Recommend me a hard sci-fi Page 4

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  • orpheus 21 Nov 2012 13:20:01 993 posts
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    disusedgenius wrote:
    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.
    Oh no, Hyperion isn't 'hard sci fi', agreed - in fact all four are fairly 'literary'. Did he turn into a raving idiot? I hadn't heard about that, but it's a shame if he did!
  • disusedgenius 21 Nov 2012 13:27:17 5,199 posts
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    Yeah, Flashback was an exercise in taking every scare story from Fox News and pretending it happened (Texas was portrayed as some kind safe haven because they only head private healthcare, 9-11 was a international day of celebration for most of the Islamically controlled world etc). All well and good apart from the multiple-page-length diatribes on the evil of Islam, Liberalism, Socialised Healthcare, Obama and so on which really don't fit the tone of the book at all and lift you right out of it. Borderline racist doesn't really cover it, tbh.

    Edit: A big shame as the actual writing is as good as ever, just interspaced by rants seemingly raised from US ultra-conservative radio shows.

    Edited by disusedgenius at 13:30:17 21-11-2012
  • PearOfAnguish 21 Nov 2012 13:37:04 7,137 posts
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    Sounds like he's gone all Michael Crichton. That guy turned into a proper loony toward the end. Not that Crichton was ever much cop as a writer. Orson Scott Card is another one - Ender's Game is top but Card is a hideous person.

    Never got on board with Simmons. Couldn't finish Hyperion and The Terror was dull.
  • disusedgenius 21 Nov 2012 13:43:27 5,199 posts
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    I'd highly recommend the Illium series he wrote, that was fantastic. Hyperion was pretty conceptual (a sci-fi Canterbury tales, essentially) so is something of an acquired taste. The end is pretty insane, has to be said.

    Card is an interesting one as well, yeah. I enjoyed Ender's Game and Pastwatch but eventually I realised that I hate pretty much every character he's ever written - especially the ones you're meant to sympathise with.
  • FogHeart 21 Nov 2012 13:54:34 944 posts
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    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.
    Which makes Eon a good example so it's good that you've got that, while Consider Phlebas is pretty opposite, no grounded explanations of tech, way, way ahead in the future etc. It is of course cracking good scifi but well outside the given specifications.

    I agree that Stephen Baxter is a good choice for these criteria, but I'd limit it to 'Time', 'Space' and 'Origin' avoiding the Xeelee Sequence, which is indeed hard scifi (most phenomena given scientific basis, even some really really difficult ones) but can be quite far into the future (the end of this universe????).

    Here's an intriguing one - 'The Light of Other Days' by Arthur C Clarke and Stephen Baxter. Set pretty much now, but it takes a single, simple concept - the idea of using tiny wormholes to observe what happens in another place - and stretches it as far as it can in as many directions as possible, like a thought experiment. There's hardly anything else in it, tech-wise. It's probably the easiest way into hard sci fi you can get.
  • spamdangled 21 Nov 2012 13:58:15 27,269 posts
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    How about Market Forces by Richard Morgan?

    3DS: 4055-2781-2855 Xbox: spamdangled PSN: dark_morgan Wii U: Spamdangle Steam: spamdangled

  • orpheus 21 Nov 2012 14:01:54 993 posts
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    disusedgenius wrote:
    Yeah, Flashback was an exercise in taking every scare story from Fox News and pretending it happened (Texas was portrayed as some kind safe haven because they only head private healthcare, 9-11 was a international day of celebration for most of the Islamically controlled world etc). All well and good apart from the multiple-page-length diatribes on the evil of Islam, Liberalism, Socialised Healthcare, Obama and so on which really don't fit the tone of the book at all and lift you right out of it. Borderline racist doesn't really cover it, tbh.

    Edit: A big shame as the actual writing is as good as ever, just interspaced by rants seemingly raised from US ultra-conservative radio shows.
    Christ, I did not expect that! What a shame. And yeah Ilium/Olympos are also excellent, as is 'The Terror' based around the real Franklin expedition to the NorthWest Passage, with a spooky twist. Not scifi, but an incredible historical/semi-horror arctic exploration novel.

    Such a shame he went bonkers, am quite disappointed now :(
  • glaeken 21 Nov 2012 14:03:08 11,090 posts
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    @fogheart Raft is pretty similar in that it's all based around a universe where the strength of gravity is stronger than our own universe. What Baxter builds around that single idea makes it one of my favourite hard sci-fi stories. He creates such an imaginative environment based on altering just one aspect of the environment.

    Of course it is set in the far future like most of the Xeelee series.

    Edited by glaeken at 14:03:38 21-11-2012
  • glaeken 21 Nov 2012 14:07:18 11,090 posts
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    darkmorgado wrote:
    How about Market Forces by Richard Morgan?
    I really like Market Forces but I think it's more akin to something like Clockwork orange to a proper Sci-fi book. It's dystopian fiction in my view. There is nothing from a technological point of view that we really don't have now.

    One of my favourite aspects of the book is the protagonist is corrupted by power. There is even the false turn to the good path all laid out for them and they don't take it which I found refreshing.
  • spamdangled 21 Nov 2012 14:10:59 27,269 posts
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    The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson is very, very good.

    The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling is a classic, if not typical sci-fi.

    One I'm currently reading is The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, which sounds like it could be right up your street.

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  • Maturin 21 Nov 2012 14:14:18 2,889 posts
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    Anti-ice by Stephen Baxter is a good yarn too. It's actually I suppose Steampunk as it's set during the Victorian era. But a what if scenario where the British empire has access to antimatter.
  • spamdangled 21 Nov 2012 14:15:14 27,269 posts
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    glaeken wrote:
    darkmorgado wrote:
    How about Market Forces by Richard Morgan?
    I really like Market Forces but I think it's more akin to something like Clockwork orange to a proper Sci-fi book. It's dystopian fiction in my view. There is nothing from a technological point of view that we really don't have now.

    One of my favourite aspects of the book is the protagonist is corrupted by power. There is even the false turn to the good path all laid out for them and they don't take it which I found refreshing.
    You have a point, but it's still something I think the OP might be interested in.

    I didn't actually like it on my first read - I think because I was hoping for something more like Altered Carbon, which is one of my favourite sci-fi books ever. But I read it a second time and ended up actually quite enjoying it, though it has an overwhelmingly cynical tone that can make it feel like hard going at times.

    3DS: 4055-2781-2855 Xbox: spamdangled PSN: dark_morgan Wii U: Spamdangle Steam: spamdangled

  • FogHeart 21 Nov 2012 14:25:01 944 posts
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    @glaeken Did you know this?:-

    The Xeelee sequence story Ring is based at the end of this universe, the final purpose of the Xeelee is found - they are constructing a ring of superstring as large as a galaxy. Imagine wire wrapped around a doughnut, then remove the doughnut. Such a construction, according to Einstein's equations (hard scifi!) will create a hole in spacetime at its centre which is large enough for ships to pass through. The ships will end up in alternative universes, never the same twice as the hole keeps altering its connection. Raft is the story of a human colony which passed through that hole into a high-gravity universe.

    Why the Xeelee felt the need to escape this universe is something I won't reveal to everyone, but it's shocking and since it's hard scifi grounded it makes it seem possible...

    Yes, I agree with you on the way Baxter can just use one concept as the basis for a huge number of possibilities. There are other ones - I read an especially creepy one where there's a generations-old society of women who decide to build a hive-like system of reproduction - without any kind of tech involved.
  • PearOfAnguish 21 Nov 2012 14:27:41 7,137 posts
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    Quarantine by Greg Egan.

    Relatively near-future setting with some cool cyberpunk gadgetry and an insane ending.
  • glaeken 21 Nov 2012 14:53:48 11,090 posts
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    @FogHeart That sounds roughly what I remember. Certainly when they escape at the end to another universe I remember them not knowing exactly what they were going to end up with. It has been probably 20 years since I read it though so my memory is a little blurry on some of the finer details.

    It's sort of interesting that it seems Raft actually takes place at the latest point in the Xeelee series but was also the first book.
  • Tonka 4 Dec 2012 06:53:40 20,010 posts
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    Just finished Blindsight. Really enjoyed it. Felt fresh and full of new ideas (I thend to say that about sci-fi).

    But was it really hard sci-fi? Felt way to speculative for me. I would say that Anathem is far harder than Blindsight.

    In the genre of true hard sci-fi I would recommend A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C Clarke that coincidentally was the first sci-fi I ever read.

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

  • PearOfAnguish 4 Dec 2012 09:15:36 7,137 posts
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    It is hard SF, but one which focuses more on neurobiology than physics (Watts is a biologist).

    The sequel is out next year, allegedly.

    Edited by PearOfAnguish at 09:18:34 04-12-2012
  • Tonka 4 Dec 2012 09:26:29 20,010 posts
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    Given how it ended I'm very intrigued to see how that plays out.

    I read this as an e-book on my phone btw. First time I tried that. It had loads of advantages and no disadvantage so I think I will do more of that in the future.

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

  • phAge 30 Apr 2013 19:40:29 24,336 posts
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    PearOfAnguish wrote:
    Quarantine by Greg Egan.

    Relatively near-future setting with some cool cyberpunk gadgetry and an insane ending.
    Quarantine is fucking brilliant. Only one of Egan's books I've actually managed to full understand, though.
  • PearOfAnguish 30 Apr 2013 19:49:11 7,137 posts
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    I've never read any of his others because the premises never sounded as intriguing as Quarantine. I'm judging books by the back of their covers.

    Will try some one day, but it'll have to go at the end of a very long queue.
  • PearOfAnguish 31 Jul 2013 11:55:02 7,137 posts
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    Yeah...this thread will do: Craig Harrison's slightly obscure and long out-of-print classic The Quiet Earth has been reissued. Unfortunately the paperback only seems to be available in Australia at the moment.
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