Death of a Science Fiction writer

Science fiction author Arthur C Clarke dies aged 90.

I used to read science fiction, particularly Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov, and that generation. I haven’t read any in a long time. Can any of you make any recommendations about good science fiction writers today?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Nathan

    I enjoy some of the Ben Bova novels about various planets in the Solar System. Especially “Mercury” and “Venus.”

  • Nathan

    I enjoy some of the Ben Bova novels about various planets in the Solar System. Especially “Mercury” and “Venus.”

  • Manxman

    I guess Michael Crichton could be considered a sci-fi author. His writing is so-so, but he always deals with interesting ideas about possible unintended consequences of technological advances.

  • Manxman

    I guess Michael Crichton could be considered a sci-fi author. His writing is so-so, but he always deals with interesting ideas about possible unintended consequences of technological advances.

  • Manxman

    William Gibson is a good sci-fi writer. He actually coined the term “cyberspace” and anticipated the concept of an internet back in the ’80′s. Check him out on Wikipedia.

  • Manxman

    William Gibson is a good sci-fi writer. He actually coined the term “cyberspace” and anticipated the concept of an internet back in the ’80′s. Check him out on Wikipedia.

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  • WV

    Some very, very good, SF writers:

    Neal Stephenson

    Iain M. Banks

    Alastair Reynolds

    William Gibson (not so much younger, but his more recent books are great)

    Dan Simmons (especially his Hyperion/Endymion books; he writes in numerous genres)

    Gene Wolfe

  • WV

    Some very, very good, SF writers:

    Neal Stephenson

    Iain M. Banks

    Alastair Reynolds

    William Gibson (not so much younger, but his more recent books are great)

    Dan Simmons (especially his Hyperion/Endymion books; he writes in numerous genres)

    Gene Wolfe

  • WebMonk

    Orson Scott Card would be my suggestion based on the sci-fi writers you mentioned.

    I’ve always tended to be more adventure/space-opera/military sci-fi oriented, so I go with Weber, Drake, White, and a new very-fluff writer – Travis Taylor. On the slightly more intellectual side, I like Peter Hamilton and Kevin J Anderson. Of the sci-fi writers I like, I would probably only suggest those last two and Card to you.

  • WebMonk

    Orson Scott Card would be my suggestion based on the sci-fi writers you mentioned.

    I’ve always tended to be more adventure/space-opera/military sci-fi oriented, so I go with Weber, Drake, White, and a new very-fluff writer – Travis Taylor. On the slightly more intellectual side, I like Peter Hamilton and Kevin J Anderson. Of the sci-fi writers I like, I would probably only suggest those last two and Card to you.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    Vernor Vinge.

    He has no equal as a writer who can imbue characters with life and complexity and humanity, even when those characters are almost unrecognizably alien (such as the Spiders in _A Deepness in the Sky_). Nor can anybody match his ability to explore the ramifications of technology, such as wearable computers (_Rainbows End_), galaxy-wide computer networks (_A Fire Upon the Deep_), virtual reality (_True Names_), or impenetrable force fields (_The Peace War_ and _Marooned in Realtime_). And he’s just a flat-out good writer whose works are immensely enjoyable to read.

    I don’t know whether Vinge is a Christian, but certainly he has a rare ability to see the humanness in people and examine the “simul justus et peccator” factor in everyone. And he has a refreshing lack of vulgarity and sex in his novels.

    I’d start with _A Fire Upon the Deep_ and read its sequel (of sorts) _A Deepness in the Sky_. Then read the “Realtime” series consisting of _The Peace War_ and _Marooned in Realtime_ (which have interesting explorations of the role of government). Also throw in his most recent novel _Rainbows End_ which is notable for his vision of what high school education might look like 30 years hence.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    Vernor Vinge.

    He has no equal as a writer who can imbue characters with life and complexity and humanity, even when those characters are almost unrecognizably alien (such as the Spiders in _A Deepness in the Sky_). Nor can anybody match his ability to explore the ramifications of technology, such as wearable computers (_Rainbows End_), galaxy-wide computer networks (_A Fire Upon the Deep_), virtual reality (_True Names_), or impenetrable force fields (_The Peace War_ and _Marooned in Realtime_). And he’s just a flat-out good writer whose works are immensely enjoyable to read.

    I don’t know whether Vinge is a Christian, but certainly he has a rare ability to see the humanness in people and examine the “simul justus et peccator” factor in everyone. And he has a refreshing lack of vulgarity and sex in his novels.

    I’d start with _A Fire Upon the Deep_ and read its sequel (of sorts) _A Deepness in the Sky_. Then read the “Realtime” series consisting of _The Peace War_ and _Marooned in Realtime_ (which have interesting explorations of the role of government). Also throw in his most recent novel _Rainbows End_ which is notable for his vision of what high school education might look like 30 years hence.

  • http://www.myownthoughts.com Suzi

    I’m still a big sci fi reader. Please be aware that the world view in these stories does not necessarily match yours (or mine).

    My favorites are Sharon Miller and Steve Lee’s Liaden series, starting with Conflict of Honors.

    I also like Elizabeth Moon, who just finished up Vatta’s War series.

    David Weber is a good read. My favorites of his are his fantasy, but his Honor Harrington books went to the top of the charts and are quite good. His moon trilogy is fascinating and I like Apocalypse Troll, too.

    John Ringo is a relative newcomer and a very good writer. My favorites of his are the works with David Weber, fascinating hero.

    Michael Williamson wrote a good libertarian novel.

    I like Christopher Stasheff as well, though his fantasy (beginning with Her Majesty’s Wizard) is much better, a re-read, and based off a medieval Catholic viewpoint. Good stuff, if you want to venture out of sci fi and into the realm of a different type of speculative fiction.

    And Linnae Sinclair has marvelous sci fi. They are mostly individual books, not series.

  • http://www.myownthoughts.com Suzi

    I’m still a big sci fi reader. Please be aware that the world view in these stories does not necessarily match yours (or mine).

    My favorites are Sharon Miller and Steve Lee’s Liaden series, starting with Conflict of Honors.

    I also like Elizabeth Moon, who just finished up Vatta’s War series.

    David Weber is a good read. My favorites of his are his fantasy, but his Honor Harrington books went to the top of the charts and are quite good. His moon trilogy is fascinating and I like Apocalypse Troll, too.

    John Ringo is a relative newcomer and a very good writer. My favorites of his are the works with David Weber, fascinating hero.

    Michael Williamson wrote a good libertarian novel.

    I like Christopher Stasheff as well, though his fantasy (beginning with Her Majesty’s Wizard) is much better, a re-read, and based off a medieval Catholic viewpoint. Good stuff, if you want to venture out of sci fi and into the realm of a different type of speculative fiction.

    And Linnae Sinclair has marvelous sci fi. They are mostly individual books, not series.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I have enjoyed many works by Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut (I suppose the latter is sort of sci-fi, at least sometimes).

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I have enjoyed many works by Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut (I suppose the latter is sort of sci-fi, at least sometimes).

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Also, forgot to add: don’t judge any of Philip K. Dick’s works by the movies made from them. Most are horrible, with the possible exception of Blade Runner (which sort of went in a different direction from the book).

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Also, forgot to add: don’t judge any of Philip K. Dick’s works by the movies made from them. Most are horrible, with the possible exception of Blade Runner (which sort of went in a different direction from the book).

  • Arfies

    Nora Roberts has written a series of science fiction books under the name of J.D. Robb. The first was “Naked in Death,” and all the others include “in Death” as part of the title. She’s an excellent author, and I like this series especially well.

  • Arfies

    Nora Roberts has written a series of science fiction books under the name of J.D. Robb. The first was “Naked in Death,” and all the others include “in Death” as part of the title. She’s an excellent author, and I like this series especially well.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Michael Z. Williamson (mentioned above) is a friend of mine. I was quite impressed with his FREEHOLD, but bear in mind that his libertarianism *definitely* includes sexual libertarianism. I like his unabashed warlikeness, though.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Michael Z. Williamson (mentioned above) is a friend of mine. I was quite impressed with his FREEHOLD, but bear in mind that his libertarianism *definitely* includes sexual libertarianism. I like his unabashed warlikeness, though.

  • http://eutychusnerd.blogspot.com/ Gary Manning

    I also read and enjoyed Arthur C. Clarke years ago, and was sad to hear that he died an atheist.

    I still like to read some sci-fi. I like Orson Scott Card. He has won many awards. As a Mormon, he writes from a thoughtful theistic perspective that many Christians will resonate with. His writing ability, characterization and plot development are head and shoulders above most sci-fi writers, with the exception of Frank Herbert.

    Card’s Ender’s Game is deservedly famous. A lesser known series, Homecoming, is Card’s fascinating re-creation of a world and story based on characters both from the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

  • http://eutychusnerd.blogspot.com/ Gary Manning

    I also read and enjoyed Arthur C. Clarke years ago, and was sad to hear that he died an atheist.

    I still like to read some sci-fi. I like Orson Scott Card. He has won many awards. As a Mormon, he writes from a thoughtful theistic perspective that many Christians will resonate with. His writing ability, characterization and plot development are head and shoulders above most sci-fi writers, with the exception of Frank Herbert.

    Card’s Ender’s Game is deservedly famous. A lesser known series, Homecoming, is Card’s fascinating re-creation of a world and story based on characters both from the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

  • Tim Webb

    I’ll second or third Card’s “Ender’s Game”… it’s pretty widely (and deservedly) considered a modern classic.

    I’ll also add praise for Dan Simmons’ four “Hyperion” books. The man, while antagonistic against Christianity, is an incredible writer who covers virtually every writing genre through this series. They’re the only sci-fi books I’ve read worthy of comparison to “Dune”, which is my favorite. By all means, give the first book, “Hyperion” a try (although note that it’s really the first half of the story, finished in “The Fall of Hyperion”, then continued in two more books, “Endymion” and “The Rise of Endymion”).

  • Tim Webb

    I’ll second or third Card’s “Ender’s Game”… it’s pretty widely (and deservedly) considered a modern classic.

    I’ll also add praise for Dan Simmons’ four “Hyperion” books. The man, while antagonistic against Christianity, is an incredible writer who covers virtually every writing genre through this series. They’re the only sci-fi books I’ve read worthy of comparison to “Dune”, which is my favorite. By all means, give the first book, “Hyperion” a try (although note that it’s really the first half of the story, finished in “The Fall of Hyperion”, then continued in two more books, “Endymion” and “The Rise of Endymion”).

  • Philip

    Madeleine L’Engle, I still get goosebumps when I re-read “A Wrinkle in Time.” I still remember the book fair in 1962 when I picked the book off the table.
    C.S Lewis also wrote the Space Trilogy which does not get the press that it deserves. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength” is marvelous.

  • Philip

    Madeleine L’Engle, I still get goosebumps when I re-read “A Wrinkle in Time.” I still remember the book fair in 1962 when I picked the book off the table.
    C.S Lewis also wrote the Space Trilogy which does not get the press that it deserves. Lewis’s “That Hideous Strength” is marvelous.

  • Anon

    In addition to the many fine authors cited above, let me add:

    Connie Willis (_To Say Nothing of the Dog, or how we found the bishop’s bird stump at last_, may be my favorite novel)
    Lars Walker ;-)
    Jack McDevitt
    Mary Doria Russell
    Geoffrey Landis
    Jerry Pournelle
    Eric Flint (who has a series in the 1630s, including Gustavus Adolphus)
    Tom Kratman’s _Caliphate_ is a must-read for the present times

  • Anon

    In addition to the many fine authors cited above, let me add:

    Connie Willis (_To Say Nothing of the Dog, or how we found the bishop’s bird stump at last_, may be my favorite novel)
    Lars Walker ;-)
    Jack McDevitt
    Mary Doria Russell
    Geoffrey Landis
    Jerry Pournelle
    Eric Flint (who has a series in the 1630s, including Gustavus Adolphus)
    Tom Kratman’s _Caliphate_ is a must-read for the present times

  • Pinon Coffee

    I can’t believe nobody’s mentioned Timothy Zahn! He’s written quite a bit, including several of the Star Wars books (definitely among the best of them). He’s conservative-friendly and can definitely spin a yarn. One of my favorites is _The Green and the Gray_, but that’s more like, um, sort of a parallel-reality fantasy. Kind of. Right now I’m working through his old _Cobra_ series.

    I can also recommend Kathy Tyers. I discovered her via her Star Wars book (which was okay), and then discovered her _Firebird_ trilogy and absolutely loved it. I was delighted when she agreed to mentor me in a college writing project one summer–and she’s as good a mentor as a writer. :-)

  • Pinon Coffee

    I can’t believe nobody’s mentioned Timothy Zahn! He’s written quite a bit, including several of the Star Wars books (definitely among the best of them). He’s conservative-friendly and can definitely spin a yarn. One of my favorites is _The Green and the Gray_, but that’s more like, um, sort of a parallel-reality fantasy. Kind of. Right now I’m working through his old _Cobra_ series.

    I can also recommend Kathy Tyers. I discovered her via her Star Wars book (which was okay), and then discovered her _Firebird_ trilogy and absolutely loved it. I was delighted when she agreed to mentor me in a college writing project one summer–and she’s as good a mentor as a writer. :-)


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