SF books (was: Re: Many subjects (very long) )

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Jul 25 15:00:38 EDT 2000


On Tue, 25 Jul 2000 10:32:20 +0100, Rowland, Jennifer A B wrote:

>I've just come across David Weber, who writes
>space wars that I like a lot- anyone else into sci-fi as well as fantasy?
>Elizabeth Moon and CJ Cherryh are good but any other recommendations?)

Lois McMaster Bujold, whose books are more character-driven (similar to
Elizabeth Moon in that respect).  I like Larry Niven et. al.'s Dream Park
novels--they are near-future mysteries set in an amusement park where
technology permits people to do live-action role playing.  That's _Dream
Park_, _The Barsoom Project_ and _The California Voodoo Game_.  You can see
my tastes are more toward soft SF. :)

Vernor Vinge's _A Fire Upon the Deep_ and _A Deepness in the Sky_.  The
latter wins my award for Best Book I've Read This Year (So Far).  I'm not
even going to try to explain it.  It's sort of a prequel to _Fire_ but the
two can be read separately.  Also Catherine Asaro is very good.  I've read
one of her novellas online--can't remember the title right now--and just
finished _Primary Inversion_, which is the first in a series.  I like David
Brin quite a bit sometimes; some of his books are better than others, but I
think he's at his best when he's writing shorter fiction.  This applies to
some of his novels, because frequently he has about five plots going and
touches on each for a short time before switching, so it's effectively short
fiction.  My favorites by him are the story collection _Otherness_ which has
some essays too, and _The Uplift War_, but that is part of a series and you
may need to read at least _Startide Rising_ first.  And I didn't like the
later books in the series very much.

Another fun series that I can only halfway recommend is by David Feintuch.
The first book is called _Midshipman's Hope_ and is about a young man
serving in a starfleet who is unexpectedly called on to command.  I have
some problems with his female characters and his writing style, but it's at
least worth trying--I have friends who like it much better than I did, and
it's not terrible.  If you like Weber you will probably like Feintuch--more
"space wars" stuff, though I think Weber has a better understanding of
people.  (Ironically, Jacob is currently reading Weber's *fantasy* books,
and we've never read the Honor Harrington stuff....)

There's a lot of good classic SF out there too--I think _The Lathe of
Heaven_ is even better than LeGuin's _The Left Hand of Darkness_, and the
movie of the book is going to be rereleased soon on video and DVD (here in
the US, at least).  Asimov is usually pretty entertaining, if dated.  And
then there's Heinlein; I like his style, and I don't disagree with his
baldly-stated opinions, which are usually the objections people have to his
books.  My favorites are _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ and _Citizen of the
Galaxy_, though I harbor a fond passion for _Space Cadet_ as well--the first
Heinlein I ever read.

How's that for a reading list?  And I didn't even mention Julian May....

Melissa Proffitt

p.s. Anyone else read John Wyndham?  _The Kraken Wakes_ totally creeped me
out.

p.p.s.  Roger Zelazny's book _Roadmarks_ is another favorite of mine.
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