This week we look at science fiction series books with Lee offering a few noted and highly praised scifi series. Bob looks into the the world of science fiction computer gaming. Be sure to sign up on our blog and get a free eBook copy of Man’s Best Friend Book 1 – Binaltro.
Once again LJ Stamm directs our attention to science fiction books. This time he is looking at the scifi series.
LJ Book Reviews
A Sampling of Good Sci-Fi Series, all highly recommended. (No particular order)
Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
Classic stuff by one of the original masters of modern science fiction and is required reading for any serious reader of the genre. This is quintessential “hard” science fiction, centered on robotics and its place in the future of mankind.
Majipoor Series by Robert Silverberg
There are quite a few books in this series set in the distant future on Majipoor, a giant planet in a far off star system colonized by humans and other alien races over a long history. There are so many interesting stories here that Silverberg has been writing about it for more than 30 years. The first of the books written was “Lord Valentine’s Castle,” an excellent place to start.
Zones of Thought Universe Series by Vernor Vinge
Another outstanding series, one of which, “A Fire Upon the Deep,” was a Hugo winner. There are three books in this series so far, written over a period of about twenty years. The second one, “A Deepness in the Sky,” is a prequel, the first in the chronology, so I would recommend beginning there.
Cyteen Series by C.J. Cherryh
The Cyteen books also boast Hugo awards and many other accolades, all richly deserved. For those of you not familiar with Cherryh, she has done a number of series, both in sci-fi and fantasy, as well as stand-alone novels and shorts. If you do not know her already, I recommend that you get acquainted.
Ringworld Series by Larry Niven
This is another one with several books, written over many years since the initial award winning “Ringworld” in 1970. Niven has done several other series over his long career, all of which I recommend.
Helliconia Trilogy by Brian Aldiss
Classic trilogy about the cultures and adaptations of the native races on a planet whose seasons are many centuries long. Aldiss is a grand master of the genre with a gift for painting worlds and characters with exceptional eloquence.
Gallactic Center Series by Gregory Benford
Excellent multi-book epic begins in the near future and extends many thousands of years into the distance. It chronicles the conflict between organic and machine intelligences. Great characters, ample action and a lot of physics presented in a well written and entertaining style.
RJ’s Corner – Computer SciFi Gaming
This week I want to look at Science Fiction Gaming and just a few of my favorites. Some of the reviews will slid into Fantasy Gaming but all have been played numerous times by me. This is a multi part review that will continue in the next blog. The first four reviews are First Person Shooters with the fourth one being more like Sim City.
This game is the best I’ve played so far. Fallout 4 is the sixth major installment of the Fallout series. I played the first Fallout released in 1997. It was good but the turn-by-turn system was slow and cumbersome. Well Bethesda Game Studios certainly fixed that problem with later installments ending up with the crème de la crème of the current release. Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic Boston in the year 2287, 210 years after a devastating nuclear war. Your character emerges from Vault 111 and must explore the very open world and complete quests. Scavenging and for hire work can help level up your character and give him or her a leg up in this violent world. You can pick companions (Dogmeat, Codsworth, Preston Garvey, Piper Wright, Nick Valentine, John Hancock, and Deacon) to adventure with and my favorite by far is Dogmeat, a friendly German shepherd that proves an invaluable partner. There are several paths to follow which will determine the main story quests to complete. I choose a more independent path and did not commit to a special interest later in the game. This is a must have game and will certainly end up in my computer games Hall of Fame.
The original Far Cry was released in 2004 and immediately became my favorite FPS. The story sucked you in and the graphic engine was excellent for 2004. Today it would be viewed as old graphics technology but that does not deter from the story and the immersion you feel playing this game. It helps that the location is a lush Micronesian island. You become ex Special Forces operator Jack Carver searching for a female journalist you were taking to a chain of islands. You were separated when your boat was attacked and destroyed. The pacing is excellent and you feel the environment around you. In some very memorable scenes your adrenaline begins to surge as an actual feeling of claustrophobia washes over you. The Far Cry franchise is well worth following. The 3rd one would have us pondering a philosophic viewpoint questioning “taking up the gun to survive” and how it affects your character. Heady stuff. We’ll talk of this another time. Meanwhile try finding this gem in a second hand store. Or, you could purchase it on Steam. At today’s rate ($9.99) you’d be hard pressed to find a better bargain.
Deus Ex – Human Revolution
Cyberpunk meets grand role-playing FPS. This game rocks. Your character is Adam Jensen, an ex-swat officer turned corporate security chief for Sarif Industries, a company on the cutting edge of biotechnology. An attack on Sarif Industries that apparently kills researcher and Adam’s ex-girlfriend Megan Reed also leaves Adam critically injured. In true Six Million Dollar Man fashion (“….We have the technology. We can rebuild him…”) Adam is rebuilt with some very awesome “augmentations” and becomes more then human. Its six months later and you are Adam who must get on-board quickly. The environment is pretty open and the game play is excellent. The story explores themes throughout game play. Trans humanism, the growing power of the mega-corporation, social stratification and the totally expected “conspiracy” theories are just a sampling of the thick content of this game. The graphics still hold up well on today’s gaming computers. And this one came out in 2011! Fun times. Fun times.
Kerbel Space Program
The Kerbal Space Program is a space flight simulation game with you as the boss of a nascent space program populated by Kerbals. The game features a realistic orbital physics engine, allowing for real-life orbital maneuvers such as Hohmann transfer orbits. And I’ve played this for hours trying to develop the difficult art of rocket and spacecraft design along with earning credits to further your explorations. This is a thick and complex world that requires a lot of effort. Just making it into orbit and returning safely is a nearly herculean task. But once you have accomplished this you can move on to the moon projects. If you followed the US space program you will love this game. Go to the Wikipedia site for the game and read up. You will want this game.
That wraps it up for now. Lee and I will be discussing some recent movies and I will continue the gaming discussion. If you have a particular game you’d like to mention, get ahold of me at firstname.lastname@example.org and try your hand at quest blogging.
Until next week.