SF book recommendations
September 13, 2010 8:17 PM   Subscribe
Help me find a new scifi author to consume! Looking for book/author recommendations.

I've recently read and enjoyed most of the stuff by Peter F Hamilton, Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow.

I want SF/Future books written relatively recently (last decade-ish) because I'm interested in our current visions/predictions for the future, rather than ones speculated by authors longer ago.

I loved Peter Hamilton's stuff immensely, as well as some of Stross'.

Help!
posted by tonyx3 to Technology (31 answers total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
 
Karl Schroeder (Sun of Suns) is a lot of fun.
Peter Watts (Blindsight).
Alastair Reynolds
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:38 PM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


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Verner Vinge's Rainbows End.
posted by fings at 8:49 PM on September 13, 2010


I'm going to limit myself to one title per author but almost all of their stuff is good...

Gridlinked by Neal Asher
Crystal Rain by Tobias S. Buckell
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Anathem by Neal Stephenson
Starfish by Peter Watts
posted by dgeiser13 at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2010



posted by
timsteil at 9:22 PM on September 13, 2010


Seconding Vernor Vinge. Thirding, fourthing and fifthing Peter Watts.

Agreeing with the recommendation of Richard K. Morgan.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:32 PM on September 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


William Gibson is doing some excellent near future stuff. Try Pattern Recognition or Spook Country

I second Neal Stephenson, but if you are looking for futurism I would recommend Snow Crash (although it's a bit long in the tooth these days) and The Diamond Age
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:35 PM on September 13, 2010


Gene Wolfe. If you're ever in the mood for older stuff, Olaf Stapledon.
posted by 0rison at 9:46 PM on September 13, 2010


I want SF/Future books written relatively recently (last decade-ish) because I'm interested in our current visions/predictions for the future, rather than ones speculated by authors longer ago.

If you want visions of the near future, try Gibson, especially the Sprawl and Bridge trilogies. Obviously wasn't a prophet or anything, but some of the crudest premises should be quite familiar: multi-national corporations acting like sovereign states, the power of tabloids and mass media, &c.
posted by d. z. wang at 9:54 PM on September 13, 2010


Iain M. Banks, naturally.

Also Nthing Reynolds and Watts, and throwing in Ken Maccleod.
posted by Artw at 9:54 PM on September 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Shelter, by Susan Palwick has some interesting extrapolated tech, along with information about future housing prices :-)

If longish short-stories are ok, then I highly recommend the Year's Best Science Fiction series. It's all recent, by some of the best writers out there.

And along those lines, Stories of Your Life, by Ted Chiang contains a wide variety different visions.

Light, by M. John Harrison is a challenging read, but also full of nifty ideas
posted by Gorgik at 10:02 PM on September 13, 2010


No love for Dan Simmons' Hyperion books? I also recommend Vernor Vinge's Fire Upon The Deep.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:30 PM on September 13, 2010


Also SF Masterworks is basically the NYRB Classics of science fiction: I've yet to find a dud piece of work in either of their respective catalogues.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:33 PM on September 13, 2010


Nthing Richard K Morgan and Ken MacLeod
posted by Joh at 10:54 PM on September 13, 2010


China Mieville. He's hip.
posted by wilful at 11:48 PM on September 13, 2010


China Mieville, definitely. _Perdido Street Station_.

_The City & The City_ is shorter and maybe a bit more accessible for starters.
posted by bardic at 1:07 AM on September 14, 2010


Personal opinion (obviously): Can't stand China Mieville, Ted Chiang is great, and my favorite SF book read all year is House of Sons by Alastair Reynolds. Richard Morgan is good, but stay far, far away from "Steel Remains" (his awful fantasy effort).
posted by zachawry at 1:32 AM on September 14, 2010


Possibly Greg Egan - he's probably closest to Charlie Stross of your list.

Seconding Alastair Reynolds
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Lots of good suggestions. I'll be sure to look into them. Thanks, and keep them coming!
posted by tonyx3 at 3:03 AM on September 14, 2010


The latest Hugo awards list has some great books. I've included a star rating for the ones I've read with a synopsis.

Boneshaker, Cherie Priest (Tor) (**) [zombie steampunk girls own adventure]
Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra) (****) [weirdy poetic fairytale awesome. with sex.]
Wake, Robert J. Sawyer (Ace; Penguin; Gollancz; Analog) (-*) [shit book about 'seeing' the internet]
The Windup Girl, Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade) (****) [awesome old school scifi with brand new themes]

The City & The City, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan UK)
Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)

And yes - Wake gets a negative star.

I'm also reading "How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe" which is a bit hit and miss, but is different enough from science fiction to keep my interest.
posted by seanyboy at 4:04 AM on September 14, 2010


Out of that list, The Windup Girl is the one you should read.
posted by seanyboy at 4:06 AM on September 14, 2010


Seconding Olaf Stapledon, especially Star Maker.
posted by fairmettle at 4:40 AM on September 14, 2010


Anything by David Brin or John Varley should fit the bill!
posted by Hanuman1960 at 5:15 AM on September 14, 2010


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Note that in addition to reading "Rainbow's End" by Vernor Vinge, you absolutely should not miss two of his ealier novels either, those being "A Fire Upon The Deep" and "A Deepness In The Sky".
posted by grizzled at 6:00 AM on September 14, 2010


Scalzi's blog has a regular feature where he invites authors to come talk about their newest book - I've found quite a few writers I enjoy that way.

Sheri S Tepper sf with strong eco-feminist themes. There's a long article on her latest on Scalzi's blog.

Kij Johnson Her 2009 Nebula award winning story Spar is here - disturbing and sexual and much darker than a lot of her other stuff but very thought provoking.

Connie Willis - wry, funny and insightful - she often writes stuff set in the near future involving time travel with an inward twist. She's terrific!

Elizabeth Bear writes both fantasy and science fiction.

Justine Larbalastier writes and edits both sf and fantasy as well as analysis of others' writing.
posted by leslies at 6:21 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]




Many very good sf authors have been mentioned already, but a few who haven't been, who are excellent, and who might appeal to you based on what you said you liked include:

- Ian McDonald (River of Gods, Brasyl, Cyberabad Days; plus many very good older novels, particularly the Chaga ones)
- Robert Charles Wilson (Mysterium, Chronoliths, Spin, Axis)
- Kathleen Anne Goonan (nanotech series starting with Queen City Jazz)
- Adam Roberts (in particular Salt, On, Stone, Polystom, Gradisil)
- Paul J. McAuley (Quiet War and Gardens of the Sun; but lots of good older novels too)
- Justina Robson (Mappa Mundi, Natural History)
- David Marusek (Counting Heads, Mind Over Ship)
- John Barnes (Candle, The Sky So Big and Black, A Million Open Doors, Guadeamus)
posted by aught at 8:22 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, it's always worth repeating in sf recommendation threads the links to recent years' Locus Magazine yearly "recommended" lists: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.
posted by aught at 8:27 AM on September 14, 2010


Ken MacLeod is a great suggestion. I have enjoyed his and Charlie Stross's stuff more than Doctorow's.

Damien Broderick's Transcension is another near-future techno-rapture adventure, featuring an Amish teen in transhuman America. You might like it.
posted by General Tonic at 8:52 AM on September 14, 2010


Coming in here late only because no one has said Kim Stanley Robinson yet.
posted by gerryblog at 11:04 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


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MetaFilter's own cstross had a glowing recommendation for Hannu Rajaniemi: "He's Finnish, lives in Scotland, has a PhD in string theory, and — well, if you dropped Greg Egan's hard physics chops into a rebooted Finnish version of Al Reynolds with the writing talent of a Ted Chiang you'd begin to get a rough approximation of the scale of his talent."

I haven't read any of his stuff yet, but he has a few stories available online and there was a reading of his "His Master's Voice" on a recent edition of the Escape Pod podcast. If you like those, he has a novel, "The Quantum Thief", coming out quite soon (brief review here). 
posted by logopetria at 2:18 PM on September 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh. He's okay, and secondable as a recommend, but I'm not sure I'd go as far as Stross there.
posted by Artw at 2:21 PM on September 14, 2010


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