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Author Topic: Cry out for literature suggestions!
LukeP
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Hello there Hatrack community,
I'm a 16 year old OSC fan, I've read most of his books and keep up regularly on World Watch and OSC reviews everything. I love Orson. Before, my reading views were focused simply on Orson(and Orson related material), and I haven't really been reading anything else. I picked up Future on Fire recently, and it has reignited my passion for literature. Before, reading was just an entertainment function; get lost in a book just because it has a good story and because it was easy to follow. More recently, reading has become more of an intellectual stimulus for me, I've found myself enjoying "hard" to read books, books that make you think, difficult books, much like the stories in Future on Fire.
This summer I've resolved to read. A lot. I just need some books to read. I'd prefer scifi, but I'm really open to any genera. I'm afraid to just type "good books to read" into google search for good reasons, so I'm turning to this intelligent community for suggestions on what to read.
Your help is much appreciated, thank you.
*EDIT*
I've also been thinking about subscribing to some Scifi mags, any suggestions there as well?

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Sean Monahan
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I read a lot of short fiction, so I'll recommend some short fiction. If you're open to it (which I assume you are since you're considering scifi mags), I'd recommend "Masterpieces", edited by OSC. This will, kind of through baby-steps, introduce you to the some stories/authors outside of OSC that have been influential in the scifi genre (and have been influential to OSC himself). (I wish I had discovered some of these authors when I was 16.)

If you want some "hard to read" stories, I'd recommend "The Hard SF Renaissance", edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer.

You can't go wrong with an anthology of Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke. Or Ray Bradbury.

I particularly like Alastair Reynolds, and he has two anthologies, "Zima Blue" and "Galactic North", both of which I enjoyed immensely (Galactic North is a compilation of stories set in his Revelation Space universe; Zima Blue is stories that are unconnected in any way).

Some other multi-author anthologies I've enjoyed are "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame" Volume 1 edited by Robert Silverberg and Volume 2A edited by Ben Bova (haven't gotten 2B yet). "The SFWA Grand Masters" Volumes 1-3 edited by Frederick Pohl.

I also particularly enjoy time-travel stories, and would recommend "The Best Time Travel Stories of All Time" edited by Barry N. Maltzberg, "Time Machines" edited by Bill Adler, Jr., and "The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century" edited by Harry Turtledove.

And among my favorites are the annual "Year's Best Science Fiction" edited by Gardner Dozois, which is about to publish its 25th volume, and "Year's Best SF" edited by the aforementioned Hartwell, which just published it's 13th volume.

For scifi mags, I have been a subscriber to Asimov's Science Fiction for 4 years, and am generally pleased with it. I'd recommend it because 1) short-fiction scifi mags seem to be the bread-and-butter for a lot of writers, 2) they are a place to discover great new talent, and 3) the scifi short-fiction industry really needs support.

www.bestsf.net is a great website for SF short fiction reviews. The guy does not read/review many novels, but he reads/reviews TONS of short fiction and anthologies.

EDIT: If you're not into short fiction, disregard everything I just said.

[ June 19, 2008, 03:27 AM: Message edited by: Sean Monahan ]

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Lostinspace
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I too would highly recomend Bradbury. He has some great stories out there like Fahrenheit 451. The Martian Chronicles and The Golden Apple of the Sun. There is also a book called The Bradbury Chronicles in which authors (including our own Mr. Card) wrote stories in honor of Ray Bradbury. At a signing once, OSC and I had a great discussion about Bradbury and our love for his work after I had him sign his story in the book. I also tend to agree that reading Clarke is a must. Asimov is great and has some wonderful stories out there. If you want to stray from Sci Fi a little I like Crichtons work a lot (If you like the Jurrassic Park movies you will love the books 10 times more so much better they ruined the movies). I wish I could think of more, I just moved and did a book purge so I am drawing a blank and everytime I look over at my bookcases, it makes me a little sad to see how many of my good friends I parted with!
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Steve_G
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I'm reading John Scalzi right now and I highly recommend him as a hard sci-fi author. Old Man's War, The Ghost brigades, The Last Colony. Currently I'm about a 3rd of the way into colony. Scalzi's universe is as intricate and detailed as Card's Enderverse in my opinion. Hopefully the number of books set in that universe will soon rival Card's.
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scifibum
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Try some Jane Austen and Daniel Hawthorne.

Just kidding.

The short fiction anthologies are a great way to get some broad exposure to the genre. And there's enough variety that you're sure to like at least some of it.

I'm not too sure about Clarke. He had grand ideas and plenty of talent, but his fiction never came alive for me. YMMV.

Outside of science fiction, "The curious incident of the dog in the night-time" by Mark Haddon is a superb book.

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LukeP
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@ Sean:
I love short fiction, thanks much for your suggestions.

@ Lostinspace:
I have actually already read Fahrenheit 451, but I think I read it way too early to appreciate the detail and true story of the book, I was 12. I own a copy, I might go back and read it again.

@Scalzi:
I'll definitely pick some of that up. Thanks.

And as a clarification, by hard I don't mean dark especially, I mean thought provoking in the way that its almost difficult to grasp. I hope that makes sense, it's hard to lay out what I really mean.

Thanks all for suggestions.

[ June 19, 2008, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: LukeP ]

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Morbo
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Welcome to Hatrack, Luke, I am your father. [Wave]
quote:
Originally posted by Sean Monahan:
And among my favorites are the annual "Year's Best Science Fiction" edited by Gardner Dozois, which is about to publish its 25th volume, and "Year's Best SF" edited by the aforementioned Hartwell, which just published it's 13th volume.

I totally agree with Sean about Gardner Dozois' annual collections. I read several of them and own "The Best of the Best" which is culled from the 1st 20 editions I think. Dozois is a great editor, it's the best annual collection I've read.

I've only have one Hartwell's annual. It's good, but I haven't seen enough to see if he's as consistently great as Dozois is.

Also, I just finished Dozois and some other editor's The New Space Opera. I really enjoyed it, almost every story there was great.

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LukeP
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Thanks again all, one more question.

Where should I buy these books? Should I just Amazon them all?

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Sachiko
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Um, Nancy Kress' Beggars in Spain is lighter reading, but I still enjoy ethical situations.

And if you end up reading a lot of Western civilization classics--you know, Milton's Paradise Lost; the Brontes; du Marier....then for fun you really should check out Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.

I like some of Francis Fukuyama's books. That's non fiction.

Just because a book is entertaining, doesn't mean it's not thought-provoking too. I say this as someone who burned herself for a year out in autodidactical efforts. Sometimes you do really need to just have some fun.

Me, I wish OSC would write a grown-up's version of Choose Your Own Adventure. [Big Grin]

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Sachiko
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I get mine either at a local used bookstore or at half.com.
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SteveRogers
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It's not science fiction, but you must read the book Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. What at first seems like a simple book becomes, upon further consideration, a book full of ideas, concepts, and messages presented in such a way that you have to think.

It's just a good book. But it's also a good thinking book. It is a little graphic. But that's part of the point.

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Morbo
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I almost forgot my obligatory nod to Gene Wolfe's sci-fi and fantasy, especially his Book of the New Sun series, and his 2 volume Wizard/Knight series.

You can also try The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener by Martin Gardner. It's easily the most readable and enjoyable philosophy book I've ever read (and re-read). Gardner is one of the best writers alive on intellectual issues. He can break down ideas so that most readers can follow along, as long as they pay attention, and relates the ideas with considerable charm and dry humor. Read the Amazon reviews at the link, they describe the book better than I can.

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TL
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I was about to suggest Gene Wolfe as well -- though I was going to go in the 'There Are Doors' and 'Free Live Free' direction.

They are such marvels, his books.

Can't go wrong with Book of the New Sun, though. (But keep a dictionary handy.) (A big one.)

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Lostinspace
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quote:
Originally posted by LukeP:
Thanks again all, one more question.

Where should I buy these books? Should I just Amazon them all?

Depending on where you live, I would suggest checking out a used bookstore first. I shop often at Half Priced Books before I look anywhere else. You never know, you might find some obscure book nobody else has ever heard of and read that!
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Farmgirl
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I'll jump in here and recommend Lois McMaster Bujold books, especially her Vorkosigan series.
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Jestak
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R. Scott Bakker - an unfinished series, but excellent (not sci-fi though)

Andreas Eschbach - The Carpet Makers

Tad Williams - Otherland series

Dan Simmons - Hyperion series

Paul O. Williams - Pelbar Cycle series

Jules Verne - 20000 Leagues Under the Sea

Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina (you wanted "deep")

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Nathan2006
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I would venture to add Ursula K. Leguin. She has a short story collection called 'The Birthday of the World' that was good. For novels, I would reccomend her Annals of the Western Shore series (However, it is fantasy). It starts with 'Gifts', and then 'Voices'... And I've yet to find a third. Of course, any of her Heinish novels are great too (As is her Earthsea series)

Octavia Butler is another great author. 'Wild Seed' or 'Parable of the Sower' are great books to start with for her.

Jane Lindskold wrote a great sci-fi/fantasy (She kind of blurs the lines a bit) called 'Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls' that you might try.

Charles DeLint's 'Dreams Underfoot' short-story collection is great. It's not sci-fi; It's a genre some call urban-fantasy. It's set in the real world, today, not a medieval village.

Outside of the genre of speculative fiction, I highly recommend (As does Mr. Card) 'The Thirteenth Tale' by Diane Setterfield. Loved it!

These are all books that while not 'hard' to read (Indeed, the pages flew by!) but they stuck with me long after I read them.

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Trent Destian
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If you feel like delving outside of scifi.

The Obsidian Chronicles by: Lawrence Watt-Evans
, in fact anything by Watt

Shade's Children by: Garth Nix
, in fact anything by Nix

And for something that'll last you awhile,

A Game of Thrones by: George R.R. Martin

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volssam
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Right now - I am in the midst of the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King....I'm sure there are some of you out there who have read them....I am only on the third book right now....some of them are VERY long....but anyways, as of now, the storyline I find extremely fascinating....the first book in the series was just OK....but the second one : the Drawing of the Three was absolutely terrific.......this series has the chance to be something special.....if anyone has read it, please don't tell me anything that happens....but just throwing it out there as a suggestion... it's part sci-fi/fantasy....part adventure....it is very good s far...
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DecayedCordet
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oh god...anna karenina. Amazon always has great deals. I got shadow puppets hardcover for about 2 bucks. If you're still interested in recommendations, I'm sixteen too so:
His Dark Materials (Phillip Pullman series. the last book, the amber spyglass is the "hardest")
If you haven't done the Dune thing yet, obviously
Vonnegut is always awesome
The Time Machine-H.G.Wells
anything by Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov (R.I.P.)
If you wanna go outside Sci-Fi, Moby Dick is amazing... it's kinda sci fi...i mean theres a ship...although nautical and not spacial (?).

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DecayedCordet
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oh, and if you want a break, prey by micheal crichton is nice.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Try some Jane Austen and Daniel Hawthorne.
Ummm.. You do mean Nathaniel Hawthorne, don't you?

While you're at it, you can do some Herman Melville. I never miss an opportunity to mention that Moby Dick is my all time favorite by a huge margin.

Then there's James Fenimore Cooper.

The problem with asking for suggestions is that you get more than you could possibly use.

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scifibum
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Um, yeah. Nathaniel. I *HATE* it when my fingers type "D" when I'm thinking "Nath." [Wink]
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volssam
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I have read the first 2 books in His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman....I don't really like them all that much....But I am a very conservative Christian, and so that could be part of the reason (b/c some of the anti-God content is just ridiculous and anger-inspiring)....but I don't think that's all...I think they're kinda boring....and I actually really liked the story in The Da Vinci Code (aside from the whole false info about Christ stuff)....I want to read some of the stuff that there are controversies about so I can actually know what I'm talking about instead of just saying "don't read that" or "that's not true".....haven't yet read the Amber Spyglass and plan to I guess at some point but it's just hard to get into it b/c like I said I find them kinda boring.....
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volssam
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and that's also one of the things I really like about OSC is that a lot of hs stories have religious overtones and good morality winiing out and stuff like that...i.e. the Homecoming Series....which if you haven't read that series....you should b/c it is GREAT!!!
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Trent Destian
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vol,
I read Golden Compass as well and found it pretty boring as well. I have a very laid back way about religion so it wasn't that. Some ideas are neat, I'll grant that, but it came to that I really didn't care about the characters. I wasn't really interested in what happened next. I finished it, shrugged, and picked up Chocolate Way for a reread without even wondering if I wanted to read the sequel. It did nothing for me as a reader.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by Farmgirl:
I'll jump in here and recommend Lois McMaster Bujold books, especially her Vorkosigan series.

This cannot be seconded enough. These are some of the funnest books I've ever read.
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