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Fantasy...Sci-fi....what?

(98 Posts)
AlistairSim Sun 10-Aug-08 11:00:54

Ok, I've never read any fantasy/sci-fi but keep hearing how popular it is, so does anyone have any recommendations?

I'm willing to take aliens, vampires, brave new worlds....so what's it to be?

MegBusset Sun 10-Aug-08 11:07:10

The Gollancz SF and fantasy Masterworks series are a good place to start. The SF list is here, the fantasy ones are here.

Personally I am more of an SF fan these days and my favourite books are The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K Dick and The Sirens Of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.

squilly Sun 10-Aug-08 16:13:50

I'm a fantasy fan. I'd recommend any Robin Hobbs or Tad Williams Dragonbone Chair for classic, epic, fantasy novels.

I'd suggest Philip Pullman's Northern Lights series for beautifully written, thought provoking fantasy.

Kelley Armstrong, Bitten, Broken, etc... for a weird crossover between horror, fantasy and chick-lit. Good for light reading. They're like the chocolate malteser of the book world.

Jasper Fforde for clever humour/fantasy; Pratchett for a more slapstick comedy fantasy (full of puns in the early books, but getting more sophisticated over the years and very clever).

John Wyndham or Aldous Huxley if you want real, classic science fiction and of course, Tolkien if you want to start with the classics. I loved the Hobbit but only coped with Lord of The Rings after seeing the movies!

Margaret Attwood, Oryx & Crake for a post apocolyptic beauty of a book and I Am Legend for a similarly bleak novel (can't remember the author).

Hope this helps a bit. I love fiction and fantasy and could go on, but even I'm getting a bit bored with myself now!

jade1978 Sun 10-Aug-08 17:23:32

Raymond E Feist and David Eddings are among my favourites, but if you fancy some lighthearted fantasy then you can't go wrong with Terry Pratchett.

sarah293 Sun 10-Aug-08 17:29:25

Message withdrawn

AlistairSim Sun 10-Aug-08 18:28:08

Right, will make a note of all of these, thanks, and see what the library has to offer.

I've actually read some of these (Margaret Atwood, I Am Legend, Tolkien) but never really thought of them as fantasy blush

I think I was expecting all fantasy fiction to have pictures of large-norked aliens on the front!

Flamesparrow Sun 10-Aug-08 23:00:30

Ooh you must read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga - I have never read such charismatic leading men!!!!

Agree with His Dark Materials too.

Ooh, Robin Hobb - The farseer trilogy, liveship trilogy and then the fool trilogy (in that order)

neversaydie Sun 10-Aug-08 23:12:51

Anything by Connie Willis, Lois McMaster Bujold, Sharon Shinn, Robin McKinley, Anne McCaffrey, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Doris Egan is also good. Probably fair to say these are all authors who write about people, with sci-fi fantasy providing the situation. All well written and entertaining stories. I would also class Terry Pratchett as a fantasy writer - and a very good one, despite his reputation for writing books that teen-aged boys will actually read.

Jodee Sun 10-Aug-08 23:24:26

CS Lewis wrote grown-up fantasy/space stories called the Cosmic Trilogy which are pretty good, and somewhat Pullman-like, if that's not stretching things too much.

AlistairSim Wed 13-Aug-08 13:59:07

Would somebody like to take my children for a couple of weeks so I can get stuck in, please?

Anyone?

grin

MaryMungo Wed 13-Aug-08 14:28:30

If you've never read much fantasy or SF, I can second Lois McMaster Bujold's nolvels as being a fantastic place to start for both. Her Chalion fantasies are wonderful, and, I must confess, Miles Vorkosigan is one of the few fictional character I ever had a genuine crush on blush

lyrasilver Wed 13-Aug-08 16:30:01

Pullmans books are wonderful, would also suggest the time travellers wife, The end of Mr. Y, and any of Stephen Donaldsons books.

Flamesparrow Wed 13-Aug-08 19:18:15

yay!!! Someone else who has read mr Y!!!! Did you buy it because of the cover and the edges???? grin

CoteDAzur Wed 13-Aug-08 19:18:59

I'm reading Mr Y just now grin

CoteDAzur Wed 13-Aug-08 19:20:03

It's not sci-fi (yet), though.

Flamesparrow Wed 13-Aug-08 19:20:58

fantasy more I think...

Flamesparrow Wed 13-Aug-08 19:21:12

or not even that! just not a "normal" book

catinthehat Wed 13-Aug-08 19:24:49

Ubik
Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Martian Timeslip

by Philip K Dick

Under Old Earth (short stories)

by Cordwainer Smith

I, Robot

by Isaac Asimov

DisplacementActivity Wed 13-Aug-08 19:25:23

Message withdrawn

beansmum Wed 13-Aug-08 19:35:57

The forever war by Joe Haldeman.
Neil Gaiman
You definitely have to try Philip K Dick.
I'm quite into vampires at the moment, Already dead by Charlie Huston is good, and Let the right one in by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

ChukkyPig Wed 13-Aug-08 19:37:25

I'm reading The End of Mr Y Too! Though I'm not sure that the ideas she's exploring are that original despite what the sleeve says, very reminiscent of Vurt (Jeff Noon) and Only Forward (Michael Marshall Smith) both of which I loved.

I'm more Sci Fi than fantasy - Isaac Asimov's short stories are brilliant - I Robot etc. The only thing of his I didn't enjoy so much was the whole Foundation series I found them a bit tedious.

Jeff Noon is fab if a bit weird maybe for some. I also love the books about the Culture by Iain M Banks (Iain Banks' sci fi name) and especially Feersum Endjinn.

For lighter things the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series obviously and Terry Pratchett is pretty much in that vein too and usually v enjotable. I also enjoyed the non Hithchiker books - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul.

Let us know what you choose and how you get on with it!!!

CoteDAzur Wed 13-Aug-08 19:45:49

I'm an avid sci-fi fan, but not into fantasy at all.

There is the classical sci-fi, which deals with outer space, space travel, other worlds, etc and takes place in a distant future. In that sub-genre my favourites are:

- "Dune" series by Frank Herbert (not the prequels written after his death by his son). One of the best sci-fi ever. It was #1 on Amazon's list of "Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time". Nevermind the film, which failed miserably.

- "Hyperion" series by Dan Simmons. Interesting storyline that deals with some quite profound questions.

Then there is the newer sub-genre, sometimes called 'cyberpunk', which takes place in maybe the coming decade, dealing with nanotechnology, cloning, etc. Here the themes are based on technology rather than aliens. In that group:

- William Gibson's early books (Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Idoru, etc)

- Neal Stephenson's books (except the 'Baroque' series). My personal favourites are "The Diamond Age", "Snow Crash" (an incredible story) and "Cryptonomicon" (one of the best books I have ever read, and not only in sci-fi)

If you are interested in vampire stories, Ann Rice's early vampire books are quite good. Starting with "Interview with the Vampire" (as in the movie), "The Vampire Lestat", etc. I think it is only after the fifth book in the series that she lost the plot.

Have fun smile

CoteDAzur Wed 13-Aug-08 19:48:37

Philip K. Dick is brilliant. Martian Timeslip is great, as are his myriad short stories. One of his greatest (imho) is "A Scanner Darkly". Not sci-fi, though. Again, nevermind the film.

CoteDAzur Wed 13-Aug-08 19:56:09

I found Ian M. Banks' Culture books to be a bit superficial (sorry). Especially how all those people and robots get along so well, with no conflicts, power games, etc.

Player of Games was OK, although with an interesting idea like that, he could have done so much more. Inversions was possibly the best, with interesting ideas like the woman who chose to remain pregnant because her heart was broken. I couldn't read Feersum Endjinn (Fearsome Engine?) at all, because most of the book is written in that broken English spelling thing.

Are the more recent books (Matter, for example) any better?

EachPeachPearMum Wed 13-Aug-08 20:04:35

Vernor Vinge
Neil Gaiman
Neal Stephenson
Jeff Noon
Mary Doria Russell
William Gibson

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