Looking for some sci-fi and fantasy suggestions. Here are some that hold up to the rigors of a scientifically-minded engineer.
Brad is an avid Sci-fi and Fantasy reader. While I’ve already covered Max’s favorite picks for fantasy books, those were for younger readers. So I asked Brad to share his favorite books.
He comes from a particular perspective… His Ph.D. thesis worked on the math that allows your cellphone to transmit and receive huge amounts of data (eg. video). He’s worked in avionics and satellite communications. He’s not really afraid of ghosts, aliens, or things that go bump in the night. Unlike me, his brain is fully grounded in reality.
So his interest in sci-fi and fantasy is, in part, based on how realistic the technology is. He also likes stories with a bit of philosophy.
I asked Brad to take some time out of his crazy busy schedule to share his favorite picks for sci-fi and fantasy novels.
Brad’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Recommendations
Iain Banks – Culture series
Iain Banks’ storytelling style is my hands-down favorite. His novels blend humor, believable and fantastical scientific feats of engineering, and downtrodden anti-heroes.
The Culture series books are not necessarily directly linked in any way other than a shared universe and some shared characters. I think it’s fine to read them in any order you want.
Tad Williams – Otherland, Shadowmarch
Tad Williams does fantasy and sci-fi equally well. His writing style has a dark undertone, and he prefers to blur the good-evil line. His novels are true series, and you’ll need to read them in order, but it’s well worth the effort.
Robert Jordan – Wheel of Time
I started reading these when I was a teenager. The underdog hero is an easy hook for any impressionable kid. This series is truly epic (13 books!) and it even outlived Robert himself (his son had to help wrap up the series using his notes).
The magic system is memorable and there are ample political and relationship conflicts. While even I admit some of the middle books go off on tangents and lose sight of the overall story, if you like epic fantasy worlds, this one is a must-read.
Patrick Rothfuss – The Kingkiller Chronicles
This one is another fantasy with an underdog hero, but one that takes a bit longer to mature. Reading about Kvothe in the first two books of the series is sort of like watching a pinball ricochet about randomly. The threads seem to be disjointed until the end when it becomes clear that they are expertly woven together.
The series is still being written, and I check monthly for any news about the third book.