Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

A catch-all topic for movies, books, television, and other SF & F conversation.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby DanielJDavis » Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:45 pm

storysinger wrote:Right now I'm reading The Mammoth Book of Fantasy/edited by Mike Ashley. I'm determined to learn to write a fantasy story.



The table of contents says that book contains "The Valley of the Worm," which is one of my favorite Robert E. Howard stories. I really liked the idea behind the James Allison tales, and I wish he wrote more of them.

It also contains "The Howling Tower," which is one of my favorite Fritz Leiber stories (I'm a little less than halfway through the first Fafhrd and Gray Mouser omnibus).

Curious to know what you think of them, storysinger.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby storysinger » Sat Oct 18, 2014 6:45 am

Hi DanielJDavis. Reading pre Conan Robert Howard lets me see where he learned to entertain the reader. It's easy to see why he was so successful. Never a dull moment in The Worm. I enjoyed reading it. I wonder exactly when he began to use the name Conan instead of James Allison.

The Howling Tower by Fritz Lieber is listed as one of the earliest of his stories about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
His ability to describe the world their adventure is taking place in is excellent. I have read about them before and enjoy their constant escapes from whatever danger they face.

Every story in this anthology has its own highlights. After reading it I know how much different it is writing fantasy as compared to science fiction.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby DanielJDavis » Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:28 pm

storysinger wrote:Reading pre Conan Robert Howard lets me see where he learned to entertain the reader. It's easy to see why he was so successful. Never a dull moment in The Worm. I enjoyed reading it. I wonder exactly when he began to use the name Conan instead of James Allison.



Re: the Conan name - As I understand it, Howard had been writing stories about a similar character named Kull of Valusia. The first of these, "The Shadow Kingdom," is regarded by some as the first true sword and sorcery tale. Most of the Kull stories didn't really sell during his lifetime, though. There simply wasn't much interest.

After another Kull story, "By This Axe I Rule," was rejected from Weird Tales, Howard re-worked it into the first Conan story, re-titling it "The Phoenix on the Sword." The character and the story were both very well received, so he kept churning them out.

If you haven't already, I recommend reading the Del Rey collections. They're loaded with extras, unpublished fragments, and essays about Howard's career.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:25 am

I placed this on a couple of communities on Google+ and just now thought it goes here too.


"Star Carrier: Deep Space" by Ian Douglas.

It's fourth in a series. Very well done, interesting future world and universe. It's what I call hard, space opera because--at least the Earth ships-are based on real science. More or less. I say it like that because the propulsion drives are not something we have today, but could have some day. And the way the ship's have to rotate--not to mention that computers work through thoughts. I can see that coming along now.

The various characters are human: they have good and bad characteristics and reactions to various situations. Some are goof balls and others bad-but not for evil reasons--as well as good guys and those who try extra hard. The situations fits with the world and universe and reactions fit with the personalities of the characters. Adventure abounds. Douglas likes to invent aliens in this series, the more alien the better it seems. Which isn't bad except there are a whole lot of them. 

Overall a good series.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby willsonjohn90 » Tue May 19, 2015 3:23 am

jeeohn wrote:Checked out a book called Matter from the library the other day. It's a massive 500 page sci-fi novel by the British author Iain M. Banks; apparently it's part of a larger group of novels that takes place in the same universe. Matter literally improved my diction just by reading it--I must have about 2 or 3 pages of words I later looked up and incorporated into my own writing.

What I like most is the fact that, at the end, you're not sure if anything really happened. There's a hint that the entire story (and conflict for that matter ((har har, matter)))--in the context of the universe of course--doesn't actually happen; that it was an elaborate theatrical performance produced by the higher, more powerful alien civilizations for their own amusement. It's really something.

I also really enjoyed Beat the Reaper, though the author's name escapes me. Not exactly hard Sci-fi, more like fake medical premises forming the basis for extraordinary events (for instance, the main character rips out his own shin bone to kill a few goons).

What are some books you enjoy?

I enjoyed reading
1. Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) by Orson Scott Card
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
4. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby storysinger » Tue May 19, 2015 4:19 am

I'm reading a book by James Patterson in an attempt to see how he is so successful.
My first novel has become very YA and I have a lot to learn about what sells.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby liz » Sun May 31, 2015 11:28 am

willsonjohn90 wrote:
I enjoyed reading
1. Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) by Orson Scott Card
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
4. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury


I just picked up Slaughterhouse Five and I'm itching to get started with it!

Also, just finished May Contain Traces of Magic by Tom Holt. His writing style was fantastic though I felt the plot had a couple of stumbles. Still, pretty enjoyable stuff.

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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun May 31, 2015 2:59 pm

liz wrote:Also, just finished May Contain Traces of Magic by Tom Holt. His writing style was fantastic though I felt the plot had a couple of stumbles. Still, pretty enjoyable stuff.



That title is intriguing I need to check it out.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun May 31, 2015 3:03 pm

willsonjohn90 wrote: I enjoyed reading
1. Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) by Orson Scott Card
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
4. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury



With the exception of the first one those are classics SF even though they never caught my attention or desire. They were those type of books you had to read in High School or Collage. In fact I have forgotten what the middle two are about.

They made a mini series from "The Martian Chronicles" which I watched various scenes of. I don't recall anyone saying how well the kept to the book.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun May 31, 2015 3:17 pm

I am reading "Charming" by Elliot James.

It's on my Nook and I had to put it away because I lost the charger for it and it was down below 25% power. But Good News my wife found the charger. Turns out the charger had slipped to the bottom of some stuff we had on the floor in the computer room.

Anyway: The book is Urban Fanatasy. Well, sort of, kinda of, close enough. Actually it's more paranormal but not too far from UF.


Charming as in Prince Charming, as in one of his decedents in today's world. Not quite what I expected from the blurb and not the best story or writing, but at the same time I wanted to finish it and most probably I will get the next one. I would recommend it to others.

Charming is trained to fight vampires, werewolves and such and has some special abilities even though not because of his family. Something happened to his mother just before he was born. Exciting with good action scenes and something bad he has to stop. 

B&N has been reminding me-like four to six times-that the second Charming book is out so I checked on it-
"Daring". While I was at it I decided to check out Elliott James. Turns out a third book is in preorder mode and that he has out at least six short stories too. At least two are about Charming. One may deal with an event that is referenced a lot in "Charming".
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby soniawrite » Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:19 pm

I'm seriously enjoying the Raksura series by Martha Wells.

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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:31 pm

I have forgotten to post anything here


So I have just finished two books:

"The Ripper Affair" By Lilith Saintcrow

It's the third in a sort of steampunk series. Gear punk maybe? Anyway there's magic and mayhap in a very dark world. This one has, as you may guess by the title, a killer on the lose. This one though does even worse things to the bodies than the real Ripper did. The death's are for magical reasons and it's Bannon and Clare's job to stop the guy. Gannon is female wizard called Primes here. Clare is a Sherlock Holmes type of natural genus with a touch of Vulcan. Obviously Saintcrow doesn't use the term Vulcan but Clare is logical and supposedly without emotion because emotions disturb his mind's ability to see things: patterns and clues such as Holmes does.

It's well written even though a couple of scenes were a little confusing. Of course one might have been that way on purpose.

If you like dark tales with a murder mystery set in a strange Earth and a MC with issues go for this one. I said MC, Saintcrow goes back and forth between the two MC's, both have issues of a different type. Good descriptions over all and everything fits well together.


The second book is "Raising Thunder" in David Weber's Honor Harrington series. It's well done. If you like Space Opera Weber does an excellent job even though he gets wordy at times. And he switches back and forth to various POV characters. Honor is the main one but he gives us insight to the various other characters-friends and enemies of Honor. Descriptions are great, everything fits together well and with all those characters and locations that ain't easy.

If you haven't read any Harrington books go all the way back to "On Basilisk Station". That one isn't half as complicated but yet still very good.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby storysinger » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:26 am

I've been reading the first WotF anthology. They had different rules back then.
There are stories by authors before they became famous, or well known.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:58 pm

I am reading a book of Sherlock Holmes stories. Not just any stories mind you. This one was edited by John Joseph Adams. The first story is by Stephan King. Other spec writers make up the rest of the writers.

I bought it a while back and forgot I had it decided it would be a good read now.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby storysinger » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:41 am

Just finished David Farland's Runelords V1. It's easy to see why he's a best-selling writer.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby Brydar » Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:39 am

I truly enjoyed Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series. Also, his Death world trilogy. For fantasy I would give a thumbs up to Michael Moorcock and his evil hero Elric and the series revolving around the albino emperor. There are so many I truly enjoy reading and so many whom I wish to emulate that I find it difficult to select so few. These are just the two authors and series who recently stand out to me.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:02 pm

There have been so many since I last posted here.

I discovered Marshall Ryan Maresca and Brannon Sanderson

And A Temptation of Dragons by Chrys Cynri a Geeky book
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby inky_illuminarium » Thu May 18, 2017 9:26 am

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but if you're looking for a great deal on sci-fi/fantasy e-books (incl. a few WotF winners and judges!) the Super Nebula Humble Bundle might be worth checking out: https://www.humblebundle.com/books/super-nebula-book-bundle.

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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sun May 21, 2017 7:23 pm

Reading and enjoying Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby tmaulhardt » Thu May 25, 2017 10:44 am

I just finished Dave Butler's debut Witchy Eye. Highly entertaining and his use of language is amazing.
Terry Madden: http://www.threewellsofthesea.com/
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby jficke13 » Thu May 25, 2017 1:09 pm

I'm doing Scott Lynch's books right now. Starts with "The Lies of Locke Lamora," and I'm in book 2, "Red Seas Under Red Skies."

They're awesome books and also interesting to read as a student of writing for all the "rules" he breaks.

He uses passive voice. He uses flashbacks (often times alternates main timeline chapter with flashback chapters). But what's so cool is how well he ties it all together. Highly recommended so far.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby Clint Petrosky » Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:44 am

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein blew me away!
Now I'm sure that online essay edit is always a good idea. Especially when I've got no time and expertise. I am so hopeless. Can anyone help me with essay writing?

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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:19 pm

Finished Uprooted now reading Firebird by Jack McDevitt

and Last Wish the first Witcher novel
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby KathiLS » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:34 am

I'm currently enjoying Rob Hayes's Where Loyalties Lie. Awesome tale if you like pirates and a bit of magic and aren't squeamish.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby Jeremyteg » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:11 am

I just finished "Senlin Ascends," by Josiah Bancroft. A really cool, very weird steam-punk story involving the Tower of Babel. Probably the best self-published book I've read. I definitely recommend it!

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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby LDWriter2 » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:00 pm

Jeremyteg wrote:I just finished "Senlin Ascends," by Josiah Bancroft. A really cool, very weird steam-punk story involving the Tower of Babel. Probably the best self-published book I've read. I definitely recommend it!



I need to look for it, but I may have seen it someplace.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby Jeremyteg » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:51 pm

LDWriter2 wrote:
Jeremyteg wrote:I just finished "Senlin Ascends," by Josiah Bancroft. A really cool, very weird steam-punk story involving the Tower of Babel. Probably the best self-published book I've read. I definitely recommend it!



I need to look for it, but I may have seen it someplace.


It's quite good. It took me a little while to get into, but it's a really interesting world and the protagonist is well realized and goes through some fantastic development and changes. The author just signed a contract with Orbit, so the self-published versions may have already come off the shelves to make way for Orbit's version.

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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:19 am

I've been on a bit of a rampage lately...

The Queen of the Tearling series by Erika Johansen
The Queen of the Tearling & The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen were both quite enjoyable despite a few logic issues at the beginning of The Queen of the Tearling. I haven't finished the trilogy (waiting for the last book to arrive), but I've read some disappointing reviews of it. Regardless, I'd highly suggest it; Johansen's character development around Kelsea, specifically, is really engaging. Everyone else... meh.

Avalon series by Mindee Arnett
Avalon & Polaris are two books in Mindee Arnett's Avalon series. I've only just started Polaris, but Avalon was an exciting book from beginning to end. The mystery aspect of it seemed a little lacking (I guessed one of two major plot points really early), but the overall payoff was fantastic. Additionally, the secret sauce here is in the characterization. You come out of the story knowing the characters in a way that just doesn't happen a lot in Speculative Fiction. Also hooks. Arnett hooks like an expert angler. I devoured Avalon in one sitting... my cheek still hurts.
EDIT: Just read the Goodreads reviews and people are really annoyed by these books. When I go into a book, I try to do it as blind as possible, so I was unaware of the negative reception. I still stand by my statement on characterization, but yeesh... tough crowd. (Also, these books are on Scribd, so...)

And I enjoy the hell out of pretty much anything C.S. Friedman writes.
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Re: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books You Enjoy?

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:39 pm

Just finished the fourth book in Chuck Wendig's "Miriam Black" series. I started reading them earlier this month. 'Blackbirds', 'Mockingbird', 'Cormorant', and 'Thunderbird'. They grabbed me more than anything I've read in years, and I can tell you exactly why: Mr. Wendig is very good at giving his characters terrible, horrible problems and complicating their attempts to fix said problems.

The books aren't for everyone (they're certainly not for children). Much like Wendig's blog, the novels are full of cursing and morbid humor and darkness and horror. I find them incredibly entertaining, though.
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