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Old 24th March 2012, 07:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
JQP
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Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

Hi all,

I'm going to peruse the recommended reading thread, but I figured I'd trawl for more specific recommendations. I'm interested in works relating to space exploration and psionics/ESP, or preferably, both.

The kind of thing I'm looking for is the "Wagon Train to the stars" schtick. Stargate Universe, Star Trek TOS/Voyager/Enterprise, Farscape, Firefly, the Traveller RPG, etc.

Also, I'd prefer to avoid stuff that's already been made into movies or TV programs, since I already know about that stuff and can run it down on my own. Other than that, you needn't worry about recommending something everyone should already know about; I've read very little sci-fi (in fact, other than a couple of Robotech novels, the only one I can recall is Gerrold's never-to-be-finished Chtorran series, which I highly recommend for anyone who can stand reading a series that will never be finished - it's the Duke Nukem Forever of fiction. Edit: now that I think about it, I did read a Pern novel, and Fahrenheit 451, and 1984.).

TIA

Last edited by JQP; 24th March 2012 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 24th March 2012, 08:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

I'd suggest Babylon 5 as an addition to your viewing list, but other than that: Welcome :

Now you're here, of course, you'll never have time to watch or read anything else for a loooooooong time.
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Old 24th March 2012, 08:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

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Originally Posted by Interference View Post
I'd suggest Babylon 5 as an addition to your viewing list, but other than that: Welcome :

Now you're here, of course, you'll never have time to watch or read anything else for a loooooooong time.
I've already got pretty much any TV relating to space exploration on DVD already. Including Babylon 5.

But I'm looking for books, since I've already churned through the TV space exploration.
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Old 24th March 2012, 09:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

  • John W. Campbell's The Black Star Passes and Islands of Space, which can be read for free from Gutenberg.
  • Many of Heinlein's "juveniles", including Starman Jones and the not-quite-a-juvenile Starship Troopers[1]
  • Murray Leinster's Colonial Survey aka The Planet Explorer
  • Lots of van Vogt, such as The Voyage of the Space Beagle, Mission to the Stars, The War Against the Rull and, while not as good, Rogue Ship is very relevant.
  • Probably lots of Poul Anderson, such as After Doomsday and the things in The Worlds of Poul Anderson (if I'm remembering the title right - a trio of short novels)
  • Anything by James H. Schmitz
  • C.J. Cherryh's Union/Alliance books
  • A little different, but Forward's Dragon's Egg (better) and Flight of the Dragonfly aka Rocheworld (more on target) could be mentioned and I have to do so
  • Maybe Haldeman's The Forever War, depending on the width of your net
  • Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought series
  • All the New Wave of British Space Opera guys might do - Asher, Banks, Baxter, Hamilton, Reynolds, etc.
  • And you'll likely love Jack Campbell's "Lost Fleet" series

Especially the JWCampbell, van Vogt, and extra especially Schmitz have your sides of ESP.

-- Oh yeah - and just to make sure: you say you've got everything from TV - that includes Space: Above and Beyond, right?

---
[1] You said not things that have been made into movies but just because a thing has been made into a movie doesn't mean you don't have a totally new experience waiting for you in the original book.
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Old 24th March 2012, 10:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

No, that's one of the few I don't have. I also don't have any Andromeda, yet, either. And there are some older shows I don't have, that I wouldn't mind having, like the original BSG, Lost in Space, etc.

Thanks very much for the recommends. It's so hard to find specific types of titles without someone giving them personally; my web searches weren't very rewarding.

Btw Interference, where are my manners? Thanks for the welcome.
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Old 24th March 2012, 10:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

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[1] You said not things that have been made into movies but just because a thing has been made into a movie doesn't mean you don't have a totally new experience waiting for you in the original book.
Too true; I just meant that I know where to find the books, if I want them. I suppose Blade Runner is a classic example of what you're talking about, at least from what I hear. I haven't read DADoES.

Quote:
depending on the width of your net
Yeah, I was going to mention that I don't mind less-than-strict interpretations, and that I might've just as easily said "exploration." The Chtorran novels have a heavy exploratory element, for example, even though they all take place on Earth (so far); an entire (vivid & fascinating) alien ecosystem comes to us.
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Old 24th March 2012, 11:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

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Too true; I just meant that I know where to find the books, if I want them. I suppose Blade Runner is a classic example of what you're talking about, at least from what I hear. I haven't read DADoES.
Ah, yeah, that makes sense. I'm not sure it's always true for everyone, though - Starship Troopers to Starship Troopers can't be missed and most people know Androids to Blade Runner but sometimes people do say, "I didn't know that was a book!" about various things.

As far as S:AAB, it has fairly high production values when it comes to physical elements and I didn't remember thinking the CGI was awful at the time, so it may have been state of the art but, these days, it's pretty textureless and doesn't look great. And some people don't like the overly "Marines... in space!" angle of the show. But I really liked the show, myself.

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Yeah, I was going to mention that I don't mind less-than-strict interpretations, and that I might've just as easily said "exploration." The Chtorran novels have a heavy exploratory element, for example, even though they all take place on Earth (so far); an entire (vivid & fascinating) alien ecosystem comes to us.
Okay - I was definitely focusing more on the space aspect (the JWCampbell starts out with an airplane but goes outward and upward from there). As far as exploration, the above list still mostly applies, but I could add stuff with more of an exploration and less of an "out there" tilt. For instance, Hal Clement explores an alien planet with bizarre parameters in Mission of Gravity and Arthur C. Clarke explores our oceans in The Deep Range and the Big Dumb Object in Rendezvous with Rama.
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Old 24th March 2012, 11:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

John W Campbell, Leinster, van Vogt, Heinlein and Anderson are all more than fifty years old, and many of the books will be out of print. Jack Campbell is military sf, not "exploration" - unless you define exploration as "finding new worlds and new alien races... and then killing them"...

Cherryh is good, though her last few books have all been from the atevi series (13 books and counting...). New Space Opera dosn't actually have much exploration or ESP in it, though you can't go wrong with Banks, Baxter, Reynolds, Gibson, Cobley, Powell, or any of their contemporaries. Also good is Paul McAuley, Sean Williams, Chris Moriarty, Eric Brown, Adam Roberts, Kameron Hurley...

To tell the truth, ESP's not an especially popular trope at the moment, although I think it crops up in Catherine Asaro's Skolian Saga. In fact, now I think about it, even exploration also seems to be on the way out, if not already gone. It's mostly space opera or near-future sf these days.
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Old 24th March 2012, 11:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

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Ah, yeah, that makes sense. I'm not sure it's always true for everyone, though - Starship Troopers to Starship Troopers can't be missed and most people know Androids to Blade Runner but sometimes people do say, "I didn't know that was a book!" about various things.
Yeah, true. I was just trying to avoid the obvious stuff, like Star Trek or Star Wars novels.

Quote:
Okay - I was definitely focusing more on the space aspect (the JWCampbell starts out with an airplane but goes outward and upward from there). As far as exploration, the above list still mostly applies, but I could add stuff with more of an exploration and less of an "out there" tilt. For instance, Hal Clement explores an alien planet with bizarre parameters in Mission of Gravity and Arthur C. Clarke explores our oceans in The Deep Range and the Big Dumb Object in Rendezvous with Rama.
Yeah, my primary interest is interplanetary, but really what I want is exploration, as long as it's literal exploration; people encountering new biology & terrain, mysterious downed spacecraft, alien artifacts, etc. Exploring their feelings and each other, not so much - unless it's the humans as aliens thing, like in Dune, Firefly, etc. On the other hand, people exploring their ESP/meta-consciousness could be cool, and would be in line with what I'm looking for. Man, qualifications get hard with sci-fi, don't they?
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Old 24th March 2012, 11:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

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Originally Posted by iansales View Post
John W Campbell, Leinster, van Vogt, Heinlein and Anderson are all more than fifty years old, and many of the books will be out of print. Jack Campbell is military sf, not "exploration" - unless you define exploration as "finding new worlds and new alien races... and then killing them"...
Yeah, no, that works for me. From what I understand, the Age of Exploration is kinda the sub-rosa inspiration for this kind of sci-fi, so it definitely doesn't have to be peaceful exploration as far as I'm concerned. Discover new planet, kill some aliens, score with their chicks, etc. is fine by me.

Quote:
Cherryh is good, though her last few books have all been from the atevi series (13 books and counting...). New Space Opera dosn't actually have much exploration or ESP in it, though you can't go wrong with Banks, Baxter, Reynolds, Gibson, Cobley, Powell, or any of their contemporaries. Also good is Paul McAuley, Sean Williams, Chris Moriarty, Eric Brown, Adam Roberts, Kameron Hurley...
Hey, yeah, I almost forgot to ask. Anyone got a link for the New Wave of British space opera mentioned above?

Quote:
To tell the truth, ESP's not an especially popular trope at the moment, although I think it crops up in Catherine Asaro's Skolian Saga. In fact, now I think about it, even exploration also seems to be on the way out, if not already gone. It's mostly space opera or near-future sf these days.
Yeah, I'm not as jazzed about those genres (yet). I'm thinking more along the lines of "the final frontier." That's what really fascinates me - the possibilities of colonizing the galaxy (the psi/ESP stuff would just be icing). I'd be delighted to run across a room full of books set in the Traveller RPG universe, if they were tolerably written.

On the other hand, I've always been more into Star Wars than Star Trek. Maybe I'll start a space opera thread later. Talking about it is starting to whet my appetite, and now I'm curious as to what new stuff you're talking about.

Last edited by JQP; 24th March 2012 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 25th March 2012, 08:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

Al Reynolds' House of Suns has a family of immortal clones exploring the galaxy over thousands of years. His latest, Blue Remembered Earth, follows a family as humanity moves into space and spread out across the galaxy. It's the first in a trilogy. Sean William's Orphans of Earth trilogy - Echoes of Earth, Orphans of Earth and Heirs of Earth - has virtual "engrams" of people exploring the galaxy and discovering alien races. His Geodesica: Ascent and Geodesica: Descent is about the exploration of a vast alien object. As is Al Reynolds' Pushing Ice.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 07:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

I would add the Trade Pact Universe novels by Julie E. Czerneda to the list. There are three novels (as far as I know) and ESP is even at the center of the plot instead of just an "aside".

1. A Thousand Words For Stranger
2. Ties Of Power
3. To Trade The Stars

In my opinion, they are quite enjoyable, if you're into that kind of thing.

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Hey, yeah, I almost forgot to ask. Anyone got a link for the New Wave of British space opera mentioned above?
In addition to iansales' list I'd recommend Peter F. Hamilton (J-Sun mentioned him, too). Especially his latest three (The Dreaming Void, The Temporal Void, The Evolutionary Void) are heavy on ESP and exploration, both. However, they might be a tough nut without reading Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained first, as they set the stage for the Void-Trilogy. But - being a fan of Hamilton's books - I would assure you that reading them is no hardship a-tall.

Furthermore, Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy is eminently readable, as well (imho), although I found the ESP-part has gone astray and drifted into mysticism in these. But that may only be my personal take on the books.

Also, you might try Hamilton's Greg Mandel books. Heavy on ESP, but no exploration (at least in the usual SciFi sense) and they're really detective stories at heart. Which didn't keep me one bit from thoroughly enjoying reading them.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 08:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

This may be of some interest to you:

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Old 23rd April 2012, 01:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

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This may be of some interest to you:
Heinlien definitely. Also Alfred Bester? 'Tiger Tiger' and 'Demolition Man' -- although it may not match the 'space exploration' Star Trek type thing ...
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Old 23rd April 2012, 01:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Recommend space exploration sci-fi, with a side of ESP?

Ian won't like me recommending it but Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy could be right up your street. It's re-exploration rather than exploration, and it has ESP (sort of).
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