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Old 12-17-2008, 01:06 AM   #1
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Looking for a particular type of scifi/fantasy - can you help?

Hey there, gang! I haven't posted around here in what feels like ages, but yes I'm still around and yes I'm still enjoying the bejeebers outta my Sony 505. I've read several books recently that, while fun, weren't engaging enough for me. That got me thinking about what to read next and so I've spent some time going through some of the big recommendation threads here. Tons of great ideas, but it's almost overwhelming and leaves me unsure where to explore.

So... to the point: I need some more specific recommendations.

I think really what I need is some deeply engaging material, something that I can get involved with and grabs me emotionally. I realize that's terribly subjective though. I'm open to SciFi or Fantasy and would prefer to avoid the typical, cliche or over worked (Eddings, Brooks and Jordan are fun fantasy, but... well it's all been discussed enough times already. )

Some examples of what I've really enjoyed in recent times:
The Farseer books by Robin Hobb (first & third trilogies set in that world) really worked for me. Very emotional stuff and as people have said many times she writes some wonderful characters.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge - I really enjoyed this one as it was great science fiction along with really enjoyable characters.

By that same token, I had a great time with the Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap books. Granted that last one went a little sideways on me, but I still enjoyed them as a series.

For an idea of what was fun, but *not* the feel I'm looking for right now:
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher - fun, but mostly fluff.
Temeraire books by Naomi Novik - fun, interesting... really enjoy the character of Temeraire, but it's all a bit stilted for me right now.
A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge - while I loved the book that came before this I just couldn't get into this one. It's *interesting*, but not very *engaging* for me, for lack of a better description.

And lastly I'm just about done with the first book of Zelazny's Amber series. I'm sure I'll be burned at the stake for this, but so far it's not really doing it for me. Yes it's interesting and I really like the concepts presented, but it's never grabbed me and compelled me to finish it.

There are plenty of others I've read, like most of you here, but I know there are *far* more that I haven't read. I'm hoping someone can really spark my interest with a special recommendation for me!

Help me, MobileRead, you're my only hope...
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Old 12-17-2008, 06:50 AM   #2
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A few books come to mind.
Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.
Dinosaur Beach by Keith Laumer.
Anathem by Neal Stephenson - I wouldn't say it "grabs you emotionally", but it does grab you pretty good IMO (it's got a bit of a slow start though).
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Old 12-17-2008, 07:22 AM   #3
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Peter F. Hamilton's space opera are very fun and engaging. Pandora Star/Judas Unchained and Night's Dawn trilogy are perhaps what you are looking for.

I would recommend Night's Dawn.

Regards,

L.
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:15 AM   #4
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Try out Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh. That and another of her novels, Cyteen both won the Hugo for best novel. Now I don't pay much attention to awards, just mentioning it so you know it's not junk.

Now my personal favorites of Cherryh's are The Pride of Chanur and the Heavy Time/Hellburner duology.

oops, just checked Fictionwise and apparently only Downbelow Station and The Pride of Chanur are available.

Last edited by wayspooled; 01-18-2009 at 08:54 PM. Reason: update
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:47 AM   #5
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I've just finished
Robert A. Metzger's Picoverse
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/picoverse.htm
and his other novels
Cusp
http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/picoverse.htm
and Quadworld
https://www.booksonboard.com/index.p...216&v=synopsis

They are pretty weird but enjoyable
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Old 12-17-2008, 08:56 AM   #6
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Hmm, if you liked the Farseer books, Carole Berg's "Rai-Kirah" trilogy has a bit of the same angsty flavor.

I also recommend Martha Wells' Ile-Rien books (Element of Fire, Death of the Necromancer, The Wizard Hunters, The Ships of Air, Gate of Gods).

And for something completely different, try Liz Williams' Inspector Chen books, set in a franchised version of Singapore which interacts on a daily basis with a highly bureaucratized afterlife.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:01 AM   #7
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Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
http://www.webscription.net/p-85-cordelias-honor.aspx

A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer
http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook35597.htm

Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro
http://www.webscription.net/p-405-sunrise-alley.aspx

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowplay View Post
I think really what I need is some deeply engaging material, something that I can get involved with and grabs me emotionally. I realize that's terribly subjective though. I'm open to SciFi or Fantasy and would prefer to avoid the typical, cliche or over worked (Eddings, Brooks and Jordan are fun fantasy, but... well it's all been discussed enough times already. )
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayspooled View Post
Try out Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh. That and her another of her novels, Cyteen both won the Hugo for best novel. Now I don't pay much attention to awards, just mentioning it so you know it's not junk.

Now my personal favorites of Cherryh's are The Pride of Chanur and the Heavy Time/Hellburner duology.

oops, just checked Fictionwise and apparently only Downbelow Station and The Pride of Chanur are available.
The Pride of Chanur is the first in a series of five. All are very good;
  1. The Pride of Chanur
  2. Chanur's Venture
  3. The Kif strike back
  4. Chanur's homecoming
  5. Chanur's Legacy

All but the fifth are available at Fictionwise.

Another great Cherryh book (stand alone but ripe for a sequel) is Cuckoo's Egg (also at Fictionwise).

Last edited by slayda; 12-17-2008 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:27 PM   #9
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Some good suggestions here and I'll have to go do my research on what's what. Thank you all for the help.

I've read Cherryh's Morgaine books and really enjoyed them even though they're pretty damned unhappy throughout! I see a couple of Cherryh recommendations so maybe I should steer myself that way for a time.

As for Peter F. Hamilton, I actually have Night's Dawn and just haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

Some of the others listed so far I've seen mentioned in other threads, but a few seem entirely new to me (maybe I just forgot I ever heard of them!)

I'll pick something and let you all know what I try in case anyone's curious.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wayrad View Post
Hmm, if you liked the Farseer books, Carole Berg's "Rai-Kirah" trilogy has a bit of the same angsty flavor.
That series was awesome
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:50 PM   #11
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I never cared much for Cherryh's morgaine books. or the fortress of this n' that books. I like her sci/fi.. not so much her fantasy efforts. She has a really well conceived vision of the near future in space, specifically her concepts of "getting off the Earth" expansion being driven by business/mining exploitation first and then later, once people are living lifetimes without ever seeing Earth or even this solar system much less returning here - the way cultural entities will develop and interact as Earth becomes less important in the day to day, real for them, lives. Her sci/fi isn't a space opera "somebody turns into evil beings" thing where someone wants to go blow up the Earth at all - it's very believable.

Downbelow Station is one of the early novels in what is Cherryh's "Alliance/Union" series, also called "Company Wars", though there's not much fighting, it's more about maneuvering for influence. All the novels are standalone. Here's a synopsis from wikipedia:

---------
"Space is explored not by short-sighted governments, but by the Earth Company, a private corporation which becomes enormously wealthy and powerful as a result. Nine star systems are found to lack planets suitable for colonization, so space stations are built in orbit instead, stepping-stones for further exploration. Then, Pell's World is found to be not only habitable, but already populated by the gentle, sentient (if technologically backward) Hisa. Pell Station is built. The planet is nicknamed "Downbelow" by the stationers, who also start to call their home "Downbelow Station".

When Earth's out-of-touch policies cause it to begin losing control of its more distant stations and worlds, it builds a fleet of fifty military carriers, the Earth Company Fleet, to enforce its will. This leads to the prolonged Company War with the breakaway Union, based at Cyteen, another hospitable world. Caught in between are the stationers and the merchanters[1] who man the freighters that maintain interstellar trade."
-----------

And basically what develops is a 3 sided battle for influence (Earth Company, Union and Merchant Alliance) over a vast timescale (like Vinge's Fire Upon The Deep) through about a dozen books that are set in the same "universe" but not "a series".

Last edited by wayspooled; 12-17-2008 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:51 PM   #12
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Side note for a butcher reader, not really what you're looking for - I thought Butcher's Codex Alera series was better than his Dresden series (which wasn't awful but I did prefer Kelly Armstrong's Otherworld series).

Everyone has different tastes (Burn him! Burn the heretic!) and I recall the Amber series starting off a little slow. Have you tried his standalone novels Lord of Light or Jack of Shadows?
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:04 PM   #13
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Hmm I just happened to look into the suggested Carol Berg's "Rai-Kirah" series and I'm intrigued; more by the reviews than the vague plot summary on Amazon.

I think I'll give this a shot!

Last edited by Shadowplay; 12-17-2008 at 01:10 PM. Reason: fixed spelling mistake
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Old 12-17-2008, 03:37 PM   #14
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Try the First Blade trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, although it is not available as an ebook (at least legally).
I also enjoyed the books by Alastair Reynolds and Vernor Vinge so maybe this will be to your liking. It is a very unusual fantasy in many ways, one of the "heroes" is an inquisitor. The other characters first look like the usual stereotypes, but.....
Also the book is quite realistic, grim and violent, with quite a few unexpected surprises.

I really cannot tell more without spoiling the fun.

Some other recommendations:
Blindsight by Peter Watts is brilliant and dark SF. And it is free.
Black on Black by K. D. Wentworth is SF featuring a race with a unique culture. Also free from the Baen free library.
The Book of the New Sun tetralogy by Gene Wolfe is very engaging and unusual SF, although sometimes a bit slow-paced.
The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata is also very good SF focusing on nanotechnology.
The Day of the Triffids is a very interesting apocalyptic SF story by John Wyndham.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:13 PM   #15
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Ok . . . It looks like no one's gonna do it 'cept me.

The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer is emotionally engaging. It has another idea of what and where some of the monsters come from. Well thought out and fun. The only reason I even began reading them was because one of my cousins wouldn't shut up about it. I didn't expect to be lulled into the book, but I was. I found it hard to put down, especially the last two books. It has that whole metaphysical thing to it with a bit of science thrown in (though very little science).

If you don't really want to go the teeny bopper route, what about the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child collaborations. Actually on second thought, I recommend these over the Meyer books. Thoroughly engaging and plenty of pseudo-science thrown in for good measure:

Mount Dragon
Riptide
Thunderhead
The Ice Limit

The above books are sort of prequels to the following books (The Pendergast Novels), though not necessary for the flow. There is just mention of them once in a while in these . . .

RELIC
Reliquary
Cabinet of Curiosities
Still Life with Crows
Brimstone - Part One of the Diogenes Trilogy
Dance of Death - Part Two of the Diogenes Trilogy
Book of the Dead - Part Three of the Diogenes Trilogy
The Wheel of Darkness

As I understand it, the above are in chronological order. I don't know if they are available in digital format because I purchased the paperback versions in used book stores except for The Wheel of Darkness.

Now for me, ALL these were hard to put down.

GD
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