This was the book I gave my girlfriend who is not a fan of sci-fi as the one example of this genre that she agreed she would read, mainly just to keep me quiet. She adored it. Well written, extremely good plotting and characterisation, and has elements which stay with you for years after reading it which is the whole point, isn't it?
A novel which focuses on how a military-run government would look. Also gives a good description of uber-cool space suits and fighting aliens. Really makes you think about how OUR world works by looking at another. Am almost completely realised universe, very smart and incisive. I found the contrast between the connections of the culture through neural laces and the inhabitants of Yoleus to be very thought provoking, as it brought up a host of questions about the causes and effects of instant information through the internet.
Also damned funny. I first read this book as a pre teen and found it an atypical examination of prejudice and the fear that inspires it.
It is however, a very enjoyable, well written read. I have read it in every subsequent decade of my life and found no less enjoyable. I would recomend it for young and old alike. By far my favorite John Wyndham book. All books of the Robotic series together with the Foundation Series. Alternate history squared, Spinrad posits a world where Hitler went to the US in the late s and became a science fiction writer of the golden age. A spoiler proof story and not actually a very good one, but the shock is realizing how close so much SF comes to it. Spinrad includes an academic article criticizing HItler on a literary basis to help you process the experience.
It has everything, hard Sci-Fi ideas, fantasy politics, religion, philosophy, romance Sprawling SF on a vast scale, violent and hilarious in equal measure, Banks' Culture Novels are peerless, and this is one of his best.
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Even non-sf fans like this. Heinlein probably created more libertarians with this book than Hyeck! The first of Smiths books and the first one I had read, picked up at random from a newsagents. From the first page you are hooked by the vivid imagery and shocking storyline. It was a lesson in how you can put wild imagination onto the page and let it run away with itself. Despite it's complex concepts the vivid imagery and flowing dialogue reall lets you enter the Culture world for the first time with a great understanidng for me the best Sci fi book ever written.
Best of the 'culture' novels. Games at multiple levels, very black and very entertaining. There was just something about this book and all the thought that author Clarke put into it that made it stand out for me. There was no wild imaginings just simple and logical prediction. The only thing that was a little hard to believe was the physical size of Rama. Given the cost and complexity of building the ISS, one has to wonder how long and how much it took to be built and sent on it's way.
A super read though. Bill is a pal of mine for starters. He was working on this book years before I met him. He let me read his rough draft when it was done and after that, I hope he will write more. I've downloaded his ebook and it's even better finished. He said that it's the kind of story he wantes to read about. He's shared it with some other people I work with and everybody loves it.
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I think he had his brother make a video, but I'm not sure. He was talking about it. Bill can draw, too. I'm friends with him on facebook, and his characters are really cool so now you can actually see what his characters look like as he sees them. I would recommend this book even if Bill wasn't my friend, it's that good.
I thought it was too obvious, but apparently not, based upon the comments below. Dune, along with Stranger in a Strange Land, catapulted sci fi out of the "golden age", and re-defined the genre. These two books are to sci-fi what the Beatles were to rock. Everything after was different. This novel is set in a post environmental holocaust future with both a dystopia and a Utopia. It presents beautifully drawn characters in a technological wonderland with a hellishly corporate backdrop. The novel revolves around Shira and her quest to be reunited with her son - taken from her by the company she used to work for.
In her quest she is joined by a wonderful cyborg named Yod and the novel tells of their relationship and brings into question what it is to be human.
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The story is interspersed with the tale of the Golem in Prague which brings the questions around what is life into a longer history and gives it weight. As a science fiction novel it is so frighteningly possible - and in the not very distant future - but its real power is that we can already see how close we are to becoming a world in which corporations control private lives. There's some really wonderful moments like when Shira and co hack into the company's computer system using their minds, but flying in the shapes of birds, and when Shira is trying to teach Yod to understand the beauty of roses.
I don't want to give anything else away as there are also unseen twists. Plus there are kittens! Too dense, too pretentious, no likable characters and then for the last quarter Suddenly transformed to profound, disturbing, beautiful and lyrical. As someone else on this thread says, "Quite unlike anything else i've read". Start with the creation of a mind then follow it on a post-human diaspora through the multiverse. Over 2 generations ahead of its time - Still a contemporary science fiction novel of the highest quality - the central tenet still stands the ravages of time as a truly inspiring and though provoking possibility.
An amazing gem. Not sure if it's SF, biography, satire, or a combination of all these and more, but it's a genius little book which I read over 20 years ago for the first time; I re-read it ocassionally, and it's still fresh to me. An amazing series detailing the interactions between a number of species includinfg humans on a grandiose scale.
A must read for any true lover of SF. When the author tries to explain what a twelve dimensional planet might look like in an alternative universe it boggles my poor little four dimensional mind, but in that giddy, vertigionous way Stephen Hawking sometimes managed in a Brief History of Time.
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Except theres no spaceships, aliens, virtual realities in Hawkings book, which makes this book quite a lot better. Diapsora is a novel of big ideas. From the birth of a gender neutral new mind in a virtual reality where most of humanity live in the near future AD to exploration of the galaxy and on to other universes of increasing multidimensional complexity to the ultimate fate of our species and others, all in a pursuit of a mystery - how does the universe hmm, multiverse really work?
How can we survive its indifferent violence? And where are the mysterious species who left microscopic clues behind in the structure of an alien planet warning of galaxy wide catastrophe? As the book progresses the relative importance of these questions and answers change. What happens when the answers are complete? Are they ever? It does take a while to get going particularly if you're not familiar with 'hard sci-fi' but there are no 'cheats' used in traditional sci fi. No transporters, FTL travel and the intelligent aliens are so utterly unlike the 'human' heroes they need several layers of 'relay-team' interpreters even to communicate.
I look forward to the day mind wipes become more widely available so I can read it again for the first time. Like the best science fiction, it portrayed a plausible world growing out of our present - and the central figure is a believable human being doing currently-unbelievable things who grows, over the course of the book. And totally gratuitously, it led to a number of sequels as rich and believable, in their way, as the first in the series was itself. Larry Niven is mainly know for his Ringworld series books. Generally his books are set in "known space" - a universe not too distant in the future - or close parallels to this creation.
In "World of Ptavvs", Larry brings an alien known in "known space" as being extinct for millions of years to the present day.
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The alien a Slaver had been in stasis and is unintentionally released and then sets about trying to enslave the earth. Fortunately Larry Greenberg, who had been trying to reach the alien telepathically whilst in stasis, is here to save the day. Without giving too much away, humans are related to the Slaver race, meaning of course that the World of the Ptavvs is earth.
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Some Slavers that have lost all their family rather than committing suicide will decide to protect the whole Slaver species. If only Larry knew someone like that to protect earth from this Slaver What I like about the book is that the complete story spans from years into past and future. Space Opera it is not as the books are far too easy to read a couple hours to read this book but none-the-less Larry Niven creates a rich and compelling universe.
It is prescient in its understanding of memes, no one else has come close.
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