I’ve recently been wanting to read more new science fiction books – mostly since discovering Charles Stross’ writing last year – but I’m not sure what’s actually good.
I’m more than familiar with the genre from roughly 1930-1980 – I know all the classics backwards, and grew up reading Fred Pohl, Clifford Simak, Heinlein, Henry Kuttner, Cyril Kornbluth, Philip K Dick, Clarke, Asimov and so on.
But I’m mostly unfamiliar with SF from recent decades, and so I was wondering if people had recommendations for me.
Of what I know from say 1990 on, I *love* Greg Egan’s work, and have read everything I could by Neal Stephenson. I’ve now read most of Stross’ non-Merchant Princes stuff, and found all of it enjoyable (except Singularity Sky which I couldn’t get into) but his Laundry stuff, Glasshouse and Accelerando I found far better than the rest. I liked David Edelman’s Jump 630 series. I’ve tried reading Vinge but not been hugely impressed, but suspect maybe I’ve tried the wrong books, and I’ve tried twice to read The Quantum Thief but both times found it didn’t click with me.
What I *don’t* want to read is any of the tons of militaristic/quasi-libertarian stuff churned out by the yard by Baen and so on (I don’t mind someone wanting to be Heinlein if they do a good enough job – I’m quite enjoying Monster Hunters International at the moment, which is definitely written from a hard-right-wing point of view – but that ultra-macho breed of American politics seems to go hand in hand with a kind of stupidity which isn’t conducive to good writing). On the other hand, being available on Baen’s Webscriptions service would be useful – they’re one of the few places that sell DRM-free ebooks (and I’ve picked up a few good things from their back catalogue of older writers), and I’d rather have ebooks than paper ones.
Nor do I want anything space-operatic or part of a ‘saga’. Ideally I want, right now, stuff that’s relatively-near-future, with a strong central idea, where the science is not too stupidly wrong (and right now I’m more interested in interesting biotech or information processing ideas than interesting physics or engineering ones), and well-written. And the moon on a stick.
Anyone got any suggestions?