Tales From Majestic: Genesis (Cold War thriller series Book 1)


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His young protagonists, inspired by daredevil Evel Knievel, launch a risky, fast-paced flight of their own for freedom, in an arcing trajectory toward self-discovery. Nimura has written a superb and riveting history, the true story of three Japanese girls who were sent to America in the s to be educated.

She includes the fascinating context of their samurai origins, their journey by steamboat from nearly feudal Japan to San Francisco and beyond, their immersion in the Gilded Age and Christian life in America — and then their return to Japan, a shift in culture that is impossible to overdramatize.

This masterpiece of nonfiction narrative reporting tells two stories. The first chronicles the epidemic of addiction to OxyContin and other prescription opiates in Americans. The second — how a Mexican drug distribution network turned those same addicts into heroin users. This novel tells the story of Wyatt and Sadie Earp from beginning to end, not stopping at the famous gunfight and its aftermath but following the couple to the end of their lives, inevitably shaped by that blaze of gunfire in Tombstone, Arizona Territory. This absorbing, intimate account of a modern marriage moves back and forth in time and perspective, as it explores the coupling of two complex, seemingly charmed people.

It closes with a single word that leaves readers clamoring for the finale. Pitre served in Iraq twice and left the Marines in as a captain. In a young Englishman steps off the boat and into the bucolic village of Manhattan with a bill for 1, pounds sterling, payable to the bearer. In her stunning, award-winning memoir, British writer Macdonald recounts how she emerged from a deep grief-based depression by acquiring and training a goshawk: the writing sings on every page and the twining of narrative strands natural history, heavy emotional weather, love for a wild animal is masterfully done.

Before Nov. This group biography of six larger-than-life characters, including writers Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn and photographer Robert Capa, helped me understand the complicated strands of a conflict that served as a staging ground for World War II. This gorgeously written novel, funny and full of heart, follows several characters in the life of Reyna, a tattooed single mom with a rambunctious son, a boyfriend in Rikers and a wise aunt who has seen it all.

Husband and wife team Witze and Kanipe use primary source documents and on-the-ground reporting to tell an amazing story about this world changing volcano explosion in Heartbreaking stories of injustice at the hands of the U. A powerful and disturbing story of pure evil. After oil was discovered on their reservation, the Osage Indians in Oklahoma became rich, and then they began to be killed off — their wealth stolen and their mineral rights transferred out of the tribe. A fictional account of a real 18th-century French maritime expedition exploring the Pacific Ocean before meeting its doom.

Sly writing and startlingly different points of view make this a shape-shifting revelation of a book. It is truly a book that will force you to rethink your relationship to the world around you. It ranges boisterously across the American West while deftly exploring the vastness and vulnerability of the human heart. It is a charming, anxious and touching work. Ford brings back his hallmark character, sportswriter-turned-retired-real-estate-agent Frank Bascombe, for a fourth book.

In her third book detailing the life and times of the fictional Rev. The novel portrays the psychological damage done by an unsettled childhood and artfully recalls a New Testament parable spotlighting the importance of compassion in the Christian repertoire. Filled with precise, poetical and sparse language, the essays in this unusual natural-history book reveal not just the life of trees but how they connect us to the greater world around us. A playful but nonetheless stellar book, this sendup of British literary culture is by at turns an exploration of fragile creative temperaments and a comedy of bookish ill manners — shot through with St.

This book, masquerading as a travel memoir by a famous rock star, is really a fluid, dreamlike meditation on loss, art, mortality and the sacred by a poet with a very sharp pen. This book tells the story of trees, and the megafires that consume more than , acres; before , they averaged one a year. Since then, the annual number has increased to almost Dramatic and suspenseful, this political nonfiction work, which deals with the partition of British India, delves deeply into the political and ideological rivalry between the leaders of the Hindu and Muslim factions, thereby providing a basis for understanding the subcontinental schism.

Stossel is much more than an anxious guy who wrote a self-help title. His highly entertaining way of telling the story — without soppy sentiment or any grinding of axes — is terrific, as is his refusal to take a hard line on this or that flavor-of-the-month treatment for anxiety. In a future New York City flooded under 50 feet of water, investment bankers motorboat through city squares and develop housing projects based on the emergent properties of eelgrass.

The life of an aging ex-army captain is changed when he agrees to escort an orphan girl across Texas in this fictional recounting of what happened to pioneer children who were captured by Indians and later returned to their former lives. Jiles, a poet turned novelist, is an exquisite writer. The cleverest Sci-Fi book i've ever read. A classicand the reason that Azimov deserves his moniker of the father of Science Fiction.

This book features on every 'Best of' list at some time or other and there's a good reason: it is a hilariously perfect and lovingly absurd journey of a simple human being through the wild riot that is existence. So much of science fiction focuses on heavy subject matter without a drip of humor. Adams wants us to laugh at it all, the pretentiousness and the craziness and never forget our towel. War as a constant theme, messed up with embryonic sleeps through hyper speed jumps across the universe, to fight in a ship that is now 10 years out of date.

Multi-platform emotional relationships and an unknown foe. What's not to like? The aliens will need to know what humanity was like even if only to recreate us as a digital slave race in their virtual reality matrix , and if any single author grasps the state of our technological society today it is William Gibson.

I was 14 when I first read Neuromancer, one of the first generation to grow up hooked in to the computer-generated realities that Gibson so presciently explores. For me and for millions of others who live in the modern reality of computers and the internet, William Gibson's imagined future is closer to the truth of now than any work of realist literature.

If you liked Neiromancer, you'll probably like this. Good cyberpunk vibe to it and some literary pretentions , going with a wellpaced, nicely written, occasionally twisted little book. It has survived a damn sight longer than most 'real' scfi novels ever will. And it's a great yarn. It's got everything - essentially it's about Imperialism and Rhetoric, but it has many lessons and much wisdom for those interested in learning about Imperialism, especially the modern-day form of 'Aid' and 'helping the natives' - but then justifications for Imperialism have usually been wrapped up in fluffy-feel-good 'humanitarian' terms.

A good SF novel should be, above all things, a good novel. Sturgeon, a great short-story writer, uses the genre to explore what it is to be human, and how we can strive to be more. It is a novel of discovery, but also a novel of compassion and hope. It's also a cracking good read! One of the most accurate prediction novels I've ever read. This book is great sci-fi- offers a convincing portrayal of a science-led society where privacy and individualism are crushed with an exploration of love, conscience and desire. Despite some dubious plot points Perdido Street Station features one of the most mesmerising and terrifying monsters I've ever come across.

Described with a stunning, fluid, dreamlike intensity, in a wonderfully rendered world, the Slake Moths made Perdido Street Station the most memorable sf novel I've read. Iain M. Banks novels are great because you have to think quite hard to understand them while you're reading them. I normally read pretty fast, but I have to slow down to read an Iain M. Which is appropriate for The Algebraist because he created a whole species of creatures, The Dwellers, that are 'slow'.

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This book is the most imaginative i have ever read and i'm overwhelmed by its brilliance whenever I read it. In 4 6 My source of this information is the episode Namedni from Leonid Parfenov's documentary series Namedni. It starts with a deep-space salvage crew discovering a seemingly long-abandoned ship that turns out to have one occupant—who, once revived, warns them of an alien race that mixes advanced technology with pure evil. What Huyssen describes as re-presentation that comes after memory is the 45 dialectics of representations, historical, cultural memories and events that are remembered, represented, forgotten but also shaped by memories and representations that have preceded them. An electrifying thriller which circles from Whitehall to the slums of Mumbai. Great teen appeal too. Accept his offer!

They live for aeons, on gas giants, and little things like having a conversation can go on for centuries for them. When I read this book I thought that was the most wonderful idea, that we can't communicate with some entities because we're simply on a different time scale. The fun of reading Iain M.

Banks novels is that somehow he manages to think of these things, that once you've got your head round make perfect sense but you might never have thought of yourself. The Laws of Robotics have been one of the guiding ethical codes of my life - and should be for any good person, I believe.

An interactive guide to The Seattle Times' best books recommendations from the past few years.

I was very surprised that not a single person mentioned Asimov as their favourite, despite him having such a wide repertoire. This is a strange little novelette in the middle of Dickson's epic "Dorsai" series. It tells the tale of a pacifist Dorsai who like all Dorsai is in the military, but whose weapon is the bagpipes. Surrounded in a fortress by hordes of clansmen on a Spanish speaking planet, he uses music to insult and infuriate the hordes and sacrifice himself to win the battle.

His honour and courage and the creativity of the cultural values described make this story one my favorites of all time. Ridley Scott is working up the film project now. Superb book, though if you have seen Starship Troopers the film it can spoil it a bit. Its scary, funny and unusually for PKD its got lots of heart. Gully Foyle is a refreshing bastard of a hero. He's agressive, selfish and mean and deserves everything he gets Very cool book goes a little freaky at the end.

A beautifully simple idea a child with an invisible friend that as the book progresses becomes more intriguing and more dangerous at the same time. Also - it's an easy read that can encourage youngsters to take up SF. Brilliant short story about the exploitation of a young gaming genius by the military, published originally in Unfortunately got expanded into a series of novels, but the original is a chillling political parable, which has gained resonance in the era of child soldiers and xbox.

Not only does it have dinosaurs, humour, adventure and a loss of control of the environment in which the protagonists find themselves, but unlike the film version it examines the importance of chaos theory which is what makes it SF for me. A pretty obvious one - Childhood's End is one of Arthur C. Clarke's best and is a science fiction classic. Any fan of the genre reading this book will instantly notice countless ways in which it has influenced subsequent work. For anyone new to the genre, this book is a good starting point.

The story itself is short, enthralling, and easy to read. Even reluctant readers could finish it in a day or so. Murakami is our greatest living writer, and whilst most of his books have flights of fancy that could loosely align them with SF, this is his full-blown masterpiece. Discovered it when I was 11 or 12, in the adult section of the local public library.

It opened me up to the world of "what if" that has remained to this day. I was hooked on Science Fiction since. Mike V. Smith is human, only he was born on Mars, and raised there. That has caused him to think a bit differently, and use more of his brain than the rest of us do. When the full version of the book was finally released, I also bought a copy of it.

Using it as a way to look at life, and how we can treat one another, as opposed to how we do responded to daily life, remains fascinating.

The Angel Committee (The Angel Saga)

It does not cease to teach. I have given copies of it away, as gifts, to whomever asks "Why do you like to read that junk, anyway? Asimov's robot stories not only present a coherent, imaginative vision of the future, but also give us an insight into the ways in which he and others during his lifetime thought about and presented the future. Not only that, but he writes excellent prose and the stories he conceived are always clever and illuminate the human condition.

I wish very much that he was alive today to see the innovations that are happening now. It's an SF story that's really all about humanity, including man's inhumanity to man. It's really the history of philosophy disguised as SF but don't let that put you off. Its depth and language. It rung a chord at the time, the messiah will be crucified nor what time what century and what period. Our political masters cannot handle popular uprising even if they are democratic institutions.

The original world, within a world, within a world, later used frequently in the matrix inception and others. The thirteeth floor film adaptation doesn't do it justice. I would recomend this book because it deals with exactly what science fiction means to discuss: the unknown.

Lem's best novel is about epistemology, and the our absolute ignorance of what lies beyond the bounds of the earth, and how utterly unprepared we are to encounter it. Very very difficult to describe - but it's simply brilliant. It's wildly imaginative, frightening - psychedelic, even. A great, simple story boy searches for lost sister set in a future Britain seemingly viewed through early 90s ecstasy-flavoured optimism. Gods and monsters, budhism v hinduism v christianity in a fight to the finish, the worst pun ever recorded, and a joy in humanity in all of its many aspects and attributes.

And yes, it's SF, not fantasy. I used to re-read this book every couple of years; it's long, confusing at times, but has a wonderful circular narrative that invites further exploration. It's also got a fabulous sense of place even though the city of Bellona is fictional.

Urban Fantasy by Setting

Like early McEwan stories, Delany brilliantly captures a sense of urban ennui and although there are elements of hard sci-fi in the book, they are kept in the background, so that the characters are allowed to come through - something quite rare is SF. I also concur with the support for Tiger, Tiger: a thrilling ride. Find it pretty remarkable that such a list would completely omit any of Dick's work.

Many of his books are of a high enough standard to be chosen, but 'Flow My Tears The Policeman Said' is one of his best. Not really SF, but a world where gods actually exist counts as imaginative fiction to me. A haunting modern mythic saga. The first and best of the epic series which ultimately became too convuluted. Characters innocent and undeveloped, I wish I could read this for the first time again.

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The book that kicked off the 'Foundation' saga. The dead hand of Hari Seldon and his new science, the mathematics of psycho-history unfold against a backdrop of the whole galaxy. Asimov was just so full of ideas and happily his characters were full and real people I cared about - he was THE giant of Sci-Fi and 'Foundation' one of dozens I could have chosen.

Morally ambiguous love-story combined with grounded, 'realistic' sci-fi - i cannot believe no has turned this into a film yet I read it as a child and it has never left me. I believe it leads a young mind to explore "the other" in a different way. Most science fiction, it has been said, is driven by violent conflict; Babel avoids that, having an idea - an untranslatable language - and unpacking it, unfolding out from there. It packs in interesting and human characters, stylish writing, fascinating concepts and ideas, a manic outpouring of intelligent thought, and a great plot, managing to, even now, 45 years after its original publication, be thought-provoking and boundary-pushing.

Utterly gripping. I love the language and the way the book draws you into an "alien" perspective by the assumption that this perspective is "normal". Much like Jostein Gaarder's 'Sophie's World,' or indeed most of Stephenson's other writing, 'Anathem' is a lesson in science and philosophy wrapped in narrative.

In this case, the narrative is sprawling, believable and dramatic, although the middle section feels like a lecture, the purpose of which only becomes apparent towards the end of this weighty novel. The world Stephenson creates is rich and believable, a parallel universe in which science and philosophy are restricted to an odd, codified monastic system - at least until a global crisis places the monks centre stage. Massive, but unmissable.

It was one of the first sf novels I read when I was a kid and it blew my mind. The basic idea of taking current trends, creatively extrapolating them into the future and weaving personal as well as social stories from them just stunned me. And my eldest son is called Isaac. The aliens are fascinating but it's all about the characters and getting inside the heads of flawed, damaged, normal human beings!

Not really sci-fi, more fantasy, still a great book to read that gives the world a cracking character - Druss, the Legend of the title. Displays some of the better gamut of human characteristics, without being overly poncy. Dark, satirical, laugh out loud funny, ridiculous and scathing. The book follows robot Tik Tok as he realises that he does not have to follow the Asimov laws when he kills a young innocent blind girl just for fun.

He soon gets a taste for murder and gets very good at it. Farcical in places with a whole raft of ridiculous characters it draws parallels with the slave trade and the fight for equality. His murderous exploits and cool, calm cunning takes him although way to the top at the White House, his aim: to get his hands on the big war stuff! The novel also takes swipes at celebrity culture, religion, mob mentality and pretty much everything else. It's one of those goto books when a friend asks for a recommendation.

A book that was way ahead of its time, predicting flying machines and total war. Plus it is a great read and adventure story. You believe what you are reading really happended as Martians invide Surrey and London in the late Victorian era. It also created a sub genre of its own the "Alien Invasion" story.

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Editorial Reviews. From the Back Cover. When a mysterious object crashes outside the Town of. 9 Results Codename Angel: Cold War Thriller Series (The Angel Chronicles Book 1). £ Tales From Majestic: Genesis (Cold War thriller series Book 1).

A classic novel that stands above all others. Read this, and it's sequels, 20 years ago. Could not put the book down. Finished it in 2 days. Still totally abosrbs me today. Great detailed story about a lonely, little boy. Also fascinating on the military life of Battle School and the Earth's attitude to alien races.

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Not just this book but the whole series. Benchmark sci fi novel and whats important is the prose, the ideas expunded in the books and the fact that all my sci fi hating friends read the series on reccomendation and were completely converted.

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Amazing book. Incredible vision. Lazurus Long - how I wish to be him! I was twelve when I read Ringworld, my first adult Science Fiction novel. It sparked a life long love of SF. The central concept of the Ringworld a constructed habitat that is a ring around a star is vividly brought to life. The story moves at a pace and the aliens very well imagined - especially the Pearson's Puppeteer. This book is a prime example of why SF will always be a literary form with TV and film being very much the poor relations. I still have that battered second hand copy I read first over thirty years ago and have reread several times since.

Becasue it's a collection of haunting short stories about what would happen when humans got to Mars, each filled with twists, turns and pathos. Like the Martians who defend themselves by changing their appearance to look like humans, to the last human left on the planet after the rest have gone back to Earth. Plus, like all good Sci Fi, it's not really about space, but about humanity. As a young boy this book fed my imagination for sci-fi. Having been originally written in the 30s the vivid pictures he paints of far away worlds with bizarre creatures in a swashbuckling story were far ahead of its time.

As you say if current human civilization was unexpectedly destroyed, I'd like this to survive as a warning of how it could all happen again. A distant star: a group of scientists sent to examine its primitive society. An ambassador given permission to roam. The discovery that the society is not really primitive and pre-industrial. The gradual realization that the society is post-atomic and that the re-discovery of machinery and science has been banned post the disaster Mary Gentle's book is in itself a voyage of discovery in which the reader starts as a comfortable alien observer and ends as a very uncomfortable but involved critic of a world that wobbles between utopia and dystopia.

Very handy for hitchhikers and the best read. Introduces millions of people to to British humour and the SF genre every year. Great advert for SF and also very funny. A fantastic book that should be read by anyone planning to join the secret service as a subversive officer! It's easy to read, a great story that keeps you hooked.

The characters are great and you really root for the hero. A man wakes up naked to find he has been resurrected along with every other human who ever lived during the history of earth. Their new home is a riverplanet, they are all 25, they don't age, they can't die, and it is all a big social and spiritual project, created by an alien race. This book and the ones that follow are staggering conceptually. They mix history, politics, pyschology, religion, and everyday life in a sublime cocktail. One of the few Sci-Fi books that you read in which that you know you are also a character.

For those that go the distance with the whole Riverworld series, the final installment 'Gods of the Riverworld' cranks up the hypothetical social situations to mind boggling levels. Computers that play your whole life back to you, so you can come to terms with your wasted time, evil deeds, poor posture. A super computer that can build rooms a hundred miles wide, and produce anything from human history at request. A cornerstone of the sci-fy genre.

Read how Paul Atriedes uncovers the secrets of Arrakis and the Fremen people. Follow Paul's journey into a dangerous world where unlocking the power of the spice melange and it's keepers transforms him into the most powerful being in the galaxy. Set in an epic universe filled with wierd and wonderul creatures, monsters and alien races. A must read for any sci-fy nut. Despite not having the easiest of openings you really have to force yourself to get past the first few pages , this really is a superb opening to a wonderful Sci-Fi trilogy.

There are some great ideas, some excellent characters and some wonderful speculation on humanities future, but most of all it's a cracking story, and the main plot sideswipes you from left-field when you get to it as it was for me, at least totally unexpected. Cannot recommend this enough.

Imaginative, well written. I really like the way the author describes a data world, and interweaves this with a broader narrative, which includes a comparison between the plight of a Jewish community in Prague during the 16th-century and the futuristic community of the future. Splendid stuff.

So much SciFi work is seen as being written by people whose only talent was a good imagination. Alfred Bester was one a new age of writers who wrote engaging stories that happened to be along a SciFi theme. Gully Foyle is reborn on the Nomad, but is alive to revenge only, in a plot which takes us through a world where instantaneous travel with the power of the human mind is possible.

His journey to discover who he is can only be compared to the greats of SciFi writing. A definite must read. It challenges the concept of self and individuality. It is unremittingly, violently captivating throughout and it introduces the coolest hotel ever imagined. Its simply sublime, beautiful written, and would be an epic if it was on screen. Simply the best series of SCi Fi books ever written. How was it missed out? Asimov changed our understanding of robots with his formulation of the laws governing the behavior of robots.

The stories combine science fact and fiction in such a way that you almost believe the robots are humans. Well written interesting stories that really make the reader ponder the future of robots. It's just a feckin brilliant story apart from the end which was a bit naff imo. This fantasy doesn't include any aliens, space ships, or magic, but it's in its' own weird universe. A very Dickensian gothic tale. I agree about William Gibson. The tale is a great romp of the imagination with an insight into some physics.

It is a completely worked out version of a believable future. It does not require the 'suspension of disbelief' normal to SF. And it is a great adventure story! Old school Silverberg before he went over to the dark side of fantasy , details human feelings of loss like no other SF tale. Very human story of the more-than-humans living amongst us. The enormous scale and technical details of the science fiction element of the story are breath taking whilst the story still holds the reader close to the characters of the core individuals in the story. As with all Dick's books, it explores his twin fascinations: what is human?

What is real? The human side is handled with his usual tender melancholy, while the metaphysical investigations are ramped up and up as the protaganist, teleported to a colony planet where all is not as it seems, dissolves, with the aid of an LSD tipped dart, into a nightmare where reality itself seems to deconstruct. Wonderful language and weird world building.

The protagonist - Adam Reith - a stranded earthman has many adventures, encountering the various inhabitants of Tschai, a much fought over planet.

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Not quite a picaresque as Reith is too honest but some of his associates are less so. Charming and lovely books and, let us not forget, anyone who can title one of them vol 2 Servants of the Wankh is worthy of deep respect even if he didn't know what it means to english ears haha. Do yoursel a favour : read it and see,it will open your mind.

The Player of Games does more than tell an exciting and engaging tale. In the empire of Azad, where the books action takes place, Iain M Banks creates a civilization which reflects the worst excesses of our own, despite its alien nature. Using the empire of Azad themes of one cultures interference in another are explored as the benign, peaceful Culture displays the lengths it will go to push a cruel empire closer to its own philosophy.

The story revolves around a man playing a board game. Admittedly it's a vast, complex board game central to the lives of those who play it, but it's essentially just a big, complicated chess set. This sounds like rather dull stuff to relate to the reader, but the authors descriptions of the game are never less than completely involving and genuinely exciting. There is a popular misconception that Douglas Adams was responsible for bringing humour into Sci-Fi.

But before him there was already the brilliant Stanislaw Lem, whose humour can be often anarchic and deeply satirical. This is a good example of his satirical humour at its most razor sharp. If the idea of Sci-Fi combined with Swiftean satire sounds appealing then this book is definitely for you.

Supremely imaginative, and enjoyable at some level at almost any age. Written in the 50s, it creates a remarkably believable portrayal of modern life, before continuing an escape into an equally believable future. It asks all the important questions about human beings and society. I'm using UoW as my choice but really any of Banks' culture novels fit the bill. Banks' stands astride 21st century science fiction as a giant. He not only manages to excel in world building, The Culture has to be one of the greatest realised sci-fi universes in print, but also manages something that virtually all other sci-fi authors fail at; the evolution of psychology over time.

The inhabitants of Banks' worlds are existentially flawed and carry with them a melancholy created by pitting emotional psychology against the vast backdrop and advanced science they have foisted upon them. The scale of his stories could leave the protagonists dwarfed by the spectacle but they end up dovetailing perfectly into the situations thought up by Banks by allowing us to connect to the madness of existance, whether they're human or alien.

Each of his new novels are events in the genre and allow their readers to conduct thought experiments of what it would be like to exist in such a reality surely the goal of any sci-fi? I read it as a teenager and the sheer scale of the technological achievement of building the Ring has stayed with me - even though I cant remember much of the details of the story today!

Totally influenced and encouraged me to pursue my dream of working in the building industry which I don't regret, even today. Atmospheric blend of fantasy and s decadence, with a consumptive, sexually ambiguous heroine whom I'd love to see Tilda Swinton play! It realistically sets out an anarchist society from an anthropological background; it's a hard life but it actually works!

AND it also provides the alien's perspective on humanity!

Not just the best SF. But best novel Ive ever read. Impossible to explain its importance so briefly. Art irrelevant? SF escapist pap? Orwell lays it out. It is appropriated by literary fiction like most great SF. It's a thousand pages of wonder and awe at how mindboggling complex the universe is and the joy and fascination there is in trying to understand it with just the human brain. This is how physics and philosophy should be taught - at the same time and with multi-dimensional spaceships. An Epic Story, with a dark plot. Donaldson creates a very beleiveable universe. As Soon as I finished the 1st book, I was online ordering the remaining 4 stories.

This is the third book in C. Lewis's science fiction trilogy. It combines themes of mythology, allegory and religion with some great characters and moments of true horror. It's a great story that keeps you gripped all the way through. This book is about the simple acts of kindness that can make immense and profound differences to the future. The main character is Shevik: physicist and great scientist who is nearly close to ending up with a great scientific theory that he knows will change the world forever.

He makes a difficult decision to travel to the neighbouring planet of Urras to try and use their expertise to piece it together. The novel weaves around in time: Shevik's present and past are explored: his strength is buoyed by the love he finds from the woman he loves, but also the limitations of living in a real communist world where there aren't enough resources for the people, are both explored. Back on Urras, Shevik begins to realise he is becoming a small pawn in a powerful government's game and has to reconcile himself with the fact that he may never have been able to go home in the first place and may never go home now.

At its centre is Shevik: complicated, resilient, brave and fiercely intelligent. It remains one of the best characters I can remember in any book - at the end the final twist of the twin narratives meets into one of the best endings I have read in any book. It's a different kind of science fiction that allows the reader to be an active creator of the "other timely" world introduced by Koontz.

It's not about zombies or aliens or space but it does represent something maybe even more bone-chilling: the answer to the question "what if? The epic scope of the book, showing the terrifying yet exciting possibilities of the human race as an multi planetary starship faring bunch of brilliently flawed individuals, and organsiations. A really rare find these days as I think it is out of print. Witty and engaging, it draws parralels with life on earth in a profound and imaginative alien galaxy.

First published in , the book documents the many highs and lows of man's struggle for survival. The book contains the first mention of genetic engineering in a sci fi novel, a compelling and truly eye-opening read. So maybe it is the outer fringes of SF where myth and fantasy meets "steam punk" but it does have futuristic dimensions albeit in a retro kinda way. It is the way the characters seem unbelievable yet real which gets me in all of his books by the way and sucks me in to a reading time vortex - as all good books should. Bradbury's Mars keeps shifting its identity, becoming a symbol of the dreams and fears of America itself.

No attempt is made at scientific accuracy this Mars is hot, for example , and the stories reflect the Cold War era in which they were written. Bradbury could overwrite, but he keeps this tendency under control here, and the book has a haunting resonance. It has the fastest start I can recollect any book having, The Affront are hilarious and the Culture ships superb. I also appreciate that the nature of the excession is never defined.

Hard sci-fi at its best. The attention to detail and depth of knowledge of the author make this a compelling and inspirational book to read. This is a strange, compelling and beautifully written story. I'd defy anyone from the most hard-nosed SF aficionado on up not to enjoy reading it. If can get into the language, you'll enter a plausible yet mythical world where you'll get your first knowin from the eyes of a dog and learn the secrets of the master chaynjis.

Can't believe that none of these magnificent books were chosen. Some better than others, but all full of wonderful prose, deep imagination, gripping stories and interesting characters. One of the few books I've read in one sitting. Set in a wonderfully imagined dystopic America, it's very bleak but also savagely funny, always brilliant, and ultimately heartbreaking. This book is a positive, hopeful contemplation of mankind's possible next step. How we might evolve into something better than we are now.

The first hint of this next evolutionary step is not evidenced by those we conventionally think of as brighter, stronger or more beautiful, but by the supposed freaks and invalids that just might come together in some way to become, collectively, something Ringworld is SF on a grand scale in many respects. Set far into the future, it is scientifically well researched and utterly believable, with "alien" characters that are lifelike and convincing: the story is entertaining yet the concept is original and thought-provoking. A fantastic novel, one of many well-written books by Larry Niven.

Excellent book using Sci-fi construct of time dilation to show futility of war. Written after he server in Vietnam. The sheer scope of the imagination: the predatory Kzin and the cowardly puppeteer. The gradual unfolding of the driving force of the novel: all the time you are thinking it is the major characters and the incredible world while in reality it is the minor character and her luck. My son and I discussed it for days. Farmer is woefully under-rated, and really only known for his Riverworld series, but the World of Tiers is, I think, his masterwork.

It contains so much of why I read SF - it has terrific characters, it's overflowing with ideas, it has marvellous set pieces and it engenders a sense of awe and wonder at the possibilities of our universe or, rather, the multiverse. If I had the money I'd personally bankroll a film of the books, now that we have the technology to do justice to them.

It has a breadth, wit and complexity that ensnared me from the first line. Banks has the ability to create fullt formed world's that are totally believable. An utterly wonderful read. Reads like an allegorical account of the Chernobyl disaster, fifteen years before it happened. The love affair between Lazarus Long and Dora Brandon - but much more. Although not usually classified as Science Fiction, Carter's early novel certainly echoes the themes and styles of the genre.

After all, what could be more sci-fi than a plot in which our hero must struggle against a mad scientist, in order to restore a world of order and 'reality'? The surrealist form of the novel and it's passionate portrayal of female sexuality which is quite unusual for a genre largely dominated by men makes it, for me, all the more interesting. But, first and foremost, it is Carter's unforgettable language that puts the Infernal Desire Machines A book about an unbelievably old man and the wisdom that he has learned throughout the years.

Shows the way we grapple with the big questions. Not without problems, but has incredibly high peaks. The story of an alien who comes to earth to in a quest to save his planet, not ours but is destroyed when he becomes all-too-human. The style is nicely understated, the plot, tech and characters believable and the story is full of gentle ironies. A terrific read. Gripping story,fascinating,immaculately drawn characters living in believable world s.

This book,and it's sequel,"Fall of Hyperion",are masterworks,in my opinion. I was so caught up in these books that they seemed more real than fiction to me,and this feeling holds up with repeated readings. The story got it all: believable protagonist, imaginative story and a view of the future that in it's premises goes far beyond the stereotypical Cyberpunk setting. Compared to his earlier novel "Snow Crash", Stephenson move further away from "Neuromancer" and into the future. To my mind, Dick is the greatest writer of the 20th Century full stop. Never afraid to tackle the big questions, eg what does it mean to be human?

Or, as in this case, what exactly is the nature of reality? Banks' love of the genre shines out of every word. He has all the usual suspects in the Space Opera toy box, but he shows them to us through the eyes of a spoilt man-child who wants to play with them as much as we do. The intersection of magic and the mundane can be hugely appealing. Dragons in disguise? Maybe some or all of these, maybe something even more unexpected.

There is always a bit of narrative distance when you place a story in a fictional land. While the reader can bond with any well-written character, it take a little more effort to put yourself in the shoes of an epic fantasy character, whether they be pig-farming peasants or high-born nobles. When you are reading any kind of book set in the real world, it is especially fun to read one set in your own hometown. If the author has done his or her job well, you can walk the same streets and see the same sights in books that you see when you walk to work.

They talk like you, and drink that weird soda that no one else drinks what the hell is cheerwine, anyway? I know that place! I got close, with only a couple of voids. I did, however, dip into paranormal romance and supernatural mysteries when I needed something for a state. The image of a map at the top of the post takes you to an interactive map showing my pick for the urban fantasy that best represents each state or sometimes just my favorite, if there were many to choose from.

San Francisco. Los Angeles. I would read the hell out of that. New York City. A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be able to attend BookExpo in Chicago, where I saw the books that publishers are excited about for fall. I came away with a huge list of books for my own TBR pile.

It also reminded me that while I did a list of anticipated books in the science fiction and fantasy genres for , I only went through July. Apologies up front how long it has been since the blender last got an update. I had a hell of a year last year, and had to focus on my work and my health.

I hope to be much better going forward about making regular updates to the blender, to make sure that not only do new titles get added but I continue to add older titles that exemplify interesting blends. Since the last update, I have added over titles, mostly published in and Here are some of my favorite titles among those newly added to the database. The bulk of what I tend to add seems to trend toward science fiction and fantasy blends.

One reason for this bias is that I read those genres for review, and just come across the blends most often.

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But I also think some of the most interest blends are happening in the speculative fiction genres. These are genres that just naturally like to take narrative risks. But there are plenty of blends of all genres that are new to the blender. Historical mystery is one of the most popular blends, to the point where it is usually considered a genre of its own. There are plenty of historical mysteries published every year, but I have included a few that were very well-reviewed and brought something new to the genre. Another blend that takes up a sizable market share of its genre is historical romance.

Horror edges into other genres in interesting ways, bringing its monsters and its sense of dread. A couple of good historical horror novels got added, notably Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff that looks at a family in the Jim Crow-era South and their encounters with the occult. And If you like your horror with the excitement of a heist thriller, I offer up The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp and promise you will thank me. Tomlinson locked room-type mystery on a generation ship. Depth , by Lev A.

Rosen brings the noir to a drowned New York, and The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel offers a murder on a colony with a bonus romance. If you want SF with the pacing of a thriller, I highly recommend The Fold by Peter Cline about a man looking into a research team who claim to have figured out teleportation or Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel about the discovery of an alien artifact.

Oh so many fantasy blends. Epic fantasy can get blendy too, as evidenced by the terrific City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, which combines great worldbuilding and a mystery. Of course there is plenty more to explore, with the blender now topping titles. I hope it continues to be of use to those who like their fiction mixed, crossed, bended, and blended.

Usually when people think of science fiction, it is a rule-based setting. But what then do you do with science fiction that adds in something fantastical? Psychic powers are one of the most common fantasy elements that get added to what can otherwise be straightforward science fiction. There is no scientific basis at this time!

No proof that they exist or could exist, or would exist if the conditions were right.

The best science fiction books

Some even bother to walk through scientific example of why the powers manifest. The great thing about genre blends is that authors feel free to borrow whatever cool bits they like from other genres. So with no further ado, here are some great examples of SF with psychic powers. Hari Sheldon is the inventor of psychohistory, the ability to see the future through the use of history, psychology and statistics.

People have been arguing about the Darkover series since it was first published. SF or fantasy? There are also quite a few arguments over whether it is worth reading. The quality of the series is really, really all over the place. I loved the books as a teen but see their flaws quite clearly as an adult. On the one hand, some of the volumes have a completely fantasy feel, with a feudal society where the aristocracy have psychic powers.

Best examples for those books are HawkMistress! MZB gives a semi-scientific example for her psychic powers in these later volumes. Hmm… how to talk about the psychic woo-woo stuff in Dune without giving too much away? But once you get on the planet of Dune, and our young hero Paul starts to take his place in destiny, it starts to really work. Through a combo of long-game genetic manipulation and the use of the mysterious Spice, found only on Arrakis, they have developed a whole range of psychic powers, especially telepathy and precognition. Oh, and the basis of interstellar travel has a psychic element as well, as the navigators use Spice to put themselves into a weird state that allows faster-than-light travel.

In the Pliocene Exile books, a man from the future just looked it up — not too future now! Ever since, certain disaffected mavericks have made the one-way journey to the presumed peaceful and idyllic era. The first book follows a group that make the trip from to the Pliocene, only to find two warring humanoid but alien races already living there. Both races have paranormal powers, and the humans find themselves drawn into the conflict between them.