Recommend me a hard sci-fi Page 3

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  • spamdangled 18 Nov 2012 01:40:41 27,276 posts
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    orpheus wrote:
    beastmaster wrote:
    Dragon's Egg

    Hard sci-fi
    That link leads to the wiki description of 'hard sci fi' which is exactly what DM wrote, word for word. Classy. Shame he didn't read the final para.

    ROFL.
    Eh? It's not word for word.

    At all. Not even close.

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  • spamdangled 18 Nov 2012 01:44:01 27,276 posts
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    Post deleted

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  • spamdangled 18 Nov 2012 01:44:07 27,276 posts
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    Fix.

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  • spamdangled 18 Nov 2012 01:47:19 27,276 posts
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    disusedgenius wrote:
    Lamb wrote:
    Personally I don't see the fucking distinction theres good sci-fi and theres crap sci-fi, end of..
    It's a stylistic distinction, not a quality one. It's like comparing Froza and Mario Kart or something. Hard science just has more of a base in exploring scientific theory and concepts.
    This.

    There's also a pretty big grey area between the two. Hard sci-fi still has a tendency to examine social and political issues, and soft sci-fi can still wrap its world in the realms of plausible science.

    Rather than being mutually exclusive, they are more gradients on either sides of median.

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  • Tonka 18 Nov 2012 06:03:28 20,167 posts
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    In communist China there is no hard or soft sci-fi.
    There's only sci-fi and "hyper reality"

    If you can read this you really need to fiddle with your forum settings.

  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 22:21:25
    @orpheus The Hyperion Quartet is stunning and devastating. The last book left me speechless.

    I'm not sure if it's truly hard sci-fi, but Hannu Rajaniemi's post-singularity books are also very fine, if demanding as you're dropped into an alien world and language. If that sounds good, The Quantum Thief and The Fractal Prince are worth checking out.

    And perhaps Charles Stross Saturn's Children for a post-humanity future that obeys (sort of?) mundane sci-fi rules?

    Plus Halting State which is catnip for gamers, and it's semi-sequel Rule 34, both near-future Scottish detective tales I think
  • spamdangled 19 Nov 2012 22:22:32 27,276 posts
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    Halting state was great. Wasn't aware there was a sequel.

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  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 22:23:13
    @darkmorgado It's set in the same world I believe. He's working on a third one. Kind of like Gibson does.
  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 22:27:02
    @darkmorgado And Rule 34 has the same perspective as Halting State, but...well, you'll see :-) It's bloody clever.
  • spamdangled 19 Nov 2012 22:27:32 27,276 posts
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    Speaking of Gibson, I really enjoyed Pattern Recognition.

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  • Deleted user 19 November 2012 22:40:04
    One more, The Dervish House by Ian MacDonald. I think it's kind of prescient as it supposes childrens toys that could act as the military surveillance drones we have now. And it brilliantly takes place in Istanbul, and captures the politics and atmosphere of that city.
  • spindizzy 20 Nov 2012 00:01:40 6,435 posts
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    Ged42 wrote:
    Kevin J Anderson's Saga of the Seven Suns is good though might be a bit pulpy to be hard sci-fi.
    I have to violently disagree here. I gave up on the 3rd or 4th one because it was so fucking awful - sorry!

    I just finished The Thousand Emperors and thought it pretty decent (it's a sequel to Final Days, but better than that). The Hydrogen Sonata is more of the same from Banks, but is enjoyable enough if you like his Culture stuff (I thought the idea of sublime was interesting).

    Edit: read OP and both my recommendations are perhaps a bit too far future and speculative. Leviathan Wakes just occurred to me too, but that's probably no good either. I give up (but still don't read Anderson - he's speculative and worse, shit).

    Edited by spindizzy at 00:07:34 20-11-2012
  • GrandpaUlrira 20 Nov 2012 00:10:06 3,753 posts
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    Eon by Greg Bear, and then its sequel, Eternity, which is about as good as the first book.

    Tau Zero by Poul Anderson... set in the future, but with a good physics grounding.

    I'm not sure it counts as hard sci-fi, but given its roots in Chernobyl Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky Bros might be a good choice (it's also pretty short).
  • orpheus 20 Nov 2012 15:26:28 1,000 posts
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    @SuperLlamaFarmer

    Yeah, it's by far one of the most 'affecting' sci-fi I've read, though I think you have to 'get' Keats to really get most out of the novels. Truly stunning achievement either way.

    This guy was recommended by Reynolds on Twitter the other day, not sure if it's any good but might be worth a look:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nexus-Angry-Robot-Ramez-Naam/dp/0857662929/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353425153&sr=8-1-spell
  • glaeken 20 Nov 2012 16:36:54 11,134 posts
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    On the hard sci-fi vs. soft sci-fi I have always seen it as hard sci-fi will attempt to put a theory behind how something works. So for instance if the story has faster than light travel there will be some thought put into just how that could work. Soft sci-fi just gets on with it and for the purposes of the plot you have faster than light travel without any real concentration on how it actually works.

    There is of course some blending of the genres. Star Trek for instance does sort of give you explanations for how things work but it's actually mostly made up mobo jumbo. We then get to something like Star Wars where there is never an attempt at explanation and the technology may as well be magic.

    Stephen Baxter is probably the best example of a hard sci-fi author I can think of. He mostly attempts to put some science into his speculation.

    So with Hard sci-fi there is a chance of actually learning something where as with soft sci-fi it's all about the story.

    Edited by glaeken at 16:38:33 20-11-2012
  • Popzeus 20 Nov 2012 17:27:30 8,289 posts
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    I'll second Stephen Baxter (which is what I assume pete's autocorrect meant when he wrote "banter") but for me his best book is Time. All very plausible, current-tech stuff.

    Currently playing: Standing In A Car Park Simulator 2013

  • disusedgenius 20 Nov 2012 17:35:57 5,271 posts
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    glaeken wrote:
    On the hard sci-fi vs. soft sci-fi I have always seen it as hard sci-fi will attempt to put a theory behind how something works.
    I've always seen it as being more literal 'fiction about science'. Something like Tau Zero, Forever War, Ouroboros Wave etc are really exploring scientific theories and concepts via story rather than using science to help ground a story, if that makes sense?

    It's really the explorative and thought-experiment side which sells something as 'proper' hard sci-fi to me.
  • glo 20 Nov 2012 19:34:32 3,423 posts
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    Timescape by greg benford is probably one of my favourite hard sci-fi books and the only book about time travel that makes it seem even slightly plausible. Definitely worth reading.
  • Dirtbox 20 Nov 2012 19:45:02 77,656 posts
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    Arthur C is about as 'hard' as I've read in that the science was so solid, much of it became science fact. True visionary genius.

    Banks and Simmons are a difficult read due to the subject matter or occasionaly experimental writing style, but the science is ultimately quite attainable and coincidental to the plot in more of a treky way. IMHO.

    +1 / Like / Tweet this post

  • Immaterial 20 Nov 2012 20:04:14 1,326 posts
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    SuperLlamaFarmer wrote:
    One more, The Dervish House by Ian MacDonald. I think it's kind of prescient as it supposes childrens toys that could act as the military surveillance drones we have now. And it brilliantly takes place in Istanbul, and captures the politics and atmosphere of that city.
    This.  In fact, anything by Ian McDonald.  Brasyl and Cyberabad Days are cracking near future proper sci-first,  putting average people in believable near future stories.

    Edited by Immaterial at 20:07:33 20-11-2012

    Think I'll just switch everything off.

  • Immaterial 20 Nov 2012 20:17:37 1,326 posts
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    Also, anything by this bloke:
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_J._McAuley#section_1

    Think I'll just switch everything off.

  • Maturin 20 Nov 2012 20:34:31 2,937 posts
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    Popzeus wrote:
    I'll second Stephen Baxter (which is what I assume pete's autocorrect meant when he wrote "banter") but for me his best book is Time. All very plausible, current-tech stuff.
    My favourite of his is Voyage. About a manned trip to Mars following the Appolo missions. All very plausible alternate history. The Challenger stuff is hair raising.
  • PearOfAnguish 20 Nov 2012 21:00:39 7,195 posts
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    Yeah, Baxter is awesome. Time is the start of the Manifold "trilogy", four loosely linked books (Time, Space, Origin and short story collection Phase Space) with similar themes and characters, all are worth checking out. They're proper mind-expanding sense of wonder stories.

    Also try Flood, Ark, Moonseed, The Light of Other Days (not his best but the premise and pay off is cool) and the Xeelee sequence series.

    As said, Blindsight and Mars trilogy are stunning.

    Spin by Robert Charles Wilson is amazing.

    For something a bit different try John Barnes' Century Next Door series, particularly Kaleidoscope Century and Candle, though be warned they are almost unrelentingly bleak.

    A less well known but quite prolific author is Charles Sheffield. He was a physicist and mathematician and wrote some interesting novels, though I have found him to be a bit hit-and-miss.

    Another more obscure one is Linda Nagata, who did a nanotech series beginning with The Bohr Maker, which was really great.

    If you're unsure about where to start just find some of those short story collections on Amazon, the Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction was decent.

    Edited by PearOfAnguish at 21:01:13 20-11-2012
  • sirtacos 21 Nov 2012 03:11:12 7,272 posts
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    Gracias all!

    I've added most suggestions to my (now enormous) to-read list.

    Currently reading* Eon, Consider Phlebas, Ender's Game, Hyperion, Red Mars and The Variable Man.

    PS: my OP could have been more specific - I was looking for good sci-fi set in the present day or near-future, with technology that approximates our own.

    Although not "hard" sci-fi by any means, Asimov's early Robot stories, with their nascent AI, are good examples of this.

    Still, I'm not complaining. I now have a lot of interesting shit to read. More so than if I had clarified my criteria from the start.
  • orpheus 21 Nov 2012 06:31:32 1,000 posts
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    sirtacos wrote:
    Gracias all!

    I've added most suggestions to my (now enormous) to-read list.

    Currently reading* Eon, Consider Phlebas, Ender's Game, Hyperion, Red Mars and The Variable Man.

    PS: my OP could have been more specific - I was looking for good sci-fi set in the present day or near-future, with technology that approximates our own.

    Although not "hard" sci-fi by any means, Asimov's early Robot stories, with their nascent AI, are good examples of this.

    Still, I'm not complaining. I now have a lot of interesting shit to read. More so than if I had clarified my criteria from the start.
    Often the best way - sci fi is such a broad horizon you can miss a lot by being too specific.

    Do carry on past Hyperion and do the whole quartet. You won't regret it. Also 'Excession' once you're done with Consider Phlebas (also Banks).

    Edited by orpheus at 06:32:00 21-11-2012
  • Deleted user 21 November 2012 07:54:35
    The book of the new sun part one and two by gene Wolfe. Classic book.
  • UncleLou Moderator 21 Nov 2012 08:39:40 35,492 posts
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    Vernor Vinge - A fire upon the deep

    Classified as hard sci-fi, as far as I am aware, but very far away from earth or our time, so maybe not what you're looking for. One of the best sci-fi novels I've read, though.
  • dominalien 21 Nov 2012 09:21:27 6,848 posts
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    revan8 wrote:
    The book of the new sun part one and two by gene Wolfe. Classic book.
    It is rather classic, but hardly hard sci-fi, isn't it?

    That said, GW is probably my favourite author. Which reminds me, I haven't read anything of his in a while.

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  • disusedgenius 21 Nov 2012 09:39:14 5,271 posts
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    orpheus wrote:
    Do carry on past Hyperion and do the whole quartet.
    I wouldn't necessarily class that as hard sci-fi, mind. The first one at least has much more of a literary conceit than scientific (same as his Iliad series). The second seemed like a disappointing standard sci-fi epic, though I haven't bothered with the rest so maybe they recover a bit.

    Such a shame that Simmons turned into a raving idiot recently though, he's a fantastic writer whichever sub-genre you put him in.
  • PearOfAnguish 21 Nov 2012 12:20:26 7,195 posts
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    UncleLou wrote:
    Vernor Vinge - A fire upon the deep

    Classified as hard sci-fi, as far as I am aware, but very far away from earth or our time, so maybe not what you're looking for. One of the best sci-fi novels I've read, though.
    Yeah, this one is stunning, a stone-cold classic. Its depiction of a galactic internet was really innovative and the aliens he created are fascinating.

    Vinge's Across Realtime should also go on your list. The first part - Peace War - is a little slow but worth it for setting up Marooned in Realtime, which is a mind-boggling far-future jaunt.

    Another one for you - Encounter With Tiber by John Barnes & Buzz Aldrin. Shame it's not more popular because it's one of the best first contact stories I've ever seen. They managed to create a believable alien race and tell a pacey adventure story from two perspectives. And if you are looking for something with a more contemporary grounding it's got a near-ish future setting; thanks to Aldrin's input the space travel parts seem very authentic.

    Edited by PearOfAnguish at 12:23:49 21-11-2012
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