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The Sci-fi and Fantasy Book Club Message Board › Recommendations for good books/series

Recommendations for good books/series

Vijay
Vijay82
Group Organizer
Fairfax, VA
Post #: 9
I'm starting this thread so people can recommend enjoyable or worthwhile books or series they've recently tried. These reccs don't have to be for your all-time favorites (post those HERE please) or for books you want us to read at a future meetup (e-mail us here). But if you've stumbled across something fun or memorable, please post them here.

For instance, one series I really enjoyed recently is the Retrieval Artist series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. These are essentially sci-fi police procedurals (so if you're a fan of cop shows, detective fiction, or CSI you might like these).

The premise is basically a future in which humans have spread colonies throughout the solar system and beyond, and encountered many other alien races (and are weaker or on par with many of them). In order to allow for trade and peaceful relations, humanity has had to agree to allow that humans be subject to alien legal systems (laws and penalties both) while in their territory or doing business with them. The end result is that humans are often found guilty of crimes that by human standards aren't crimes at all, and subject to penalties that are, by our standards, far beyond cruel and unusual.

There are 7 books in the series so far:
(1) The Disappeared
(2) Extremes
(3) Consequences
(4) Buried Deep
(5) Paloma
(6) The Recovery Man
(7) Duplicate Effort

This isn't normally a series I would expect myself to like, but it does a great job of building a diverse universe and a human culture that clearly emerged out of elements of ours right now. It also does a great job of helping the reader understand the cultural differences a society in an enclosed dome on the Moon might have, and how things we take for granted would be completely inconceivable to them.

For some reason, these books seem to be out of print, but you might be able to find them in used book stores, and Fairfax County Public Library definitely has all of them in their system.

So go ahead and post anything interesting you've read recently that you feel like sharing.
Anna
Anna_Y
Springfield, VA
Post #: 21
Her name sounded so familiar, but the books you described did not. After googling, I found out I read another series of Rusch's:

The Fey Universe
The Fey
Main article: The Fey Series
Vol. 1: The Sacrifice, 1995
Vol. 2: The Changeling, 1996
Vol. 3: The Rival, 1997
Vol. 4: The Resistance, 1998
Vol. 5: The Victory, 1998

They were pretty good. Ofcourse, I read these around 1998, so they may not hold up.
A former member
Post #: 9
As the guy that never makes it to meetings, I'll throw a couple of things out there.

Oblivion Society - Marcus Alexander Hart

Completely unrealistic, totally silly but fun (you did say "fun") to read. It's the story of a group of slackers trying to find what's left of civilization. Mutants, monsters and mutant/monster/zombies... what more can you ask for! I will warn you that it has a couple of crude moments.

Black and White - Jackie Kessler, Caitlin Kittredge

I'm a comic geek from way back. I don't have the comics anymore but I still have a hardwired love of superheroes. Clever if a bit narrow. I good popcorn afternoon read.

Old Man's War - John Scalzi

I think this book may have been covered in a meeting but it's worth listing for anyone who hasn't read it. Scalzi has a way of expressing deeper themes seasoned with wit and humor that makes his stories entertaining in a way that a lot of scifi writers miss. There are other books from the same universe. While they aren't a series, they conitinue with some central characters so if you enjoy the first, you should read them all. If you're interested The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony and Zoe's Tale expand on the universe created in the first book.
Anna
Anna_Y
Springfield, VA
Post #: 25
We read Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades for the book club a year or two ago. I think we all really enjoyed them. I've been meaning to read the last two books in that universe, but haven't gotten around to it yet!
Vijay
Vijay82
Group Organizer
Fairfax, VA
Post #: 11
If you ever re-read Old Man's War and the Ghost Brigades, try the Sagan Diary as well. It's an unusual style, and it's short (so better to check out from the library than buy, I'd say), but I found it to be surprisingly poignant and intense.
Samuel L.
SamLubell
Rockville, MD
Post #: 1
Her name sounded so familiar, but the books you described did not. .

She edited the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction for a number of years.

I read the Retrival Artist series and found it uneven.
Maria
user 8783484
Woodbridge, VA
Post #: 1
I loved Old Man's War, Ghost Brigades, & The Last Colony. I also read The Sagen Diaries but didn't care for it as much.

A good book I read recently was Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel, which is part of a trilogy. It has magic, time travel, the English countryside, & Atlantis. Can't go wrong with that.
Vernieda
verniedabv
Springfield, VA
Post #: 3
I just finished reading Song of Scarabaeus by Sara Creasy, which was a lot of fun. Its premise is that biotech is used to terraform worlds to make them suitable for human settlement via seeds that germinate and release retroviruses that collect information and then use it to create mutations via rewriting host DNA.

The main character is a very talented cyperteck (one of the people who program the terraforming seeds & unlike other people, she has almost perfect success rate in terraforming) who gets kidnapped by a group of people who want to steal some supposedly dead seeds from a failed terraforming project to use for their own purposes. The story also features an intergalatic empire that likes messing with Fringe colonies, chips that make heads implode if they pass certain boundary limits, and a living jungle that eats people. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

I also just went to Creasy's website and apparently this book has been nominated for the Aurealis Award for Best SF novel (I believe the Aurealis awards are Australia's major literary awards?) and the Philip K. Dick award.
Samuel L.
SamLubell
Rockville, MD
Post #: 3
A good book I read recently was Prospero's Children by Jan Siegel, which is part of a trilogy. It has magic, time travel, the English countryside, & Atlantis. Can't go wrong with that.

I haven't read this yet, but I have the three-in-one collection of the trilogy published as The Way of the Witch. It does look interesting
Vernieda
verniedabv
Springfield, VA
Post #: 4
I just finished reading the latest in Holly Black's Curseworker trilogy/series/whatever. There are two books out thus far:

1. White Cat
2. Red Glove

The premise is that magic is done via curses and is touch-based. You can kill someone with a touch, alter their memories, manipulate their emotions, etc. Magic was outlawed along with alcohol during Prohibition but via the ban on alcohol was repealed, the ban on magic was not. So magic fell under the control of organized crime.

The main character of the books comes from a family of con artists with ties to the mob (his grandfather is one of those curseworkers who can kill with a touch). He just wants a normal life, but that's easier said than done.

The books are a lot of fun with plots structured around cons and heists. If you like stories about grifters, these are great ones. They're young adult novels so they're quick reads too.
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