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Ask HN: Recent sci-fi recommendations
38 points by llbowers 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments
Any good sci-fi movie or book recommendations that have come out recently?

I tend more towards cyberpunk and "hard" sci-fi. I love "Blade Runner", "Primer", "2001", "Neuromancer", and almost anything by Philip K. Dick, for what it's worth. But really anything that's a good story and thought provoking would be good.

Recently is a very relevant term, and honestly I'm not sure it matters much as.

I'll answer mostly to the "thought provoking part" of your question.

* Egan, Greg - Permutation City, Diaspora, and basically everything

* Liu, Cixin - The Three Body Problem (trilogy)

* Rajaniemi, Hannu - Jean le Flambeur (trilogy)

* Watts, Peter - Firefall (series)

* Chiang, Ted - The Lifecycle of Software Objects

* Liu, Cixin - The Wandering Earth (short stories)

I know quite a few people in love with Neal Stephenson, but I can't really muster his style. Check out Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age.

Thanks for those recommendations, I am just coming off of a Egan, then Cixin Liu binge, have been reading a lot of German literature instead, but I've not read Permutation City yet and I've not heard of the other authors before.

i'm really interested what german sci-fi you came across.

I liked the beginning of the Three Body Problem, but it got really weird towards the end of the first book. I had already ordered the next 2 books but couldn't motivate myself to keep going. Does it get better?

I read all three and found the first one to be the best. Thinking about it now I think I had the same feeling going into the second half of the first book, it changes tone and setting completely. I initially thought it was doing something like magic realism but explaining it by being a game. The second and third book are much more sociological explorations of humans facing a literal cosmic perspective. I found them alright but I wouldn't recommend it. His short stories are much better.

I liked Book 2 the most, less flashbacks to the past and less emphasis on the Chinese culture/themes. I'd give Book 2 a shot and see if that rekindles the motivation.

I love threads like this as I always end up discovering a new gem. I'm just going to post some of the things I've read recently in case you haven't - it doesn't really matter if a book is recent if you haven't read it I guess.

This definitely doesn't fit the category of recent, but I've been really enjoying working my way through some Asimov classics. If you haven't read Asimov I'd highly recommend him.

Give the Elijah Baley series a try first: - Caves of Steel - Naked Sun - Robots of Dawn

and then move right on to the Foundation series.

I'd second the other recommendation for Three Body Problem, though the third book went a little crazy at the end for me :-)

I've also been really enjoying reading some Verner Vinge novels: - A fire upon the deep - A deepness in the sky - The Children of the Sky

Nobody has said it yet, so I'll throw The Expanse series out there.

It's not new, but I always really enjoyed the Ben Bova Grand Tour novels as well.

There is a recent movie about AI and body implants called Upgrade. A guy gets into an accident and ends paralyzed from the neck down. A rich guy offers him a chip that sort of combine his mind with an AI. It's low budget, but competent. I highly recommend.

I was also pleasantly surprised by this film. Very enjoyable.

If you like Blade Runner, you'll like the Swedish TV series "Äkta människor." There was also an English remake called "Real Humans", but it doesn't hold a candle to the original.

I'm not sure if it counts as recent, but you should absolutely read The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin.

I also really enjoyed The Nexus Trilogy by Ramez Naam.

Can't over state how amazing the three body problem was.

Not sure if it fits your recent definition but Three Body Problem series is highly recommended for "hard" sci-fi fans.

I didnt see almost anything hard about Three Body Problems. I only read first book, because the story was not that interesting.

I dont really read sci-fi that much, but Blindsight has been ten times better when it comes to hard scifi

Well I suppose that’s personal taste. Book and the series is categorised as hard fiction on the basis of gravitational physics problem woven into the plot and taken much further into next two books. Your definition may not align with it but it’s very odd to compare two different work based on personal taste rather than merit.

Iain M. Banks the Culture novels are wonderful, there are 9 of them. Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth universe and the new one Salvation are great. My favorite in the last 10 years or so is The Passage by Justin Cronin, when I started reading it felt like I was reading early Stephen King. He is the best writer of the above, and the story is compelling. There are two more books in The Passage trilogy.

Amazon is making a show from the first of the Culture novels (which is the fastest moving SciFi book I've ever read) and Fox fxx is putting The Passage on TV in Jan. I recommend reading it before it comes out on TV since they are rearranging the timeline on TV.

The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi, is an entertaining space opera with colorful characters. Second book in the series just came out last month!

Not that new anymore (the first part of the series was published in 2011) but I can highly recommend William Hertling's Singularity Series, which starts with Avogadro Corp: http://www.williamhertling.com/books/

I have three recommendations no one has mentioned yet:

1) Charles Stross, "The Laundry Files" series and the "Merchant Princes"/"Deep State" series.

2) Craig Alanson's "Expeditionary Force" series. Start with book 1, "Columbus Day".

3) Andy Weir, "The Martian" and "Artemis".

I recently listened the audiobook version of Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, and liked it a lot. It's an interesting Robin Hood kind of a tale set in far future and told from two different perspectives of the same story.

Ada Palmer / Too Like the Lightning is fantastic. The ideas are breathtaking, the characters are fascinating, and as the plot and the world is revealed, you can’t help but be in awe of the author’s storytelling.

Alastair Reynolds' "Revenger" (2016) is great. I'll not try to summarise it, my take may not be useful, but it's absolutely brilliant world-building (system building?).

Check out compellingsciencefiction.com

It has a collection of short stories written by different authors. Most of them are written within last 2 years or so

The Expanse. Books and show are both great.

If ARQ (2016) is still on Netflix, check it out

* Sunshine (2007)

* Moon (2009)

* Steins;Gate (2011, anime)

* Looper (2012)

* Snowpiercer (2013)

* Ex Machina (2014)

* Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Not sure if it fits those categories, but I'm enjoying the Destroyermen series at the moment.

although probably not recent and cyberpunk enough - but since they are one of those sci-fi books you should not leave untouched - i through in the hyperion cantos by dan simmons.

Claire Denis's High Life is pretty solid and weird.

The Murderbot series by Martha Wells


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