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Forum: Hard Science Fiction anyone?

Your favorite hard SF books?

I just LOVE Hard Science Fiction, that is, science fiction with A LOT of physics involved ;)
I'm looking for books I still don't know the existence of, and that shouldn't be too hard because here in Italy HSF is quite an unknown genre and I have to look abroad for something in english to read, so... come on! Share your love and let me know if I'm missing something great to mooch!

Me first: personally I'm a big fan of Arthur C. Clarke (I know, I know, it's predictable ;P), Stephen Baxter (just finished reading Stephen Baxter : Moonseed">Moonseed, a must-have book for geology-loving people), Kim Stanley Robinson (his Mars Trilogy is hard SF at its best, with a really plausible political plot), Greg Bear (Greg Bear : Eon">Eon, Eternity, Moving Mars) and Robert J. Sawyer (whatever, the man is just great: try Robert J. Sawyer : Calculating God">Calculating God).

So... how about you?

Il Gobb
5 years ago


I just finished a great book by Gary Tigerman, called The Orion Protocol. 'Ripped From the Headlines' stuff.
4 years ago
Noted, thank you very much ^______^
Il Gobb
4 years ago
Il Gobb,

We may have similar tastes. I've read many of the books you named but I don't think I liked them as much as you did. Authors who get the science right often fail when it comes to plot and characters. Apparently an optimal balance is quite difficult to write.

Here are some recommendations for you.

John Cramer : Einstein's Bridge
Joe Haldeman : The Forever War
Robert J. Sawyer : Hominids It's the first book in a trilogy, but it stands alone well. The second and third books aren't as good (although I loved the part about the God helmet in the second book).
Greg Bear : Darwin's Radio I liked this much more than Greg Bear : Eon and more than Greg Bear : Moving Mars.
The Heritage Trilogy by Ian Douglas (military science fiction)
Gregory Benford : Timescape
James P. Hogan : Thrice Upon a Time



Reading: Geoff Ryman : Air: Or, Have Not Have

Jon Maloney
4 years ago
Hi Jon, nice to meet you ^__^

I completely agree with you: many authors who can get their science right can't equally handle their characters and plots, and balancing those needs is really an unusual feat.
Regarding the first ones, in my opinion, Roger MacBride Allen's "Hunted Earth" saga is a good example, while usually Robert J. Sawyer is able to use all those three elements with much more care.
I enjoy plot-drive SF too, but, while it's true that there are a fair lot of robust plots and credible characters out there... once I get the fiction, I always feel hungry for science :P

The fact is that my love for physics makes me enjoy immensely such (not so easy to find, if you think about it) novels, because science (social science, too) well represented and plausible is one of the main triggers for my sense of wonder ;)
I find refreshing, in a number of good, plot-wise novels, to sometimes read something in which physics is the real protagonist, and the characters only mere instruments to display it. Yeah, I'm odd ;P

I read

- Timescape
- the whole Neanderthal series by Sawyer... and everything else - he's one of my top writers. I really loved Calculating God, it blew my mind. How can he have such shattering ideas? O_o
- both the Eon Saga and Moving Mars (Bear is my current favorite, I just mooched Darwin's Radio)
- Benford's Timescape and
- quite a bit of Haldeman,

but I never tried Cramer and Hogan: I'll fix that!

It's really wonderful to be able to collect such interesting suggestions knowing that they come from other people who loved those books and want to share. Thank you very much, and good reading ^______^

Il Gobb
4 years ago
Il Gobb said, "The fact is that my love for physics...."

Greg Egan : Distress is one you might want to try.
It's a difficult read with lots of physics.


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
I read The Illuminatus! trilogy:
Robert Shea : Illuminatus Part 1 The Eye In The Pyramid
Robert J. Shea : The Golden Apple
Robert Shea : Illuminatus!: Part 3: Leviathan
in the late seventies. They're on my shelf between Elizabeth Ann Scarborough : The Healer's War and Robert Sheckley : After the Fall. :-)

I don't remember it well, except that it was wild and nonlinear.


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
You should add Iain M Banks to your wishlist - his Culture novels and stan alone SF are amazing. The Algebriast springs to mind. I am just reading the first novel in the Culture series - Consider Phlebus - and it's mind blowing.

Peter F Hamilton is also excellent - try the Night's Dawn trilogy - fantastic books.

4 years ago
Have you tried Jack McDevitt's books? His "Hutch" series hits my hard sci-fi button pretty well, mixing the sciences with outerspace archaeology in a believable way.
4 years ago
I've never read McDevitt, although I do have Jack McDevitt : Moonfall on my to-be-read shelf. I have added Jack McDevitt : The Engines of God to my wishlist. Thanks for the recommendation.


Jon Maloney
4 years ago

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