Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

Hard sci-fi recommendations?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I see most of the sci fi recommendations here are good, but they aren't hard sci-fi. I mean I love Ray Bradburry, but with the possible exception of "There Will Come Soft Rains" NOTHING he's ever written is "hard" sci fi. Same for C.S. Lewis... I LOVE his stuff, and recomend it strongly, but I don't think it is what you are asking for.

    (Not a big fan of Clarke, personally. I liked his short stories, but not Childhoods End.)

    That being said... I have to go with Irish 1 on Larry Niven - 'The Mote In God's Eye, 'Ringworld', 'The Ringworld Engineers', The Ringworld Throne', and 'Ringworld's Children'

    Personally I LOVED Ringworld...liked Ringworld engineers...never bothered to read Ringworld Throne or Ringworld's Children. IMHO the Ringworld was (and is) a stunningly original masterpiece of Hard Sci-Fi..which is why it was so popular. The rest of the series are more like...what Monty Python had in mind when they titled "The Contractural Obilgation Album". I'm sure they paid a few bills for folks.

    That being said, I'd recomend Niven's Gil "the Arm" Hamilton stories. They are without a doubt amongst the best hard sci fi written. Gill is a 22nd Century Cop, so these are hard sci fi murder mysteries...probably the hardest thing you can write and still be in fiction...(which is why Niven only did 4...they are a beast to plot and get all the details right from what I heard).

    'The Mote In God's Eye" by Niven and Jerry Pournelle, I agree with Irish on...Heinlien said it was the best Sci Fi Novel ever written so that pretty much sums it up right there. Sadly the sequil "The Gripping Hand" was, I heard, pretty much a matter of "can we squeeze a couple more $$$ out of this..." more than anything else. I tried to read it but only got a few pages in.

    LUCIFER'S HAMMER, again by Niven and Pournelle is a bit dated...(it is VERY MUCH set in the 1970s) but it too is excellent. It was the first "The Earth gets hit with a giant space rock" book...ever. WAY before Armageddon or Deep Impact or even METEOR there was Lucifer's Hammer...and the surfer...everyone remembers the surfer. It never got made into a movie because it was WAY too Conservative in it's message and its carachters....(Senator Jellison is based on Ronald Reagan for example) but it was the first and most original and memorable of the whole "Comet, Meteor, etc. coming to hit Earth" stories.

    Pournelle also did a stunningly excellent book called Janissaries on his own. It is technically "hard" sci fi, but it is more military sci fi and it helps if you like military history.

    Of course there are the original Heinlien Juveniles...they are a bit dated having been written in the 50's, but he worked hard to get the science right. Time for the Stars is still my's the best introduction to relativity you can get without knowing how to do higher math.

    James P. Hogan's INHERIT THE STARS is a classic, and most stuff by David Drake is pretty good...though it is more military sci-fi than hard sci fi.

    Personally I haven't found a lot of good hard sci-fi recently... Robert L Forward wrote Rocheworld which was good, but I didn't LOVE it. Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes wrote the long, but quite thought-provoking science fiction story "Encounter with Tiber", which is on my list of things to read but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

  • 1 decade ago

    Also add to the first two answers these classics:

    Kim Stanley Robinson ("Red Mars", "Blue Mars", and "Green Mars")

    Arthur C Clarke ( "Childhoods End", "Fountains of Paradise", "2001 Space Odyssey")

    James Blish ("Cities in Flight")

    James Herbert ("Dune")

    Greg Bear ("Eon", "Eternity", "Legacy", "The Forge of God", "Anvil and Stars", "Queen of Angels")

    Some Stories by Philip K Dick

    Haruki Murakami deserves to be in this group somehow with "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle" and "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World"

    C.S. Lewis wrote a sci fi trio "Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra" and "That Hideous Strength" which are wonderful.

    Source(s): Addition: Ringworld was great but I could not get through even the first sequel because it was too boring.
  • 1 decade ago

    The best of the best:

    Robert Heinlein--Stranger in a Strange Land

    --Starship Troopers

    Ray Bradbury--The Martian Chronicles

    Isaac Asimov--The Foundation Series

    Frank Herbert--Dune

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'd add Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula LeGuin, Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison to the above lists - the "Old Masters".

    As for more recent authors, that's tough as many seem to take a fantasy spin. Maybe William Gibson, author of Neuromancer.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Orsen Scott Card, the king of hard core sci-fi, no joke

  • irish1
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Larry Niven - 'The Mote In God's Eye, 'Ringworld', 'The Ringworld Engineers', The Ringworld Throne', and 'Ringworld's Children'

    Nancy Kress - 'Beggars In Spain', 'Beggars and Choosers' and 'Beggars Ride'

    Arthur C. Clarke - the 'Space Odyssey' series

  • 1 decade ago

    The kings of cyberpunk - Neal Stephenson and William Gibson. Also Ursula Le Guin is fantastic. Pax-C

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