Sci-fi thread 2.0

A thread about sci-fi.

Currently reading Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald. Essentially a political thriller set on the colonised moon. Loads of different families and factions vying for power and influence. Everyone has a familiar which is basically their access to the internet equivalent. Nice concept. Hundreds of characters. Not too much exposition.
A bit Red Mars, a bit Game of Thrones. Really good so far and the second book has just been published.

Currently reading: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. I’m about 4 whole pages in, though, so no comments yet.

I’ve also got my Worlds of Android lore book to work through. It’s the setting for Netrunner and a few other games, but it’s actually a very compelling and well-imagined sci-fi universe in its own right, in the vein of Blade Runner, Neuromancer and Snow Crash. It’s got a cyber-noir megacorps vs. hacker thing, but also a much more interesting commodification of labour thing, with one corporation making clones and their competitor making bioroids (androids with human consciousness, sort of). So that brings in all the usual “what is humanity?” stuff, and explores the fears and tensions that result from that.

There are a few novels in the setting, but they’re supposedly a bit gash. However, Leigh Alexander has recently written a novella called Monitor in the setting, that focuses more on the dystopian surveillance nightmare stuff. Hoping to pick that up somewhere.

Have it on my kindle ready to go. Only read Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. Looking forward to digging back into his stuff.

I think I’m going to give up on Ancillary Justice and get on the third book of the Three Body Problem trilogy. Can’t recommend the first two highly enough. First one takes a little while to get going, but the central premise is fantastic once you find out what’s going on.

Definitely going to get this. Sounds very promising.

Sorry AJ didn’t work out. I just loved Breq.

I might pick it back up in the future. I do most of my reading on the tube, and at the moment I’m finding I’m just choosing to listen to music/podcasts instead. Taking this as a sign it’s time to move on!

Just gonna lift a post of mine from the old thread because Iain M Banks was just the best sci-fi writer.
In response to where to start
The books aren’t in any particular chronological order, but there is a tendency for later books to reference concepts which are perhaps better explained in the earlier novels.
‘Consider Phlebas’ is the first novel and comes closest to an introduction to ‘The Culture’, which is the central civilisation in the series. It’s maybe my least favourite (although it’s still reeeeaaaalllllly good) but I think it does a good job of setting up the role The Culture plays in the galaxy.
‘The Player of Games’ is probably the best alternative for an introduction to Banks’ universe. This is probably what I’d suggest as a starting point.
‘Excession’ and ‘Hydrogen Sonata’ are my two favourites, but might be a bit confusing without reading one of the above novels first.

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Let’s have some Interesting Discussion Topics. Probably a bit of a re-tread of the old thread but that was a damn fine thread which is scheduled for imminent destruction.

01 Favourite author
02 Favourite book and/or series
03 Favourite motion picture adaptation
04 Recent decents

01 Has to be Iain M Banks
02 The Culture
03 Kind of a crap question. Apologies for that. Maybe K-PAX?
04a The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
04b Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
04c Leviathan Wakes by James S A Corey

01 Favourite author - Banks. Shout out to Douglas Adams as well - funny one as he doesn’t feel like sci-fi in some ways, but absolutely fills the criteria.
02 Favourite book and/or series - Culture series with @The_Excession as my favourite
03 Favourite motion picture adaptation - Total Recall :smiley: Really enjoy PKD’s short stories generally - well worth checking out
04 Recent decents - Keep banging on about it, but The Three Body Problem

I read ACC’s Rendezvous With Rama a couple of years back and loved it. The follow-ons seem to get mixed reviews so I never read them. Has anyone? Are they worth it?

I have when I was about 17/18. Enjoyed them at the time but with hindsight I would say - excellent concept; poorly executed. They were co-written and I guess Geddy Lee, or whatever his name, is bloated them out pretty badly. Rendezvous was a lovely, tight story. The 3 sequels, not so much. I do remember excellent moments in them and I’d like to think time has been kind to them.
I’d suggest picking up the first one from a charity shop and seeing how you get on.

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01 Want to give an indie answer here but Banks is easily the sci-fi author I’ve read the most of, maybe just out of sheer availability.
02 Hitchhiker’s Guide, although discounting Mostly Harmless
03 Solaris was decent craic
04 2312 by KR Robinson, Embassy Town by Meiville

Ooh, I got @ed. Thought of changing my username to a drone or ship name when we swapped over, but decided my DiS brand wasn’t strong enough to withstand the change.

There’s going to be some really surprising answers here…

  1. Banks. So many big ideas, so re-readable. Like Sketches, he almost ruined sci-fi for me by being so good no-one else could match up. I’m getting over that a bit now, reading a few recommendations from the old thread.
  2. Excession, natch. Pretty much all the Culture novels are great, but this is the best. The weaving of the various stories, the intrigue, the famous chatting between the Minds, unbeatable. Big shout out to Consider Phlebas which is flawed but astonishing. Take out a few chapters (the eaters especially) and it might be the winner.
  3. No Banks sci-fi films yet. Don’t think I’ve ever read a sci-fi book that then got turned into a film, so I’ll pass on this one.
  4. Started reading Hyperion, quite enjoying that.

Meiville’s an acquired taste who I wouldn’t recommend to everybody, but I thought overall he executed the concept really well whilst doing the implication of an incredibly rich world thing which is his chief strength. I think I’m more upbeat about this one because he actually managed to write a happy ending for once.

Player of Games is one of my least favourites actually, kind of felt like an idea stretched too far. Still better than 90% of stuff that I’ve read though.

I can never really explain what is so wonderful about the Minds conversations to non-Banks readers. I just love the notion of that self-aware AIs with verging-on-infinite computational capacity and ‘intelligence’ end up in these cliques gossiping about each other.

His imagination was almost without parallel.