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Old 12-02-2010, 12:16 AM   #1
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Fantasy/science fiction recommendations?

I'd appreciate any suggestions for fantasy/science fiction books for a 20-year-old guy--I'm way out of my league. Thanks.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:30 AM   #2
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Just about anything sci-fi by Iain M Banks. His novels are some of the best science fiction I have ever read. His writing is very imaginitive and often on a huge scale, and is laced through with a dark sense of humour. Most of the books are set within his Culture universe, but there are a number of standalone novels as well. Start with Consider Phlebas or The Player of Games for the Culture ones. Against a Dark Background is standalone and also particularly good.

Alastair Reyonolds is also very good, his Revelation Space series in particular. It's more 'hard' sci-fi with semi-plausible technology and space travel (the author worked for ESA before writing full time) but it still contains plenty of bizarre characters and terrifying, ancient alien technology.

Peter F Hamilton is also worth a look, though his writing is more pulp sci-fi (lots of sex and violence) and he tends to write very, very long books. His Night's Dawn Trilogy is very entertaining, even if it does get a bit silly. Fallen Dragon is also good. Mis-spent Youth is terrible, avoid.

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Old 12-02-2010, 08:40 AM   #3
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Steven Brust's Dragaera / Taltos books are quite good --- I'd suggest reading them in publication order. Interestingly they're fantasy w/ a science fiction background story. You'll probably bounce on Teckla, but it's worth reading (once) as a cautionary tale of love having problems.

It's always good to have a good foundation in the classics, so I'd suggest Lord Dunsany for fantasy and Jules Vernes for science fiction (there's a new translation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea which is fabulous).

L.E. Modesit's _Forever Hero_ Trilogy is a lot of fun, as is Timothy Zahn's _Blackcollar_ for more contemporary science fiction (yes, I'm dating myself).

William
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:58 AM   #4
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John Scalzi's 'Old Man's War' was our book of the month club reading this month. You can read the sticky thread discussion above. I read all three books of the series. Its a humorous tale, and a fun read.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:18 AM   #5
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I'm a huge fan of the original Foundation trilogy by Asimov (Foundation, Foundation & Empire, Second Foundation).

For fantasy, I loved the Hobb Farseer trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin, Assassin's Quest). However, people seem to have strong reactions to this series, either love or hate.

And then there's the ever-popular Ender's Game, which I read for the first time when I was about 20.

I've heard great things about Joe Abercrombie's books, but I haven't really gotten into them.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:34 AM   #6
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I enjoyed reading the 1632- series by Eric Flint as light, entertaining in-between reading (available via Baen). If you like Cyberpunk, I'd recommend William Gibson's Bridge trilogy (Virtual Light, Idoru and All Tomorrows Parties). Arthur C. Clarke is very much recommended regardless of what title you read. I can also recommend reading anything by Stanislaw Lem or the Strugatzki brothers.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:40 AM   #7
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Fantasy:
Joe Abercrombie - lots of violence, dark humor, he is the best
Paul Kearney - feels real, it could have happened
Brandon Sanderson - a bit more lightweight than the above 2, but very entertaining with some humor
Brent Weeks - very entertaining stories

Sci-fi:
Alastair Reynolds - he is the best contemporary scifi writer imho, just avoid "The Prefect"
Liz Williams - not the usual scifi themes and this makes it very entertaining
Vernor Vinge: Deepness duology is fantastic
Douglas Adams: he is the best in humorous sci-fi
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:48 AM   #8
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I recently read two books by Brandon Sanderson and really enjoyed them: The Way of Kings (the first and so far only book released in a new series) and Mistborn: The Final Empire, the first book in a completed trilogy. I'm on the second book in the trilogy, it's a fantastic follow up.

My favourite fantasy series is George R.R. Martins "A Song of Ice and Fire".

Are you looking to get these for someone as a Christmas present? Ebooks or paper books?
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:24 AM   #9
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Does the 20 yr-old already like SF/F... or are you trying to get him interested?
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:43 AM   #10
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It's hard to recommend a book for someone else if you don't know that someone else. I take it he likes sci fi, you don't, so you want help picking a book for him?

If it were ME -- I'd rather be asked what books I'm interested in. He'll know what he wants and hasn't yet read. How would you know that what we recommend isn't a book he hasn't already read?

Also, a lot of folks like EITHER sci fi OR fantasy.

Lee
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:44 AM   #11
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Michael Moorcock - The Dancers at the End of Time

Best science fiction fantasy I have ever read. Maybe one of the best ten novels I have ever read.

Moorcock is the best.
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:46 AM   #12
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Here's an idea. Take one of your old books -- preferably something like a Harlequin Romance (anything girly or something he's definitely not like). Buy an Amazon gift card (or iTunes, or Barnes and Noble). Stick the gift card in the book, wrap it up for the present.

That way you get to give a "real present" and not a gift card. He opens it up and gets a little shock. Tries to hide his disappointment. You laugh and tell him to open the book up.

Fun for all

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Old 12-02-2010, 12:13 PM   #13
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Fantasy:
The Book of Joby - by Mark J. Ferrari (stand-alone)
Once A Hero - by Michael A. Stackpole (stand-alone)
The Fionavar Tapestry - by Guy Gavriel Kay (completed series)
The Age of Unreason - by J. Gregory Keyes (completed series)

SciFi:
Hyperion - by Dan Simmons (completed series)
The Gap Cycle - by Stephen R. Donaldson (completed series)
The Anubis Gates - by Tim Powers (stand-alone)
The Doomsday Book - by Connie Willis (stand-alone)

Some of those could probably be flip-flopped between genres, but I don't really get that worked up about labels.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:34 PM   #14
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Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay, is a great book.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay, is a great book.
You betcha it is!
That and The Lions of Al Rassan are my favorites of his (and maybe my favorites of all time!)
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