science fiction

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science fiction

Post by Memblers » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:08 pm

I suppose this might seem kind of random on here, but during the past maybe 5 or so years I've been enjoying reading (and audiobook listening) science fiction and/or speculative fiction. I'm in no danger of running out of material, but I was wondering if anyone else here is into that kind of stuff and wants to share some of the stuff they liked or would recommend. Doesn't have to be books. Movies, tv, games are fine too.

The only videogame-related that comes to mind is Ready Player One. It's probably safe to say that if you're on this forum you would enjoy this at some level, even if you're not particularly into scifi.

In no particular order:
Dune, parts of the series are a little strange.. but certainly worthwhile.
Stuff by Larry Niven and Niven/Pournelle, I've read almost all of the known-space series, but Protector and Ringworld are favorites. Also A World Out of Time, The Integral Trees, Lucifer's Hammer, Inferno (a really fun modernized Dante's Inferno)
2001: A Space Odyssey, the book was actually written in parallel with the movie script, it explains things better than the movie does of course
Rendezvous With Rama
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Just awesome. This was made into the movie Blade Runner, I haven't seen the movie (maybe some vague memories from when I was a kid) but I've heard the director and screenplay writer never even read the book. :?
Neuromancer

Probably more will come to mind after I post this, but oh well. It's a random topic anyways, but there it is.

As far as movies go, I've never been a huge movie guy especially as I've gotten older (or maybe too many modern movies i hear about just suck?), but on Amazon Prime I kinda randomly chose to watch the movie Interstellar, and ended up enjoying it quite a bit more than I had expected.

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Re: science fiction

Post by lidnariq » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:18 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed The Martian, both book and movie.

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Re: science fiction

Post by Sogona » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:51 am

Slaughterhouse-Five? (Haven't read it, but really want to.)

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Re: science fiction

Post by rainwarrior » Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:20 am

I tend to think of science fiction as a story where the setting includes some new or currently-unrealistic technology, and through its story explores the consequences of that technology. Different people take this to mean different things, though. Like in my mind something like Star Trek or The Fifth Element are really "space fantasy", more than they are "science fiction", but this is perhaps a worthless digression. There's obvious ways you could define Sci-Fi to include them too, and probably most people would.

I'm not exclusively into sci-fi or anything, but I do often like stuff in this genre. Sci-fi movies I like especially for the interesting visual elements, so often I want to see them just for that alone, whether or not the story is interesting or really sci-fi (by my previous definition).


I liked Slaughterhouse Five a lot (and I've been planning to read more Vonnegut when I have a chance), though I don't think it's really a story with a sci-fi focus. There's a little bit of elements there (e.g. space aliens, time travel) but they seem more like a device to provide perspective than the thing that drives the story. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is sort of in the same boat, it's really about absurd and humorous ideas, and draws on science fiction concepts to create them.

Red Mars, about setting up a colony on Mars, was rather good, and very strictly sci-fi (i.e. it's trying to be realistic portrayal, the new technology is not too far advanced from now, etc.).

Phillip K. Dick wrote a lot of great stories, often about what technology (especially medical) might to do your sense of self, or the reliability of your thoughts and memories.

Most of the other sci-fi I've read that I thought was good has been mentioned (Dune, 2001, etc.), though I read less than I used to, and I though I've read some sci-fi in that past few years I can't think of any that was worth recommending.


For movies... yeah Blade Runner, though it's related to Dick's book, its story goes its own route. Books have more interesting stories anyway; though Blade Runner does explore the concept of artificial humans well enough for a movie, but at the same time it was a real landmark in visual design. Its influence on the genre in that way is hard to understate, and it's just a really good film, IMO.

Random sci-fi movie stuff I've liked:
  • Ex Machina - more artificial humans
  • Edge of Tomorrow - really fantastic. Playing with the groundhog-day idea of repeating a day over and over but keeping your memories, and how it changes a war and one person's life.
  • Moon - one man living a lonely wage-slave kinda life on the moon
  • Planetes - animated series about a space-debris collection agency operating in earth orbit, somewhat realistic, not too far off technologically
  • Under the Skin - mysterious film about an alien woman that captures and devours men
  • Gravity - one of the most physically thrilling movies I've seen, story about a woman on an earth orbit space station trying to survive a debris collision
  • Primer - fascinating story about two guys who invent a time travel machine in their garage
  • A Scanner Darkly - based on a phillip k dick story, more on manipulating minds with technology (very interesting computer-rotoscoping animated technique too)
Some other movies I liked which might be sci-fi depending on your viewpoint:
  • Mad Max: Fury Road - it's an amazing action movie, but the setting is very strongly developed (a post apocalyptic world with little water, and old technlogy is repurposed)
  • The Fifth Element - fantastic visual setting and characters, good adventure movie
  • Alien - one of my favourite films, but it's really just a monster movie set in space, good thriller, cool setting (trapped on a space-freighter with the monster)
  • Starship Troopers - set apart by its dark humour, kind of a parody of campy 50s sci-fi setting, war on aliens
  • Robocop - same director as Starship Troopers, action movie about a robot cop, obviously, but has some subtle sci-fi underneath, and same kinda dark humour
  • John Carter - a fantasy adventure set on Mars (as imagined 100 years ago), but it went unnoticed at the box office I think largely because the green aliens looked like an Avatar knockoff (it's completely unrelated to Avatar, it just had very poor timing)
  • Pacific Rim - a godzilla vs. giant robots kinda thing, fun and cool visual setting
  • Dune - David Lynch's movie version, terrible storytelling and a butchery of the novels, but amazing visually and lots of bizarre ideas there, plus cool soundtrack by Toto
I dunno, this is the stuff I can think of offhand. There's probably a billion things I could add if I spent some more time. There's a whole genre of "bad" or "campy" sci-fi that I'm kind of into as well but I'm not sure that stuff is worth listing here. I should probably get back to work...

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Re: science fiction

Post by Hojo_Norem » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:31 am

I don't know if it'll be your thing or not, but I found the superhero webfiction Worm to have a nice amount of sci-fi elements to it.

It's long, very long. It took me the good part of two weeks to read it from start to finish but the journey was worth it. Reading it eventually pushed me into giving writing a go.
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Re: science fiction

Post by rainwarrior » Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:44 am

I forgot about comic books. Just to open the topic, here's two I liked:
  • Saga - two new parents who come from species that are at war, escaping with their baby (ongoing)
  • Akira - humans evolving telekinetic/psychic powers, political and personal struggles around it (the movie has similar ideas/characters but doesn't begin to match the scope of the comic)

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Re: science fiction

Post by Sogona » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:02 pm

rainwarrior wrote:I forgot about comic books. Just to open the topic, here's two I liked:
  • Akira - humans evolving telekinetic/psychic powers, political and personal struggles around it (the movie has similar ideas/characters but doesn't begin to match the scope of the comic)
I absolutely loved this movie, and really want to read the manga but it's ~2,000 pages.

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Re: science fiction

Post by Drew Sebastino » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:31 pm

Sogona wrote:read the manga but it's ~2,000 pages.
There isn't much reading involved in a picture book... :lol:

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Re: science fiction

Post by Sogona » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:49 pm

Espozo wrote:
Sogona wrote:read the manga but it's ~2,000 pages.
There isn't much reading involved in a picture book... :lol:
That is true, I guess.

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Re: science fiction

Post by Bavi_H » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:05 pm

Here's the last sci-fi novel I read:
  • Rainbows End - In a future with computers in your clothes and displays in your contact lenses, a grandfather recovers from Alzheimer's and, with the help of a strange online character, works with his granddaughter, his fellow high school students, and friends to put a stop to an evil plan.
    (The author posted the entire text of the novel on his website about a year after its original publication. That page is no longer live, but it's in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine: vrinimi.org/rainbowsend.html)

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Re: science fiction

Post by koitsu » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:26 am

Sci-fi books for me recently (you'll notice a commonality in authors):
I'll note here that all of Vinge's works, when published digitally, are DRM free -- he's very strict about that requirement through his publisher.

I saw the film adaptation of The Martian last week (read the book a year prior); 5/5 stars, IMO. I also saw Oblivion (4/5) and Ex Machina (4/5) fairly recently and enjoyed both of those too.

This sounds biased, but I'd trust anything rainwarrior recommends -- I find it uncanny how similar our tastes are.

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Re: science fiction

Post by mic_ » Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:43 am

I guess that since you mentioned Niven/Pournelle you've already read "The mote in god's eye". But if you haven't, that's a well-worth read. I didn't enjoy the follow-up ("The gripping hand") as much.

And if you're into space opera you could check out Jack Campbell's "The lost fleet" and "The lost stars" series.

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Re: science fiction

Post by Movax12 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:17 am

Philip K. Dick has a ton of excellent short stories if you just want something quick and easy.

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Re: science fiction

Post by mic_ » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:02 am

If I were to include animated tv-shows, then a few I remember liking are:

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Re: science fiction

Post by Hojo_Norem » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:28 am

How could I forget to mention The Legend of the Galactic Heroes?
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