Asking for SF book recs

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Rose, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. Rose

    Rose New Member

    Hello! I'm new here and basically only signed up to ask for book recs. (I hope that's okay :oops::p)

    I'm usually more of a fantasy reader, but I've been wanting to read more SF lately and simply don't know enough about the genre to find things I'll like. These are some of the things I'm looking for:

    Setting: Earth-based (or alternative Earth), contemporary or near-future
    Sub-genres: Would love anything with thriller, mystery or romance elements (or all three, yay!)
    Themes/tropes: Including but not limited to: cloning, genetic modifications, genetic engineering, memory alteration, other types of ethically problematic experiments (why, yes, I am a biology major).
    Crossover genres: I'd definitely enjoy things that crossover into fantasy a little (or a lot).
    Books similar to the TV shows Fringe or Dollhouse would be right up my alley.

    Things I'm NOT looking for: Space operas, big epics (I love Star Wars but it's just not what I want right now.)

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    Look up Peter McClean's Drake books - earth based sf mixed with crime. I haven't read them yet but they get great reviews.

    Also Jodi Taylor's St Mary's Chronicles - sort of a time travelling St Trinians with a great central romance. The first was fun but didn't blow me away - the rest have been fantastic! They are a series but you could pick up and put down at will. Plenty of handwavium.
  3. Safari Bob

    Safari Bob Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you loved Blade Runner.
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Hi @Rose!

    I'd recommend Greg Bear's short novel Blood Music for contemporary set SF that deals in a very ethically problematic experiment involving nanotechnology and the subsequent biological/cognitive alterations that result. Fascinating and horrific.

    For something dealing in genetic engineering & cloning, check out C. J. Cherryh's Cyteen, a stand-alone novel within Cherryh's vast Alliance-Union setting. The planet/society of Cyteen, part of the Union that is economically/politically at odds against Old Earth, uses extensive cloning and vat-grown personnel.

    I know you're not looking for space operas, but I can't help mentioning Alastair Reynolds' House of Suns. It's an extremely far future novel and deals in large families of clones who take entire circuits of the Milky Way lasting circa 200,000 years and then meet up for major reunions. The Milky Way is devoid of any sapient organic life aside from the countless iterations of humans that have spread throughout the galaxy over something like five or six million years.

    And Bruce Sterling's Shaper-Mechanist stories, including the novel Schismatrix. The stories and novel were collected as Schismatrix Plus, and while the stories are presented after the novel, they were written first, so it's up to you in which order you decide to read them. These deal with two main factions of humanity who have spread throughout the solar system. One emphasises manipulation of the body through genetic modifications and psychological drilling; the other prefers highly sophisticated cybernetic augmentation of the human body with the attendant softwares and drugs that accompany this tech.

    If you also want a romantic angle in your SF, then try Catherine Asaro's The Last Hawk. It's the only instalment from her Saga of the Skolian Empire I've read (the third or fourth published, I think), but it worked great as an introduction since it was basically a side-story. It's a more constrained tale set in a highly stratified matriarchal society, relatively tech-poor & extremely isolationist, whose social fabric is tied together by an intricate game that determines politics & power. Asaro is supposed to generally write very hard SF, but this element was at an absolute minimum in this novel.
  5. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Also thought of Nancy Kress' Beggars in Spain. I read the novella in an anthology, but I know that it was later expanded into a novel. It's a near future tale where genetic engineering is fairly commonplace, and one of the results is the Sleepless, humans who have been engineered to require almost no sleep. They vastly outperform normals, and this builds resentment.
  6. Kanly

    Kanly Well-Known Member

    For science fiction crossing over with fantasy, the one I'm reading right now might be something for you to check out: Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle. It's definitely SF, but also very much fantasy. It's a proper planetary romance, with a journey/quest from one end of the planet to the other. But it's a very slow and relaxing read.

    Also Jack Vance writes great stories that are both science fiction and fantasy, like his Dying Earth stories.
  7. Rose

    Rose New Member

    These all sound amazing! Thank you so much :)
  8. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

  9. Dtyler99

    Dtyler99 Well-Known Member

    Too bad PKD's Minority Report is just a short story (although the film was decent). Really good crossover SF/crime drama.

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