When friends find out how much Science Fiction I read, they often ask for recommendations.  HereÕs a short list of some recent, but ongoing and generally reliable favorites.  The list doesnÕt even touch more golden age writers, like Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Kurt Vonnegut, Larry Niven, Frederick Pohl, etc.  I imagine everyone has heard all those names.  Mostly because I havenÕt had time to update the list, it also leaves out some even more recent faves like Charles Stross, writers that I love but which IÕm not sure everyone would, like Greg Egan, and non-SF but brilliant writers like Christopher Brookmyre.  This list is made up exclusively of moderately contemporary SF writers that I canÕt imagine anyone failing to appreciate.

 

I'd hate to even try to pick an order of preference, but you can't go wrong with any of the first eight authors.  Lethem and Rucker are the (wonderfully) weirdest.  Lethem and Simmons the most literary.  Banks possibly the best writer.  Card the most philosophical.  Hamilton might be the easiest and most fun to read while being the grandest space opera (who else can juggle a dozen worlds and 50 or more characters, and have each of them be unique and believable?).  Weber is kind of a guilty pleasure.  All outstanding.

 

Where the books are part of a series, I was careful to put them in the correct order.

 

Enjoy!

 

- larryy

 

P.S. This list isnÕt particularly up to date.  There have been more Honor Harrington novels.  ThereÕs another Card/Shadow (Bean) novel or two.  Peter F. Hamilton has started another series (which is great! he might be moving ahead of Banksie as current favorite author).  Dan Simmons has some new onesÉ  Maybe someday IÕll get time to update this.

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Dan Simmons

  his Hyperion/Endymion series, especially the first book...

    Hyperion

    The Fall of Hyperion

    Endymion

    The Rise of Endymion

 

Orson Scott Card

  the Ender Wiggins series

    Ender's Game

    Speaker for the Dead

    Xenocide

    Children of the Mind

    Ender's Shadow

   

Peter F. Hamilton

  the "Night's Dawn" series

    The Reality Dysfunction: Emergence

    The Reality Dysfunction: Expansion

    The Neutronium Alchemist: Consolidation

    The Neutronium Alchemist: Conflict

    The Naked God: Flight

    The Naked God: Faith

    plus the prequel, A Second Chance at Eden

    (you may still find The Naked God as a single hardback volume,

    but in paperback I think it's always two volumes)

 

Iain M. Banks

  almost everything in his "Culture" universe...

    Player of Games

    Excession

    Inversions

    Use of Weapons

    Look to Windward

  The Wasp Factory

  Feersum Endjinn

  The Algebraist

  (and pretty much everything else; the two exceptions are the first Culture book,

  Consider Phlebas and the most recent, Matter; the former felt contrived, the

  latter felt phoned-in and was uncharacteristically boring)

 

Gregory Benford

  the "Galactic Center" series, especially the first two or three

    In the Ocean of Night

    Across the Sea of Suns

    Great Sky River

    Tides of Light

    Furious Gulf

    Sailing Bright Eternity

  (IÕm not so enamored of BenfordÕs later works, since he went all serious science on us)

 

Verner Vinge

  A Fire upon the Deep (Zones of Thought 1)

  A Deepness in the Sky (Zones of Thought 2)

 

Robert Reed

  Marrow (you have to ignore the enormous number of typos, for a great story)

  Sister Alice

 

Jonathon Lethem

  Gun, with Occasional Music

  Amnesia Moon

  As She Climbed Across the Table

  Girl in Landscape

  The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye

  Motherless Brooklyn

  (pretty much anything he writes, with my favorites being Amnesia Moon,

  As She Climbed Across the Table, and Motherless Brooklyn; only exception

  is his most recent, Fortress of Solitude, which neither Levi or I could finish)

 

Joe Haldeman

  Forever War

  Forever Peace (title approximate; sequel to Forever War)

 

Greg Bear

  Blood Music

  Forge of God

  Anvil of Stars (sequel to Forge of God)

  (Sadly Bear has become a lot more staid and less visionary in his more recent writings)

 

Rudy Rucker

  Software/Bopper series:

    Software

    Wetware

    Realware

    Freeware

  Frek and the Elixir

  (and most everything else, except The Hacker and the Ants)

 

David Weber

  all of the Honor Harrington military-in-space novels,

  of which there are many; these are really a guilty pleasure,

  but they are fun and engaging; the extra, unnumbered books

  are related and the stories by David Weber are uniformly good, but

  there are some other authors whose stories aren't as good; in

  Shadow of Saganami Honor Harrington is not a central character

     1. On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington Series, Book 1)

     2. The Honor of the Queen (Honor Harrington Series, Book 2)

     3. The Short Victorious War (Honor Harrington Series, Book 3)

     4. Field of Dishonor (Honor Harrington Series, Book 4)

     5. Flag in Exile (Honor Harrington Series, Book 5)

     6. Honor Among Enemies (Honor Harrington Series, Book 6)

     7. In Enemy Hands (Honor Harrington Series, Book 7)

        More Than Honor (Honor short stories; multiple authors)

     8. Echoes of Honor (Honor Harrington Series, Book 8)

        Worlds Of Honor (Honor short stories; multiple authors)

     9. Ashes of Victory (Honor Harrington Series, Book 9)

        Changer of Worlds: Worlds of Honor 3 (multiple authors)

    10. War of Honor (Honor Harrington Series, Book 10)

        The Service of the Sword: Worlds of Honor 4 (multiple authors)

    11. Crown Of Slaves (with Eric Flint, Honor Harrington Series, Book 11)

        The Shadow of Saganami (start of new series featuring Honor's students)