Science Fiction.

Speaking of things Niven, I have a 70s copy of Inconstant Moon "borrowed" from my High School library when I left in 1988.

I must have read the various short stories dozens of times each.

Any other nominations for unfeasibly good sci-fi books that you always come back to?

I'm surprised no one has recently mentioned Alastair Reynolds and the Revelation Space Universe books
 
I'm surprised no one has recently mentioned Alastair Reynolds and the Revelation Space Universe books

Reynolds seems to have gone off the boil recently.

He chucked out some good books. Then he got a massive deal with some publisher (IIRC it was for 8/10 books and was worth a million squids).

I don't know if he got the cash up front (it doesn't usually work that way) but he hasn't been earning the dosh recently.

In fact the last year hasn't been especially good for SF. I would have thought that with the various lock-downs the authors would have been hammering stuff out by the wagonload.
 
I suspect there are more than a few authors who are recalibrating in the light of the pandemic.

No Mad Max 2 assless chaps, no barter economy, teens haven't been enrolled in gladitorial events. They may be rethinking their end of the world scenarios.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Another Niven / Pournelle collaborative effort which I've returned to time and again is "Legacy of Heorot", a brilliant depiction of the likely perils of interstellar colonisation. Awesome monsters!

Damn, I need to read it again now.
 
Anyone read the John Birmingham - Axis of Time series?
 
In fact the last year hasn't been especially good for SF. I would have thought that with the various lock-downs the authors would have been hammering stuff out by the wagonload.
Don't forget that unless your name is $BESTSELLING_AUTHOR, it can take well over a year for a story to make it from "submit first draft" to "published book hits shelves". I read an advance copy/draft of one novella two years ago, it's only just been published.

Also don't forget that unless your name is $BESTSELLING_AUTHOR, most writers are part-time; extremely unlikely to be living off their earnings until they've got several books in print and a decent back catalogue. Have you got more spare time during lockdown for your other activities (say, with the kids running around) or less?

I follow a few on Twitter; several have commented that it's difficult to write when life is so disrupted. And that's before normal life gets in the way - e.g. Charles Stross lost a year via burnout and the death of parents...

Throw in "who wants their book published during a pandemic, when no-one can get to the bookshops to buy it; with the associated risk that the publisher will assume your poor sales reflect poor value, doesn't buy your next title" and it's not exactly a stress-free zone.
 
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Although how you can bear to read more than one Gerald Seymour pot boiler warmer at a tepid temperature, let alone hang on to them, I have no idea...
Much like my surviving sets of Amtrak Wars (rather old) / small set of William Dietz (bought for firstborn) / Robert Asprin (funny), available bookshelf space expanded before "Book Thunderdome" had to recommence (two books enter; one book leaves). That, and the fact that I now mostly use an e-reader, means that shelf pressure has dropped slightly.

Last time around, about fifteen years ago, sundry Asimov got packed off to Cancer Research - too much "hand me my atomo-blaster, my rocketship awaits" - while Arthur Clarke got kept. I've had "Mote in God's Eye" and "Dune" since the mid/late 1970s, too precious to go.

I keep waiting for Eric Frank Russell to arrive again in print; I bought "Wasp" at an inflated ebook price, because fond memories. Meanwhile, I notice that John Wyndham is coming out in ebook form, which might be fun... at the same time, I'll buy the next Linda Nagata, will probably buy another Lilith Saintcrow ("Afterwar" was interesting), "Austral" was worth another purchase, as was "Sea of Rust".
 
Don't forget that unless your name is $BESTSELLING_AUTHOR, it can take over a year for a story to make it from "submit first draft" to "published book hits shelves". I read an advance copy/draft of one novella two years ago, it's only just been published.

Also don't forget that unless your name is $BESTSELLING_AUTHOR, most writers are part-time; extremely unlikely to be living off their earnings until they've got several books in print and a decent back catalogue. Have you got more time during lockdown (say, with the kids running around) or less?

I follow a few on Twitter; several have commented that it's difficult to write when life is so disrupted. And that's before normal life gets in the way - e.g. Charles Stross lost a year via burnout and the death of parents...

Throw in "who wants their book published during a pandemic, when no-one can get to the bookshops to buy it; with the associated risk that the publisher will assume your poor sales reflect poor value, doesn't buy your next title" and it's not exactly a stress-free zone.

Indeed.

Reynolds must rank at least as a well selling SF author, having published some 25 novel/short story collections.

He got the million pound deal twelve years ago:

As banks struggle and businesses collapse, the science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds is making his own contribution to the flagging UK economy, signing an unprecedented 10-book deal with Gollancz worth £1m.
He hasn't knocked out much in that time.

Reality check: I didn't think he had written much recently but looking at his bibliography he has knocked out six novels in that time with one to come this year.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Not planning on that for another few decades, sorry...

I should take pictures of the other shelves, I'll get a few newspapers to rustle furiously ;)
The horror.... the horror....
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Much like my surviving sets of Amtrak Wars (rather old) / small set of William Dietz (bought for firstborn) / Robert Asprin (funny), available bookshelf space expanded before "Book Thunderdome" had to recommence (two books enter; one book leaves). That, and the fact that I now mostly use an e-reader, means that shelf pressure has dropped slightly.

Last time around, about fifteen years ago, sundry Asimov got packed off to Cancer Research - too much "hand me my atomo-blaster, my rocketship awaits" - while Arthur Clarke got kept. I've had "Mote in God's Eye" and "Dune" since the mid/late 1970s, too precious to go.

I keep waiting for Eric Frank Russell to arrive again in print; I bought "Wasp" at an inflated ebook price, because fond memories. Meanwhile, I notice that John Wyndham is coming out in ebook form, which might be fun... at the same time, I'll buy the next Linda Nagata, will probably buy another Lilith Saintcrow ("Afterwar" was interesting), "Austral" was worth another purchase, as was "Sea of Rust".
Blimey, "Wasp"... that's a blast from the past. My copy was a casualty of the first Mrs TMW, in a box of books she decided weren't worth keeping whilst I was in Bosnia. Along with all my hardback Sharpe novels, and a wartime photo of my Grandad...

I left the psychotic, vindictive bitch a year later whilst on my Tiffy course, and bitterly regret not having done it sooner. Really she's lucky not to be fertiliser under the patio at 11 Hawford Place... I've said too much.
 
Charlie Stross has just release a new Laundry novel (well, sort of. The series has progressed from The Laundry Files to Tales Of New Management (Laundry Universe).

The first novel (released last month) is Dead Lies Dreaming. Bought it and It is next on my reading list after I have finished all the Mick Herron novels - 4.5 to go).

There is a novella set in the Laundry series due for release this summer: Escape From Puroland

Still the only SF writer to give a shout-out to ARRSE in his work (and possibly an occasional denizen of these hallowed pages).
Dammit, I'm going to miss Bob Oliver Francis Howard
 
Anyone read the John Birmingham - Axis of Time series?
Yep.

(Ex?) Prince Harry fighting Otto Skorzeny, count me in.

Has one of my favourite computer quotes in it.

---
'“Thank you,” said Himmler, who found the Windows file management system a diabolical confoundment. And they accuse me of crimes against humanity, he thought as he settled himself in at his desk. Wilhelm Gates, you are a beast, and your family will pay.'"
---

I've also read John Birminghams "After America" trilogy where most of the people in America are suddenly wiped off the face of the earth due to an energy wave (for lack of a better word) that covers most of America and kills any human that touches it.

He wrote this series after listening to an Anti War protestor saying the world would have been better if the USA disappeared.
 
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(Ex?) Prince Harry fighting Otto Skorzeny, count me in.

A brief SF aside.

My mum comes from Co. Kildare in Ireland.

Back in the sixties she told me that Hitler and a bunch of Narzees used to live up the road from her farm.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you daft old bat. As if". I had visions of Ron Vibbentrop and the BalllyMinehead By-election.

Years later I read that she was partly right as Skorzeny had briefly lived in Kildare and the story got mangled in the retelling.
 

kimmi851

War Hero
Blimey, "Wasp"... that's a blast from the past. My copy was a casualty of the first Mrs TMW, in a box of books she decided weren't worth keeping whilst I was in Bosnia.

I found a copy of Wasp and one of Next of Kin in Forbidden Planet - I think the Americans have a lot of the better sci fi still available and they sometimes ship to them. I got rid of the husband rather than letting him have any say on my books. Romance is dead when you consider the alternative is losing the Gil the Arm series of Niven books.
 
I suspect there are more than a few authors who are recalibrating in the light of the pandemic.

No Mad Max 2 assless chaps, no barter economy, teens haven't been enrolled in gladitorial events. They may be rethinking their end of the world scenarios.
I know right? And I stocked up on studded codpieces and everything. Turns out the "apocalypse" is more a an insidious blend of Huxley and Orwell than an exhilarating white line nightmare.
Anyone read the John Birmingham - Axis of Time series?
Indeed, love a bit of that sort of genre, (despite the dickishness of some people on sites devoted to it), JB takes the Final Countdown scenario and runs with it. I particularly enjoy the culture shock aspects of it as the WW2 generation struggle to come to grips with the somewhat right on 21st century task force.
Anyway, good bloke, funny and not worth your time.
He has a blog: CheeseburgerGothic
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
I know right? And I stocked up on studded codpieces and everything. Turns out the "apocalypse" is more a an insidious blend of Huxley and Orwell than an exhilarating white line nightmare.

I was waiting for zombies. I wanted zombie hordes, damn it!
 
I was waiting for zombies. I wanted zombie hordes, damn it!
Seeing as all I have is an air rifle I'd be proper fcuked. Mind you the Labradors never ending appetite for stinky stuff would actually pay off in that scenario.
The zombie apocalypse IRL would result in a lot of fat happy dogs.
 
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