Mitt Romney Makes Me Want to Read Better Books

Mitt Romney’s favorite novel is Scientology-founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth. I find this interesting, as Romney is a Mormon, and Mormons and Scientologists are easily the two most mocked religions among cynical liberals. Also, it reminds me that I want to read more sci-fi novels.

The first comment on the blog that posted this information noted that Battlefield Earth is a crappy novel, and you should instead be reading Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, or any of a number of other authors, including “Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Gibson, Heinlein, McCafferey, Zelazny.” I’ve read all of these and am kind of in the market for new, decent science-fiction novels to check out, so please feel free to suggest someone or something interesting and less well known. Also on the already-read list: Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash, Diamond Age were good but his endings kind of fall flat), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5 and Cat’s Cradle among my favorites), George Orwell (1984 a longtime favorite), Cory Doctorow (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was good), Neil Gaiman (pretty much all his modern urban fantasy stuff is decent), and Ursula K. LeGuin (never did much for me, but maybe I’d appreciate more if I went back and reread). So yeah, please feel free to suggest decent science-fiction novels in the comments, if you know of any.

Jason, if you are in the mood for some decent hard sci-fi, take a look at Charles Stross. Nothing says singularity quite like he does. _Singularity Sky_ would be the place to start, though _Accelerando_ is fun too – a bit of a different look there. And if you want some fun CIA-type stuff with a healthy dose of Cthulhu, check out his _Atrocity Archives_

What about Dune? (frank herbert)

I think I started reading it in 8th grade based on your recommendation and quit out of boredom. (Sorry.)

Lool. I can’t believe I read that in 8th grade. There’s alot of religion in politics in there that I probably didn’t understand.

You never finished Dune? That is unfortunate. Might want to give it another go around, as it is quite good.

Stross isn’t bad; I saw him last year at the con I went to in Boston. He’s pretty funny.

I started reading the Merchant Princes series, which is good (more adventurey-oriented), though it started getting wicked confusing in the last book (parallel universes will do that to you). Haven’t read his hard stuff, but I presume it’s good too.

Oh, and it’s a little more on the fantasy side of things (and western, and horror, and lots of genre-bending in general), but I highly recommend Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Phillip K. Dick, though the stuff I’ve liked the most of his has all been turned in to crappy movies by now…

Hm, haven’t read Stross, have read Dick, and I’ll give some thought to Herbert and King. I’m particularly interested in a neat “find” (someone I’d never even heard of before), which could indicate either my own under-a-rock residence, or (I hope) someone doing contemporary fiction who is just too awesome to become too popular…

Could look into Minister Faust. His first book, _Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad_ was a pretty entertaining romp. I just picked up his second book (which is very interesting – about a psychologist for superheroes – _From the Notebook of Dr. Brain_), but haven’t started reading it yet. Its not the most sci-fi, though.

If you’re into crazy shit, you might check out China Mieville. Perdido Street Station and The Scar were both fricking weird. Iron Council didn’t do much for me, and I haven’t read his most recent, which is set in an unrelated world.

I’ve always liked LeGuin’s “Wizard of Earthsea” series (especially the original three), and her short stories – try “The Wind’s Twelve Quarters.”

If you liked Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, try Doctrow’s most recent novel – Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves town. Much more of a “whole book” kind of feel to it.

I second Dan’s suggestion of China Mieville – PSS is really damn good and The Scar is freaking awesome. Skip Iron Council, as it’s not so good.

If you want a good “one shot” then try Memory, by Linda Nagata. Interesting and quick (candy!) not-too-hard scifi.

Finally, have you tried any Tad Williams? His Otherland series is a fairly massive undertaking, but well worth it. It’s a fairly impressive hybrid of Sci-fi, fantasy, literature, horror, mystery… and pretty much any other genre you can think of – but with an emphasis on the sci-fi/fantasy portions.

Right, shutting up. I don’t even know who you are and here I am rambling a novel about books to you!

Wait wait, don’t shut up, you’re suggesting stuff I hadn’t heard of! Is good! I like people I don’t know!

Anyway … thanks to everyone who’s offered suggestions. I think I’ll start with Mieville and Nagata, as I like crazy stuff and easy stuff for bedtime reading.

Hah, well be warned that Mieville might be a little intense for pre-bedtime. I was reading him extensively while traveling for work, and being all alone in a hotel room with his creepy ideas floating around in my head was pretty damn nerve-wracking ;P

Also, this deviates from the Sci-fi tilt, but have you read The Lies of Locke Lamora? It’s by Steve Lynch, his first novel. It’s kind of… a heist set against a fantasy backdrop. Totally awesome.

~Lisa, who knows Kai, who knows you?

[…] upon a time, I asked you goodly people to recommend some science-fiction books to me to read. And so you did! And there […]