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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old October 15 2013, 03:21 AM   #1
Thrawn
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OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Shockingly, being a die-hard fan of TrekLit since the DS9 Relaunch, I'm also a fan of other long, multi-book works of science fiction.

There's an analogy I'm going to steal from (I think) tor.com's Jo Walton - plot twists are like spear points. The ones that really penetrate have long, heavy spear shafts behind them, the kind of weight built up by long, epic stories full of detail and memorable characters.

So in that spirit, here's a list of some of my favorites, and some others that are on the to-read pile, and I'm curious what you all think I've missed.


Favorites:

Titan, Wizard, and Demon by John Varley (3 novels)
Revelation Space universe by Alastair Reynolds (5 novels, ss collection)
Xeelee sequence by Stephen Baxter (7 novels, 2 ss collections)
Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold (15 novels, 4 novellas)
Commonwealth Universe and also Night's Dawn by Peter F. Hamilton (5 and 3 novels, respectively)
League of Peoples universe by James Alan Gardner (6 novels)
January Dancer series by Michael Flynn (4 novels)
Uplift series by David Brin (6 novels)
The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell (6 novels, plus two spinoff series I haven't read yet)

There's also Brandon Sanderson's fantasy novels, all of which are in a giant shared universe and all of which play by very specific rules, so that almost counts as sci-fi. And Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, which is historical fiction but feels like sci-fi when you read it.

I've also read the RAMA series and the Hyperion series, but wouldn't recommend those. Or, at least, the first book of each is stunningly wonderful and every other volume afterwards is just as stunningly horrid.


On the list to try someday:

Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (3 novels)
Culture by Iain M. Banks (9 novels, ss collection)
Wess'Har by Karen Traviss (6 novels)
Leviathan Wakes series by James S. A. Corey (6 novels planned - I'll read it when it's done)


So - recommendations, opinions, other series to share?
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Old October 15 2013, 06:50 AM   #2
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Well, while I'm not finished yet, I'm currently reading Encounter with Tiber by John Barnes and Buzz Aldrin, and it's really very good. I love Neal Stephenson, and I love books that have a bit more to them. And Encounter with Tiber is right up there, according to many reviews I've read, with some of the best hard sci-fi and sounds right up your alley. It gets right into the science aspects in a spectacular way, right down to drawings to explain some of the concepts. And it's a rather ambitious novel. Amazon just recently re-released it for the Kindle, as it was originally published in 1997.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...ter_with_Tiber
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Old October 15 2013, 09:42 AM   #3
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Revelation Space and the Red Blue Green Mars trilogy are great. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with a lot of the others, but I have just embarked on the fantasy Game of Thrones series, which I am thoroughly enjoying at the moment.
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Old October 15 2013, 02:56 PM   #4
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Thrawn wrote: View Post
I'm curious what you all think I've missed.

Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (3 novels)

So - recommendations, opinions, other series to share?
Here's one for you: The Martians is sort of a fourth book in this series. It's on my "to read" shelf also, so I can't tell you much about it (saving you from spoilers, and whatnot.), but I do know that it has earlier drafts of chapters from the first three novels, as well as short stories (at least one) continuing the story, and other information.

I don't know if you'd be interested in that, but I figured it was relevant.
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Old October 15 2013, 04:16 PM   #5
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Check out Peter Hamilton.
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Old October 15 2013, 04:43 PM   #6
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
Well, while I'm not finished yet, I'm currently reading Encounter with Tiber by John Barnes and Buzz Aldrin, and it's really very good.
I have a hardcover of that autographed by Buzz.

If you enjoy that, also try James P. Hogan's Giants series, though stop with the third book.
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Old October 15 2013, 04:49 PM   #7
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Alastair Reynolds' Revelation series, starting with Revelation Space and/or Chasm City. [oh i see it above, but i'll keep the amazon links for other potential readers]

Gene Wolfe's magnum opus, The Book of the New Sun (beginning with The Shadow of the Torturer its coda, The Urth of the New Sun, as well as its follow-on series, The Book of the Long Sun and The Book of the New Sun
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Old October 15 2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Jarvisimo wrote: View Post
Gene Wolfe's magnum opus, The Book of the New Sun (beginning with The Shadow of the Torturer its coda, The Urth of the New Sun, as well as its follow-on series, The Book of the Long Sun and The Book of the New Sun
Oooh, I forgot this one. Yeah this is definitely on the list; I'm hoping all of it will come to ebook eventually, which it hasn't yet, but if/when that happens I'm definitely there.
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Old October 15 2013, 06:04 PM   #9
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

RandyS wrote: View Post
Here's one for you: The Martians is sort of a fourth book in this series. It's on my "to read" shelf also, so I can't tell you much about it (saving you from spoilers, and whatnot.), but I do know that it has earlier drafts of chapters from the first three novels, as well as short stories (at least one) continuing the story, and other information.
I found it disappointing. It seemed rather self-indulgent, a project that a less successful author would never have been able to get into print, because it was rather badly in need of editing and quality control, or at least clarification. The chapters jump among continuities rather randomly, and there's a sequence of non-contiguous chapters in a common continuity that initially seems like a prequel to the trilogy, but then veers off and turns out to be an alternate reality. It has some interesting parts -- I mainly keep it because of the chapter containing the full text of the Martian constitution set up in the trilogy -- but on the whole I find it a failure. It's certainly a letdown if you're expecting a continuation of the trilogy.
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Old October 15 2013, 07:18 PM   #10
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Thrawn wrote: View Post
Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold (15 novels, 4 novellas)
my favourite SF-book series... well not only SF. *g*

I absolutely enjoyed the characters, the political intrigues, the humour, Barrayar... and I hope Bujold's going to write more stories set in that universe (not necessarily from Miles' PoV, but there're enough other stories left to tell, least of all from the Regency etc.).

Otherwise I can't really contribute since I don't usually read SF (except ST)... unless the SF-element just slips by next to the characterization
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Old October 15 2013, 07:49 PM   #11
Owain Taggart
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Allyn Gibson wrote: View Post
Owain Taggart wrote: View Post
Well, while I'm not finished yet, I'm currently reading Encounter with Tiber by John Barnes and Buzz Aldrin, and it's really very good.
I have a hardcover of that autographed by Buzz.

Very nice! Now I'm jealous It's one of those books that I wish I had noticed the first time around, though now I do have the benefit of reading it on my Kindle. The hard-science in it is making me giddy. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll be sure to check it out, and stop at the 3rd
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Old October 15 2013, 08:34 PM   #12
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

The two most obvious suggestions I can make is Dune (the 6 books written by Frank Herbert) and Ben Bova's Grand Tour series, with novels that take place on Mercury, Venus, the Moon, Mars, the asteroid belt, Jupiter, and Saturn. There are some really appealing characters, and some of the books would make terrific movies.
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Old October 15 2013, 10:28 PM   #13
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

I would recommend the Epic Series by Lee Stephen and the Expanse series by James S.A. Corey.
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Old October 16 2013, 12:12 AM   #14
Thrawn
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

Claudia wrote: View Post
Thrawn wrote: View Post
Vorkosigan saga by Lois McMaster Bujold (15 novels, 4 novellas)
my favourite SF-book series... well not only SF. *g*

I absolutely enjoyed the characters, the political intrigues, the humour, Barrayar... and I hope Bujold's going to write more stories set in that universe (not necessarily from Miles' PoV, but there're enough other stories left to tell, least of all from the Regency etc.).

Otherwise I can't really contribute since I don't usually read SF (except ST)... unless the SF-element just slips by next to the characterization
I'm just finishing it now; I only have Cryoburn left. Really wonderful stuff. Simon Illyan might be top-10-favorite-characters-all-time material for me.
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Old October 16 2013, 04:14 AM   #15
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Re: OT: Really good, long-form epic science-fiction

I really enjoy Robert J. Sawyer's work, especially his novels Calculating God and Triggers.

(Full disclosure: I am an acquaintance of Rob's, having met him through an internship I held a few years ago, and I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on his Triggers manuscript before publication. So I do have a bit of a bias there. )
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