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  1. #2081
    Network Hub FurryLippedSquid's Avatar
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    David Gemmell's Heroes of Bel-Azar. Again.

    Love a bit of trashy high fantasy.

  2. #2082
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    Should go without saying that anyone who liked Tie Fighter or Jedi Knight (mysteries of the sith) should try the Thrawn trilogy. I liked it, but I didn't think it was quite as great as people made out.

  3. #2083
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    I remember a few years ago some people were talking about a sci-fi novel series that they compared to Song of Ice & Fire. Any ideas what it might be? Failing that, any recommendations for great interesting sci-fi? (either hard sci-fi or something with something to say or just with genius ideas)

  4. #2084
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    I remember a few years ago some people were talking about a sci-fi novel series that they compared to Song of Ice & Fire. Any ideas what it might be? Failing that, any recommendations for great interesting sci-fi? (either hard sci-fi or something with something to say or just with genius ideas)
    Need a lot more info than that.

    If you just mean "gritty", then pretty much any of the borderline misogynistic sci-fi serieses will work :p

    If you mean similar in tone, The Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence is technically sci-fi and is VERY Song of Ice and Fire-y. Not my cup of tea, but I have heard many comparisons.

    Also, Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey (The Expanse series) gets that a lot. Not because of the tone (they are radically different), but because one of the authors (its a pen name for two writers) is George R R Martin's assistant. And I do strongly recommend that since it is fairly modern, so you get less values dissonance. And it actually covers a lot of topics that are relevant to today's world. The first two novels in particular is all about what it means to be a whistleblower and whether or not full disclosure is always the right choice. The third being primarily about the role of the military in exploration/science, martial law, and just what can push a person to become a terrorist. In terms of hardness, I would say it is comparable to Asimov: Most of it feels like it is grounded in real science (not as much as Asimov, but yeah :p) but it doesn't get bogged down in explaining every bit.
    The first novel in particular has probably one of the most realistic and disgustingly entertaining descriptions of radiation poisoning ever. This isn't Spock/Kirk slumping over :p
    Just bear in mind that it isn't much like Martin in tone at all. The "loveable homicidal maniac" actually IS a loveable homicidal maniac, rather than someone the fans pretend is a lot nicer in their heads. Similarly, there is a lot less "This is realistic, the world sucks" and the writers seem to go out of their way to try and keep things mostly happy. Bad stuff happens, but you can always still see the light.
    Last edited by gundato; 02-06-2014 at 07:01 AM.
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  5. #2085
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Donna Tart, The Secret History.
    This was really good, I can see why it's considered a bit of a classic already. 6 classics students at a little liberal arts college set out to put some of their ideas to the test with tragic consequences. It put me most in mind of Crime and Punishment but without the redemptive belief, their belief in truth and beauty without any real morality to go with it is shown to be empty and hollow. Anyway I recommend it.

    Now reading the Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M Banks.

  6. #2086
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    Now I'm sad again that Iain M Banks is dead. Nobody wrote Sci-fi like he did.

  7. #2087
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mrpier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    I remember a few years ago some people were talking about a sci-fi novel series that they compared to Song of Ice & Fire. Any ideas what it might be? Failing that, any recommendations for great interesting sci-fi? (either hard sci-fi or something with something to say or just with genius ideas)
    Maybe the Gap cycle by Stephen R Donaldson? I would say it's darker than Martin.

  8. #2088
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serenegoose View Post
    Now I'm sad again that Iain M Banks is dead. Nobody wrote Sci-fi like he did.
    Yeah I want to go and re-read them all now as it's been a decade since I read lots of them and am hazy which ones I did read or not.

  9. #2089
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    Yeah. Sorry, I don't really have any info about them. I just remember someone recommending a sci-fi series that was like Song of Ice and Fire.
    I don't think it was darkness or sex or anything, per se, it was more a sci-fi series that didn't mind killing off main characters or doing things outside of the usual hero tropes.
    It might be the Gap Cycle, but I think it was by someone a little more unknown (at the time, which was about 5-6 years ago I guess).
    Either way, those suggestions are something to be getting along with.

    Also, what's a good Ian M Banks book to start with? I keep seeing his books around and they look interesting, but complex and a little intimidating as a big set.

  10. #2090
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    Also, what's a good Ian M Banks book to start with? I keep seeing his books around and they look interesting, but complex and a little intimidating as a big set.
    Probably The Player Of Games or Look To Windward. I don't really think there's too many duds, though! I mean, Use of Weapons is great, but it's a bit dense, Against A Dark Background isn't a culture novel, and Inversions is a very different take on a culture novel, so perhaps avoid those along with Consider Phlebas as a first book? (I'd avoid that because, as his earliest culture book, it's also his roughest, imo.) Beyond that, I'd take a look at the blurbs and see what entices you most, because really beyond the setting they're usually all fairly different in the sort of characters or plot themes they explore, but if you can't narrow it down, then yeah, Player of Games or Look to Windward.

  11. #2091
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    I'd say Look to Windward, Excession or Use of Weapons. Probably for an into to what The Culture is then Look to Windward or Player of Games. Use of Weapons is my favourite of the books though, but as it in part takes apart the idea of The Culture it might not work as a first one.

    EDIT: For general Scifi recommendations I love the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.

  12. #2092
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    If you want sci-fi, I'll always recommend Asimov's Foundation series (or any Asimov, for that matter), Dune (just the original), and The War Against the Rull by A.E. van Vogt. I've got some Heinlein and some more van Vogt on a shelf that I've been meaning to get to, so that list may be expanded.

  13. #2093
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Regarding Sci-Fi I enjoyed Gregory Benford's Galactic Center saga. Might be worth cheking out.

  14. #2094
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    I just started Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces. It has good reviews and seems to present an objective view of the subject matter. I'm still on the first chapter, which is about the history of police forces, but it is good so far.
    The Medallion of the Imperial Psychopath, a Napoleon: Total War AAR
    For the Emperor!, a Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai AAR

  15. #2095
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    Yeah. Sorry, I don't really have any info about them. I just remember someone recommending a sci-fi series that was like Song of Ice and Fire.
    I don't think it was darkness or sex or anything, per se, it was more a sci-fi series that didn't mind killing off main characters or doing things outside of the usual hero tropes.
    It might be the Gap Cycle, but I think it was by someone a little more unknown (at the time, which was about 5-6 years ago I guess).
    Either way, those suggestions are something to be getting along with.
    Maybe the Prince of Nothing series by R Scott Bakker (although that more puts some of its characters through hell than kills them off, but definitely has some different perspectives on the usual Fantasy setting)?

  16. #2096
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I'd say Look to Windward, Excession or Use of Weapons. Probably for an into to what The Culture is then Look to Windward or Player of Games. Use of Weapons is my favourite of the books though, but as it in part takes apart the idea of The Culture it might not work as a first one.
    For what it's worth, I read Use of Weapons first and thought it was great. Definitely a bit confusing in the beginning though. I think The Player of Games was the first published one, so that's probably not a bad idea either. Excession is probably my favourite of the series (with UoW as a close second), but I'd recommend them all. They don't come in chronological order, but reading them in published order probably makes the most sense, since they do reference each other quite some.

  17. #2097
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Consider Phlebas came out first, I think chronological is the same as published order with Culture novels.

    Phlebas is set during the Iridan war then Look to Windward is set 800 years after the end of that, then the Hydrogen Sonata they mention the Iridan war was well over 1000 years ago. So the chronological order doesn't matter because the distances between the novels is so large none of the same characters are involved.

  18. #2098
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    Quote Originally Posted by aoanla View Post
    Maybe the Prince of Nothing series by R Scott Bakker (although that more puts some of its characters through hell than kills them off, but definitely has some different perspectives on the usual Fantasy setting)?
    As I read over the weekend somewhere... Bakker's Second Apocalypse "makes 'A Song of Ice & Fire' read like David Eddings". Brilliant series so far (5 of 8? books in), well written, great characters and stories, definitely a very different perspective on Fantasy... But bleak. Unrelentingly so. Philosophically very heavy, dark, brooding, violent. If ASoIaF is the Wars of the Roses with Dragons and Ice Demons thrown in, the Prince of Nothing is the Crusades, set in a Middle Earth where the Old Testament is real and the New Testament is playing out... except Jesus is also the Kwizatz Haderach, and "Love thy neighbour" is more like "If you love thy neighbour, suffer and f*cking prove it to me!"... Objective morality exists, as does Damnation, and, maybe, Redemption as well.

    Does have a heavy Sci-Fantasy edge to it, though it's definitely more Fantasy than Sci-Fi. I recommend it... but be prepared for something quite misanthropic in outlook.
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  19. #2099
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    My reading lately has been rather dry and sciency, so I've started making an effort to absorb some sci-fi and fantasy books through the medium of audiobooks while playing FTL and Don't Starve in the evenings.

    Started out with Jurassic Park which was a bit preachy but a lot more entertaining than I expected and also a lot nerdier - an entire action sequence played out at the command prompt of a Cray supercomputer was a definite highlight. Minus points for stupid annoying girl being really, really stupid and annoying all the time.

    Today I finished Ender's Game, which I found surprisingly revolting. Maybe it was the 6-10 year old super-genius-space-Jesus-Alexander-the-Great, bred for epic deeds who just happens to murder some other children and wipe out an entire civilisation but it's OK because he didn't know he was murdering children (and ant people) and we should empathise because the grown-ups made him do it. But the grown-ups were all serious military men who did what they had to do to save us from the evil alien Buggers (really?) so that's OK too, sort of. But the Buggers (!) didn't actually want to wipe out humanity so it was all a big misunderstanding, and super-genius-space-Jesus-Alexader-the-Great gets a chance to redeem himself at the end and he can prove he's not like his brother, who happens to be super-genius-terrestrial-Ghengis-Hitler-the-Hun, who along with his sister (super-genius-psycho-Virgin-Mary-Nightingale) is taking over planet Earth by posting essays and debates on internet forums. Also Russians are evil.

    Fuck that book.

  20. #2100
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    Today I finished Ender's Game, which I found surprisingly revolting. Maybe it was the 6-10 year old super-genius-space-Jesus-Alexander-the-Great, bred for epic deeds who just happens to murder some other children and wipe out an entire civilisation but it's OK because he didn't know he was murdering children (and ant people) and we should empathise because the grown-ups made him do it. But the grown-ups were all serious military men who did what they had to do to save us from the evil alien Buggers (really?) so that's OK too, sort of. But the Buggers (!) didn't actually want to wipe out humanity so it was all a big misunderstanding, and super-genius-space-Jesus-Alexader-the-Great gets a chance to redeem himself at the end and he can prove he's not like his brother, who happens to be super-genius-terrestrial-Ghengis-Hitler-the-Hun, who along with his sister (super-genius-psycho-Virgin-Mary-Nightingale) is taking over planet Earth by posting essays and debates on internet forums. Also Russians are evil.

    Fuck that book.
    Naw man, it's so crazy it just might work. To destroy his enemies he must love them.

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