I am mightily inspired by Mark to start reading some sci-fi again. I want to catch up on the big titles of the past decade that I have pretty much missed out on – it’s been a long time since I’ve read anything other than short stories, and even my usual source for those (the annual Best Of collection by Dozois) has dried up.
Here are some of the books on my to-read list (I really should put this info into Goodreads, while I am at it – I see others are also availing themselves of the service, and it strikes me as more useful for looking ahead than trying to enter all the stuff I’ve already read).
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett- seems a good place to get acquainted with the Discworld universe, recommended to me repeatedly, but most recently by Dustin.
The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson – Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World. Recommended by pretty much everyone though Mark’s Stephenson-exuberance is a major factor (and Snow Crash is probably in my top ten of all time). The numbering of this series is confusing – each Volume has multiple Books, so its really a 8-part series rather than a 3-part one, but i’ll read it in “trilogy” format.
Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter. I’ve read a smatttering of Baxter’s short-story work before and he’s been involved with various collaborative stuff, so it’s worth checking out his longer solo work. I call him one of the Big Bs of sci-fi along with Bear, Brin, and Benford. If I like it I’ll go for the rest of the Manifold Trilogy.
Anathem – also by Stephenson, and from Mark’s initial review (which I only skimmed due to spoilers) seems like it might be better to do first before the Baroque Cycle. This article at Wired also got me interested in the book, too.
The Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini: Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr. – this actually came to my attention from the movie version of the first book, which was not exactly LOTR quality but had a strange Star Wars feel to it, and I assume much was diluted out from the book to the screen. I havent seen an original take on dragon-human relationships since McCaffrey’s Pern series (which was satisfyingly science fiction, rather than fantasy, for a change).
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon – been on my to-do list for a long time, out of a sense of obligation, like reading Catch-22 or Slaughterhouse-Five.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – I dunno if I actually want to read this or not, but the mere fact that there’s an entire summer read-a-thon being organized around it makes me want to at least check out the back cover.
I’m gonna try to get these the old-fashioned way – the library 🙂 But I’d really appreciate more recommendations, these sorts of lists are always in flux. What am I missing?