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    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2008 edited
    I was arrested once, only for the charges to have been dropped. It's not a very interesting story, at least compared to that first one.

    However, I did have a friend once who was very savvy with network security. He hacked some high level government sites only to wake up with morning with the FBI, CIA, NSA, freaking NASA and some snarling dogs in his white trash barn yard of a house. The way I remember it going, he served some time for it, then was actually hired by the government, only to fuck up that gig by getting caught doing other recreational hacking. So back to prison he went. I'm pretty sure he's out by now, but he's got a court order to stay away from computers. ..or maybe that's over now. I don't know. Haven't seen him in years.

    A similar thing happened to another friend of mine in the same circle, but instead of fucking up, he went on to start eEye Security. He was even on an MTV special talking about "hacking is this world where you just get lost sometimes, and can't come out" while walking down the beach to sad music. I remember laughing my ass off at that one.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2008
    Simon R. Green's Deathstalker.

    Any author who recreates 'Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now' with teddy bears in a sci-fi setting gets my vote.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2008
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I like any Sci Fi where the science is not so implausible that it makes it difficult for me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the story.

    I found Charles Stross as a result of this site and am 80% through Accelerando which is slow going simply because I need a bit of time between reading sessions to allow it all to sink in.
    Ironically I found a similarity between the singularity in his work and Judgement day in the Terminator TV show. What would a weakly god like intelligence think about humans?

    The Canadian army has a sci fi/military story that takes place in Afghanistan in 2025 on their website as a way of coming up with innovative ideas as well as recruiting. I find it quite interesting that they think it a worthwhile tool. It is not like the US army with billions to throw around either.
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2008
    @Unsub - the Terminator show's basically about a bunch of anti-Singularity guerrillas, init.. the movies made sense in that they were trying stop a particular nodal point in time from happening, but the show shits me hard-core.. how do you kill teh_future in general? short of taking everyone back to the Dark Ages? (ok, i gave up after 4 eps.. did it start making more sense?)

    The Canadian army has a sci fi/military story that takes place in Afghanistan in 2025 on their website

    oh, link please!
    • CommentAuthorMrD
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2008
    Paul McAuley's : Fairyland (1999) "In 21st century Europe, ravaged by the changes of war and technology, gene hacker Alex Sharkey is a bare step ahead of the police and the Triads. When he helps a super-smart girl turn a genetically-engineered doll into a new species, he doesn't realize he's giving history a dangerous shove."

    I went from a couple of softly written novels into this one and it bogged me down. I struggled to get through it, taking in the ideas and effects of gene viruses. Eventually I came away thinking it was worth the hassle, somehow!
    • CommentAuthorjcfiala
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2008
    I'd heard a lot of good things about Vernor Vinge, so I bought Across Realtime, which turned out to be two books collected. I read The Peace War, which turned out to be a fairly silly sci-fi story about people zapping each other with 'bobbles', which are basically like time-freezing bubbles. I was not impressed. I haven't read the other one.

    Hmm... I remember those books with a lot of fondness. The first one is about bobbles, which froze time, yes. The second time (Marooned in Realtime) involved a much more advanced technology, where a bunch of refugees from human civilization are basically living together and killing time - they were using bobbles to freeze themselves in time to see what happens 'later'... and at some point came back into realtime and discovered that human civilization had packed up and gone somewhere, or something, because it was no longer around and there were no records to it's passing. And in it, a detective (later made famous by his grandson writing novels based on his life) has to solve a murder mystery where the weapon is time and the victim has been dead a few hundred years.
  1.  (1268.67)
    Well it's not quite a novel just yet, but the Fine Structure series of short stories over at is great hard sci-fi.
    You can also join his legion of rabid fans in predicting how all of the stories fit together, if you are so inclined.
    • CommentTimeMar 10th 2008 edited
    Light by M. John Harrison and his second book Nova Swing

    The first has the 'primer' movie feel. Two boys trying to increase datastorage invent a quantum singularity (sort of.. just read) or perhaps they don't. It has dragraces with old spaceships, aliencircuses and futuretelling.

    The second book is best described with: 'science is the prize' and has Kafka-Einstein- cast as it's private detective.
    Both can be read single and out of order.
    • CommentTimeMar 10th 2008

    I was searching for the name of LIGHT's author, and then I read your post. Thanks for bringing (this) Harrison into the conversation.

    I too recommend M. John Harrison's work.
    • CommentTimeMar 10th 2008
    A bump here for the two Robert L. Forward books Angela mentioned earlier.
    Also most fo Greg Egan's stuff.
    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeMar 10th 2008
    Don't know why I didn't think to mention it earlier, but Robert Charles Wilson's Spin made for some pretty good first-contact sci-fi, at least as interesting as Contact, if not more so, as I enjoyed the characters more. I've yet to get to the sequel Axis though- slowly working myself through a fantasy pile that'll probably last me until the mass market paperback comes out. Blind Lake, the other book of his I've read, was also pretty enjoyable, though I always give points to anything that gets set in Northern Minnesota(and double for the Winter), so your mileage may vary. Both do focus more on the characters, but the sci-fi stuff itself fairly interesting in its own right.
    • CommentAuthorsnarkbites
    • CommentTimeMar 18th 2008
    I really liked Peter Watt's Blindsight. It's probably one of the more unique first contact stories I've read. Been a bit hard to recommend though, as the people I've passed a copy to haven't taken to it too well.
    • CommentAuthorjayverni
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2008
    Baxter's Manifold series. All my other ones have been mentioned several times over, but as always, I come away much richer than before. Some awesome recommendations, and even more stuff I don't have time to read. My piles of books and comics are starting to annoy my wife! But they do aid me in avoiding her glance. Pretty soon they'll completely surround me!
  2.  (1268.74)
    It's been a long time but for some reasons David Brin came to mind. Liked the Uplift series a lot when i read it.
    he's already been mentioned but i was mad for Iain M. Banks, Iain Banks too but this is about sf. Also Kim Stanley Robinson, fantastic.
    i guess, Spinrad would be soft then?
    I really enjoyed Daniel Keys Moran as well, and you can get his stuff online here now gratis.
  3.  (1268.75)
    Harrison, Hamilton, Reynolds, Egan (I just posted on his Schild's Ladder in the March Reading thread - hard as they come, really).
    Justina Robson straddles it for me - esp. Living Next Door to the God of Love, although the Quantum Gravity series has her stomping about on the soft-side, generally taking the piss.
  4.  (1268.76)
    PS and it can;'t be binary surely - got to be a spectrum, right??
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2008 edited
    Walter Jon Williams' novel Days of Atonement is worth checking out. It's exceptional in that it uses a foundation of very well-thought-out factually-based hard science to engage in the sort of philosophical speculation that Arthur C Clarke went in for.
    • CommentAuthorgraves
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2008
    How did the orignal enjoyment of George RR Martin's "Song of Ice & Fire" lead into questions about Hard and Soft SF, anyway? Martin's books are fantasy, surely?
    • CommentAuthorWinther
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2008
    Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos and Ilium/Olympos, while they would probably be defined as Space Opera, definately contain elements of Hard SF. The Hyperion Cantos does have a version of FTL, but with nice relativistic effects; and both Hyperion and Ilium contain some manner of teleportation, but a lot of effort goes into making the science plausible. Plus, they're damn good reads.

    And on the topic of Mr. Simmons, in his most recent 'Message' (Monster sized semi-regular blog entries), he argues that Hard SF (here defined as something which "theoretically, takes no liberties with science in its speculation", but let's not open that can of worms again) gets dated more quickly, and more obviously, than non-Hard SF. The article in question can be found here. The relevant passage is about 2/3's down, easiest way to find it is probably to do a word search for 'Hard Science Fiction'. The whole article is a pretty interesting read, though. They generally are, even if I disagree pretty radically with his arguments at times.

    Anyway, any thoughts?
  5.  (1268.80)

    I wont try to define Hard SF or soft SF but - using Winther's cited Dan Simmons article - will say that 'technically' J.G. Ballard's Crash covers both.

    Of course, in saying that, I've now just attempted a definition.

    [Thank you Winther for pointing out the article. His bemused comic distaste for 'Famous Author of Hard SF' was warmly palpable and important in his argument - it led me to read the whole article twice just so I could see if what I was laughing at was really worth laughing at...and it was.]

    If anyone's interested in the philosophical roots of perhaps why Hard SF gets dated so quickly, they should give Paul Virilio's Speed & Politics a read first then move on to his other, later but less interesting stuff.