Hello, all. I've bene reading UF for awhile and happy to see there is a forum now for more discussion! I'm an angry agnostic (I find the Jehovah described in the Bible rather appalling) who lives in Northern California (exactly halfway between San Fran and Sacramento). I am interested in bicycling, architecture, wine snobbery, and endless philophical ramblings!
Anyone...epic novels??? I've been a Sci Fi reader for yeares, so: I will ditto the William Gibson novels listed above. I've loved ALL of his books, actually,. including the newer, less sci-fi-ish pair (Pattern Recognition is fascination) which may be less epic but still have a tone and sensibility that I find mesmerizing. For epic sci fi, I also love:
The Brian Stableford "Werewolves of London" trilogy, which posits transcendental extradimensional beings who reside in the very fabric between the universes and who lose themselves and their ability to "compete" when they get too wrapped up in the "mortal" world.
John C Wright's Golden Transcendence trilogy...even though the author apparatnly saw the Virgin Mary in a piece of bread and has always been a reactionary-libertarian crank and even though the books are about 40% too long, his vision of a transcendent, post-humanist, post-scarcity, AI filled solar system facing an existential threat from a colony which fell down a black hole, is amazing. He basically takes the Iain M. Banks Culture novels and cranks it up quite abit (while losing readability and the humanity of Banks' work).
Speaking of Banks, I love the latest Culture now, Matter. A renaissance level war campaign, a billion-years old artifical world, and a buried enemy from the past. Wow!
Finally, changing gears...I love Cajun author James Lee Burke and his Cajun detective novels. They again have an eerie tone and consider subjects of morality and the meaning of a "good life" that transcend the genre. In the Electric Mist With Confederate Ghosts remains my favorite.
Anyway...too long a post for a first post, so! :)