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Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Old 11-13-13, 07:28 PM
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Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

After discovering the Vorkosigan Saga, Snow Crash, Old Man's War, The Culture
Series, The Expanse Trilogy and rereading The Forever War I'm trying to
find more Science Fiction novels that combine exciting action with
smart/smartly executed story telling. Now to clear things up, by
"action" I don't necessarily mean Military Sci-Fi(although those
shouldn't be excluded) I'd like more variety like cyberpunk or present
based science fiction.
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Old 11-14-13, 02:42 AM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

When I saw the title I was going to come in to the thread and recommend Stephenson's "Snowcrash" and IMB's Culture books...

There are probably several ways to go with this including flagging early cyberpunk novels that may now be overlooked, or perhaps considering something more cutting edge.

I'll play it safe and mention Peter Hamilton's entertaining series of books featuring ex-mercenary Greg Mandel and commencing with "Mindstar Rising". He went on to write a massive set of books, the Night's Dawn trilogy, which I own but have yet to read!

If you find that you have enjoyed the sci-fi "private eye" vibe, then Richard (K) Morgan's Takeshi Kovak books, starting with "Altered Carbon". Morgan's "Black Man" ("Thirteen" in the US) was also a gripping read.

Is bio-punk the new steam/cyberpunk? Maybe try Paolo Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl", which was an enjoyable and action-packed intelligent read.

Another recent smart read was Hannu Rajaniemi's "The Quantum Thief" but it is possible that this might be a bit too dense. If not, he has written a follow-up and a third title is scheduled for 2014.

I could probably go on (and on, and on) but for now I'll stick with my first thoughts. I'll post again if any off-the-wall ideas bubble up into my consciousness!
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Old 11-14-13, 10:34 AM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Cant go wrong with the Honor Herrington series.
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Old 11-14-13, 02:48 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by benedict View Post
I'll play it safe and mention Peter Hamilton's entertaining series of books featuring ex-mercenary Greg Mandel and commencing with "Mindstar Rising". He went on to write a massive set of books, the Night's Dawn trilogy, which I own but have yet to read!

If you find that you have enjoyed the sci-fi "private eye" vibe, then Richard (K) Morgan's Takeshi Kovak books, starting with "Altered Carbon". Morgan's "Black Man" ("Thirteen" in the US) was also a gripping read.
I have read Altered Carbon, but it's one of those books that I'm going to have to reread one day because I kind of lost track of the mystery. As for Hamilton, I'm trying to ease my way into his work.
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Old 11-14-13, 03:04 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

I remember being knocked out by Dean Koontz' Lightning a few years ago. It's a compulsive read.
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Old 11-14-13, 04:19 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by ryantherebel View Post
Now to clear things up, by
"action" I don't necessarily mean Military Sci-Fi(although those
shouldn't be excluded) I'd like more variety like cyberpunk or present
based science fiction.
Song Called Youth by John Shirley, aka the Eclipse Trilogy (Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, Eclipse Corona).
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Old 11-14-13, 08:44 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

+1 for Honor Harrington series by David Weber. The first couple are free on kindle.
George Alec Effinger wrote When Gravity Fails and a couple others in the same universe.
I guess Ender's Game is very obvious.
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Old 11-15-13, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Easy View Post
George Alec Effinger wrote When Gravity Fails and a couple others in the same universe.
I almost mentioned this and now it has been cited would add John Courteney Grimwood's similarly themed and located Arabesk trilogy and Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage" which he has put online for free now it is out of print.

Also fitting the brief I think is the work of Bank's fellow-countryman Ken Mcleod which - from what I've seen, only having read a couple - serves as a left-leaning counterpoint to Hamilton's more free-market oriented sensibility.

And for enormous, intelligent space operas of recent times, there's Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space collection of novels.

Not to mention CJ Cherryh's "Cyteen" and "Downbelow Station".

Last edited by benedict; 11-15-13 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 11-15-13, 01:07 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by Easy View Post
+1 for Honor Harrington series by David Weber. The first couple are free on kindle.
George Alec Effinger wrote When Gravity Fails and a couple others in the same universe.
I've read When Gravity Fails, and while I liked it the book wasn't what I was looking for.
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Old 11-15-13, 02:51 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by benedict View Post
And for enormous, intelligent space operas of recent times, there's Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space collection of novels.
I've been catching up with these and enjoyed them (I've read through "Redemption Ark" in the series).
Spoiler:
I wonder if the people who wrote the "Mass Effect" game series read these, since the games' Reapers and the novels' Inhibitors seem very similar.


I've greatly enjoyed Vernor Vinge's space opera. I think his "Zones of Thought" series (Fire Upon the Deep, Deepness in the Sky, Children of the Sky) has enough action to qualify.

A series that I was turned onto from this forum is Daniel Suarez's "Daemon" and "Freedom". This is something with a modern-day setting and more of a cyberpunk story.

Last edited by brainee; 11-15-13 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 11-16-13, 06:22 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

I can highly recommend the Empire of Man series by David Weber and John Ringo. Military sci-fi but very good.

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Old 11-17-13, 07:22 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by mewmartigan View Post
I can highly recommend the Empire of Man series by David Weber and John Ringo. Military sci-fi but very good.

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I have to admit I'm a bit weary of exploring Ringo's work after discovering the "OH JOHN RINGO NO" meme.
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Old 11-21-13, 12:50 AM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Hi all,
I’m new to this forum. I love reading science fiction books. So here are my recommendations.
Blackout by “Connie Willis”
Spin by “Robert Charles Wilson”
Song of Kali by “Dan Simmons”
Gateway by “Federik Pohl”
The best one “Dune by Frank Herbert”
I take help from myscifilibrary. This has got a fantastic list of award winning books.
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Old 12-10-13, 03:50 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Check out Walter Jon William's Dread Empire Fall trilogy (The Praxis, The Sundering and Conventions of War). Really good stuff.
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Old 12-10-13, 11:25 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by Lastblade View Post
Check out Walter Jon William's Dread Empire Fall trilogy (The Praxis, The Sundering and Conventions of War). Really good stuff.
I thought those were really good. I wish they'd been more popular so there could be more (there's a shorter one in addition, but I want more).

Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
Cant go wrong with the Honor Herrington series.
I like these, but the author does like to go on-and-on--still I read about 7-8 before I got tired of them, so I'd still recommend them. I think David Drake's Lieutenant O'Leary books are similar in some ways, but without as many long descriptions of how ships work and with a bit more humor than Honor Harrington.

Last edited by Ginwen; 12-10-13 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 12-11-13, 08:26 AM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Give Dan Simmons's Hyperion series a try.
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Old 12-11-13, 01:56 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Safehold series is good also. It is also a current series so you may have to wait for new entries but there are already several (5 or 6) out.
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Old 12-11-13, 03:53 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

The Chunk Kuo series by David Wingrove is fantastic. The premise: a future under Chinese rule.

(A great time to pick the series up from the beginning, too. The original eight book series is being reworked by the author and split into a projected 20 novel set.)
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Old 12-11-13, 11:28 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by Ginwen View Post
I thought those were really good. I wish they'd been more popular so there could be more (there's a shorter one in addition, but I want more).
What? I didn't know there is a short addition! I love this series, and I agree with you that more people need to read this. Maybe it will be made into a movie someday.
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Old 12-18-13, 03:50 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by lattethunder View Post
Give Dan Simmons's Hyperion series a try.
I've the first two Hyperion books and they were indeed excellent.
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Old 12-21-13, 04:22 PM
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Re: Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Originally Posted by Lastblade View Post
What? I didn't know there is a short addition! I love this series, and I agree with you that more people need to read this. Maybe it will be made into a movie someday.
If you didn't find it, it's called Investments. It may only be available as an ebook. Link on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Investments-Dr...7661041&sr=1-6
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Old 12-23-13, 07:24 AM
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http://www.ansible.co.uk/writing/danlo.html << minor spoilers for Zindell

Originally Posted by ryantherebel View Post
I've the first two Hyperion books and they were indeed excellent.
I loved the first pair but, a few years later, was somewhat disappointed with the second half of the cantos - "Endymion" and "Rise of Endymion" - especially the final volume. This feeling was compounded when compared to the other set of four books that I was reading at the same time, David Zindell's "Neverness", "The Broken God", "The Wild" and "War in Heaven" which had a similar scope but which I thought better maintained the sense of wonder to the end.

NB) One of the more interesting &/or thought-provoking SF novels I've read this year was Nick Harkaway's "Gone Away World" which takes you in some strange directions. On the strength of that one I've bought his next (to read in 2014).
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Old 12-24-13, 10:07 PM
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Re: http://www.ansible.co.uk/writing/danlo.html << minor spoilers for Zindell

Originally Posted by ryantherebel View Post
I've the first two Hyperion books and they were indeed excellent.
Originally Posted by benedict View Post
I loved the first pair but, a few years later, was somewhat disappointed with the second half of the cantos - "Endymion" and "Rise of Endymion" - especially the final volume. This feeling was compounded when compared to the other set of four books that I was reading at the same time, David Zindell's "Neverness", "The Broken God", "The Wild" and "War in Heaven" which had a similar scope but which I thought better maintained the sense of wonder to the end.

NB) One of the more interesting &/or thought-provoking SF novels I've read this year was Nick Harkaway's "Gone Away World" which takes you in some strange directions. On the strength of that one I've bought his next (to read in 2014).
I enjoyed his "Illium/Olympos" books more than the Hyperion ones. Though I am more interested in Roman/Greek mythology than I am the Cantebury Tales.
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