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Old 12-28-2009, 11:31 PM   #1
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Recommendations for Character-driven SF/F Novels?

Hi Folks,

The last few novels I've picked up have been duds, so I thought I'd ask for some recommendations.

I gravitate toward fantasy, but Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books (SF) are among my favorites, so I'm game to try character-driven SF, too. Action, adventure, mystery, snarky heroes... all loves of mine. I definitely prefer lands far, far away to urban earth-based stuff.

Any reading suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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You might want to give 'Ringworld' by Larry Niven a try.
It starts on earth, but in no time you're on your way to a world lightyears away from it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:20 PM   #3
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I'd definitely recommend anything by Peter F Hamilton. I loved his Fallen Dragon and have now started on the Night's Dawn Trilogy. The first one "The Reality Dysfunction" is epic in scope. I can't wait to read the rest.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:25 PM   #4
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Here's a list I found at Amazon by googling:

http://www.amazon.com/Character-driv...m/7SA9H3QSIRO3

and a topic at Librarything:

http://www.librarything.com/topic/49258
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:36 PM   #5
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The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. One of my all-time fav books, and very character-driven. The sequel is a little more outer-spacy, but I like the first one better.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:29 PM   #6
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Thanks for the recommendations, folks! Not that browsing the paperbacks carousels at the library isn't a recipe for winners, but you know...
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:02 AM   #7
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1.) "More Than Human" - Theodore Sturgeon

2.) "A Canticle For Lebowitz" - Walter M. Miller, Jr.

3.) "Dune" - Frank Herbert



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Old 12-30-2009, 06:07 AM   #8
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Joe Abercrombie's First Law series has a lot of interesting characters, and I enjoyed it immensely.
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:28 AM   #9
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Iain M. Banks' 'Culture' novels are entertaining reads - although I prefer the earlier ones to the more recent ones.

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Old 12-30-2009, 07:45 AM   #10
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Wizard of Earthsea, Left Hand of the Darkness by Ursula LeGuin.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:54 AM   #11
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Dang, I wish you guys would quit reminding me of all the books I need to re-read! Sheesh!
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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For character-driven SF, I've got to go with Mike Resnick. Ivory and Santiago would be at the top of this list, but the Penelope Bailey trilogy (Soothsayer/Oracle/Prophet) and The Dark Lady are good, too. Plenty of galaxy-spanning action, adventure & mystery, and nary a word of technobabble in the bunch.

And I think pretty much everything is available at Fictionwise (where you can read reviews, and the first chapter or so for free):
Ivory
Santiago
The Dark Lady
Soothsayer

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Old 12-30-2009, 04:41 PM   #13
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I'll second More Than Human. Also Spin by Robert Charles Wilson and the Old Man's War series by John Scalzi.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:47 PM   #14
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I recommend Robin Hobbs. She writes very good character based fantasy. I've read Assassin's Apprentice and Ship of Magic and I am just starting Royal Assassin. The normal suggestest reading order is the published order because they all take place in the same world. Just not all linked together.

Farseer
1. Assassin's Apprentice (1995)
2. Royal Assassin (1996)
3. Assassin's Quest (1997)

Liveship Traders
1. Ship of Magic (1998)
2. The Mad Ship (1999)
3. Ship of Destiny (2000)

Tawny Man
1. Fool's Errand (2001)
2. The Golden Fool (2002)
3. Fool's Fate (2003)

Soldier Son
1. Shaman's Crossing (2005)
2. Forest Mage (2006)
3. Renegade's Magic (2007)

Rain Wild Chronicles
1. The Dragon Keeper (2009)
2. Dragon Haven (2010)
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:39 PM   #15
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For character driven, I'd give The Dresden Files (Urban Fantasy) or EE Knight's Vampire Earth (SF) a shot.

Both of those follow a main hero through all their trials and tribulations. Dresden's a wizard private eye. Valentine's a soldier at war. They both have the snarky main characters, but they take place on Earth.

You can also try Simon R Green's the Nightside series, for Dresden in a world that isn't Earth.

You can also try Malazan Book of the Fallen for a hard fantasy. Or Richard K Morgan's The Steel Remains. Glen Cook's Black Company has also been highly regarded by other members of the forum.

Or, you could mix everything together and check out John Meaney's Bone Song. It's part mystery/police procedural with a healthy dose of dark scifi and fantasy thrown in.

For more lighter, almost satirical takes on the genre give a look at Terry Brook's Landover series. I'd also suggest Terry Pratchett.

No one here's suggested Hyperion either, I think that's a pretty strong character driven set. But it's not among my favorites. Maybe some one else here that enjoyed it more could pipe in.

And now that you have more answers than you needed..enjoy the reading!!

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