Skip Navigation
  • Echopraxia: The Sequel to the Most Recommended Book Ever

    Peter Watts' Blindsight should be no stranger to anyone on PrintSF. On our Reddit incarnation, it was recommended in just about every thread asking for recommendations. It was sometimes even a suitable recommendation.

    Echopraxia is its much-less-well-known sequel, and it's the Art Garfunkel to Blindsight's Paul Simon. It's definitely not as well thought out or comprehensible, but it still does its own thing pretty well, and is a great complement to the other. Though, it might not quite stand on its own so well.

    Watts has changed the setting from near space to, well, nevermind, we're back in space. There are some bits early on that are on Earth, and I thought those were quite promising. There's some great world building - and it really is a fascinating near-future Earth that he's thought up - but, well, a chapter in and we're thrust back into space aboard another spaceship with a whacky crew of post-human misfits.

    Which is fine. Blindsight proved he's quite adept at writing that sort of thing. Only, this time around, no one is quite as, uhh, anti-charismatic as the protagonist of that. The main character is as unlikable as Siri Keeton in his own way, but he's not the fascinating character study. He's just a guy past his prime trying to not get killed in a world he doesn't understand very well anymore.

    And not getting killed isn't a minor accomplishment in this book. Without getting too spoilery, don't get attached to anyone too much. Not that that's much of an accomplishment, either. The marine who practices combat maneuvers in his sleep, and the vendetta obsessed pilot aren't exactly begging you to be on their side. Neither are the mute hive mind scientists or their interpreter. The latter of whom might actually be the only sympathetic character in the entire book. Hey, I might have felt a twinge of sympathy for the resurrected vampire.

    Bashing aside, I enjoyed this book a lot. Much like in Blindsight, Watts loves to throw mind-melting ideas about melting-minds at the pages and seeing what sticks. Quite a few of them did this time around, though not as often as in that one. Some of the mind-melting ideas about melting-minds came across as half-baked or just not particularly well described. For example, the titular Echopraxia only shows up in the last twenty pages or so, and I don't think we're ever told exactly how it came about. Though it's entirely possible I missed it.

    On missing things, I must admit, I either missed or plain did not understand a lot of the plot points of this one. Daniel Bruks (the MC I mentioned) finds himself in ludicrous situation after ludicrous situation which are far too coincidental to be coincidental. There are many allusions to things not being quite as they seem, but very few actual revelations of reality. The end of the book in particular seemed very vague to me, though I suspect a lot of what's happening could be inferred by tying it together with Blindsight to make some sort of meta-narrative on the nature of consciousness and its necessity or lack thereof. And yeah, I've lost myself now.

    Watts' books typically demand a re-read or two.

    Which I'm sure I'll get around to right after I read something mindless and action driven. I need a break.

    4/5 holes punched in my consciousness

  • Best of 2023?

    For me, best of 2023 was Red Team Blues by Cory Doctorow. A retirement-age forensic accountant traveling around in an ex-rock star bus from Walmart parking lot to next gourmet dining location does a job for a billionaire and suddenly ends up in a surprising amount of hot water over it. Hijinks ensue.

    Runner-up goes to Venomous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman. This is some bleak, bleak humor. Instead of carbon credits, Beauman posits extinction credits. Got a big strip mining operation coming up that will kill off a couple species? Better buy some extinction credits to cover their death! (And remember, it takes more credits to cover for a dead intelligent species, so factor that in!) Next extinction candidate: the Venomous Lumpsucker, but don't make it extinct until you've got all your paperwork done. Researcher and extinction credit manager for a mining company end up in a desperate chase around the planet trying to ascertain if the last of the Lumpsuckers are truly gone or not, and we go along for the ride.

  • The Expanse's James S.A. Corey Announces a New Sci-Fi Trilogy | Gizmodo The Expanse's James S.A. Corey Announces a New Sci-Fi Trilogy

    The Hugo-winning author duo—Corey is the pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck—will kick off the series with The Mercy of Gods next summer.

    The Expanse's James S.A. Corey Announces a New Sci-Fi Trilogy
  • Looking for conventional ship and crew adventures that aren't tied to a franchise

    Mass Effect, Star Trek, similar stuff, without the giant franchise money machine. To consume like popcorn.

    One of my favourites is Spiral Wars by Joel Sheppard.

  • October Book Club Voting

    Hey everybody! Sorry I missed last weekend was busy with work. Again this is voting for the book to discuss at the end of October. I'll post the runner up from last month and otherwise post your selection. Don't forget that we will be discussing Winter World by A.G. Riddle at the end of the month / next weekend!

    Looks like "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" wins by default! Since engagement is dropping off here I might defer to the [email protected] book club.

  • Player of Games Discussion Thread

    First discussion thread for the book club. This is for August's book Player of Games by Iain Banks.

    Upcoming events: September ~15th: Voting for October's book September 30th: Discussion Thread on Winter World by A.G. Riddle

  • Books missing something

    What sci-fi books are missing something that seems obvious to us today (and is somewhat central to the story / setting)?

    My first thought was Dune with the ban on thinking machines. If you asked just about anyone today they would say the far future would involve computers everywhere. But Frank Herbert wrote Dune in 1965 when computers were huge, specialized machines and we hadn't even landed on the moon yet. And he saw a future where not only computers became ubiquitous but we're then rejected.

    So what books jump out as missing something that we would find inconceivable today?

  • Daniel Suarez' Kill Decision Killed Me

    The title's a bit dramatic, but I was having trouble coming up with a good pun or otherwise.

    Hot on the heels of his Daemon and Freedom duology, Suarez cranked out this near-future, techno-thriller in 2012. Which I'm sure made a lot of sense given his success with the former. Unfortunately, it fails to live to up to the non-stop, dumb fun of his first couple of releases.

    Where Daemon and Freedom found glee in speculation of near future tech changing the face of the planet, this one is dour to the core. Some shady operation is making drones that kill people autonomously. Some other shady operation sets out to stop them. It's hardly spoiling much to say they (at least partially) succeed in spectacular fashion through a series of larger-than-life set pieces involving copious gunfire and car/plane/drone/boat chases. There's no comedy to be found here, intentional or otherwise. D&F at least had the utter ridiculousness of its happenings to alleviate the constant severity. This one ain't got that.

    The characters are as cliche as they come. Hyper-competent super secret agents, scientists, engineers, and shady business people. A couple of them even fall in love, though thankfully the sex is limited to a line of text: "They made love." I really wouldn't want Suarez to push his writing chops too far in that direction given his proclivity for over-the-top action and technological exposition. Both of which are here in quantity.

    Overall, I wouldn't call it a bad book. Just an entirely predictable, fairly mediocre one. It comes in pretty short around 300 pages or so I'd imagine if I had a hard copy. The technological stuff is dry, plausible, and not poorly written if you're into that. The action is well done, if somewhat less plausible, and keeps things moving.

    3/5 autonomous killer drones

  • Glow in the dark Foundationn

    cross-posted from:

    > I got this book because it seemed like a cool edition of The Foundation Trilogy. I later discovered that it glows in the dark when I turned the lights off to go to sleep.

  • August Book Club Voting

    By popular demand I'm putting together a monthly book club. My plan is to vote for a book to discuss around the middle weekend of the month and to discuss it on the last weekend of the following month. Should give ~6 weeks to find a copy from a library to checkout or purchase it if you like and a little more time to read it in case it's a monster.

    Anyone can submit a book title as a comment and the highest upvoted comment at the end of the weekend will be announced as the pick! The runner up will be automatically included in the next month's voting. Please include the title and author information for any submissions and if you feel like it a blurb on why to pick it. If it has limited availability or something where "googling it" might be difficult please include a link.

    Edit: Looks like the winner is "Player of Games" by Iain Banks. Look for the discussion thread last week of August and mid-August for the new poll thread. I'll be post the two runner-ups since we had a tie. Happy reading!

  • Hit me with your sci fi books starter pack

    Imagine I could only choose 5 sci fi books for a brand new sci fi reader -- what would they be?

  • Monthly book club?

    Any interest? Vote on a book, hold a discussion thread 4 weeks later. Maybe make the vote it's own post with comments being the books and taking the highest upvoted suggestion. Or most total votes up or down for better discussion later.

  • finished House of Suns. now what?

    I just finished reading House of Suns. Wonderful book. So many great ideas and such alien concepts. I really enjoyed it.

    What should I read next?

  • The best new science fiction books of July 2023 | New Scientist The best new science fiction books of July 2023

    From George R. R. Martin’s new Wild Cards anthology to Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's dystopian take on America, there is a wealth of exciting science fiction out this month. Culture editor Alison Flood shares the novels she is most anticipating

    The best new science fiction books of July 2023
  • Where to start with: Iain Banks | The Guardian Where to start with: Iain Banks

    He catapulted to fame with depraved, funny novel The Wasp Factory in 1984, but the much-loved Scottish writer had a parallel career as an influential sci-fi writer

  • What's everyone reading this week?

    Thought it'd be fun to share what everyone has been reading. I'll try to include titles and authors to make finding more information on them easier as well as a brief synopsis and my thoughts.

    I had a lot of travel this week and speed through "Children of Time" by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Great read with very interesting ideas and payoff that had me hooked. Covers human uplifting of other species, their development, and interactions afterwards.

    I've also been working on "Strontium Dog" from 2000 A.D. comics (hey, it's sci-fi and it's printed) and made it through most of Vol. 3. In short, the main character Johnny Alpha is a mutant who's only available employment is as a bounty hunter. Very fun read in general, although part of the main beats in this volume are sad.

    Started a new novel and continued working on my audiobook but I'll save my thoughts on that for next week / when I finish them.

  • What do you read to scratch the "Mass Effect Itch"?

    Politics, combat, exploration, found family. Recs?

  • Have you read: The Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut?

    If so, do you have an opinion? Somewhat of a polarizing work.

  • Any modern equivalent to Red Storm Rising?

    This book was eerily amazing when it was written, but doesn't account for modern technologies. And I haven't really kept abreast of the thriller market.

    It feels relevant today with the war in Ukraine and this story, in particular:

  • Let's play "Lemmy Guess"

    Paste a passage from your favourite speculative fiction, replacing all the proper nouns with "Lemmy". Then I'll try to guess where it came from without using google :)

  • The crossposting bot is gonna take a vacation

    Thanks to everyone that has posted or DMed about the bot doing the Reddit crossposting, and giving me your thoughts! Reviews have been mixed, which I expected, about whether or not the bot is useful or annoying or somewhere in between. It's getting turned off for now and I'll let the community grow organically.

    It can be something used occasionally, turned back on temporarily after two weeks, or scrapped entirely (it's not meant to be permanent regardless). The next couple of weeks and the thoughts and opinions of community members will let me know.

  • What to follow Malazan with? Looking for palate cleanser before diving into next big thing.

    So I've been in the Malazan marathon for a while. Currently early in book nine, but expect to be done book ten within a month. It's fantastic (pun intended)! Going to need something to cleanse the palate after such a rich series -- the speculative fiction equivalent of the pickled ginger served with sushi. Any suggestions?

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/Active-Buy9737] - looking for a Si-fi space opera book series

    He all,

    I am have a really hard time remember what the books where called. I read it probable around 8 years ago. The basic premise of the first book was, earth gets attacked and people start getting abducted. The small bands fights back but find themselves on a ship where they go through genetic augmentation and are turned into an army for the race that abducted them. I do believe its the second book where they manager to take over the ship and get away from the ones holding them. One thing I remember is they use some kind of living suit to help them fight. I think it had 10+ books in the series.

    I understand its probably not the best description out there for a book but I would really love to reread and buy the books. I did look through my kindle history buy cant find anything. Please help if you can.


    Thank you

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/reys_saber] - In Search of Star Trek-like Stories Beyond the Final Frontier

    Space adventure… I love it!!!

    I'm on the hunt for captivating stories that evoke the spirit of Star Trek, but with a fresh twist. I'm looking for either standalone novels or series that feature a diverse team embarking on thrilling space exploration missions. Picture a crew composed of humans, aliens, and even robots, each bringing their unique skills to the table.

    What really piques my interest is if this team follows a code similar to Clive Cussler's characters, where killing is an absolute last resort. I believe that adds an extra layer of complexity and moral dilemmas to the narrative. While I'm primarily seeking action with a touch of mystery, I'm open to stories that also incorporate elements of suspense, horror, and humor. Variety is the spice of the cosmos, after all!

    Furthermore, I'm a sucker for epic starships and books that keep me on the edge of my seat. So, if you have any recommendations that deliver gripping adventures and make the cosmos come alive, please share them with me!

    Together, let's embark on a literary journey that explores the unknown reaches of space, where imagination knows no bounds. Engage!

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/Jenozie] - Looking for (post) apocalypse survival stories

    Im looking for stories about life during or after the collapse of society. As far as realism goes, I can live with most things as long as its not so absurd that it makes no sense (for example the sun vanishes one day). Ive read a few of these sort of stories in my teenage years but I dont recall any particular ones. So have at it and suggest anything from the classics to the hidden gems of the genre.

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/jacky986] - Which steampunk and gaslamp fantasy works show the downsides of industrialization?

    When I was younger I was intrigued by steampunk/gaslamp fantasy works because it looked cool. But as I got older I learned that the Industrial Revolution which is the real life basis for steampunk had a dark side:

    1. Unsafe workplaces: Since there were no regulations regarding workplace safety working conditions during the Industrial Revolution were bad. Prime examples included places like the Textile Mills and Coal Mines. In a textile mill the entire place would be warm and humid leading to workers having lung problems and workers would often suffer from stress injuries and physical deformities from doing jobs over and over everyday. And in some cases like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory a lot of flammable materials weren’t stored properly so if a fire happened they wouldn’t be able to put out because there is no sprinkler system. In a coal mine workers had to work places that were no higher than 30 inches and they had to breathe in coal dust and gases like methane. And like the textile workers the men, women, and children also suffered from stress injuries and physical deformities from backbreaking work. Assuming of course they didn’t die from an explosion which was the result of a buildup of methane and they also had to worry about the roof caving in on them. To top it all off workers in both places had to work 12 -16 hour a days with no overtime pay, endure corporal punishment, have no paid vacations or holidays, if they got injured on the job they wouldn’t get any medical attention, and their wages could be arbitrarily cut, docked, or suspended.

    2. High Pollution and environmental degradation: In addition to contributing to global warming the Industrial Revolution also lead to a lot of environmental degradation. Since there were no air pollution controls and regulations, the sky would be clouded with smog and soot from factories. Deforestation also increased either to harvest more wood, increase settlement, or to mine or drill the land for natural resources. If it was to mine the land miners would often use heavy metals like mercury to separate the minerals from the rock which resulted in contaminating the soil and the water. And when plumbing came along this led to a lot of cities dumping their waste into natural lakes and rivers like what London did.

    3. No sanitation: As I said above when plumbing was introduced this led to a lot of people dumping their waste into natural rivers and lakes. In addition the streets would also be a dumping ground for waste (animal/human), garbage, and they would often be covered in soot that spewed from the factories. This often resulted in the spread and outbreak of diseases like cholera, typhus, and TB.

    To be fair nobody back then anticipated that theses problems would arise from Industrialization.

    Though in any case are there any steampunk and gaslamp fantasy works that show the downsides of the Industrialization?


  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/kern3three] - 2023 Locus award winners


    The Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi (Tor; Tor UK)


    Babel, R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager US; Harper Voyager UK)


    What Moves the Dead, T. Kingfisher (Nightfire; Titan UK)


    The Mountain in the Sea, Ray Nayler (MCD; Weidenfeld & Nicolson)


    A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, Becky Chambers (Tordotcom)

    All award winners and nominees here:

  • A glitch in our bot resulting in way too many posts recently

    Sorry for multiple posts spamming people's feed over the past few hours! Our bot became a bit frisky. I think it's all sorted now.

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/m_padhi] - Well narrated SF book in audiobook format for road trip

    I have already listened to projecct HAil MAry, it was fantastic narration.

    Please suggest more books with great entertaining narration.

    The catch \- has to be family friendly as in minimum swearing, no explicit sex, minimum violence.

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/codejockblue5] - "The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel" by James Howard Kunstler

    "The Witch of Hebron: A World Made by Hand Novel" by James Howard Kunstler

    Book number two of a four book apocalyptic fantasy series. I read the well printed and well bound trade paperback published by Grove Press in 2011 that I bought new on Amazon. I have bought the third and fourth books in the series.

    In this alternate reality, oil well fracking was not invented and the world started running out of crude oil in 2008. Then somebody popped off a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles and somebody popped off a nuclear bomb in Washington DC. And the world slowed down and the USA moved back to the 1800s over the next several decades. We were back to times that the flu and encephalitis killed significant portions of the population. This series is set roughly in 2030 or 2040. The books are page turners with short three to five page chapters.

    The town of Union Grove, New York has decayed significantly over time. No cars, either buy a horse or walk where you are going. No electricity and the farms are worked by hand now. The population is maybe 20% of what it was at the turn of the century so there are houses standing empty all over town. All of the older people remember cars, airplanes, antibiotics, and air conditioning but the young people don't.

    It is fall now and the kids are back in school after the farm harvests came in. Eleven year olds Ned and Jasper are out fishing and then walking home. On the way home, Jasper's three month old puppy runs in to the Brother's horse pasture and starts barking and jumping at Brother Jobe's stallion. The stallion ends up stomping the dog. Jasper comes back in the middle of the night and feeds the stallion opium balls covered with oats, killing him. He stole the opium balls from his doctor father. Jasper then takes off to become a doctor in the town down the way. But, Jasper runs into Billy Bones, a thief and a murderer on the road. Billy Bones is determined that Jasper will become his protege.

    The author has an active website at Warning, the author's website is fairly crude.

    My rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars Amazon rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (616 reviews)

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/IntentionAshamed1958] - House of Suns, Alaistar Reynolds

    I read this whole book thinking Alaistair Reynolds was Peter Hamilton. Don't ask me why they just in my mind merged into the same person for some reason. (And as I read it, I thought it was much faster paced than his other stuff. )

    I thought this was a great book. Then I was checking Reynolds wikipedia (that's when I realised he was a completely different guy) and i recall the title "revelation space" I attempted to read it once but many years ago and never got into it. Now I'm thinking of giving it another try.

    I was surprised there was only one other short story set in the House of Suns universe. It is such a well crafted timeline I think it deserves more books!


    EDIT: I forgot to mention, I'm not entirely sure of the point of the Palatial sub plot.

    Also we never hear about any of the other lines in the book. We know that there are more and the Gentian is not the first. Do the short stories go into these or is it all gentian stuff? It would be great to have a story from another line.



  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/Muted_Sprinkles_6426] - David Drake - the RCN series

    So I just picked up books 10 - 13 of his RCN series , last one was from 2019.

    I was curious if more books were planned and checked out his website and it seems he is no longer writing:

    Dave’s Retirement

    Due to health issues, Dave will no longer be writing novels.

    Since I haven't read these books the series closing in a satisfying way?

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/gerrykomalaysia22] - why isnt there any fanart work depecting characters from Shards of Earth?

    trying to visualize what the characters look like while reading the book. but there is no artwork of the characters. why is that? the book isnt popular?

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/keagan13] - Alastair Reynolds is one of my favorite authors. What other sci-fi should I read?

    I just finished House of Suns after being in a huge reading slump and remembered how much I love this stuff. I just started A Fire Upon the Deep by Vinge and really want to read Banks’ Excession. I just know I’m gonna tear thru all these so any suggestions y’all have would be much appreciated.

  • [X-Posted from Reddit - /u/Linux-Neophyte] - I'm about to abandon Foundations, recommend me other books.

    I'm in the middle of reading asimov's Foundation Trilogy and oh my God the first book is boring. The psychohistorian section was really good because one gets introduced to a huge Universe. I mean you hear about Trantor being this planet with 40 billion people who are in charge of administering the whole galaxy. For a moment I almost thought I was gaal arriving at Trantor in this crazy spaceship, checking out the nice space scenery. I felt like I had been the one graduating with my PhD and was finally arriving at this new world. I felt like I was the one taking the car from the Spaceport to this fancy hotel. It was a great introduction.

    But the sections on encyclopedist and the mayors is so boring it's always these dudes talking about some random policy. And there is no real action at all whatsoever. There are no women in these sections, no one is boning down, no real character development, etc. These two sections feel like someone is giving me a dull summary of conversations that took place.

    I'm looking for some books that are up there with dune and Hyperion. I also loved a dark matter, I thought I was such a fun book to read. And there is no hate on Asimov, as a matter of fact I loved his book The Gods themselves. Old man's war was really cool too. So far the books that I have abandoned this year has been a memory called empire, the three body problem, and I'm really close to abandoning the foundation Trilogy LOL. And your recommendations need not be science fiction or fantasy.

    I'll be down to read a book about humans in other parts of the universe, interacting closely and maybe intimately with other species.

1 Active user