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sara_ash
07-21-2014, 10:47 AM
I've written two stories (a YA fantasy and a MG magical realism) that are currently out with agents, but the next story I want to write is a Science Fiction tale. It's more of an adult story and is quite light on science fiction (It is set in outer space and refers to some Earth-based science but it isn't full of sciency/techie language). It definitely isn't a YA romance set in outer space.

The problem is, I haven't read many science fiction stories. Could anyone tell me of some great books that would introduce me to the genre?

Do you know of any that sound kind of similiar to what I've written above?

JRTroughton
07-21-2014, 11:05 AM
I don't know of anything similar to what you write, and I'm no genre expert, but you should certainly give Asimov a try, particularly the Foundation series and his wealth of robot shorts.

Iain M. Banks and the Culture series are good too, from what little I've read, but it certainly isn't YA.

noranne
07-21-2014, 11:06 AM
Welcome! Science fiction is awesome, you're going to love it. :D

For short fiction, you could try checking out some of the big SF magazines: Asimov's, Analog, Clarkesworld. There are lots of SF anthologies out there, like those edited by Gardner Dozois (who is the the editor of Asimov's).

For novels, there are a lot of different directions to go in. There are the classics, like Heinlein and Asimov, but which will probably feel dated (they're still great, though). I think people are going to have wide opinions about what to start with for modern writers (and even for the classics too), so it's hard to give specifics. Ender's Game, Old Man's War for a military flavor. Ursula LeGuin is fantastic and writes a wide range of SF.

Basically, I would just pick up some SF novels that look interesting to you and start reading!

And I decided to check my goodreads to see what I have put on my "favorite SF" shelf. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Wyrms, Songmaster, Ender's Game all by Orson Scott Card, Cyteen by CJ Cherryh, Sphere by Michael Crichton, Dune by Frank Herbert, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, and Anathem by Neal Stephenson.

Here is a post (http://io9.com/the-best-entry-level-science-fiction-books-to-convert-1510802842) from io9 that might be helpful for you.

Hope any of that helps!

ETA: Oh yes, and what you are describing is called "soft" SF (as opposed to "hard," which tends to be more concerned with the technical and scientific aspects). I think they're both great (as always there are people who take a very strong stance one way or another), and I think reading both will help you understand SF.

sara_ash
07-21-2014, 01:35 PM
Thanks for this JR and noranne!

I've read a couple of sci fi books you mentioned noranna (Hitchhiker's Guide (which I loved a lot in some places and hated in others), Ender's Game (really enjoyed) and A Wrinkle in Time (really loved)) but I haven't read any of the others. I just downloaded an ebook version of 'Spin' by Robert Charles Wilson from my library (mentioned in the link you gave me) so I'm going to read that first.

I keep meaning to read the Foundation series but at the library they only have the [5th?] book. I might have to go out and buy it.

Do you have an all time favourite sci-fi book?

SamCoulson
07-21-2014, 02:37 PM
Hey again Sara :)

Though Ender's Game is great, I really think that some of Card's lesser known books are some of his best. The Worthing Saga is one of my all time favorites largely because the plot is incredibly complex, and storytelling is so incredibly elegant. It's one of those that when you close it you sit back and realize how much he just put into one book.

Though some purists may push you toward just books, you should also watch a few 'essentials' on the movie-front (edit, heh, those are both TV..) if you haven't. Specifically Battlestar Galactica (the new one), and Firefly (There are may others of course).

Lillith1991
07-21-2014, 02:38 PM
My all time favorite SF book is actually really old, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. It's a fairly short read and one of the foundation books for the genre as a whole. I also can't recomend Octavia E. Butler enough. I recently discovered her work a couple months ago and she's one of my favorite authors.

stephenf
07-21-2014, 04:45 PM
Hi
The best introduction to science fiction , I believe , is
Science fiction the 100 best novels by David Pringle.
Sadly, David has not updated his book , so the last twenty , or so , years are missing .
For something more current have a look at
www.rudyrucker.com

Here you can find some lots of interesting things

RichHelms
07-21-2014, 06:43 PM
I reread Asimov's robot series recently. Loved it but the pace was so slow.

GeoWriter
07-25-2014, 08:55 PM
I like CJ Cherryh's list of essential books and authors at
http://www.cherryh.com/www/list.htm
Although this is mainly the foundational classics and not stuff from the past couple decades.

Hoplite
07-25-2014, 08:59 PM
Dune by Frank Herbert

King Neptune
07-25-2014, 09:30 PM
I like CJ Cherryh's list of essential books and authors at
http://www.cherryh.com/www/list.htm
Although this is mainly the foundational classics and not stuff from the past couple decades.

And she didn't include C. M. Kornbluth, G. C. Edmondson, or Fred Pohl. She should know better.

Shadow_Ferret
07-25-2014, 09:46 PM
If you're talking short stories, any anthology by Ray Bradbury including "The Matian Chronicles" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

And for novels, I think there's an entire sticky list here on essential novels. Try Larry Niven's "Ringworld" or Robert Silverberg's "Downward to the Earth."

zanzjan
07-25-2014, 10:04 PM
If you're talking short fiction, I'd definitely recommend the New Skies anthology from Tor, if you can find a copy of it. Excellent contemporary SF, but also accessible to people not overly versed in the genre.

Oh, and welcome to AW/SFF! :welcome:

virtue_summer
07-25-2014, 10:32 PM
I also can't recomend Octavia E. Butler enough.
Seconded.

JJ Litke
07-31-2014, 02:35 AM
Check out the sticky thread titled The Basics. For short stories, I like Daily Science Fiction. They just email it straight to you, couldn't be easier.

Threak 17
08-31-2014, 09:46 AM
Try Philip K. Dick's - Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? Can't go wrong there.

Reziac
08-31-2014, 06:37 PM
I've written two stories (a YA fantasy and a MG magical realism) that are currently out with agents, but the next story I want to write is a Science Fiction tale. It's more of an adult story and is quite light on science fiction (It is set in outer space and refers to some Earth-based science but it isn't full of sciency/techie language). It definitely isn't a YA romance set in outer space.

The problem is, I haven't read many science fiction stories. Could anyone tell me of some great books that would introduce me to the genre?

Do you know of any that sound kind of similiar to what I've written above?

It sounds like it's off in the same direction as Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorkosigan_Saga) series. Hers are really all about the people (with occasional romance, as people will do), and the science is incidental -- it's settings and props, rather than the focus.

CJ Cherryh also writes character-driven SF, tho the science is generally a little harder, and more directly developed from current science. Also, the tone is not nearly as light as Bujold's usually is.

Also, both excel at deep 3rd person POV, which is to say, making us feel like these are real people in a real setting and situation, rather than something observed from afar.

Buffysquirrel
08-31-2014, 07:56 PM
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr (Alice Sheldon).
UK Le Guin's Hainish series.
Lightspeed Year One.
Nebula Awards Showcase anthologies.
Norton Book of Science Fiction.

Roxxsmom
08-31-2014, 10:49 PM
There's so much to choose from, both new and older.

I'd suggest reading some of the newer SF that's out now. This year's Hugo winner, Ancillary Justice.

Also, John Scalzi's stuff. Elizabeth Bear has written some good SF too.

And some who have been at it for a while and are still writing. Lois McMaster Bujold. C.J. Cherryh. David Brin.

Finally, some of the classics. Asimov, Heinlein and so on. Plus writers like Ursula K LeGuin (the Dispossessed and the Left Hand of Darkness), James Tiptree Junior, Anne McCaffrey.

And Analog SF magazine usually has some great stories in it. Year's best collections are good if you want to get a taste of short SF fiction.

Smiling Ted
09-03-2014, 06:20 AM
I might be a tad biased, but as JJ Litke noted, "The Basics" might be a good intro to some of the big ideas in SF.

Jinsune
09-03-2014, 06:42 AM
I've written two stories (a YA fantasy and a MG magical realism) that are currently out with agents, but the next story I want to write is a Science Fiction tale. It's more of an adult story and is quite light on science fiction (It is set in outer space and refers to some Earth-based science but it isn't full of sciency/techie language). It definitely isn't a YA romance set in outer space.

The problem is, I haven't read many science fiction stories. Could anyone tell me of some great books that would introduce me to the genre?

Do you know of any that sound kind of similiar to what I've written above?

What about the Hainish Cycle by Ursula Le Guin? They're light science fiction and geared more toward and adult audience.

blacbird
09-03-2014, 10:48 AM
The problem is, I haven't read many science fiction stories. Could anyone tell me of some great books that would introduce me to the genre?

I'm a great believer in writers knowing their genre and the history of its development. So:

Novels:
The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
Slan, A.E. Van Vogt
More than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
Fahrenheit-451, Ray Bradbury
The Stochastic Man Robert Silverberg
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
The Left Hand of Darkness and The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula LeGuin
Eden, and Fiasco, by Stanislaw Lem
Rogue Moon, by Algis Budrys
The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman

Short stories:
"The New Accelerator", by H.G. Wells
"Ylla", by Ray Bradbury
"The Nine Billion Names of God", by Arthur C. Clarke
"The Garden of Time", by J.G. Ballard
"In the Walls of Eryx", by H.P. Lovecraft
"Flowers for Algernon", by Daniel Keyes (later expanded into a novel; the short story is more pointed, and better).

This is but a nick in a scratch in the surface of a cut into the side of a gash in the shadow of an echo of what's out there in the long SF tradition. Go thou, and seek.

caw

Reziac
09-03-2014, 06:36 PM
I'm a great believer in writers knowing their genre and the history of its development.

I agree. Even if it's not to your taste, you need to know what's gone before, if only to avoid reinventing the wheel, and poorly. I've read libraries worth of SF/F classics myself. Today, most would no longer be to my taste, but I still have the foundation -- the feel, the conventions, the tropes, the "culture" of the genre.

Ergodic Mage
09-03-2014, 08:48 PM
Anything by John Scalzi; he is the perfect example of a modern author hitting a bulls eye on his first try, and he keeps hitting it. Start with Old Man's War and don't stop.

Peter Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy, a great blend of modern space opera, old hard science fiction, biotech and even space marines.

Though dystopian, I'd also recommend Hugh Howey's Wool series. He has a great ability to place the reader into the setting and characters. Personally, I don't just read his books, I experience them.

Buffysquirrel
09-03-2014, 08:51 PM
Alison Sinclair. I just finished reading Legacies and really loved it. Also, Karen Joy Fowler.

Goldberry
10-01-2014, 09:32 AM
I'm really fond of Ray Bradbury, especially "The Martian Chronicles." I also like "I, Robot" by Asimov, and Robert Heinlein, "Stranger in a Strange Land," "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" and "Space Cadet." Sometimes the lines between fantasy and science fiction are blurred- I always thought "The Martian Chronicles" was really more fantasy.

Would the "Hunger Games" be considered science fiction? I really liked this book called, "The Giver," which is set in the future.

I've started Hugh Howey's "Wool" series and I really like it.

I'm a big Star Trek nerd, and I've had times being addicted to Star Trek novels, especially those by Vonda Mcintyre.