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Ask Slashdot: Good, Forgotten Fantasy & Science Fiction Novels?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-ender's-game-does-not-count dept.

Books 1244

jjp9999 writes "I've been looking for some good reading material, and have been delving into the realms of some great, but nearly forgotten authors — finding the likes of Lord Dunsany (The King of Elfland's Daughter) and E.R. Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros). I wanted to ask the community here: do you know of any other great fantasy or science fiction books that time has forgotten?"

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Farmer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269157)

Can I suggest 'Night of Light' by Phillip J. Farmer. Bit religious, but brilliant.

gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (4, Insightful)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269161)

c j cherryh -Downbelow Series, Chanur's Pride, etc

I liked the lensman series back in the day, but in retrospect they seem a little fascist

I'm just sayin'

Re:gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (5, Informative)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269281)

I'll second Gene Wolfe and expand the selection to include all three series: Book of the New Sun, Book of the Long Sun, and Book of the Short Sun. His writing is of a strange and rare quality, and while I don't always like it (some of his other novels and short stories leave me wondering what the hell happened and why I should care) it is always interesting. The Book of the New Sun in particular was reportedly highly acclaimed when it came out, but that faded quickly and in my opinion unjustly. I only discovered it through a friend's recommendation eight or nine years ago and it has swiftly risen to the top of my list. It is one of those rare books that really rewards conscious and repeated readings, as Wolfe leaves things unspoken for careful readers to puzzle out on their own. Even on a purely surface level it's an enjoyable read.

Re:gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (1)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269455)

yeah -the soldier of Arete, Llatro in the Mist series made my head hurt because the guy literally knew nothing of his world each time he awoke, and I couldn't be bothered to remember which people were supposed to be the athenians, spartans, etc

However, uncertainty of identity, unreliable narrators and transformation really helped make the story in 'the third head of cerebus' and was also central to the book of the Short Sun.

Over the past 20 years I have read the Book of the New Sun complete 3 times -I can't say that for ANY other non-technical book. It moves me every time with the grand scope and the universal humanity.

I'm just sayin'

Re:gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (4, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269359)

I liked the lensman series back in the day, but in retrospect they seem a little fascist

They're not really fascist, but Smith was big on eugenics back before the Nazis gave eugenics a bad name. It shows....

Re:gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269471)

A surprising number of people were big on eugenics back then.

Re:gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (2)

kj_kabaje (1241696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269507)

pardon my ignorance, but did someone give eugenics a good name?

Re:gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269551)

in the 20s and 30s eugenics was an the 'in science' in most of europe

Re:gene wolfe -urth of the new sun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269557)

The Lensman series aged horribly. Cowboys In Space, really, with values that would be considered traditional in the 1950's.

Smith & Farmer (4, Informative)

dark grep (766587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269177)

EE 'Doc' Smith, the Classic Lensman Series.

I don't know if it fits the criteria of 'forgotten' but Philip Jose Farmer - River World, World of Tiers, and many other great novels - would have to be the amount the best SF of all time.

Re:Smith & Farmer (2, Informative)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269233)

Some of EE Doc Smith is at [] . Fun stuff.

Re:Smith & Farmer (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269463)

I read the Lensman series when I was a teenager (a good 40+ years ago) and still have dogeared copies of the books. One thing I've always wondered was whether that edition was somehow abridged or rewritten. My impression was that the original stuff came out in a series of magazines? There are just some odd gaps and jumps in the books. If I'm right I'd love to read the original stories.

Re:Smith & Farmer (2)

skyhawker (234308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269475)

Amen to PJF. I love both those series and several more by him. The River World series is clearly one of the all time best SF series.

Two of my favorites (3, Informative)

erik.erikson (1821660) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269187)

Hiero's Journey by Sterling Lanier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269189)

Fantasy or SF, take your pick...

Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series (1)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269199)

Enjoyed reading these.. the early editions were standard sci-fi, though he wrote a few later on that were rather dark. I believe that the Berserkers were the inspiration behind the Borg.

_That Hideous Strength_, CS Lewis (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269211)

That Hideous Strength. It's obscure - obscure for a reason; it combines dystopian sci-fi with Christian allegory and British academic politics, so there's not a large natural audience. But it's culturally significant as one of George Orwell's inspirations for 1984 [] , and Orwell himself thought reasonably well of it ("by the standards of books today", at least). It's also an interesting little moment before the atomic bomb but still within the realm of dystopian WWII-inspired science fiction.

Out of the Silent Planet and also Perelandra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269291)

Others in the series

SF Masterworks list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269215)

Have a look at the 'SF Masterworks' list on Wikipedia. Not really forgotten, but still some titles are 40+ years old.

HM Hoover (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269227)

They're YA but I really enjoyed one of H.M. Hoover's Morrow books, Children of Morrow. It's grim, but man I loved it forever.

Jack L Chalker (2)

dark grep (766587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269229)

Well World series

and many others []

Re:Jack L Chalker (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269309)

All of Jack's stuff is excellent, and highly recommended!


Re:Jack L Chalker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269585)

Ditto. This was my first thought.

Amazon is about to have a spike in ebook purchases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269231)


Anything by Gore. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269235)

Oh, you said good.

Conan (1)

bbartlog (1853116) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269239)

Robert E Howard and all the original Conan books are pretty good (well, if you like the old stuff, which it seems you do!). Maybe you were looking for something more obscure, though.

Robert Sheckley (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269241)

The master of the surreal. My favorite was in his book mindswap where about 3/4 of the way through, the main characters staged a revolt against the author and demanded a new plot line. Favorite line (paraphrased) "We stand an equal chance of finding your girlfriend. I know everything about her but nothing of the Theory of Searches, while on the other hand I know everything about the theory of searches but nothing about her."

Barry Hughart (4, Insightful)

mr.dreadful (758768) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269243)

He only published a few books, but "Bridge of Birds" (and its follow ups) is a wonderful mixture of Chinese folklore, Indiana Jones, and Sherlock Holmes.

Mr. Moon (Jove, 1979.) by Philip Knobel (1)

crath (80215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269245)

Mr. Moon (Jove, 1979.) by Philip Knobel -- After a devastating earthquake hits the west coast, an unprepossessing man announces that he is an emissary from the stars, and he might be telling the truth.

Michael Moorcock (4, Informative)

Kargan (250092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269247)

Especially the stories of Elric of Melnibone / Stormbringer series -- very good fantasy series.

Re:Michael Moorcock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269385)

Especially the stories of Elric of Melnibone / Stormbringer series -- very good fantasy series.

Not to quibble, but I'd hardly call him "forgotten" - most of his stuff's been (re)published at least once in the last 20 years. Great books, though.

Re:Michael Moorcock (2)

dark grep (766587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269487)

The Corum series was my favorite. Corum and Count Brass - that's two. Corum, Count Brass, and Dancers at the End of time. Ok, that's three. Corum, Count Brass, Dancers at the End of time, and Elric of course. Right, four; Corum, Count Brass, Dancers at the End of time, and Elric, oh and the Eternal Champion. So, amongst my favorites are, such series as.....

ok, you get the picture.

My list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269257)

Barry Hughart's "Number Ten Ox" series
Nick Pollota's "Illegal Alien" and Bureau 13 series
Bruce Bethke's "Headcrash" (sure to appeal to the BOFH crowd)
Mark E. Rogers' Samurai Cat series

Ah, I've said too much already...

Many Many options (4, Informative)

scosco62 (864264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269259)

Black Easter by James Blish
A Canticle for Liebowitz by Miller
Non Robot/Foundation Asimov
Dueling Machine Ben Bova
Any of the earlier Pern books
Friday by Heinlein - still one of my favorites
Morgaine books by Cherryh
John Campbell

The collections put together in the 60's and 50's are outstanding - and you can usually pick them up for a quarter at a book store.

Re:Many Many options (2)

tillerman35 (763054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269473)

Caveat on the Pern books: be careful when selecting them. You are right to recommend the earlier ones. Some of the later ones are NOT written by Ms. MacCaffery and/or are products of one-sided collaborations (i.e. prop gramma up in her hospice bed and if she complains about the jello try to turn it into a Pern novel). Her grandson Todd went on to butcher the series with authorization from the estate and (sadly) her permission.

This is completely NOT a forgotten author but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269267)

I'm really liking the Mistborn series right now by Sanderson.

Tad Williams is great if you like authentic style medieval fantasy with a Norse bent. Dragonbone Chair is really well-written.

Neither of these authors is unknown.

There's an old book I really liked as a teenager, Master of the Five Magics, by Lyndon Hardy. I haven't re-read it but I remember thinking it was a very unique take on magic.

Other than that I've pretty much read the old school fantasy, Eddings, Weiss, Feist, and of course Gaiman (Neverwhere and Stardust are really fun early novels if you haven't yet read them.)

Get my lawyer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269269)

Nothing by L. Ron. Hubbard. That's not a book title by the way

The 5th Sacred Thing by Starhawk (2)

aaandre (526056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269271)

"An epic tale of freedom and slavery, love and war, and the potential futures of humankind tells of a twenty-first century California clan caught between two clashing worlds, one based on tolerance, the other on repression."

The description does not do it justice... this is a post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest, addressing the dividing forces of our society and looking at the possibilities presented by our political structures, values, technologies and attitude towards nature and magic.

It is awesome, intense, sexy and rewarding.

H. Beam Piper - Little Fuzzy (4, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269277)

And most of his work is available via Gutenberg.

Re:H. Beam Piper - Little Fuzzy (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269517)

And Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen. The authorized sequels, done by other authors, aren't quite as good, but Great-King's War is still worth tracking down.

Hellfire. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269283)

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever.

Not quite forgotten, but I keep running into people who haven't heard of the series. Great read, really; it's a strangely wonderful blend of Tolkienesque high fantasy and dark smarminess.

Re:Hellfire. (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269495)

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever.

Not quite forgotten, but I keep running into people who haven't heard of the series. Great read, really; it's a strangely wonderful blend of Tolkienesque high fantasy and dark smarminess.

I don't know why this got modded to oblivion but Thomas Covenant was fantastic. It can be pretty depressing but as I recall it just has some amazing twists and turns, well worth reading.

How about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269285)

Oh wait, I forgot what I didn't know.

Platypus of Doom!! forgotten classic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269287)

Platypus of Doom and other stories by Arthur Byron Cover. Out of print, but one of my faves from the mid 70's

Barry Hughart (2)

Diomedes01 (173241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269305)

Bridge of Birds.

Fantasy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269323)

Fancies and Goodnights by John Collier, The Cyberiad by Lem, Citizen in Space by Robert Sheckley

how about this? (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269333) []

I used to read a lot of those when I was a kid. The nearest "modern" character would be Indiana Jones I guess.

Clifford D. Simak (2)

anonymous_wombat (532191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269339)

Way Station
Time and Again
Time is the Simplest Thing

Leo (3)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269347)

Leo Frankowski

Cross Time Engineer series is good.

Great sci-fi book!! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269367)

Love aldus huxley--- Brave new world.... funny how much of his visions have come to pass!!

tiger! tiger! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269375)

one of the bests i had ever read

Some classics (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269377)

Some classics:

  • "Venus Equilateral" - the ultimate gadget geek novel. The protagonist is an electrical engineer who runs a space station. Everything runs on vacuum tubes, and there's a lot of detail about them.
  • "Edison's Conquest of Mars" - a terrible novel from the late 19th century. Introduced spaceships and disintegrators.
  • "Ralph 124C 41+" - Hugo Gernsback''s first novel. 1911.
  • Schmitz's Federation of the Hub series - back in print via Baen Books. The Nile Etland and Trigger Argee stories are the best reads.
  • Heinlein's short stories - "The Roads Must Roll", "Blowups Happen", "The Man who Sold the Moon", "We Also Walk Dogs".

Re:Some classics (2, Interesting)

buss_error (142273) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269527)

I would definitely suggest Venus Equilateral. See this link to be sure to get the right one: []

There are several books, some without all the stories.

I would add [] Way Station by Clifford D. Simak.

Not as old, but still a good read (and FREE!)

The Warrior's Apprentice []
Changer of Worlds []

A few I cherish (4, Informative)

tillerman35 (763054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269381)

Mervyn Peake - Gormenghast (and sequels). HARD to get into, but rewarding if you understand that they are very experimental.

F.M.Busby - The Demu Trilogy. Nothing ground-breaking, but it is well written escapist fiction.

James Blish - Cities in Flight. Ditto the previous.

John Crowley - Little, Big. Please please please DO read this. It is the single best book in the English language. Each chapter is like a gem. Another of his books "Engine Summer" is also jaw-droppingly lovely and has a "reveal" at the end that makes M.Night Shamylam seem like a moron. You WILL weep unashamedly. His later stuff is hard to digest, but worth the read if you stick with it.

Lin Carter - The Martian books (The Valley Where Time Stood Still, The City Outside the World, Down to a Sunless Sea, and The Man Who Loved Mars). Thinking man's pulp fiction.

James H. Schmitz - The Witches of Karres. So fun to read. It's a novelization of a series of short stories (or it reads that way, anyway) concerning a trio of underage witches and the space captain they "adopt" and whose life they make miserable but in a good way.

Apologies for spelling/grammar/mispronunciation/

fantasy (4, Interesting)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269383)

Bulfinch's Mythology contains the roots of much of the modern 'fantasy' universes. But Bulfinch's is itself a collection of more ancient texts.

In other words, why go back 50 years, when you could go back 1500?

The Night Land (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269393)

William Hope Hodgson's "The Night Land" deserves a read. Inspiration for Lovecraft, among others.

Just about anything by Larry Niven. (3, Insightful)

drfreak (303147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269409)

Most notably A Land out of Time and the epic Ringworld.

Re:Just about anything by Larry Niven. (1)

drfreak (303147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269453)

Sorry, the book is called A World out of Time. I should have looked it up before posting!

More suggestions (1)

Diomedes01 (173241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269411)

The Demon Princes (really, anything) by Jack Vance. Any short fiction by Cordwainer Smith and Avram Davidson. I also was greatly impressed by Peter S. Beagle's short story collections.

Tons! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269413)

Not sure these count as forgotten, but definitely worth reading:

The Heechee saga [] by Frederick Pohl sci-fi

The Parafaith War [] by LE Modesitt Jr.sci-fi

Solaris [] by Stanislaw Lem sci-fi

Hyperion [] by Dan Simmons sci-fi

The Sirens of Titan [] by Kurt Vonnegut sci-fi

Some newer works:

The Night Angel Trilogy [] by Brent Weeks fantasy

The Lies of Locke Lamora [] by Scott Lynch fantasy

The Name of the Wind [] by Patrick Rothfuss fantasy

early Heinlein (2)

porsche911 (64841) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269417)

All of the early Robert Heinlein are fun. Lots of great stuff out there.


Re:early Heinlein (2)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269545)

If you like Heinlein, check out John Varley's most recent series (something like "Red Thunder", "Red Lightning", something something...) It's a trilogy that starts with ex-astronaut teaming up with some other folks including an oddball genius who has just invented a space drive in order to go to Mars. It's pure Heinlein, including the kind of creepy part in the last book where the young lady falls in love with the old guy.

Project Gutenberg's Science Fiction Bookshelf (5, Informative)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269419)

Taking a browse through Project Gutenberg's whole Science Fiction bookshelf would probably be worth your time. That's where I picked up some of my first science fiction novels, and I particularly enjoyed H. Beam Piper's Federation series.

Dune (4, Informative)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269429)

Frank Herbert's Dune is amazing. There is a reason there have been multiple attempts to make it into film. However none of them come close to the books.

Re:Dune (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269561)

Have people forgotten Dune? It's a fantastic novel, but I'm not sure it meets the criteria of the post.

Re:Dune (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269581)

I finally just finished the original Dune series. Fantastic books, and each one brings with it a greater understanding of the others.

I agree that film/TV adaptations have been poor. Tons of people thing the movie version with Sting is better, but it is certainly no closer to the book than any other. I gravitate toward the Sci-Fi channel version, where Chani is super hot. The budget wasn't nearly as large, but I think it was well done considering.

Some Authors to check: (2)

belroth (103586) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269441)

Eric Frank Russell, Fredric Brown, Keith Laumer (Retief in particular), Jame Tiptree Jr, H. Beam Piper. Basically plunder all the free ebook sites for classic/pulp - there's a lot of good stuff there and I even quite like the not so good :-)

Heinlein (1)

iiii (541004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269445)

Not all that obscure, but worth a mention. So many great books to choose from, but start with "Time Enough for Love" and "Stranger in a Strange Land."

Re:Heinlein (1)

iiii (541004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269533)

Also "Friday". Full of interesting ideas and just plain fun.

Coldfire Trilogy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269461)

Celia S. Friedman wrote the Coldire trilogy, publishing the first book, Black Sun Rising, in 1992. Rich, dark fantasy with incredible plot detail and the sense that the characters are themselves telling the story.

She has also written a few science fiction novels, such as The Madness Season, that are equally compelling.


Loads (4, Informative)

vaccum pony (721932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269465)

The Age of the Pussyfoot - Fred Pohl
This book was waaaaay ahead of its time. A wonderful short novel from the 1960's that is still a great read. Pohl pretty consistently produces good books. 'Black Star Rising', 'The World at the End of Time', the Gateway series (although hardly obscure) and a whole lot of others.

Riddley Walker - Russell Hoban
A post-apocalyptic novel. Excellent. Would help to have some local knowledge of English culture.

Dying Inside - Robert Silverberg
This book does not get enough recognition.

The Lilith's Brood series - Octavia Butler
Three novels about the integration of the human race by aliens after a nuclear war. Marvelous.

Anything by Jack Vance (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269467)

I got into reading Vance's books when I was in high school. A few years ago a friend asked a similar question and i gave him one of Vance's short story anthologies. In 28 pages Vance had a more complete and engrossing story than some authors have in 200 pages.

His stories range from straight out fantasy to classic science fiction, from short stories to multiple book sagas. Plenty of stuff to keep you going for the summer and probably the winter too.

Piers Anthony & CJ Cherryh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269485)

The Macroscope by Piers Anthony, and the Chanur Series by CJ Cherryh.

Christopher Stasheff (1)

DMJC (682799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269499)

Christopher Stasheff, A Wizard in Rhyme series. It was funny and amazing. An english lit professor gets transported to alternate world Europe where spells are cast by rhyming, and where damning someone to hell literally opens a portal and summons a demon. It was a brilliant series. Hillarious to read.

_The Face in the Frost_ (1)

toomanyhandles (809578) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269501)

_The Face in the Frost_ by John Bellairs

1969, humorous, different, and memorable "fantasy" novel. []

I have wanted a weather vane that makes a snurfling sound ever since I read this book.

Wing Commander Novels (2)

DMJC (682799) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269513)

Any of the Wing Commander novels are a great light read especially if you are into heroic characters and fleet actions. The entire book series is great reading for any fan of space opera.

not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269515)

is gene wolfe really all that obscure? personally i think he's overhyped

Here are a few authors: (1)

Rainwulf (865585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269519)

A bit basic by modern standards, but any of David Eddings writings are classic reading.
Modern sci-fi standards, i would recommend Neal Asher.

One more (4, Interesting)

AG the other (1169501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269535)

Look at for Edgar Rice Burroughs. He wrote the Tarzan novels and also John Carter of Mars. Dated but fun to read.

James Branch Cabell (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269547)

The fantasy books by Virginia author James Branch Cabell were in vogue at one time but seem mostly forgotten now.

Burroughs (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269549)

Check out 'most anything written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

sci fi masterworks (5, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269565)

there's a re-publication of some of the most amazing sci-fi books, which to be honest take a little getting used to: the sci-fi masterworks series. "Lord of Light" by Roger Zelazny is a particularly beautiful tale. then there's Olaf Stapledon's "Last and First Men" which is just breathtaking in its scope and prescience: i found it particularly funny that the foreword by Stephen Baxter said "Stapledon got everything right except of course for the bits about the United States" when in fact he was right on the nose, having predicted the fall of the League of Nations, the rise of the United Nations, the detonation of the Atomic Bomb and more.

then there's "The End of Eternity" by Isaac Asimov, which was the book written very early on that explains the background of the entire Asimov "Foundation" series. this book was noteworthy for its use of the word "Computer" as a title, like "Professor", to refer to one with the highly responsible task of "Performing Computations" - in this case, the job of working out the "minimum necessary change" to alter the future in order to keep it on track.

i have a challenge for you, jjp9999. read *all* of asimov's books, including the ones written at the behest of the asimov estate, in a timespan where you will actually remember details from one book to the next. "robby the robot", which he wrote in conjunction with his wife. the early "robot" books which describe susan calvin's experiences - she screams "LIAR!!" at one robot, as it dies. remember to include the one written by greg bear, "forward the foundation" i think it is, as well as the "New Law" Robots, and pay attention also to Giskard's role. i think you will find the sheer scope of asimov's vision as he paints a picture which develops over - and beyond - the span of his life - to be absolutely stunning. but it does take patience: some of the isaac bailey series are quite methodical, being detective novels, and can be somewhat... well, tedious isn't the right word. you just have to be patient: it's worth it.

then there's a couple of books which even i've forgotten the name of the authors. one of them very much reminds me of that new sci-fi series with the lead character from "The Librarian Series"... i remember the book because humanity was fighting against a much superior race of "invaders". when humanity "won", they left... but the parting words were something to the effect of "we are leaving because you are not worthy". and there was another - again, alien invaders, where the premise of the book was that just by learning the *language* of the invaders actually changed human DNA - or allowed it to change - to enhance and augment the person's intelligence... and physiology... into one of the aliens. both of these books were well written, and i've just spoiled the plot for anyone wishing to read either of them, but i would really appreciate someone letting me know who the authors are if they know either of these books, because i'd quite like to read them again.

Look at old awards and nominations (4, Interesting)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269569)

I finally got off my ass and registered for the World Science Fiction Convention last year and read the nominees for best novel so i could vote for the Hugo awards. In doing so i read two novels that i might never have picked up otherwise, and was tipped me off to a third one that was actually by one of my favorite authors under a pseudonym. (I presume i eventually would have stumbled across that one one way or another.)

The realization that i hadn't heard of three of those books before and might never have read them caused me to go back and review the complete list of Hugo awards [] and Nebula awards [] for best novel.

There are a lot of old favorites on there, but there are also a lot of other books that i know of but never gotten around to reading and a lot more that i've never even heard of, especially for the earlier years. Unless you're a lot more knowledgeable than me you've probably never heard of a lot of them either. All the books in those lists were considered one of the best books that year either by the fans or the writers, and a lot of them probably still hold up well today. I've now got a plan, or at least a desire, to try and start working through those older books a few at a time. (Though how i'm going to manage that when i can't even keep up with all the _new_ books coming out i don't know.)

Cordwainer Smith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269575)

When I first went looking for King of Elflands Daughter there were no copies except those sold at collectors prices. I eventually found a paperback from the 70s at a dollar or two. A good book. Fortunately, it was reprinted not too long ago so you should have no trouble finding that.

You could look for books by Cordwainer Smith. "Norstrilia" I remember as being a good one and his short story "Scanners Live in Vain" should be easy to find somewhere. I know has it.

Saberhagen (2)

ElPedroGrande (1235420) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269577)

I would recommend "The Book of Swords" series by Fred Saberhagen. Such great books.

A crystal age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269597)

A crystal age by Hudson.

Roger Zelazny (3, Informative)

LittleBunny (1021415) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269605)

Anything by Roger Zelazny. His most extensive set of novellas were the Amber series-- five books, if I recall, eventually published in two volumes-- but he had a number of really lovely independent stories, including My Name is Legion, This Immortal, and Jack of Shadows. It's been a good twenty years since I went through my Zelazny phase, but few things would make me happier even now than discovering something else written by him.

A Few Titles (3, Interesting)

Selanit (192811) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269607)

The Description of a New World, Called The Burning-World by Lady Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. Late 1500s. Very strange early SF, semi-autobiographical. Requires tolerance for Elizabethan English, though it's easier than Shakespeare since it's prose not poetry. Author also composed poems about pixies responsible for moving atoms around.

The Three Impostor: and Other Stories, by Arthur Machen. Very Lovecraftian, except that it predates Lovecraft.

Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling. Not read as much as his other stories these days; basically a tour of English/European history from a decidedly British perspective, courtesy of tour guide Puck.

The Days of Chivalry,or, The Legend of Croque-Mitaine; original in French by Ernest Louis Victor Jules L'Epine; free (VERY free) translation by Thomas Hood the Younger, late 1890s. 177 illustrations by Gustave Doré. Originally a children's book, this heavily allegorical book follows the adventures of Mitaine, female squire to the legendary French knight Sir Roland. Would never hand this to a child now. Illustrations of impalements. Thoroughly racist, sexist, and every other kind of -ist you can think of. Shows illustration of Mohammed getting his teeth punched out by Roland (!!). Despite all that, fun in a horrifying kind of way. Reading this helped me understand how World War I came about. If this is the kind of thing they were raising their kids on, no wonder they killed millions of each other.

A Gift Upon the Shore by M. K. Wren -- two women struggle to preserve knowledge in post-apocalyptic Oregon. SF only by membership in post-apocalyptic sub-genre, but beautifully written.

Interesting question. Will keep eye on discussion. Note to self: must take refresher course on personal pronouns.

A couple more (1)

fragzilla (646057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269609)

Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" & Keith Laumer's Jame Retief ( series.

A few more (2)

maya (90492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269611)

A couple that aren't usually thought of as sci-fi but would be if they were publiished today: "Utopia" by Thomas More, and Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". As far as more modern books go, one of my favorites, for it's great plotting and incredibly prescient imagining of an information web, is "Shockwave Rider", by John Brunner.

Silverlock by John Myers Myers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269613)

If you haven't read it, "Silverlock" ( by John Myers Myers is an amazing novel that takes its titular character on a voyage through myth, legend, and literature. There was a "sequel" called "The Moon's Fire Eating Daughter" which was more about the ways that gods and goddesses were recycled by various civilizations based on what came before. It was interesting but not as good. If one were to connect the two novels, it would be in that Silverlock is about the joys of reading, and The Moon's Fire Eating Daughter is about the travails of writing.

Anyway, highly recommended if you are looking for older material that you might have missed.

Van Vogt (2)

mykepredko (40154) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269615)

I'd love to find more of his stuff.

Look for "The Weapon Shops of Isher".


Older Sci-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269621)

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin and Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy.

Anything by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269623)

Clark Ashton Smith
Almost anything by Jack Vance
Much by Paula Volsky, wherever she may be
Crisis by Donald Kingsbury
Perdido Street Station by China of his stuff sucks by and large

Try these: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269627)

The Riddle Master Trilogy:

-The Riddle-master of Hed
-Air to Sea and Fire
-Harpist In the Wind

Short, somewhat abstract, but a nice plot with some truly unique character names (Ghisteslwchlohm)

As mentioned before, Dune is a great book, but an even better series. Keep reading, it just gets better and better (although you do have to push through the second book a bit).

Stephen Donaldson is a great author, not often mentioned in discussions (in my experience). A great fantasy series in Thomas Covenant, but a surprisingly excellent sci-fi narrative in The Gap Cycle.

Harlan Ellison (2)

cthlptlk (210435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39269633)

Certainly not forgotten, but currently underrepresented in print and best-of lists.

There have been some ginormous (non-Ellison) anthologies at my local library recently that look like they have been compiled by real scifi scholars. This one, for instance: []

The John Carter of Mars series - E. R. Burroughs (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39269635)

As a young teen I was mesmerized by the books. Hope the big screen can do it justice.

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