four-volume ''Book of the New Sun,'' Gene Wolfe stretched the boundaries of science fiction, claiming for himself the freedom to create an imaginary world of the far, far future unconstrained even by the laws of science as we know them today. Although such a narrative strategy makes good sense both esthetically and scientifically (considering how our view of the universe has changed in the last century, who can say what science will resemble in a million years?), the risks are great; few writers can body forth an entire universe on their own authority without seeming arbitrary. Mr. Wolfe demonstrated in ''The Book of the New Sun'' that he could dream a future so rich in detail and so persuasive in its internal logic that readers were eager to inhabit it on the author's terms --NYT


I've read his Latro trilogy as well as that pirate book (Pirate Freedom). Unreliable narrators are his specialty. I got my hands on the SF book club edition of the Book of the New Sun a couple of years ago and I really mean to read it this year soonish.

There are genre authors, whose style isn't anything special, not to say poor (see KJA). Gene Wolfe's an author's author. He can write.
Last edit: 16 Feb 2016 09:32 by Columbob.

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16 Feb 2016 10:06 #222613 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Recommend Some Books
Thanks again, all!

I'm a library guy and already have a few titles scoped out to go pick up this afternoon.

So, how do y'all keep abreast of new releases, authors, etc? Word of mouth? Sites like this? www.blackgate.com/

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16 Feb 2016 10:06 #222614 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Recommend Some Books
Gene Wolfe is an excellent writer, and he is great at writing unreliable narrators. But I am often frustrated by the way he ends stories. The very essence of storytelling is to show the reader what happens next, and I am sometimes baffled by the ending of a Wolfe story. What just happened? If it were a lesser writer, I would dismiss it as bad writing and then just avoid that writer in the future. Wolfe is hard to ignore, because he does a fine job with everything right up until the ending.
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16 Feb 2016 10:17 #222615 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Recommend Some Books

Mr. White wrote: Thanks again, all!

I'm a library guy and already have a few titles scoped out to go pick up this afternoon.

So, how do y'all keep abreast of new releases, authors, etc? Word of mouth? Sites like this? www.blackgate.com/


I have had the good fortune to live near a great public library during my formative years, and another great library for much of my adult life. So I don't keep track of new releases, I just explore the library and even sometimes judge books by their covers. I am willing to try most authors at least once, and when I find a good author, I try other books that they have written. I also read recommendation blurbs on back covers, when I like the writer who is making the recommendation, especially if the recommendation is not generic-sounding.

For example, I liked the title of When Gravity Fails, but the cover of that edition was bland and I didn't recognize the name of the writer. But there was a great recommendation from Harlan Ellison, who said, "This is the fourth or fifth time I've been asked to give a public comment on an Effinger book; and each time I've done it; and each time I've said you people are cheating yourselves if you don't forego food and rent to pick up on Effinger's work. Now, *this* time, will you for pete's sake listen to me and buy When Gravity Fails? It's as crazy as a spider on ice skates, plain old terrific; and if you don't pay attention I'll have to get tough with you! We have your childen and your dog. Buy, read and marvel...or else."

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16 Feb 2016 10:50 - 16 Feb 2016 10:52 #222617 by Columbob
Replied by Columbob on topic Recommend Some Books
About 10 years ago I spent a bit of time on the SFF forums , which are to genre books what this site is to Ameritrash games. Once in a blue moon when I think about it I check out some reviews over there. This led to following a few bloggers/reviewers, which led to quite a few recommended purchases. I've slowed down on the purchases bit as I've started checking out the local library stock a few years ago, first for comic books, but increasingly for other novels. One of the "downsides" of living in a french environment is that they have the french version of books by many English authors I'd like to read, but the originals are plentiful anyways, and I suppose I could get friends from across the river in Ontario to borrow them from their municipal library, but that's a bit more of a hassle then it's worth IMO.

For comics I don't really mind the translations, even if I sometimes cringe at some anglicisms or stuff that's commonly acceptable in speech over in France but frowned upon over here.
Last edit: 16 Feb 2016 10:52 by Columbob.

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16 Feb 2016 10:57 - 16 Feb 2016 13:02 #222620 by OldHippy
Replied by OldHippy on topic Recommend Some Books
I'm going to recommend just one book. The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien. There are elements of fantasy and sci-fi in it. It's a bizarre read but it's hilarious, intelligent and beyond genre. Plus it's really short and you should be able to finish it in a day.
Last edit: 16 Feb 2016 13:02 by OldHippy.

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16 Feb 2016 11:17 #222621 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic Recommend Some Books
We want book reports!

For finding new stuff, I browse the library and book stores, and I always read staff recommendation cards (with a grain of salt). I tend to return to authors I've liked before. I also swap with friends, but just like with games I'm usually the finder/distributor.

The biggest source of new-to-me books is actually Amazon's recommendations. I rated enough books there that their engine got a pretty good idea of the sort things I'd like, and I freshen it up once in a while. Twenty books or so makes a huge difference in what their model does, even more if so they're similar genres. It's very possible to overtrain it, however. If that happens, go add some stuff you like from different categories.

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16 Feb 2016 11:44 - 16 Feb 2016 11:45 #222625 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic Recommend Some Books
Along with the posts in front of me, I'd also recommend Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series. I'd also recommend The Urth of the New Sun to really wrap the series up.

Dan Simmons' Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion are very good.

As far as I can tell, Walter Jon Williams hasn't written a bad novel yet. Just pick one with his name on it, but make sure it's the first of a series - he has a few.

If you want to get your war SF on, Marko Kloos' Frontlines series is a good lightweight crapsack world military SF series.

If you want to mix cyberpunk and military SF, Linda Nagata's The Red trilogy is also good.
Last edit: 16 Feb 2016 11:45 by RobertB.

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16 Feb 2016 11:48 - 16 Feb 2016 11:49 #222626 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Recommend Some Books
Thanks, Mr. Ellison, now I want to read When Gravity Fails.

I've heard of the Hyperion series. All good. I'll have to prioritize it.
Last edit: 16 Feb 2016 11:49 by Mr. White.

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16 Feb 2016 13:05 #222631 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Recommend Some Books
Just to toss something on the fire which hasn't been mentioned yet:

For fantasy, I was really impressed with Daniel Abraham's The Long Price quartet. A friend handed me a copy of A Shadow in Summer (the first) and I kept it in a stack for a couple years before finally breaking down and reading it. I immediately grabbed the other three on the Kindle on my phone and devoured them. It's pretty far from sword-and-sorcery, since there's very little of the latter. Most of the magic in the world is similar to Tolkien's lore: fading, not well understood, but capable of enormous power if people try hard enough. It's about a civilization that has learned to create spirits who perform tasks similar to modern industry, but just one task that is general enough that it can be turned into a terrible weapon. The 4-book series is about how they deal with the decay within their own society, as well as conflict with the other, less capable and younger cultures around them. Solid characters and a lot of big ideas.

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16 Feb 2016 13:12 #222632 by metalface13
Replied by metalface13 on topic Recommend Some Books
Oh, yes The Book of the New Sun is very good indeed. I started rereading it a while ago but didn't finish. I haven't read Urth of the New Sun, do I need to reread the first series? I don't remember all the details very well.

Also I read The Knight in his 2-part The Wizard Knight series, but didn't get very far into The Wizard. It was a significant gap of time since reading The Knight and I couldn't remember everything was going on. I'm sensing a pattern in the deterioration of my memory ...

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