I'm a little overwhelmed and can't think through all the gajillions of book recs in the What I'm Reading Now thread...would love if someone could throw me some good ideas.
I prefer science fiction. Love Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series. I prefer YA or mid-grade, because I prefer the slightly simpler plot structures, faster pace, and shorter length. (Bonus, they're also generally cheaper when buying them for my ebook reader, the B&N Nook.)
I do read a fair amount of fantasy because that's what's out there. Blue Sword/Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley are my two all-time favorites. Have also read and enjoyed the Percy Jackson books, Harry Potter, Twilight, etc.
What i need is a non-obvious suggestion. There are plenty of the old masters I've never read (Someone in What I'm Reading Now thread just mentioned a Lois mcmaster bujold book...never read anything by her, for ex.) I great up on Heinlein and Asimov and have a love of that Golden Age sci-fi.
I absolutely can't tolerate Debbie Downers. I don't mind strife and conflict, but books that are hopeless in tone or ending are not for me.
I loved Scott Westerfeld's books - Uglies, Pretties, etc. (and his more mainstream book - So Yesterday.) Scalzi's Old Man's War series is fun and funny but I've had some trouble with his earlier books.
I've enjoyed Gail Carson Levine stories (though not really my cup of tea) - really enjoyed The Magic Thief books 1&2. Recently read a series by Charlie Fletcher that is incredible called Stoneheart (+ two other books.) About kids in present-day alternate-world London where statues come to life.
I'm waiting to read Hunger Games, etc. until the third book is out (I'm a devouerer of series and hate waiting.) Have read Gone and Found (didn't like them enough to read the next ones in their respective serieses, at least not yet.) Have read much of Carman and don't really enjoy him. Lloyd Alexander Prydain series is really good.
Recently read Assassin's Apprentice and enjoyed (liked the first better than 2 and 3) but didn't like how LONG they were (same complaint about Tigana and Elantris.) And anyway, I really would like to read some good science-fiction for balance.
Thoughts? Don't assume I've read the books everyone's read. I feel like my speculative fiction education has big gaping holes in it due to being the only spec fic reader I knew for ages, just blindly working through what my libraries had on hand. I think I have a copy of Gibson's Neuromancer. Should I read that? Is there something better/ more current that makes more sense?
The Burroughs Mars books were on sale on my Nook last week and I bought them because of the low price ($2 for the set of 3 novel/novellas I think.) - should I try those?
I'd really like to hear some ideas! Thanks in advance. I'm happy to repay the favor with more detailed recommendations of the things I've read, just say the word.
Well, it's not YA, but I have really been enjoying Lois McMaster Bujold, recently. I know she has some science fiction out, as well as fantasy, but I haven't read that, yet, so I couldn't make a specific recommendation. You can hardly go wrong with a Hugo and Nebula award winner. Got to be something to learn there.
The Chalion books (THE CURSE OF CHALION, THE PALLADIN OF SOULS, and THE HALLOWED HUNT) are technically a series, but each stands on its own. You could read them in any order. For me, they read fast. Although not all themes are YA, they're not raunchy or graphic. The Sharing Knife books (BEGUILEMENT, LEGACY, PASSAGE, and HORIZON) look to be a little less stand alone, but at least they're all available.
Gail Carriger's SOULLESS, again not YA, but a fast and generally a fun read. I'd class it as paranormal romance, but it's not raunchy. Not a lot of subplots and complications. Fairly straightforward plot. But a really interesting mix of characters.
That's all I can think of out of what I've read lately.
This isn't sci-fi (because I'm just now getting into that genre myself) but since you read YA fantasy, you might enjoy Rebecca Fitzpatricks Hush, Hush. I read it with the expectation that I wouldn't get much out of it, but I was wrong. I've also read the book Fallen by Lauren Kate, though I didn't care for that one as much.
They are both fast books (I got through each in less than a day and I've got two young kids), and worth taking a look at if you have nothing else to read. They're both new so I don't know how the price compares in ebooks. They're still in hard back so the price is higher in the book store.
Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan SF is wonderful. You can start with Miles, and just follow him through the "series" or you can start with his parents (SHARDS OF HONOR and BARRAYAR) and then go to him. It really is best if you can read his story in order, though, so try to find a recommended "read in this order" list (should be one on her website or on a fan site).
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If you're looking specifically for YA - I just bought a couple of used YA books that I haven't read in over 15 years(!) - and I think they are exactly what you're looking for. They all are Science fiction, and all by the same author.
1. THE BOY WHO REVERSED HIMSELF 2. SINGULARITY 3. INTERSTELLAR PIG
all by William Sleator.
They are easy to finish in an afternoon and pretty good I think from what I remember. I can't wait to read them again. Too bad I couldn't find his other titles. Man, All I need is a bag of Doritos to take me back...
Split Infinity series is okay (watch out for the, um, gratuitous scenes.) I actually liked the Incarnation of Immortality series better, the first novel, On A Pale Horse, was pretty cool in concept. But it's be at least a decade since I read them...so I don't know if they would hold up now.
I'll also recommend my 3 basic classic titles - I still know writers who haven't read them yet, so: Foundation; Wizard of Earthsea; Colour of Magic.
Finally, if it's at all possible that you haven't read it yet (clears throat) - try Ender's Game by OSC.
I'm with billawaboy on the Incarnations of Immortality series. On a Pale Horse is one of my all time favorite books! Ooohhhh. I think I'll dig around the book cases and read it again!
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I've thought of Lois McMaster Bujold as a green newcomer...but I guess that must be past now. (Not that I've read much of her work...endless series discourage me.)
Yes, read the Burroughs Mars books if you can get them. Remember the earliest is almost a century old...remember this is where certain familiar things in the SF field started...and sample his Tarzan books too if you can get them.
In the creaky old classics category, I'll throw James Blish's Cities in Flight series, usually collected into one book. For something that's action-adventure, there's a lot of philophizing and intellectual underpinning to be had.
(I only read the original novella version of "Enders Game" when it was published in Analog---and didn't care for it. I might've missed plenty, buster, but I've certainly read a lot of Card's other stuff to make up for it.)
quote:I've thought of Lois McMaster Bujold as a green newcomer...but I guess that must be past now. (Not that I've read much of her work...endless series discourage me.)
Well, I've come to her works relatively recently. However, a little research brought up awards going back to 1987 and at least two dozen books in print or available as ebooks. That doesn't sound much like a green newcomer to me.
The Chalion books are set in the same world, but really stand alone. The Sharing Knife books not so much, but there are only four. Hardly endless when compared to, say, the Wheel of Time. It looks like there are quite a few more in her science fiction series, though.
I'm not sure how I missed her work for so long, but I'm sure enjoying it now.
[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited April 16, 2010).]
When your heyday in SF runs from 1970 to 1980 everybody who first published after 1980 is a newbie...besides, I spent from about 1978 to 1985 haunting used bookstores, so my tastes are retro anyway. (I remember a review column by Lester Del Rey mentioning he had thought of Poul Anderson as a newcomer...for about forty years...)
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Well, there are series that are endless because each book is a continuation of the previous one and you have to read them all in order to get the whole story, and then there are series that are endless because even though each book can be read alone (with a strong resolution of that book's story), the characters are interesting enough to make you want to spend time with them again (for the author as well as for the readers), and the things that happen to them are interesting enough that you want to experience them with the characters.
I'd put Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan books in the latter group. You can read any one of the books alone and enjoy the story. She resolves each book very satisfactorily. But if you're going to read more than one, you might as well read them in order, so that you can follow Miles' growth over time. But either way works, because the story telling works and the writing is well done.
I got a strong sense of that when I read A. Bertram Chandler's John Grimes books---but it got to be I couldn't figure out where the beginning or the end was.
(By the way, I'll recommend Chandler's Kelly Country, not part of the Grimes series except having the lead character share the same name, if you can turn up a copy---both for its evocation of Australia and mention of a guy named Francis Bannerman who I thought was forgotten by everybody but me.)
I agree about the Miles Vorkosigan books. What a great character. Don't miss the short work "The Mountains of Mourning", featuring Miles, either. I found it one of the most powerful short works I've ever read, though I don't know if that was because I'd already become acquainted with Miles through all the previous novels.
Other series like the Vatta series include the excellent Heris Serrano series by Elizabeth Moon. Less military space opera, more steeplechase riding, of all things. This series may be enjoyed out of sequence and is set in the same universe as the Vatta series.
Along similar lines are the Liaden Universe novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. _Agent of Change_ is the first in the set, but they are all out of time order, being about a family or families, and do not follow just a single individual through all the books. More focus on the merchant side of space opera.
Sticking with the merchant aspect of the Vatta series, C. J. Cherryh's Chanur series is a fun one, with great non-human characters, but then I'm a sucker for cats in space. This is classic science fiction, and may not be what you're looking for.
Also classic, (or perhaps vintage) with a mercantile slant, Andre Norton's Free Trader series is definitely young adult, and short, and maybe a little goofy by today's standards, but I love them, and recall reading them for the first time as a kid and thinking how great it was to be able to read.
Of course there is also the military space opera of David Weber's Honor Harrington series. I find I skip some parts of these books, as Weber is a lot more interested in the speeds and feeds of his technology than I am. He has created a fine character in Harrington, though. The most recent novel is the first one to lack plot resolution at the end of the book. Try _On Basilisk Station_, the series opener.
You might also want to look at the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd, as well as Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series and David Drake's Lt. Leary series. All are military space opera on the lines of Moon's Vatta series, and in Shepherd's case, feature a similarly strong female lead and family entanglements.
I'm sure I'm leaving some out. The Miles series is head and shoulders above the rest in my opinion, but these series are all ones that I pre-order if possible. I've limited my response to character-driven military/merchant space opera series like the Vatta series that are fun, fast, where the good guys always win, and where each book (with the exception of Weber's latest) has an ending with plot resolution.
If I've missed the mark for what you're asking, let me know.
[This message has been edited by posulliv (edited April 17, 2010).]
See, I knew if I asked I would find help! Fantastic!
I didn't think to mention but yeah, OSC's Ender's Game is what started me on reading again and writing for the first time about 3.5 years ago. Loved it (and Robert, if you've only read the novella, I think you'd enjoy the novelization, it's a better story in my opinion. More of it makes sense than in the novella...)
I have also read Wizard of Earthsea series and enjoyed it. I like Ursula Le Guin, but Left Hand of Darkness is not the kind of sci-fi I prefer, a little too heavy. I haven't read any of her other sci-fi, though. Asimov and Heinlein were my first sci-fi loves, so I've read most of them, though I gather there's a lot of YA Heinlein wrote that I haven't seen, so I need to keep an eye out or see if those are available on the nook.
Funny that Cities in Flight came up - my librarian friend just recommended it and I found a used copy on Amazon for under $5. It's not available on the Nook so I have to get a real book, shucks. (I like real books so I consume them in somewhat equal measure with the ebook content on the Nook.)
Question - who wrote: Incarnation of Immortality? I had a little trouble following some of the thread where clearly several of you liked/loved a title, so help me find it, will ya? Thanks so much!!
quote:Question - who wrote: Incarnation of Immortality? I had a little trouble following some of the thread where clearly several of you liked/loved a title, so help me find it, will ya? Thanks so much!!
Incarnations of Immortality is s series by Piers Anthony. He does a book for each Immortal. On a Pale Horse is Death, for example (not as morbid as you would think). There's one for Time, Mother Nature, Fate, War, and probably a bunch of others I'm not thinking of right this minute. Kind of like the movie "The Santa Clause" real people get drafted in varying ways into these roles and have to figure it out.
Memo to all, or at least all in the USA: Don't go through Amazon or E-Buy or whatever for old paperbacks...find a couple of "after you've read it swap it for credit" bookstores and troll through their SF sections, and you'll probably turn up, say, a copy of Cities in Flight for about a dollar, maybe less. Most areas have at least one or more, last time I looked.
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I know I'm a bit late to this party, just got back from holidays. Of the books I've read in the last few years I'd most highly recommend Stephen Baxter's Raft. Not sure if it's YA, but it's a young protagonist and a shortish book with a lot of fun and big ideas.
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Thanks for the suggestion, Robert. In those situations, I often don't even know what to look for. The one I've been to in my area did not have low prices, though - hers were close to list price on the paperbacks, which struck me as odd. I'm hampered by the problem of being a mom, too, which leaves me precious little time to dig through used bookstore stacks. Online shopping has been a godsend for me, not sure how parents before my parenting age did it (lol. Like back when they had to churn butter and stuff...)
But point taken - there are gems to be found. now at least i have a set of authors/titles to look for.
Thanks for all the help, folks. I'm busy writing up a list based on all of this and think I'll be able to get through at least the first part of the summer now.
Gotta say I don't go into them much anymore...I've kind of moved on from doing it, and am into books of a different nature, and usually hardcovers.
Maybe the market has changed since I used to work in one---this is close to thirty years ago, now, and where did the time go?---but the custom was, the used books were half price. With regular paperbacks approaching ten dollars when brand new, it's still a hefty amount...but my copy of Cities in Flight cost a dollar twenty-five brand new and I imagine any reprint of it from the same era, the 1970s and 1980s, would range from that up to two-ninety-five.
You mention Heinlein's "YA novels." Though in the era they were called "juveniles" or "boy's books," I suppose the category applies these days. Here'a a list.
Rocket Ship Galileo Space Cadet Red Planet Farmer in the Sky Between Planets The Rolling Stones aka Space Family Stone Starman Jones The Star Beast Tunnel in the Sky Time for the Stars Citizen of the Galaxy Have Space Suit—Will Travel Starship Troopers
All were originally published by Scribnes except the last, which was rejected and published by Putnam. You might also include Podkayne of Mars which was written some time later and has a somewhat different tone than those listed above. I'll recommend them all. (I started with Space Cadet myself---it's the fulcrum my life rests on.)