What are some good character-driven sci-fi/fantasy books?

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    Jan 22, 2011 6:39 AM GMT
    I'm trying to find some good books to read, so I thought I'd get some suggestions. It wouldn't even have to be sci-fi or fantasy. In fact, I don't like hard sci-fi or fantasy.


    So any suggestions? Please let me know.

    Thanks.

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    Jan 22, 2011 7:33 AM GMT
    Fantasy:
    Harry Potter! (The books get better as the series progresses, book 2 being my least favorite.)

    His Dark Materials series was pretty good. Yes, another 'children's book.'

    An ex-boyfriend recommended the Wheel of Time. I did not care for the book at all. Entirely predictable.

    If you like True Blood you could reed the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. I prefer the show to the books, but it's interesting to see what was changed in adapting the books to the show and I was curious to see what happens next.


    Sci-Fi:
    You can't go wrong with A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, assuming you haven't already read it.

    Replay by Ken Grimwood was a fascinating book.

    Classics with a Fantasy/SciFi bent:
    Turn of the Screw
    Pretty much anything H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, or Isaac Asimov


    One of my favorite books is Foucault's Pendulum. Without giving too much away, it's a mystery-suspense with a (not an) historical and occult thread running through it.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Jan 22, 2011 2:05 PM GMT
    If you like space operas, try Peter F Hamilton.
  • starboard5

    Posts: 969

    Jan 22, 2011 2:10 PM GMT
    Totally off genre, but one of the most beautifully written books I know: The Folded Leaf, by William Maxwell.
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    Jan 22, 2011 2:18 PM GMT
    You must must must read Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. He has a number of different characters that drive series within the series e.g. the Witches books, or the Rincewind, the Watch, Death books.

    Characters that will tend to show up a lot include:

    Rincewind
    Granny Weatherwax
    Tiffany Aching
    DEATH, his hellhorse called Binky and the Death of Rats (rats get their own Death for some reason)
    Sam Vines
    Susan Sto Helit
    The wizards of Unseen University
    Conan the Barbarian
    Lady Luck, Blind Io, Fate

    They are filled with British humour and tend to explore themes in a great satirical way, as well as being great fantasy.

    The first one is The Colour of Magic which ties into The Light Fantastic. But the great thing about the series is that the world, Discworld, is the main character and you can start anywhere in the series and you won't be completely lost as to what has happened before in the series than say, as in Harry Potter.
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    Jan 22, 2011 2:23 PM GMT
    My favorite book of all time is Shantaram, by David Gregory Roberts,a drug addict and thief from Australia who escaped prison, went back to prison and wrote this book. Go to Amazon and check it out.
    http://www.amazon.com/Shantaram-Novel-Gregory-David-Roberts/dp/0312330537/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1295706140&sr=1-1

    Besides Pat Conroy (who endorses this book), I haven't read an author with such talent for words. Johnny Depp fell in love with the book and bought the rights to make the movie but apparently is was scrapped after filming started. I think the author was not happy with the script.
    Beware. I read this book years ago when it came out and compare everything to it, and nothing ever does.
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    Jan 22, 2011 4:42 PM GMT
    The Mortal Instruments (City of Bones, City of Ashes, etc.) is a pretty good series. The prequel series (Clockwork Angel) is pretty good as well.

    Though if you're just looking for a good read, I, Luciferby Glenn Duncan is an amazing book.
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:13 PM GMT
    Wheel of Time series.

    Fantasy themed, original author Robert Jordan passed on, but the series is being carried to a close using his notes.
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:18 PM GMT
    Dissonance saidI'm trying to find some good books to read, so I thought I'd get some suggestions. It wouldn't even have to be sci-fi or fantasy. In fact, I don't like hard sci-fi or fantasy.


    So any suggestions? Please let me know.

    Thanks.



    Robert Jordan, The "Wheel of Time" series and read all 13 books in order or it won't make sense.
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:20 PM GMT
    Ermine saidFantasy:
    Harry Potter! (The books get better as the series progresses, book 2 being my least favorite.)

    His Dark Materials series was pretty good. Yes, another 'children's book.'

    An ex-boyfriend recommended the Wheel of Time. I did not care for the book at all. Entirely predictable.

    If you like True Blood you could reed the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. I prefer the show to the books, but it's interesting to see what was changed in adapting the books to the show and I was curious to see what happens next.


    Sci-Fi:
    You can't go wrong with A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, assuming you haven't already read it.

    Replay by Ken Grimwood was a fascinating book.

    Classics with a Fantasy/SciFi bent:
    Turn of the Screw
    Pretty much anything H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, or Isaac Asimov


    One of my favorite books is Foucault's Pendulum. Without giving too much away, it's a mystery-suspense with a (not an) historical and occult thread running through it.


    so long and thanks for all the fish LOL good suggestion.
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:21 PM GMT
    The restaurant at the end of the universe kicked butt though with the cow showing off its parts for the diner to decide what onbe wanted to eat.
  • asupas

    Posts: 234

    Jan 22, 2011 5:27 PM GMT
    I'd def recommend the "Wheel of Time" and the "Song of Fire and Ice" series. both are excellent reads.
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:34 PM GMT
    "Dies The Fire" by S. M. Stirling - EXCELLENT read. I couldn't put it down. LOL
    Here's what it's about:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dies_the_Fire

    -Tristan
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:49 PM GMT
    There is a theory that, because science encompasses all of nature, it follows that all forms of literature are sub-genres of science fiction.

    Anyway, just to call out one author from endless possibilities, I recommend Neal Stephenson's books. His earlier ones were a bit rough, but he caught fire with "Snow Crash," which would fit squarely in the cyberpunk mold, though most of his other books do not. (Gotta love Hiro Protagonist, the samurai-pizza delivery boy-rock promotor-virtual reality hacker.)

    His master work so far is "Cryptonomicon" which is difficult to describe, but involves cryptography, WWII combat, silicon valley start-ups, gay lovers, treasure-hunting, and the proper way to eat Cap'n Crunch. Recommended for everyone.

    Many people thought that Crpytonomicon was a big book, but he followed it up with the "Baroque Trilogy," a 3000 page epic, set mostly in the 1600's that really can't be described but involves pirates, alchemy, the rise of the banking system in europe, Isaac Newton (more gay lovers), Robert Hooke, Ben Franklin, and oddly enough, some of the characters (or their ancestors) from Cryptonomicon.

    His current project (with Greg Bear and others) is kind of interesting, and you can read it for free on-line or on your phone. "The Mongoliad" is being published in real-time (updates promised every Wednesday) and available as an app for iPad, iPhone, or android. http://mongoliad.com
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:55 PM GMT
    Mind of My Mind, Octavia Butler (part of the patternist series- BRILLIANT!)

    Sole Survivor, Dean Koontz (an enjoyable and gripping read)
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    Jan 22, 2011 5:58 PM GMT
    Anything by Octavia Butler

    Anything by Peter F. Hamilton

    The Pearl Saga by Eric Van Lustbader
  • ursa_minor

    Posts: 566

    Jan 22, 2011 6:23 PM GMT
    from the fantasy books i have read the Avatar Trilogy: Forgotten Realms ranks as number one (a bit old and has nothing to do with the avatar concept of the recent movie). Characters Midnight, Kelemvor and Cyric are unforgettable.

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    also David Eddings' Elenium trilogy - i like the counter-curse made upon Queen Ehlana

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    happy reading!
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    Jan 22, 2011 6:41 PM GMT
    How about the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson? I haven't read it yet, but I listen to the author's podcast (Writing Excuses) and it sounds pretty good.
  • metatextual

    Posts: 774

    Jan 22, 2011 6:44 PM GMT
    Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook. It follows the adventures of a mercenary company in a relatively low-magic setting.

    i would also recommend the comics Fables and y: the last man.
  • Saffron69

    Posts: 121

    Jan 22, 2011 7:31 PM GMT
    Anything and everything by DAVID GEMMELL. This man brings a whole new meaning to multi-facit (don't know if I spelled that right) in his character. When u can even realate with the "bad guy" in the story or empathize with him/her it makes for great story telling. This man has 31 books under his belt before he died in 2006 n I've read 27 of them. He has a pretty good series it doesn't matter wat book of his u start with u can bet ur ass u will read them all more than twice before u know it. My favorite series is his depiction of TROY.
    If it wasn't for this Author I may have never picked up a novel. I recently started reading RAYMOND E. FEIST His First book MAGICIAN was suberb!!
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    Jan 22, 2011 7:58 PM GMT
    The Culture series by Iain Banks is awesome epic style sci-fi.

    and one of my favorite fantasy series ever i found in a used book store..out of print but you can still find them - Tales of the Flat Earth by Tanith Lee. Her prose is so beautiful it makes me go back and re-read that series over and over.

    And then there's ANYTHING by Steven Brust - To Reign in Hell was great, but his Taltos series is fantastic.