Off the beaten tracks recs

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by jo zebedee, Jun 25, 2017.

  1. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    more and more I see on forums (including here, sorry) the same old recommendations coming around.

    I would love to hear recommendations for lesser known writers and works.

    Now, obviously, I have a vested interest in this* - but we all do.

    I read mostly anything if it sounds like it might interest me. Here are my recs of lesser known books I've enjoyed this year or so:

    Naomi Foyle's Gaia series - clever thought-provoking social SF

    Jodi Taylor's St Mary's Chronicles - huge, huge, huge fun. Great holiday reads (my husband and I are currently fighting over who gets first dibs on book 3 which arrives tomorrow with books 4-6 on order now)

    Toby Frost's Space Captajn Smith's books - quite blokey humorous sf. Good fun.

    Jon Wallace - I like his writing but struggled with some of his themes but will keep an eye for the future

    * the biggest single threat to authors making a living (and therefore providing books for readers!) is discoverability. There are now 4 million + books on Amazon. Debut and mid list authors find it hard to get their books seen.

    For those who like the (dubious, imho ;)) quality control traditional publishing provides it is worth noting that debut authors with trad houses are the biggest shrinking market - which means all that breakout talent that we rely on to provide the classics of the future are lost, working 9-5 to eat and only writing when they have a spare minute. I think of all those lost books and weep a little :)
  2. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    It is difficult not to recommend and read a classic or simply a high-quality book. It is simply a safer bet. I for one have not a problem reading indie authors. My issue is deciding which ones are worthy of my limited reading time. As you have very well pointed out, the choice is overwhelming and it would be a job in itself searching out for new talent.
    I don’t follow Goodreads or Amazon reviews as they don’t tend to work for me. On the other hand, I would not hesitate following a recommendation from a like-minded friend regarding a new author.
    Maybe it is just a question of posting regularly those new talents and briefly explaining why would it be worth choosing them next time.
    Besides, indie authors, like yourself, who spend time in fora not just talking about their books but mostly contributing to interesting discussions, do really spark my curiosity about their work. ;)
    jo zebedee likes this.
  3. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    It is hard :) What I try to do now is just stop at the end of any rec posts I do and try to add someone smaller to the list - but only if either I have enjoyed their work or I know they are highly regarded by others but perhaps not to my taste (something I wouldn't hesitate to do with better known writers). So for grimdark I stick Michael Fletcher in there or Deborah Wolf as well as the Lawrences of this world.

    I tend to trust Goodreads more than Amazon but on another forum today I can across someone suspicious of an author with a 3.94 average and only believing it because they had something like 3000 reviews. That makes me want to thud my head off the desk. If I fell below a 4 average people wouldn't take the risk (I knock around on 4.25 -ish over a few hundred reviews) but if I'm above it people think it's gamed!

    Which is why I think forums are so important. It's word of mouth central. I just look at the state of the industry and how few authors can make it pay and how many give up in the face of it and think we're just losing so much talent.
    Diziet Sma likes this.
  4. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    You're asking for SF&F recommendations, mainly?
  5. kenubrion

    kenubrion Well-Known Member

    The Lazarus War: Artifact is little known and quite good. Sci-fi.
    jo zebedee likes this.
  6. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    Preferably but I'm pretty eclectic in what I'll read. :)
  7. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I'd recommend the authors A. A. Attanasio (mind-bending SF like almost no one writes, sense of wonder is off the scales), David Zindell (epic, philosophical space opera) and Donald Kingsbury (planetary romance with a unique society and its equally unique system of ethics) since almost no one I come across reads their work. Happily, there are four people in this forum who have read Attanasio!

    And for a non-SF recommendation, I recently read The King's Daughter by Suzanne Martel, a historical frontier novel set in New France that's for juveniles. I'm not sure if you'd pick up juvenile fiction, but if you do, then this is a great one.
  8. Dtyler99

    Dtyler99 Well-Known Member

    Check out the four books in The Saga of Pliocene Exile by Julian May. Got rave reviews when it was first published and fell off the radar shortly after (adding to Boreas' comments above, she's in the category of great stuff no one knows about). Funny, clever, great storytelling, well-researched (May wrote textbooks for years after selling some award-winning SFF early in her career), and truly memorable characters. May is a very, very good writer.

    Attanasio -- big thumbs up.
    jo zebedee likes this.
  9. jo zebedee

    jo zebedee Well-Known Member

    I think I did read some of Julian May's when I was younger and liked her writing very much :)

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