Non-Trek recommendations for Trek readers

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by trampledamage, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have very recently begun reading Tom Clancy, having so far read in publishing order the Jack Ryan series up to Debt of Honor (including the John Clark centred Without Remorse). And damn, these are fine books indeed, though Debt of Honor was a bit of a slog (way too much time spent on the stock market in that one). So far I'd say Patriot Games is my favourite, though Cardinal of the Kremlin and Without Remorse are also among Clancy's best.

    Another series of military fiction novels I enjoy are Rick Campbell's Trident Deception series (not the official name of the series, but it gets called that since Trident Deception is the first book in the series). They basically revolve around the intertwining adventures of a US submarine and the National Security Advisor. Great stuff.

    I'll also take the opportunity to mention Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen about a US Navy Destroyer from WWII that ends up in a parallel Earth in which humanity never evolved and there's a war going on between cute furry creatures and vicious lizard. The first five books are awesome though the series takes a significant slump after that.
    Hell, everything from Scalzi is worth checking out. I don't think he's disappointed yet.
     
  2. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    Oh yeah, I remember liking Patriot Games quite a lot. I also really enjoyed Cardinal of the Kremlin for some of the threads it picks up on from Red October, and how information about what happened to the actual submarine, Red October, plays a role in how events unfold in the intelligence/counter-intelligence games.
     
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  3. veritech

    veritech Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I would recommend 'Eon' by Greg Bear. It is mind blowing science fiction with time/dimensional travel not unlike that in Star Trek: The Wounded Sky . . . kinda, sorta?
     
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  4. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'll second this recommendation. The Humanx books are a lot of fun, and there's some great world-building in them. Very imaginative stuff.
     
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  5. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Return to Oz was based on a combination of The Marvelous Land of Oz (the only canonical Oz book that doesn't include Dorothy) and Ozma of Oz. It is more faithful to the original than the 1939 MGM musical was to its original, but then again, it would be difficult to be less faithful. I will note that Return conflates Mombi, from Land, with Langwidere (who isn't exactly evil, just vain and lazy), from Ozma, and completely eliminates the neighboring Land of Ev, which is where most of the action in Ozma takes place.

    And one minor note: on the matter of "Oz being a dream, in-universe" (which was the primary assumption of the 1939 movie), Baum was ambiguous for the first five books, but came down solidly on the "Oz is a real in-universe place" side in The Emerald City of Oz (in which Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, having lost the farm to a foreclosure, relocate to Oz permanently).

    And thanks, "Mysterion."
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  6. Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs

    Burning Hearts of Qo'nOs Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Seconded! Seveneves is excellent, excellent! The story is separated into three sections, where the third is the weakest for me, but overall the concepts and execution are fantastic! A very real look at how we might save humanity and just barely get by.

    Children of Time and the sequel Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky are both really good, although I enjoyed Time much more. Time is a post-Earth story about a colony world that is seeded by sentient spiders in a terraforming experiment gone wrong by old-Earth. Post-Earth humans eventually arrive thousands of years later on a sleeper ship that has it's own drama going on. The story is wacky but its fantastic and very clever, and really puts ENT to shame when it comes to depicting how difficult it would be to communicate with something thats truly alien. And these aliens are Earth animals!

    Cloud Atlas is also a personal favorite of mine. If you thought the movie was ehhhhh but you thought the concept was interesting, read the book instead. It's scores better, and will actually help to make the movie more watchable.

    Currently I am reading the Three Body Problem, by Cixin Liu. I'm not far enough to have an opinion, but it starts off during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which is always "fun" to read about, lol.

    For the oldies, I will always recommend Arthur C. Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth and The City and the Stars along with Asimov's The End of Eternity.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
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  7. Jeff Matthews

    Jeff Matthews Ensign Newbie

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    Has anyone read Weber's Honor Harrington series or Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series and would care to share their thoughts?
     
  8. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, and I would recommend it. The earlier books in the series are the best*, and as the series goes along the individual books get longer (Weber could use a stronger editor) and the politics tends to overshadow the action. Also there are books the veer off the main sequence and sometimes overlap each other. But overall this is a good series, IMO.

    * = especially the first three: On Basilisk Station; The Honor of the Queen, and The Short, Victorious War.
     
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  9. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I read a lot of space opera; here are a few that I think would be particularly appealing to Trek fans.

    The Wayfarers series, by Becky Chambers - one thing that I think has gotten lost in the serializing and condensing of TV seasons from 20+ mostly standalone episodes to 13 or so plot-heavy episodes is the sense of family, the episodes just about the characters being themselves, living in this universe. If you're looking for that kind of vibe, these books are stunning. Don't expect very much to, like, happen, but the character arcs and world are so very human and compelling. Maybe my favorite reads of the past year.

    A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine - the best intergalactic political thriller I may have ever read. The novel only features humans, but after having spread through the galaxy human cultures are at least as alien to each other as the more frequent alien species on Star Trek are from each other. This is a gem.

    Pandora's Star / Judas Unchained, by Peter F. Hamilton - like an entire season of television in two books, this has a truly epic feel and (unlike most epics including, unfortunately, Hamilton's other long tales) completely sticks the landing. A fantastic, completely unique alien antagonist, a whole bunch of fascinating characters, and one of the most satisfying endings to a long, complex story I've ever read.

    The Murderbot novellas, by Martha Wells - an absolute goddamn riot. This universe isn't too much like Trek's (there's a lot of generic-evil-corporations-in-charge kind of backgound) but the narrator is an android and its exploration into becoming more human makes a fascinating juxtaposition to Trek's explorations of those themes. This is like the evil, snarky twin of Data's overall character arc.

    The Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, by Cixin Liu (which starts with The Three Body Problem) - reading these is fascinating; structurally and thematically, they clearly are not written from a western perspective. The contrast with more typical western space opera is already fascinating, but then the big ideas start landing and it's just one mindblowing thought experiment after another. Something like if Arthur C. Clarke wrote 1800 page epics instead of 250 page short novels.

    The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey - seriously, if any Trek fan isn't on this train already, I have no idea why. Books, show, either, both, doesn't matter. It's all great.

    Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor - a brilliant, lovely series of novellas (recently published in one complete collection) about a girl from Africa going to something vaguely like Starfleet Academy; a unique and welcome perspective that's often lacking in space opera and some truly beautiful writing.

    Empress of Forever, by Max Gladstone - bugfuck wildass ideas, great characters, and full of sentences that are just the best sentences. Trust me on this one. Max Gladstone is something else entirely.
     
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  10. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hmm. Space Opera. As it happens, ADF wrote a short story of that title. It's in the collection, With Friends Like These . . . I wish I could remember what it was about, but I seem to recall that it's a first contact story, rather than an actual "space opera."
     
  11. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    There's also a recent novel called Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente, which is *awesome* but not particularly Trek-like. More for fans of Douglas Adams and the Eurovision song contest.
     
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  12. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thrawn, we read all the same books but apparently perceive them very differently. I was super excited about Space Opera but man it was a tedious slog. Binti was meh, and the Wayfarers books are so boring.
     
  13. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, so it seems. I adored every word of Space Opera, couldn't put Binti down, and can't get enough of Wayfarers. I totally understand why anyone would think they were boring though, I just loved the character work so much I didn't care about the near total lack of plot.
     
  14. Stevil2001

    Stevil2001 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I should say I did really like A Closed and Common Orbit-- it made me cry! But the other two I found pretty meh. I don't need action, but I do need to feel like something is happening, that there's some kind of conflict, and for me, Chambers usually doesn't even bring out internal conflict successfully.
     
  15. Thrawn

    Thrawn Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Fair. All three of them made me cry! Though you're right that Orbit is the best of the three, I think.
     
  16. DrCorby

    DrCorby Captain Captain

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    Since Hornblower and the Master and Commander series have been discussed, I feel OK to recommend the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. This recently-completed set of 9 novels is set during an alternate Napoleonic War, where all the nations involved employ intelligent dragons in combat. A British Royal Navy captain is suddenly thrust into the Air Corp with perhaps the most powerful dragon the Brits have.

    Novik's world-building makes a lot of sense, dealing with the international politics and personalities involved, with Temeraire and Captain Laurence especially well-drawn and engaging. She also introduces the reader to several other cultures around the world and the very different societies built to include dragons -- from the Imperial Chinese court to the Incas, a pan-African confederation, the Ottoman Empire, and the ingenious adaptability of the many North American native tribes. Our heroes also face off against some of the taboos and injustices of their own culture, while also facing the onslaughts of French attacks.

    Novik wrapped up the series in a satisfying and definitive way. But she has written a few more stories that spotlight small moments in her storyline, which have been published since. Peter Jackson has optioned the books for a possible movie series. She's been nominated for multiple Hugos and won a Nebula award for a fantasy novel based on eastern European legends. Alternate history fans and Napoleonic War buffs should definitely check these out!
     
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  17. Mysterion

    Mysterion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    These are good books and you've summed them up well. I would also recommend these to folks looking for something new to read.
     
  18. trampledamage

    trampledamage Clone Moderator

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    I knew this thread was a good idea - I'm getting some great recos for reading :techman:

    I agree with @Mysterion about the Honor Harrington novels, they are good and the first three are the best!
     
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  19. Tflockj

    Tflockj Ensign Red Shirt

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    I've enjoyed these as well. Scalzi is a master of snappy dialog but also tells really good stories. I've also enjoyed his "Old Man's War" series.
     
  20. Tflockj

    Tflockj Ensign Red Shirt

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    I really liked Elizabeth Moon's Vatta's War series. Good stories and character development. I started out liking the Honor Harrington books but the characters eventually seemed to be too "pure" or "tortured" but without ever growing. The universe was well crafted but it the stories got to be repetitive after a while. The firs books were fun to read, though.