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So, anybody with Hard Science Fiction recommends?

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scubadude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-19-11 06:02 PM
Original message
So, anybody with Hard Science Fiction recommends?
I'm looking for some good new sci-fi, but I'm very out of touch. I've been buying from the only used book store on the island, which has recently closed. That leaves absolutely no options other than new book stores for my book buying. Even then the new book stores have a fraction of the inventory I am used to, maybe 1/50th as many books as a Borders would have. Therefore I need ideas on what to have them order for me new. I tend to like Hard Sci Fi.

Any ideas for the best new Hard Science Fiction?

Thanks,

Scubadude
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-21-11 11:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. Einstein's Bridge
by John Cramer.

I love the google! I could remember the author's last name, but not the book title, so I just googled Cramer + science fiction and voila!
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-22-11 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
2. Greg Egan is my favorite hard science writer these days.
I also like Peter Watts.
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-24-11 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Don't know what you have or haven't seen, but . . .
Here are some must-read authors:

Peter F. Hamilton -- Galaxy-spanning hard science space opera.
Iain M. Banks -- Thoughtful, stylish hard science set in a consistent sorta-utopian universe where production and governance are taken care of by extremely advanced artificial intelligences and people are pretty much free to live, love, scheme, and adventure.
Jon Courteney Grimwood -- "Alternate Future" novels where key turning points in history were a little different, leading to profound divergences in our present and near-future.
Paolo Bacigalupi -- Near-future dystopian/realist novels.
Neal Stephenson -- All of his stuff, actually, but his most recent is "Anathem" which is sort of Larry Niven meets John Barthe.
Harry Turtledove -- If you like alternate history at all, his output is incredible. I can't read 'em as fast as he writes 'em (he must have grad students chained up in his basement).
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-24-11 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
4. I know what will be fun: Let's discuss what "Hard SF" is...
Like, I don't think I'd classify Iain M. Banks as hard SF, just to take an example.
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-25-11 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Curious, because I certainly would put Banks in that category.
To me, "Hard SF" means a consistent universe with no supernatural elements driving it (i.e., basically secular), and where the macguffins that make things go (FTL travel being the primary one) are so well integrated and unexceptional that they become integral to the mise en scene rather than plot tools. A major element of the overall verisimilitude is that when authors do discuss "scientific explanations" they don't trip over their own feet. Having built such a world, authors typically focus on the conflicts between groups and individuals such a universe would cast up.

This as distinct from universes where "magic" drives things or -- less likely to be successful these days -- where the science is sloppy, stupid, or just plain wrong.

Banks is pretty good in this regard, even though he does seem to have a bit of a taste for quasimedieval settings that are overturned by his "out of context encounters."
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lazarus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-27-11 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I like this one
I always thought the best SF simply took our universe (or one like it) and added one or two tech breakthroughs, like FTL, and then looked at how things would develop.

I haven't read any of the authors listed in the thread, as I've been on a biography kick the last few years (read a bio of every US President in order up through Carter). But I'm about to read Heinlein's bio, which will likely get me back in SF hard.

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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-28-11 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. The strongest definition of hard SF I'm aware of is...
something like "SF that assumes no physics we haven't already firmly established." That's pretty restrictive, taken to its extreme.

I think Banks falls pretty firmly into the "space opera" subgenre. Which is fine by me. I've seen "space opera" thrown around in a pejorative way, but there's not really anything wrong with it in my book. Banks is one of my favorite authors, and one I discovered via this forum!
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PetrusMonsFormicarum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-04-11 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
8. I like SF by scientists.
Gregory Benford and David Brin are both practicing scientists (Benford an astrophysicist at UCal Irvine) whose works are most definitely hard SF, and eminently readable to boot. Benford's 'Timescape' is his best standalone novel while his Galactic Center Saga spans eons over six novels.

Brin is best known for his Uplift novels, which are as rip-roaring a tale as any I can think of.

Big votes for Neal Stephenson as mentioned above, as well. I heartily recommend everything he's ever written.
Paolo Bacigalupi, also mentioned above (great list MrModerate!) is a stunning new talent. His 'Shipbreaker', supposedly written for young adults, is as mature and well done as any adult lit I've read. 'Windup Girl' is just plain brilliant.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-11 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. What, no one's mentioned Alastair Reynolds yet?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alastair_Reynolds

If you read the Revelation Space trilogy, I suggest inserting Chasm City between the first two.

Is there a Books-a-Million in your area? They have a good discount club, and lots of just-short-of recent paperbacks.

http://www.booksamillion.com/storefinder?&ad=GLEXT&gcli...
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-11 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I know the name but I don't believe
I've ever read anything by him.

Sigh. When I can see my way past the several hundred books that are demanding to be read RIGHT NOW, maybe then I can take a look at him. So many books, so little time.
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