Recommended Smart Action/Sci-Fi Novels

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Ryantherebel, May 16, 2013.

  1. Ryantherebel

    Ryantherebel Cadet Newbie

    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    After discovering the Vorkosigan Saga and rereading The Forever War I'm trying to find more Science Fiction novels that combine exciting action with smart/smartly executed story telling. Now to clear things up, by "action" I don't necessarily mean Military Sci-Fi(although those shouldn't be excluded) I'd like more variety like cyberpunk or present based science fiction.
     
  2. Brendan Moody

    Brendan Moody Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Maine
    I just finished Linda Nagata's The Red: First Light, which is pretty nifty near-future military SF, tightly structured with some tense action sequences, and thoughtful about the consequences of contemporary political, technological, and military-industrial structures. There's a romantic subplot that doesn't work or go anywhere interesting, but otherwise it's a slick, smart read.
     
  3. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Location:
    Oxford, PA
    Only Superhuman by Christopher Bennett.

    (Full disclosure: I edited the book, but it sounds like exactly what you're looking for!)
     
  4. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Location:
    SB-31, Daran V
    The first three books of the Honor Harrington series by David Weber have some good action scenes in them: On Basilisk Station, The Honor of the Queen, and A Short Victorious War.

    If you liked The Forever War, you might want to compare and contrat with Heinlein's Star Ship Troopers if you've not alread read it. and for the love of god, avoid/ignore the movie. Also by Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress has pretty engaging action sequences.
     
  5. Bob Morton

    Bob Morton Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Poul Anderson's Harvest of Stars. It's a big chase around a future Earth. Different cultures, technologies, politics and genotypes are highlighted. I actually like the sequel, The Stars are also Fire, better, but there's far less 'action.' Check them both out if you haven't yet.
     
  6. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Langley
    What was wrong with Field of Dishonor and Flag In Exile? (Flag in Exile's my personal favorite...)
     
  7. Caliburn24

    Caliburn24 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Location:
    Gig Harbor, Washington
    You might like S. M. Stirling's Drakon. Technically it is a side sequel of sorts to his Dominion of Draka trilogy, but I read Drakon without having read the prior books and it is perfectly understandable as a standalone book.

    Present day. Hero, villain, technology from a future(and alternate) world. Shades of Terminator at certain points, but more fun.
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Sojourner
    The character descended into Mary Sue levels of self parody.

    In the vein of The Forever War and Starship Troopers you could also add Steakley's Armor.

    A very good example of smart action with a cinematic flare is Daniel Keyes Moran's The Longrun. Not sure if it's in print currently. I loved the protagonist in that book. He was always one step ahead.
     
  9. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Location:
    SB-31, Daran V
    Absolutely nothing wrong with them, but they tend a bit more toward political drama (IMO) then the more action oriented first three books of the series (again, IMO). Your milage may, and seems to, vary.

    I do enjoy the entire series, and always await the next book with much anticipation.
     
  10. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    OK, here we go:

    Bolo by Keith Laumer -read the original, not the sequels by other authors. Although Road To Damascus stands up really well

    The Weapon by Michael Z Williamson. Also, Freehold by the same author.

    A Talent For War, Seeker and Polaris- all by Jack McDevitt, about a guy who tracks and trades in antiques, only it all takes place a thousand+ years in the future so the stuff he deals in hasn't even been built yet in our time...

    Orion Shall Rise by Poul Anderson(and if you like it, the short story collection Mauri and Kith details more about the Mauri Federation)

    Most of H Beam Piper's work fits your request. So does Allen Steele's Nearspace novels(check wikipedia for a list)

    The Mote In God's Eye- Niven/Pournelle

    Santiago, A Myth of the Far Future by Mike Resnick

    another SM Stirling suggestion would be The Peshawar Lancers

    One that may come close to hitting every point you mentioned is David's Sling by Mark Steigler

    and a couple of classics that fit would be Logan's Run by William F. Nolan, The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison, another vote for The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress and Starship Troopers , The Riverworld series by Phillip Jose Farmer, and the Nine Princes In Amber by Roger Zelazny.

    There's also Dean Ing's novels, the original 3 Draka novels by Stirling(available in omnibus, I believe), the Retief books by Keith Laumer, and the Timeliner trilogy by Richard C. Meredith. Oh, and the Dorsai books by Gordon Dickinson as well as Pournelle's Falkenberg stories/novels. That should keep you busy for a few weeks. ;)
     
  11. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    oops, totally forgot about that. The Long Run, Armageddon Blues, and basically anything you can find by him is great. Sadly, he quit writing scifi in favor of sports blogging, leaving his House of November mega-story unfinished...
     
  12. Rulius

    Rulius Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    N.E. Ga.
  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    the real world
    Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels are probably the best action SF of a non-miitary variety. His Thirteen and his very early Market Forces are also pretty good.

    The late, great Andre Norton wrote YA SF before it was trendy, but her ability to write action is greatly underestimated I think.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Thanks for the recommendation! I was thinking the same thing, but I didn't want to blow my own horn. Only Superhuman is a hard-SF action novel that's decidedly not military; it's more of a superhero novel set in the asteroid belt, which I do think would fall under "variety." More info at the links in my signature.
     
  15. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    I just can't get into Morgan's stuff.

    Norton's Star Rangers is pretty darn good.
     
  16. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2003
    Location:
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    I second the Jack McDevitt recommendation-- his Priscillia Hutchins series and his Alex Benedict series are both excellent.

    Also, the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey are wonderful and have their share of action.
     
  17. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    the real world
    I forgot the latest, "James S.A. Corey," a collaboration of whomever I forget. I don't care for the books, but they are winning nominations/awards I think.

    Ken MacLeod and Charles Stross have some thriller type novels, as does Greg Bear.

    Military SF of course has action, but about the only one I like is Sandra MacDonald.

    An old one overlooked somehow is Joanna Russ Alyx novels.