1. mummymunt
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    mummymunt Member

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    Good Science Fiction Novels for a Sci-Fi Novice?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by mummymunt, Oct 6, 2010.

    I've read a few science fiction books over the years and have enjoyed them well enough, but there have been plenty more that I've tried very hard to read but just haven't been able to get into. I think the reason for that is that it's harder for me to step into that world, which I suppose gets easier with more reading in that genre.
    So, I was wondering if you guys could suggest some 'Beginner Level' novels for me to cut my teeth on.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ringworld by Larry Niven is one of my favorites, and a good stand-alone novel for someone just getting his or her feet wet in science fiction.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you tried Dr Who, Torchwood and Star Trek novels they are usually quite good?

    I love Iain M Banks - his first one Wasp Factory is good. For a short story you can get online Ray Bradbury - Sound of Thunder (it is the one about the butterfly wing effect) Agatha Christie Hound of Death has some sci-fi ish stuff

    In kids books Cows in Action Series is hysterical and worth a read.

    Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Smith are both funny.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Go and patron your local used bookseller. Much of the best of the genre is no longer in print. Cogito gave you a good one, Ringworld. Great book. A little lengthy, but fast paced.
     
  5. Axo Non Roadkill
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    Axo Non Roadkill Member

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    I avoid that genre alltogether with goosebumps on my eyelids, however, my brother has once more or less shoved Brute Orbits down my throat and it was kinda good even. So yeah, if I don't abhorr it, it gotta be worth a try ;)
     
  6. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Dune
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'm not sure that Dune is really the best book for a genre novice. It's a little long and intense.
     
  8. wavodavo
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    wavodavo Member

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    I liked Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Anything by Douglas Adams (of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame) is a hoot to read...particularly Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency...if you like droll British humor.

    I'm wondering, Mummymunt, why you want to read SciFi if you're already not sure you like it.
     
  9. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Some other recommendations:

    Space Cadet by Robert Heinlein. Very complete-feeling world where space technology is both common and politically useful. Most of the technology mentioned is do-able.

    Lucifer's Hammer by Niven & Pournelle. It was a bestseller when it first came out, early 80s or late 70s. It's about the problems we'd have maintaining high technology (as well as law and order and civilization in general) if a comet struck. An audiobook version is also available; my boyfriend read it that way and quite enjoyed it.

    Honor Harrington by David Weber. Futuristic technology, including space-based naval forces.

    The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross. At the edges of theoretical math lies magic and eldritch horrors. A magician tends to go armed with his smartphone and laptop. Genre-wise, this book nestles between science fiction and fantasy. No, magic isn't real, but the idea that you could use higher math to open a portal to another universe isn't all that different from the crazy assumptions behind Stargate or FTL drives.
     
  10. Moggle
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    Moggle Member

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    Try Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell.
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I haven't read science fiction for a long time, but back in the days when I was reading it, my favorite was Robert Heinlein's The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination may be good for beginners. The story is pretty straight-forward and compelling with lots of action.

    Many of Arthur C. Clarke's books are straightforward and easy to understand, even if I personally find them a little bland.

    Asimov's robot stories are worth a try. If you don't like Asimov's sparse, intellectual style, you won't have lost much time from reading one or two short stories.
     
  13. Egil1Eye
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    Egil1Eye Member

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    I've been reading scifi for many years, and have what I think is a respectable collection.

    You may try something from Dennis L. McKiernan. They are based on a world called 'Mithgar', the characters have a quality of depth that make you want to learn more, a pace that carries you along effortlessly, interspersed with a humour that makes even the most disrespecable character seem almost human.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I like some of the McKiernan books. I particularly enjoyed Dragondoom. But they're not science fiction.

    Here are a few suggestions.

    1. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (Heinlein)
    2. Ringworld (Niven)
    3. Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein)
    4. Neuromancer (Gibson)
    5. Hyperion (Simmons)
    6. The Forever War (Haldeman) - excellent book
    7. The Mote in God's Eye (Niven/Pournelle)
    8. A Fire Upon the Deep (Vinge)
    9. The Postman (Brin)
    10. Snowcrash (Stephenson)
    11. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Dick)
    12. Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (Dick)
    13. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Adams)
    14. A Clockwork Orange (Burgess)
    15. The Stainless Steel Rat (Harrison)
    16. Old Man's War (Scalzi)
    17. The Shadow of the Torturer (Wolfe)
    18. The Demolished Man (Bester)
    19. The Left Hand of Darkness (LeGuin)
    20. Brave New World (Huxley)

    Those are in no particular order.
     
  15. Egil1Eye
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    Egil1Eye Member

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    Agreed, true scifi they are not, but fantasy, epic or otherwise tend to hold their own.

    Scifi may be more broad of scope when looked at on a grander scale, but the same can be said about fantasy where epic is defined in time, rather than distance.
     
  16. mummymunt
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    mummymunt Member

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    I've read all of the Hitchhiker books and loved them. Red Dwarf was good, too, and somewhere around here I have Colony by Rob Grant of Red Dwarf fame - I'm halfway through it but my five year old decided to take it for a walk and I haven't seen it since.
    To answer somebody's question (forgot your name, sorry!), I want to find some good books because I believe all genres have something to offer and I'd rather be pointed in the right direction than wade through a tonne of crud to find it :) This is me being lazy, which you'll get used to.
     
  17. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    I don't actually read a lot of sci-fi but Sphere by Michael Crichton and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card are both fantastic.
     
  18. That Secret Ninja
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    That Secret Ninja Member

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    I'll agree with the few people that have recommended Ender' Game.

    It was actually the book that got me into reading after two decades of hating reading.

    It's not THAT great, but a great introduction into sci-fi. The books that came after it, both the Speaker sage and Bean quartet were really what got me into sci-fi.

    After that, read Simmons' Hyperion Cantos. Seriously, some of the best books I've read so far.
     

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