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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old December 19 2009, 11:17 PM   #1
Kelthaz
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What are some good soft sci-fi books?

I made this topic on another forum and got quite a few good suggestions, so I figured I would make it here too. A few more good books to add to the list couldn't hurt.

I'm really interested in reading some good sci-fi books, but whenever I look online all I see are recommendations for Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, etc. That's great and all, but I have absolutely no interest in the science behind the technobabble. Any scientific explanation beyond "it goes ding when there's stuff" tends to bore me at record speed.

Basically I'm looking for some good, intelligent sci-fi books that focus heavily on the characters. It can be fun fluff or deal heavily with sociological or political themes. I don't care. As long as it focuses primarily on people instead of the science or technology I'll probably enjoy it. Ender's Game is the perfect example of what I'm looking for in a book.
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Old December 19 2009, 11:29 PM   #2
S. Gomez
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Someone's doubtlessly already mentioned it, but Dune is a good example of science fiction that isn't about science at all (besides sociology).

Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion is a duology by Dan Simmons that has a sequel duology, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion.
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Old December 19 2009, 11:33 PM   #3
darkwing_duck1
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Anne McCaffrey's "Pern" books, including the Harper Hall books are fantastic. Some people also like her "Crystal Singer" books, but I'm not so into them.

The Moreau series by S. Andrew Swann is EXCELLENT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moreau_series

If you like the cyberpunk genre but want a less techy edge to it you might consider the Shadowrun series. You don't want the new stuff, though...you'll want the old Original Shadowrun books

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Shadowrun_books

Scroll down to "Novels". I recommend just starting at the beginning with the books published by FASA, esp the first four.

For that matter, the Battletech novels are pretty good too (anything before the Invasion of the Clans).
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Old December 19 2009, 11:50 PM   #4
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Blood Music by Greg Bear

It's not as hard sci-fi as it sounds.
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Old December 20 2009, 12:13 AM   #5
Greg Cox
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

On the classic side, check out Theodore Sturgeon, John Wyndham, Ursula K. LeGuin, H. G. Wells, etc. More modern: Peter Hamilton, Tony Daniel, Neal Asher . . . .
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Old December 20 2009, 12:40 AM   #6
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Ursula K. LeGuin,
Le Guin would be my first suggestion. Go and immediately read The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Lathe of Heaven.

Then, sit back and reflect on them.
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Old December 20 2009, 01:26 AM   #7
Caliburn24
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Give David Brin's Startide Rising a try. Very fun book.
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Old December 20 2009, 01:43 AM   #8
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

The Dark Beyond the Stars by Frank M. Robinson

Sparrow is a crew member on the Astron , a multigenerational ship sent from earth on an unavailing, 2000-year search for other life-bearing worlds. On the last planet, Seti IV, Sparrow fell off a cliff and nearly died, losing his memory in the process. While recovering in sick bay and also while back on the job, he is beset by more accidents. Eventually he decides that someone is trying to kill him. Trying to find out who and why, Sparrow is plunged into an ever-deepening mystery; nobody will discuss his past with him, the computer has restricted his data, and the little he does discover about his history leads only to further secrets.
Excellent dialogue, suspenseful situations, and some of the most memorable characters I have ever come across. Probably my second favorite book after Dune if that says anything. I actually want to reread it just thinking about it.
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Old December 20 2009, 01:45 AM   #9
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

- Anything by Simmons (primarily the 'Hyperion' saga - epic space opera)

- Scalzi's 'Old Man's War' series
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Old December 20 2009, 01:48 AM   #10
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Leguin
Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg
When HARLIE Was One by David Gerrold
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Old December 20 2009, 03:19 PM   #11
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Ruaidhri wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Ursula K. LeGuin,
Le Guin would be my first suggestion. Go and immediately read The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Lathe of Heaven.

Then, sit back and reflect on them.
Don't know if I would describe Ursula as "soft sci-fi", her stuff is deep.
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Old December 20 2009, 05:05 PM   #12
Greg Cox
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

"Soft" doesn't mean shallow. It just means that it isn't focused on the hard sciences: math, physics, astronomy, etc. Le Guin's work is more sociological.
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Old December 20 2009, 06:12 PM   #13
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Poul Anderson's The Saturn Game is one of my favorites. It's not too heavy on the hard elements. Instead, it's about the crew of a ship on its way to Saturn, playing virtual role-playing games to relieve the boredom, and things start to get a little... confused. It's a short story rather than a full novel, but still quite enjoyable.
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Old December 20 2009, 06:33 PM   #14
diankra
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
On the classic side, check out Theodore Sturgeon, John Wyndham, Ursula K. LeGuin, H. G. Wells, etc. More modern: Peter Hamilton, Tony Daniel, Neal Asher . . . .
Given the OP's starting point on how interested (or rather, not interested) he is in the science, I'm not sure Peter Hamilton's what he's looking for. Even Neal puts a lot of effort into explaining the hard science of the runcibles any time it becomes important (in so far as you can with any FTL situation).
For modern stuff, I'd suggest David Feintuch's Seafort books - they're at the Trek-ish sort of level of 'The FTL fusion drive exists, it has these limitations, and hence consequences which impact on how the characters live their lives, and that's it in terms of the physics'.

Scalzi's Old Man's War series is a good suggestion, as his science is very important, but not until you've got used to it all, and he then springs a gob-smacking unexpected consequence on the reader.
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Old December 20 2009, 06:59 PM   #15
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Re: What are some good soft sci-fi books?

You might want to reconsider Asimov.. especially the original Foundation trilogy.

Yes.. it's set far into the future and uses many high tech gadgets (though nuclear weapons as the strongest weapon available seems kinda quaint nowadays) but he doesn't go into "transphasic couplers needed to reverse the polarity of xyz".. he tells a grand story set in the future. Period.

Dune has already been mentioned.. read all original books by Frank and be prepared to get a huge lesson in SF sociology (it's a shame he didn't get to finish the series on his own) but avoid the sequels/prequels written nowadays as they are very light and unworthy crap besides his books.
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