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. 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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
Read e-book Domestic Devils (Heroes of a Silent God Book 2)
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.
Not neccesarily the best SF book ever-that would in my opinion be one of Iain M.
SparkNotes: Paradise Lost: Book II
Banks's 'Culture' novels-but quite possibly the weirdest. If you thought the end of Herbert's Dune series was getting a bit strange, it has nothing on this-truly out there WTF! By the way, are we including the Gormenghast trilogy in this? It's a beautiful balance of drama, speculation, humor, and the PKD's own special brand of paranoia.
Well written, wll thought out, great plot develpoment, and all around awesome!!!! This book so beautifully demonstrates the point that what falls between two opposing, hard-held points of view is truth. Not science fiction by the contemporary definition. This novel deals with what has been coined "inner space" rather than the more outer-space oriented, Le Guinesque fantasies. JG Ballard was a prominent figure of the new wave of science fiction: a collective of novelists who emerged in the s and were mostly concerned with the birth of the space age and the atom bomb, for example.
This was a time when events of the so-called real world began to seem stranger than fiction. As a result, novelists of this era began to write about dystopian near-futures rather than settings vastly remote in time and distance.
Master of Sorrows
High Rise deals with the effects of the man-made, physical landscape, in this case an east London aparment block - on the physcology of the tenants. The rigidly defined social structure, too-easy access to amenities and desire of the tenants to resign from their lives as mindless functionaries, sets in motion a descent into a microcosmic catastrophe. Ballard's ruthless imagination is on show here in all its glory. This book changed my life. Strictly not Sci-Fi, but a theological meditation on perception, sanity and counterculture. One of my favourite books, up there with Camus and Satre in my opinion.
The protaginist is a man undergoing a nervous breakdown who interprets his psychosis as religious revelations. Astoundingly well-written, profound and funny.
Refutes the view of science fiction as 'Cowboys and Indians in Space. The author is a bit of a nutter, but the Mission Earth books are an excellent read. And, the hero grows up a little. Eurasia including Britain has been conquered by Bolshevism. All because Adolf Hitler emigrated to New York in to become a science-fiction writer. That's the framing story. LOTS tells of a mythologized Germany "Heldon" in a future post-nuclear world that rose up to defeat the evil mutant forces of Zind and their humanity-destroying rulers the Dominators.
The only reason it's not more popular is because it's too real in many respects. It lacks that warm and fuzzy Hollywood-like ending needed for today's pop culture.
Still, it's a brilliant series of books. I recommend them all. Like all great science fiction Shikasta and its four companion volumes has a serious philosphical core; It is beautifully written, and is a cracking read. It is plausible and utopic, offering a glimpse of a future of equality and sexual freedom with humankind and nature in balance, while pointing at the frailties of current reality and pertinently criticising organised religion, ideology, and colonialism.