The Book Nook:
Science Fiction Recommendations:
These books are listed in no particular order, although now most-recently
reviewed books will be placed at the top.
Look at the Fantasy Recommendations or the Mainstream and etc. Recommendations.
- B.A. Chepaitis: The Fear Principle. A very strong showing from
this new author. In a near future, after a majority of humanity has been killed off, most violent
crime is seen as a response of the perpetrator to their own fears, and prisoners are thus treated in such
a way that they can confront their personal fears so that they can move beyond these and be cured. The
main character, Jaguar Addams, works in such an establishment, using her empathic capabilities
to effect such changes. In this novel, she finds that she will need to confront her own inner
memories and demons as well. I look forward to future novels by Chepaitis.
- Joan D. Vinge: Psion. Cat is a complex character, a blocked
psion street kid who finds himself in the midst of multiple and far-reaching plots. While not all
the storyline is 100% believable, the characters and their developments are.
- L.E. Modesitt, Jr.: Of Tangible Ghosts. A well-written
and provocative alternate-history novel which also happens to be a murder
mystery and a political thriller as well. The alternate history is fully
formed and believable, set in a country called Columbia (the United States)
where the original Dutch settlers have had a lot more influence than in our
own world. The existence of ghosts which linger especially after unexpected
deaths has influenced the course of world history. Highly recommended.
- Maureen McHugh:
China Mountain Zhang. Near-future
SF set not in the typical white Western world, but involving a Chinese
protagonist. Interesting character study and believable societal projections.
- George R.R. Martin: The Armageddon Rag. Reporter
finds the Apocalypse coming in the form of a hard rock band -- or is it??
- Robert A. Heinlein: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. In
my opinion, his best novel. Set on a moon whose inhabitants seek independence
from an Earth whose ways are not their own. I named my first computer "Mycroft"
in honor of the protagonist computer here.
- Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash. Cyberpunk with a sense
of humor, likeable protagonists, and non-stop inventiveness. (Very rare for the
- Sheri S. Tepper: Grass. Set in the far future, this book
depicts a realistic alien world, plus humans we can care about, and their
interactions. In this novel, a plague must be stopped.
- Vernor Vinge: A Fire Upon the Deep. Again, a well done
depiction of aliens, and their interactions with the human survivors of a
crashlanded spaceship who race against time.
- Walter Jon Williams: Aristoi. Set in the far far future,
among decadent lords and ladies of technology, one of this upper class discovers
a plot that will destroy humanity.
- William Gibson and Bruce Sterling: The Difference Engine.
Alternate history set in Victorian England -- speculating as to what if Babbage
had been able to start up the computer revolution at that time. A cross-genre
book, this is also a thriller.
- Victor Koman: The Jehovah Contract. A hardbitten private
eye gets a contract to kill God in a very dysfunctional near-future earth.
- Samuel R. Delaney: Babel 17. In a far future, this book
explores the concept of how language may affect perception, and how perception
may affect language. In order to break an enemy code, a linguist must first
understand the meaning behind their language.
- eluki bes shahar: Hellflower Trilogy. Non-stop action in
a richly different distant future. The various human cultures which have
evolved, and the politics which seem to chase the viewpoint protagonist, Butterfly
St. Cyr, from system to system make for fascinating reading.
- Frederick Pohl: The Space Merchants. In the near future,
advertizing agencies will run the world. In part a spoof and satire.
- Octavia Butler: The Parable of the Sower. In a severely
dysfunctional and splintered future "America", where people hide behind walls for
an elusive safety, and survival is measured by tooth and claw, a young girl makes
her way into a new ethos, bringing together a band of survivors who create/rediscover/sow
a new/old ethos of caring, despite their very real differences.
- John Sladek: Roderick, Roderick at Random. In these humorous and
satirical looks at a future world gone awry, Roderick is a young, artificial intelligence
robot, looking at the society around him with naive eyes.
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Last Updated: August, 1998