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Thread: best of modern science fiction
January 5th, 2012, 12:22 AM #1
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best of modern science fiction
What are some of the bet sci-fi titles over the past 20 years or so? Any good read that push the limits? I'm lookin for a good read.
January 5th, 2012, 03:47 AM #2
Off the top of my head:
* Axiomatic, by Greg Egan
* Stories of your Life, by Ted Chiang
* Blindsight, by Peter Watts
* Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
* River of Gods, by Ian McDonald
* Pushing Ice, by Alastair Reynolds
* Pandora's Star, by Peter F. Hamilton
* Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson
* The Golden Age, by John C. Wright
January 5th, 2012, 07:18 AM #3
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I really enjoyed the following:
Ender's Game - O. S. Card
Void Trilogy - P. Hamilton (following the Pandora's Star books)
Old Man's War Series - John Scalzi
January 5th, 2012, 09:24 PM #4
January 6th, 2012, 11:20 AM #5
Although a little over a year has passed since somebody's posted to it, this thread might be helpful:
Best SF novels of the last 40 years?
From about a year before that:
io9's "20 best science fiction books of the decade"
January 6th, 2012, 04:23 PM #6
The Passage, by Justin Cronin,
World War Z, by Max Brooks,
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy,
The Carpet Makers, by Andreas Eschbach,
Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler,
China Mountain Zhang, by Maureen McHugh,
Beggers in Spain, by Nancy Kress (novella, 1991, so just past your cut-off),
Ted Chiang's book of short Stories, Stories of Your Life and Others,
Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
20 years is a long time in publishing though.
Someone said Ender's Game. I think that was '79, so it's outside your frame.
January 6th, 2012, 09:26 PM #7
A desultory few:
This is "desultory" because it is not necessarily even a full listing of the authors mentioned; in several cases, they will have other books of quality issued within the specified period, so this is a set of vague pointers. Still, while there are several stalwarts listed, I suspect that quite a few might be considered off the beaten track. All are somewhere from quite good to excellent (in, obviously, my opinion).
Iain M. Banks' "Culture" series (the beginning books are more than 20 years back, but most of it is in the last two decades), plus his few one-off novels (Against a Dark Background; Feersum Endjinn; The Algebraist).
Stepan Chapman's The Troika (1997).
Glen Cook's sf novel The Dragon Never Sleeps (1988) is maybe a hair outside your time limit, but worthwhile.
John Crowley's novella (I guess it is) The Great Work of Time (1991).
Terry Dowling's "Rynosseros" cycle (Rynosseros, 1990; Blue Tyson, 1992; Twilight Beach, 1993; and Rynemonn, 2007); also his novel Clowns at Midnight (2008).
Candas Jane Dorsey, A Paradigm of Earth (2001).
Josh Emmons, The Loss of Leon Meed (2005); whether this is sf or fantasy is open to debate.
Jeffrey Ford's "Well-Built City" trilogy (The Physiognomy, 1997; Memoranda, 1999; and The Beyond, 2001) ; this also is borderline sf/fantasy.
Richard Grant, Through the Heart (1992); and Grant's earlier works, like Saraband of Lost Time, are worth pursuing as well.
M. John Harrison's "Light"--aka "Kefahuchi Tract"--trilogy (Light, 2002; Nova Swing, 2006; and Empty Space, forthcoming 19 July 2012). Also The Course of the Heart, 1992, and Signs of Life, 1997 (published together as Anima, 2005). Harrison is probably the premier sf writer of our time; his collected short stories have been published as Things That Never Happen (2002).
Robert Holdstock's "Mythago Wood" cycle (of which only the first couple are outside the specified time period) is fantasy-like but nominally sf; in any event, good.
Samantha Hunt, The Invention of Everything Else (2008).
K. W. Jeter's Farewell Horizontal (1989) almost makes the period.
Herbert Lieberman, Sandman, Sleep (1993).
Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams (1993).
Ian McDonald's "Desolation Road" cycle (Desolation Road, 1988; The Luncheonette of Lost Dreams, 1992; and Ares Express, 2001). Also his novel Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (1994).
China Mieville, The City and the City (2009); Embassytown (2011).
Lydia Millet, Oh Pure and Radiant Heart (2005); arguably fantastic, but written as and reads as sf.
Thomas Palmer, Dream Science (1990).
Paul Park's "Starbridge Chronicles" is right at the threshold of the period, but worth a look.
Christopher Priest, The Prestige, 1995; and probably a good deal more (I'm behindhand on my reading).
Matt Ruff, Sewer, Gas, and Electric (1993).
Lucius Shepard, Kalimantan (1990).
Brian Stableford: his oeuvre is enormous, and he never wrote a book not worth reading; some of it is outside your period, but much of it is not (for example, the "Emortality" series). Highly recommended.
Jack Vance is, of course, one of the Grand Masters of sf; while much of his work antedates the period in question, some of it does fall within, notably "The Cadwal Chronicles" and "Ports of Call".
Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist (1998).
Michael Williams, the "Arcady" duo (Arcady, 1996, and Allamanda, 1997).
Tad Williams' "Otherland" tetrology is a pretty inventive and decent read.
Gene Wolf is another candidate for best sf writer of our time, and much of his extensive oeuvre falls with the specified time period (though it includes some fantasy).
January 7th, 2012, 11:23 PM #8
I have found that when owlcroft puts a list up, it has been well worth it for me to take note. I had a very high enjoy ratio on his underappreciated/unknown sf list last year, still working through it. his mentions of cook and vance (whose works I already knew well) and stableford (whom I didn't know of) are worth the price of admission in and of themselves.
It is well-known, but Hyperion by dan simmons is worth putting on a list, imho. The sequels, for me, got progressively worse.
john varley - steel beach? dont remember date
just looking at visible shelves here, will add as I see things.
January 9th, 2012, 12:09 PM #9
That is a very nice list, owlcroft. Many books I'm not familiar with there.
January 10th, 2012, 06:56 AM #10
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Revelation Space, by Alastair Reynolds -- if you are in the mood for grand galaxy spanning sci fi.
Passage, by Connie Willis -- I guess you might call this "medical sci-fi" or something. It's kind of a horror thriller. It was one of the most gripping books I've ever read.
Greg Egan, pretty much any of his novels - for mind bending conceptual stuff