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  1.  (1268.1)
    I jumped into George RR Martin's song of ice and fire series after having it recommended to me on these boards. I'm almost through with the second book and it's fantastic. I hope HBO adapts it and treats it better than they've treated pretty much every other show aside from the Sopranos.

    Anyway, I want to know if anyone can recommend some good, hard sci-fi books. I just watched Primer a little while ago and have a taste for a good story full of tech-jargon. Thanks.
    • CommentAuthortmofee
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (1268.2)
    Read Oceanic? I stumbled on the thing one day. I love this short story. Also The Forever War, which you probably have read already...
  2.  (1268.3)
    Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Charles Sheffield. Sort of a hard sci-fi version of "The Fountain". A guy refuses to accept his wife's death and spends, well, the rest of time trying to reunite with her. There's a kernal of romanticism wrapped gobs and gobs of hard-core science (life-extension tech, digital consciousness, end-time theory) fun. A bit haunting too.
  3.  (1268.4)
    Anyway, I want to know if anyone can recommend some good, hard sci-fi books.

    Recent ones, or from the entire history of the form?
  4.  (1268.5)
    Recent ones, or from the entire history of the form?


    Don't care. Whichever ones have had the biggest impact on you, or on the form itself.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (1268.6)
    David Weber's Honor Harrington series perhaps? Enormous, plodding space navies(with the good guys belonging to a faux-British Royal Navy) duking it out in an interstellar war, though its as much about the characters as it is the sci-fi. First one's available for free online here, so you don't even need to spend a dime on it to know what you're getting into.
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      CommentAuthorRJBarker
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (1268.7)
    Ken Mcleod is good. I'm never sure where SF starts being hard though as I'm a science idiot so it's all hard for me.
  5.  (1268.8)
    Accelerando by Charles Stross.
    Newton's Wake by Ken MacLeod.
    • CommentAuthorDracko
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008 edited
     (1268.9)
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Does <em>Rendezvous with Rama</em> count? I don't know about the quality of the rest of the series, though.

    I also hear good things about Ian M. Banks' <em>Culture</em> cycle, but am not familiar enough with the material to gauge its hard sci-fi quality.
  6.  (1268.10)
    I also hear good things about Ian M. Banks' Culture cycle, but am not familiar enough with the material to gauge it's hard sci-fi quality.


    They are good. Seriously, awesomely good. Really worth reading. But I don't know if it's hard either. Maybe a definition of what the original poster means by hard science fiction. I recommend Excession. Although maybe The Algebraist is more in line with what people consider hard science fiction.
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      CommentAuthorRJBarker
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (1268.11)
    Banks is wonderful, I reviewed Matter recently in a slightly pretentious manner. Pick for me would be 'Use of Weapons' or 'Consider Phlebas'. Beautiful writing.
  7.  (1268.12)
    Excuse the stupid question, but what is Hard Sci-Fi? I haven't read any of the books that have so far been suggested in this thread so it's hard to guess at...
    • CommentAuthorDahkr
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (1268.13)
    I would suggest the Coyote series by Allen Steele. A very straight forward depiction of the colonization of another planet. A friend got 3 of us reading it and we all love it.
    • CommentAuthorzenbullet
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008 edited
     (1268.14)
    Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds is groovy.

    How hard or soft sci fi is depends on how rigorously the rules are adhered to.

    There are other basic ideas moving around, but generally that's how I define it.

    No FTL {within reason}, realistic orbital mechanics, that kind of stuff. The New Space Opera movement coming out of Britain is pretty hard, whereas early Space Opera {Star Wars} is very soft, so that's a good within subgenre look at the idea.


    Older hard stuff generally didn't have great character development since the focus was really on the science. Larry Niven made an early part of his career just writing about the weird locales you can have in space.

    The Coldest Place, for instance, written before we knew Mercury rotated, was about the coldest place in the solar system, the dark side of Mercury. Cool idea, not a lot of great character work.

    {and don't jump my ass about that generalization, Niven is one of my favorite authors too}
  8.  (1268.15)
    Seconding Ginja on Accelerando. Pretty much anything by Charles Stross is fantastic. Give Glasshouse and Halting State a try as well.
  9.  (1268.16)
    How hard or soft sci fi is depends on how rigorously the rules are adhered to.

    No. If we're going to talk about this, let's do it right.

    Hard sf is sf about the physical, "hard" sciences. Soft sf is about the social sciences. Those are the definitions.
    • CommentAuthoromer333
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2008
     (1268.17)
    Ok, help me out, I've only read Neuromancer, Red Robe, and The Martian Chronicles, so my knowledge of sci-fi in book forms is limited.

    What are some of the better works in hard sf, and what are some of the better works in soft sf? Where do Gibson or Bradury or Asimov or Harlan Ellison fall into those two classifications?

    I wanting to know so I can go read this stuff.
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      CommentAuthorm1k3y
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2008
     (1268.18)
    anything by Kim Stanley Robinson.
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      CommentAuthorTed
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2008
     (1268.19)
    @omer333

    Asimov would be, I would say, more soft in general. Whilst his books feature advanced tech, they are mostly, Foundation series in particular, looking at the society involved, with machinery barely featuring, only as means to an end. The Foundation books are, though, lovely.

    I, Robot could be classed as hard sf, as it's dealing with a history of robots, albeit through tales of the men and women who worked on them.
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      CommentAuthornigredo
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2008 edited
     (1268.20)
    Second the Kim Stanley Robinson suggestion. The Mars trilogy is very interesting.

    Also, Stephen Baxter (Vacuum Diagrams), Greg Bear (Blood Music, Eon), Gregory Benford (Time-scape), Greg Egan (Permutation City), Larry Niven (Ringworld, The Mote in God's Eye, The Integral Trees).