[conspire] OT: Science Fiction, places to start

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Aug 4 02:50:23 PDT 2011

After tonight's SVLUG meeting, we had the regular after-meeting dinner
at Frankie, Johnny, and Luigi's Too.  Yudhvir 'Mehma Sarja' Singh, who
is SVLUG's Meeting Coordinator these days, heard me mention being a Hugo
Award voter and attender of the annual World Science Fiction Conventions
(such as the one in a few weeks in Reno, www.renovationsf.org), and
asked if I could recommend good science fiction for him, as he hasn't
yet read much.

I'm passing along my initial thoughts, for anyone else who might want to
try them.  I'm pretty sure we have every one of these in my bookshelves.

(And no, I really don't mind if others want to continue this off-topic
chatter for a while.)

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2011 02:42:48 -0700
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: Mehma Sarja <mehmasarja at gmail.com>
Subject: Science Fiction, places to start

Yudhvir, you asked for recommendations for good science fiction 
(including fantasy) for someone who's not read much.  Let's do novels.  
You've already read _Dune_.

Here, in no particular order, are a few dozen top recommendations.  Of
course, you'll naturally want to know what each is like, and I _might_ 
send you another version of this mail with a paragraph about each, but
figured a list with no details is better than no list for a long time.

Some of these suggestions are the first (or first and second) of a
continuing series of novels.  In some cases, the rest of the series is 
equally as good, and I'm listing novel #1 in the series just so you can
decide if you want to continue.  In others (notably, Zelazny's _Amber_
series), I stop after #1 or #2 because of a steep falloff in quality

If you want to know in individual cases, please ask, and I'll give you
my opinion.

_A Fire upon the Deep_, by Vernor Vinge

_Tigana_, by Guy Gavriel Kay

_Nine Princes in Amber_ and _The Guns of Avalon_ by Roger Zelanzy

_Lord of Light_, by Roger Zelazny

_The Warrior's Apprentice_ by Lois McMaster Bujold

_Jhereg_ and _Agyar_ by Steven Brust

_Good Omens_ by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

_Consider Phlebus_ by Iain M. Banks

_Startide Rising_ and _The Uplift War_ by David Brin

_Neuromancer_, _Count Zero_, and _Mona Lisa Overdrive_ by William Gibson

_Code of the Lifemaker_ by James P. Hogan

_The Mote in God's Eye_ by Jerry Niven and Larry Pournelle

_To Say Nothing of the Dog_ by Connie Willis

_Ringworld_ by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and also any collection
   of short stories by Larry Niven

_Ender's Game_ by Orson Scott Card

_Cyberiad_ and _The Futurological Congress_ by Stanislaw Lem

_The Demolished Man_ and _The Stars My Destination_ by Alfred Bester

_The Man in the High Castle_ by Philip K. Dick

_City_ by Clifford D. Simak

_Snow Crash_, _Cryptonomicon_ and _Quicksilver_ by Neal Stephenson

_The Left Hand of Darkness_ by Ursula Kroeber LeGuin

_The Witches of Karres_ by James H. Schmitz

_The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ by Robert Heinlein

_The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy_ by Douglas Adams

_Cat's Cradle_ by Kurt Vonnegut

_Altered Carbon_ by Richard K. Morgan

_Jennifer Government_ by Max Barry

_Shadow of the Torturer_ by Gene Wolfe

_Gun, with Occasional Music_, by Jonathan Letham

_The Anubis Gates_ by Tim Powers

_Old Man's War_ by John Scalzi

_Halting State_ by Charles Stross

_War for the Oaks_ by Emma Bull

_Spin State_ by Chris Moriarty

_Mainspring_ by Jay Lake

_WWW:Wake_ by Robert J. Sawyer

_Tea with the Black Dragon_ by R.A. MacAvoy

_Towing Jehovah_ by James Morrow

_Perdido Street Station_ by China Mieville

There.  That's at least a half year's worth of absolutely masterful
writing for you, extremely varied, most (but not all) of them inarguable
classics.  You may hate some, but I doubt you'll be bored by any.  
Have fun!

----- End forwarded message -----

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