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Ask Slashdot: What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the depress-all-humans dept.

Sci-Fi 1365

50000BTU_barbecue writes "Usually sci-fi provides adventure with happy endings for everyone. But what story have you read that resonates years later because of some insight about human nature or society that's basically cynical or pessimistic? For me it's Fred Pohl's Jem, with its sharply divided resource-constrained future world driven by politics, and its conclusion that humans are just too destructive to handle contacting alien life, especially if humans have the technological upper hand. I'm wondering what other stories have stuck in people's minds. It can be a short story, a novel or an entire series of books."

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the nightly news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911773)

EOM.

Most Depressing? (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#40912219)

"Running MS DOS 3.3" by Van Wolverton.

I had to re-read Peter Norton's massive, "Programmer's guide to the IBM PC & PS/2" two times after that, just to feel better.

Mission Earth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911779)

10 books of my life I'll never get back (yes, I'm a glutton for punishment)

Easy (5, Interesting)

virb67 (1771270) | about 2 years ago | (#40911785)

Childhood's End

Re:Easy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911797)

Man, I remember that book. Just recalling the events makes me shoot farts out of my very own asshole!

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912127)

I can never decide if that is a good ending or a bad ending. I'll have to go read it again, I guess...

Re:Easy (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912135)

Do you mean Arthur C. Clakes Childhood's End, that wasn't depressing, certainly not up there with the most obvious example 1984. Unless you are trying to make some statement?

Re:Easy (1)

rcjhawk (713563) | about 2 years ago | (#40912241)

If we're going for disturbing transformations, the The Triumph of Time in Blish's Cities in Flight [wikipedia.org] is right up there.

What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911787)

1984

Does Ayn Rand count? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911809)

Though the most depressing part is the people who think she had good ideas.

Re:Does Ayn Rand count? (-1, Troll)

Q-Hack! (37846) | about 2 years ago | (#40912195)

There are two kinds of people who have read Ayn Rand... Those who understand her ideas and see them as value to society... and those who are too stupid to understand.

Short Story (1)

wirehead_rick (308391) | about 2 years ago | (#40911819)

The Butterfly Effect (not the movie!)

Re:Short Story (2)

kat_skan (5219) | about 2 years ago | (#40911903)

The movie was plenty depressing, just in that "O God Ashton Kutcher is trying to act" kind of way.

Re:Short Story (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40912075)

I thought the movie was good. Didn't always make sense but it was entertaining and thought-provoking, and I liked the ending when he ends-up as a baby. It was nominated by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for an award.

Where would I go to read the short story of Butterfly Effect?

Well..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911823)

The Bible .........oh wait, there is nothing scientific about that fiction

Re:Well..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911875)

The Bible is as scientific as the awkward potshot you took at it is clever.

Steampunk in general (3, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | about 2 years ago | (#40911829)

I've found the literary branch of steampunk to be generally depressing, with very few bright spots. It's interesting because most expressions of the culture are very Jules Verne / Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp influenced, particularly on the costuming side where steampunk really started. But the literary side is almost entirely Dickens with zeppelins.

Re:Steampunk in general (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40911961)

How about "modern SF" in general? I spent some time reading the Hugo nominees and most of the stories were depressing. I couldn't decide if I should vote, or just say "Why bother? It's all pointless anyway" like Marvin the Depressed Robot.

One older SF writer (sorry forget who) actually wrote an essay encouraging authors to write something CHEERY for a change with a positive outcome. The magazine which published the esaay is runing a contest around that theme.

inane subject here (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911833)

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. Absolutely nothing good happens to anyone ever.

Re:inane subject here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911979)

Yeah, that one is messed up.

Flowers for Algernon (5, Interesting)

danimalx (2702969) | about 2 years ago | (#40911845)

I win.

Re:Flowers for Algernon (5, Insightful)

ChrisKnight (16039) | about 2 years ago | (#40911929)

Do you make a distinction between depressing and sad? Make Room! Make Room! made me depressed about the future, but Flowers for Algernon made me cry; and yet I think they were two different things.

Re:Flowers for Algernon (1)

danimalx (2702969) | about 2 years ago | (#40912149)

Agreed. Depression carries with it a negative outlook about the future, while sad is just a state. Flowers for Algernon definitely made me sad, but not all that depressed.

Re:Flowers for Algernon (1)

aliscool (597862) | about 2 years ago | (#40912161)

another good one. Er, I mean excellent choice for novel that made me sad. Well written but sad.

Not Sci-Fi - fiction but never the less ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911849)

Alan Watts: The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are [amazon.com] describes the internet (in broad terms) and how it will affect us. I'm reading it now, and his assumptions (at the time 1966) are turning out to be true.

And here I am, on the internet - still.

We're losing personal connections. Facebook is NOT personal connection and neither is Slashdot.

Bradbury (4, Interesting)

frisket (149522) | about 2 years ago | (#40911851)

All Summer In A Day [wikipedia.org] (Ray Bradbury).

Jem? (2, Funny)

Millennium (2451) | about 2 years ago | (#40911853)

I don't know if I'd call it depressing. I found it outrageous, myself. Truly outrageous.

Re:Jem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912175)

truly truly truly outrageous!

Heinlein! (2)

Niris (1443675) | about 2 years ago | (#40911857)

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land are pretty neck and neck for sad endings. Also the Martian Chronicles by Bradbury.

Re:Heinlein! (3, Insightful)

Elgonn (921934) | about 2 years ago | (#40911955)

I'm not sure I'd consider The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as depressing. I'm still sad for Mike but I'm not sure how you'd find the story depressing.

Stephen Donaldson - Thomas Covenant (5, Insightful)

Roarkk (303058) | about 2 years ago | (#40911859)

What do you get when youo combine manic depression, schizophrenia, bigotry, and leprosy, then add in a little literal and figurative rape?

In the end, a pretty good series, but more than anything else I"ve read the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has the darkest, most depressing prose I've ever read.

Re:Stephen Donaldson - Thomas Covenant (1)

Ubertech (21428) | about 2 years ago | (#40912069)

His sci-fi Gap series is pretty dark also.

Re:Stephen Donaldson - Thomas Covenant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912081)

Thomas Covenant is probably the most depressing high fantasy I've ever read, not really sci-fi though.

I thought Accelerando was kinda depressing, not for what happens thttp://ask.slashdot.org/story/12/08/07/235239/ask-slashdot-whats-the-most-depressing-sci-fi-youve-ever-read#o the individual characters, more for what happens to mankind overall.

Re:Stephen Donaldson - Thomas Covenant (1)

Nothing2Chere (1434973) | about 2 years ago | (#40912157)

I was thinking Stephen Donaldson as well, but I was thinking "The Gap Cycle". It's more of a science fiction series than T.C. n2ch

Where to start? (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40911869)

There's the famous Star Trek story "City on the Edge of Forever". The original script by Harlan Ellison is even darker, with people in the engineering section of the ship dealing drugs (which is how the doctor ends-up going nutty -- a bad trip).

I just read a story last year in one of Gardner Dozois' Best of the Year anthologies. It involved humans boarding a generation ship that would travel to a new galaxy (50,000 years). The first 1000 years were not too bad but over time the humans became dumber-and-dumber, as they had no more challenging task then to scrub the floors/walls/ceiling and keep the ship clean. After 25,000 years they were walking on all fours & no longer bothering to wear clothes (or speak).

At that point the generation ship was intercepted by a faster-than-light ship that "rescued" the simian-like human beings. I imagine they ended-up in a zoo. (If you have a chance I would recommend buying all of Dozois' annual anthologies. If you like Outer Limits' method of telling a different story each week, you'll like these books.)

depressing becuase it's so accurate (2)

Covalent (1001277) | about 2 years ago | (#40911871)

1984 Second? Fahrenheit 451. Same reasoning.

Re:depressing becuase it's so accurate (2)

Elgonn (921934) | about 2 years ago | (#40911989)

Can we even nominate those two? At this point they're practically Sci-Non-Fi.

Re:depressing becuase it's so accurate (2)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 2 years ago | (#40912013)

Covalent's entries win by my reasoning. 1984 should win on multiple fronts. Orwell is strangely neglected by the social tribe that goes under the banner "science fiction fan". So is Vonnegut. Why are Orwell and Vonnegut not considered science fiction? Because they're good? Many of the entries being posted are so entertainment-oriented, I'm baffled how anyone can consider them depressing. "City on the Edge of Forever"? What was the happy ending supposed to be? Edith Keeler in space?

Re:depressing becuase it's so accurate (2)

Spritzer (950539) | about 2 years ago | (#40912123)

That's exactly the response I had planned. I remember the first time I read 1984, pulling for Winston and hoping for a story where the people succeed in overthrowing or subverting the regime. Oh, the let down, followed by the realization that this is a story about our world, our society.

I'm going to go curl up in a ball now.

Make Room! Make Room! (2, Interesting)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | about 2 years ago | (#40911877)

Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room!. Of course, when I was a kid people were predicting that the Baby Boom was going to result in some mad exponential growth thing and there'd be billions of people in North America by 2000ish, so I thought I was looking at my future.

Re:Make Room! Make Room! (1)

aliscool (597862) | about 2 years ago | (#40912045)

second this one. Depressing through and through, but very readible.
I do wonder what Solyent steak tastes like:)

Here's a couple. (3, Interesting)

Robotech_Master (14247) | about 2 years ago | (#40911879)

Destination: Void by Frank Herbert. (Or as I like to call it: "Destination: Avoid".)

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke.

Re:Here's a couple. (2)

sludgeman1 (1947134) | about 2 years ago | (#40912191)

I find Frank Herbert's view of humanity, as in "God Emperor of Dune" very pessimistic around human nature, requiring a 3000 years tyrannical ruling to save humanity from its own destructive and short term thinking. Havent read Destination: Void but seems like Herbert didnt hold fond of humanity. Most civilization is based on cowardice. It's so easy to civilize by teaching cowardice. You water down the standards which would lead to bravery. You restrain the will. You regulate the appetites. You fence in the horizons. You make a law for every movement. You deny the existence of chaos. You teach even the children to breathe slowly. You tame. The Stolen Journals and my favorite: When I set out to lead humankind along my Golden Path, I promised them a lesson their bones would remember. I know a profound pattern which humans deny with their words even while their actions affirm it. They say they seek security and quiet, the condition they call peace. Even as they speak, they create the seeds of turmoil and violence. If they find their quiet security, they squirm in it. How boring they find it. Look at them now. Look at what they do while I record these words. Hah! I give them enduring eons of enforced tranquility which plods on and on despite their every effort to escape into chaos. Believe me, the memory of Leto's Peace shall abide with them forever. They will seed their quiet security thereafter only with extreme caution and steadfast preparation. -The Stolen Journals

Short Story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911881)

A Flower for Algernon was quite depressing.
I recommend the short story version - the novel-length version had a greater amount of depressing-ness, but was spread out so that the the concentration and impact of it was lessened.

On the Beach (5, Interesting)

bvdp (1517349) | about 2 years ago | (#40911883)

Nevil Shute: On the Beach ... ordinary people doing ordinary things before they all die.

Re:On the Beach (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912047)

I second that one. Brilliant, well written, and deeply moving book. Not sure it qualifies as sci-fi, strictly speaking, but I was glad to see someone else bring it up.

Blood Music by Greg Bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911885)

I don't remember too much of it (blocked it out) but what I do remember is enough to keep me from re-reading it:

1) A reprehensible excuse for a human being as a main character
2) The reduction of all life in the USA into one giant oozing blob
3) Europe survives unscathed (maybe)

Depends (4, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#40911887)

"Usually sci-fi provides adventure with happy endings for everyone."

Depends on which side your on.

Ender's Game (5, Interesting)

malraid (592373) | about 2 years ago | (#40911889)

The ending is just brutal, I just get the feeling of everyone hating themselves after pushing a boy to commit xenocide, even though they won the war.

Do Republican Tax plans count? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911895)

Actually, that would probably be best considered "creationist-fiction"....

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911899)

Because it read almost like a documentary for someone who grew up behind the iron curtain.

The Road (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911901)

The Road

Make Room! Make Room! (1)

ChrisKnight (16039) | about 2 years ago | (#40911919)

Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (http://tinyurl.com/9mnvuux) is the most depressing novel I have ever read.

It was the basis for "Soylent Green" (http://tinyurl.com/8bzfewf), but Soylent Green was a pick-me-up compared to this novel.

Forge of God by Greg Bear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911923)

Earth loses. Literally.

When sysadmins ruled the earth (3)

dns_server (696283) | about 2 years ago | (#40911935)

I like when sysadmins roamed the earth.
Basically a computer virus infects the internet.
The sysadmins go to the data centers to fix it.
There are terrorist attacks and a real virus is released that kills just about everyone except the sysadmins as data centers filter the air.

You can read the contents on the link below.
There is a comic book adaptation as well as a radio play as the story is cc licensed.
http://craphound.com/overclocked/Cory_Doctorow_-_Overclocked_-_When_Sysadmins_Ruled_the_Earth.html [craphound.com]

Humanity grokked in fullness (2)

mycroft822 (822167) | about 2 years ago | (#40911939)

Stranger in a Strange Land. Our cultures tend to want to kill anyone that is too far from our version of normal.

Jan Weiss (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#40911941)

Jan Weiss [wordpress.com] - The House of a Thousand Floors.

If you want depression, this is up that valley.

George RR Martin (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911973)

Yes, him. The magnificent awesome Martin. The guy who writes books where everyone you care about dies, nothing good every happens to anyone, no good deed goes unpunished (the few good deeds that happen), its everyone for themselves or their families - most times, and most importantly, its not even winter yet but its coming! Want a downer? Read A Song of Fire and Ice.

My company's marketing copy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911981)

Just saying'

Nineteen Eighty-Four (4, Interesting)

avatar139 (918375) | about 2 years ago | (#40911983)

When I was young, I found it depressing because of the ending. Now that I'm older I find it depressing because I've seen it begin to grow in the world around me...:P

Battlefield Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911987)

Although it wasn't as depressing as the six bucks I paid to see the movie.

Thomas Covenant (2)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#40911997)

I never got very far into the book, because the main character (I hesitate to say protagonist) had such a dark soul. So maybe it has a happier ending, but I couldn't get to it.

Re:Thomas Covenant (1)

ChrisKnight (16039) | about 2 years ago | (#40912095)

None of the Covenant books have had anything close to a happy ending.

Re:Thomas Covenant (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#40912205)

Thank you for removing my last vestige of guilt for not having soldiered through the book.

Atlas Shrugged (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912003)

The message and the technical execution both made me want to top myself.

Childhood's End By Arthur C. Clarke (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912007)

...the human race just ends with a whimper.

A Canticle for Leibowitz (5, Informative)

Yunzil (181064) | about 2 years ago | (#40912017)

Synopsis: Humans are self-destructive, never learn from their mistakes, and are doomed to destroy themselves over and over again.

Canticle for Leibowitz (3, Informative)

Niris (1443675) | about 2 years ago | (#40912029)

Very interesting story, but an ending that I still think about.

The Forge of God - Gregory Bear (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912033)

Unknowable, incomprehensible aliens come to Earth and destroy it. It takes a while, so everybody just waits to get blown up for no reason.

Summary:
1. Aliens arrive
2. Little contact with humans. We don't know anything about them and can't really communicate with them.
3. Humans are helpless, but we do figure out Earth is doomed.
4. Boom. Everyone dies. The End.

Hugh Howey's Wool (2)

wintersynth (915045) | about 2 years ago | (#40912043)

I was having a pretty low day when I started it, and it made it a lot worse. Howey is a master at creating personable characters that you fall in love with in only a few short pages. Then he teaches you brutally why you shouldn't become emotionally involved with his characters. I highly recommend reading it, and overall it's not too depressing, but those first few chapters are some of the roughest in sci-fi I've read.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Harrison Bergeron (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912051)

A short, only a couple of pages long. One of the funniest AND one of the saddest SF stories ever IMO, which is quite an accomplishment for such a short length. Google it, you can find it online (not posting a link since I'm not aware of the copyright limits etc.)
.

Voyage, By Stephen Baxter (1)

GreggBz (777373) | about 2 years ago | (#40912053)

Simply because it seems so plausible. I imagine what could have been. As I get older, the reality of our miss-guided human priorities weighs me down. I think about that book, and it just makes me sad.

A Canticle for Liebowitz (2)

overshoot (39700) | about 2 years ago | (#40912055)

It's right up there in the "damn this world sucks" department, although not quite as depressing as the first time I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy straight through. That may have been sleep deprivation, though, but the effect was that in the beginning everything was a stroll through the Shire even when the Ringwraiths were after the hobbits and by the end it was gloom and doom and depression even when Aragorn was being crowned. Impressive effect.

Usually happy endings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912065)

It seems to me that a vast segment of science fiction (especially the stuff that was coming out around the cold war) was pretty depressing - a big chunk of it ends with humanity dying, either because we're dumb or because we're malicious. Sometimes both.

I might start with the anthology "Bangs and Whimpers: stories about the end of the world"
Another good one is (which doesn't end with everyone dying) is "Repent Harlequin, said the tic toc man" (short story)

Not particularly sure (1)

Cute Fuzzy Bunny (2234232) | about 2 years ago | (#40912071)

I'm not particularly sure, because if I'm reading something and its depressing I stop reading it. So which one that I stopped reading was the most depressing isn't easy to determine.

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr. (1)

arcctgx (607542) | about 2 years ago | (#40912085)

Mankind is too stupid to learn from its own mistakes.

Most Depressing Sci-Fi? (5, Funny)

Mystiq (101361) | about 2 years ago | (#40912097)

Mass Effect 3. I was depressed for about a week after playing the original ending. (Hey, you never said it had to be good, just depressing.)

Harrison (4, Insightful)

crow_t_robot (528562) | about 2 years ago | (#40912105)

Bergeron

Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912107)

What the world could become....

Hitchhikers Guide - 4th book (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912117)

"Mostly Harmless" was a good read, but it was depressing throughout and ended on a horrible note.

Spoiler

Everybody dies, and the entire Earth is nothing more than sausage meat for a bureaucratic corporation to exploit for profit. Kind of like real life...

Re:Hitchhikers Guide - 4th book (1)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#40912165)

And, see, I found it hilarious and a good way to end a series.

You should read how he ended "Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul". Might as well have said "frankly, I don't wish to write another book in this series!"

Re:Hitchhikers Guide - 4th book (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | about 2 years ago | (#40912209)

Mostly Harmless is book 5 of 3 as I recall. Elgin Schafer made a 6th book in the trilogy after Douglas Adams died, that attempts to work around the whole Vogon multidimensional explosion thing, but if you stop at book 5 it's a pretty depressing end to such a light hearted series.

Easy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912139)

The american constitution...

Harrison Bergeron (2)

amanaplanacanalpanam (685672) | about 2 years ago | (#40912141)

By Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Not quite as cheerful as 1984.

The Godwhale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912143)

T.J. Bass. It's not just dystopian, it's squalidly dystopian.

Make Room! Make Room! is depressing in a similar vein, too.

John Brunner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912151)

A lot (not all) of John Brunner's work have a very heavy dystopian themes - often leaving the reader depressed at that's the way the world could go. Plus as each decade of time passes, re-reading make the reader more depressed, given that what he wrote about seems even more likely to make the transition from fiction to fact...

Blindsight, by Peter Watts (4, Interesting)

Bobtree (105901) | about 2 years ago | (#40912155)

Blindsight, besides being the best thing I've ever read, has a rather stark outlook on the nature of consciousness and what that means for us as human beings. I don't consider it depressing, though some might, and Watts calls his portrayal of human nature "almost childishly optimistic."

From Watts' homepage: "Whenever I find my will to live becoming too strong, I read Peter Watts." —James Nicoll

Greg Bear: Forge of God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912163)

Great, depressing SF.

Anything by Ayn Rand. (0)

EWAdams (953502) | about 2 years ago | (#40912169)

It's depressing because it's so idiotic and yet so many people are taken in by it.

Ian M. Banks (2)

sonofepson (239138) | about 2 years ago | (#40912171)

Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons and Matter. Good though.

Is "The Road" sci-fi? (2)

gatkinso (15975) | about 2 years ago | (#40912185)

Then that wins. McCarthy rules.

Also "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream" is depressing.

"The Forge of God" by Greg Bear.

"O Happy Day" Geoff Ryman

"Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand" Chip Delany

Man Plus by Frederik Pohl (1)

carpwall (595270) | about 2 years ago | (#40912193)

I never actually got through it. When they inform his wife he no longer has any "equipment" for her to service I was outta there. Honestly, where could the book possibly go from there?

What's the Most Depressing Sci-fi You've Ever Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912211)

The fucking newspaper!

The Divine Invasion by Philip K Dick (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | about 2 years ago | (#40912213)

Not necessarily the whole thing, just the picture painted of Herb Asher living in an isolated dome on a remote planet, detached from the world and reality, obsessing over a female singer and resenting the terminally ill woman who lives in the dome next to his when she reaches out to him for help. Everything that follows is unsettling/detestable, but that image stayed with me.

The Forge of God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912221)

The Forge of God

Firefly (5, Interesting)

exabrial (818005) | about 2 years ago | (#40912223)

After I heard they cancelled the series.

John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up (1)

rwcnc (563354) | about 2 years ago | (#40912229)

My clear winner for most depressing SF: John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up. Mercifully, I've suppressed most of my memory of it, but it starts depressing and just keeps on going.

When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912235)

Spoilers... you knew they'd be here from the question.
The protagonist Audran lives in a Arabic/Muslim slum, spending most of his days scarfing down baggies of drugs and banging his transsexual girlfriend. He gets hired to find a missing prince, and the whole thing kicks off in a bloody mess.
Long story short, they kill his girlfriend, who turns out to have been the missing prince. In retaliation, he jacks in "the black chip," and has no memory of the carnage unleased that followed. It ends in the hollow victory that he massacred the killer, but is now ostracized by the world he knew for having unleashed such unspeakable barbarism on the bodies of the killer and the captive police officer.
At least, that's what I generally recall from 25 years ago when I read it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Gravity_Fails

Echea by Asimov (1)

zugmeister (1050414) | about 2 years ago | (#40912239)

Hands down. Lent it to a friend of mine and his only comment when giving it back was "Why would you ever want to read something so depressing?"

A shoe-in for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912251)

I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream

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  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>