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Give me your sci-fi book recommendations

Give me your sci-fi book recommendations

I’ve been chewing through my backlog of books faster than I thought, and now I’m in need of more.

SerfaSam

I love reading. If I’m not reading, I’m thinking about reading and feeling guilty for how long it’s been since I’ve read. Every couple of years I’ll go through a period where I don’t read for months – maybe even a year – and I feel terrible about it. So, I’ve kicked it into overdrive, and have started churning through my backlog of books faster than I thought I would be. I’m quickly approaching a situation where I’ve read through the majority of series I’ve heard are good. So now, I want to know what books you’re reading and whether you’ve got any recommendations for me, dear Chatty. I’d prefer sci-fi, but I’m open to reading other bits and pieces.

As for what I’ve been reading and what I’ve read in the genre previously, let’s talk about that.

Remembrance of Earth’s Past

Right now, I’m working through the Remembrance of Earth’s Past saga by Chinese author, Cixin Liu. I’m on to the last novel in the trilogy, and making good time through it. Aside from hearing how great this series is, I was also reading it in preparation for the TV series – which is in production this year and hopefully coming out in 2022.

Halo novels

Just in case it wasn’t clear, I love Halo. I’ve got a couple of one-off novels that I plan to read after I’ve finished with the aforementioned. There’s New Blood and Hunters in the Dark, which I believe to be separate stories. I’ll likely go digging for more within the Halo series, as they’re quite enjoyable for someone like me, who – as we’ve established – loves Halo.

Dune saga

After reading the saga 15 years ago, I’ve revisited it in preparation for the Denis Villenveuve’s Dune movie – which will hopefully be out this year. I’m currently partially through Children of Dune, with plans to wrap on Chapterhouse: Dune. Now, I have read one of Brian Herbert’s Dune novels, but didn’t find that it managed to hit the same notes that Frank Herbert’s do. Might it be worth revisiting this bias and trying them out again?

Hyperion Cantos

The Hyperion Cantons is probably one of my favorite series that doesn’t get mainstream attention. I love the ideas and themes presented in here, as well as the fusion between Catholicism and its stranglehold on space exploration. This is borderline fantasy, which I typically avoid, but it manages to be more of a social sci-fi, which are great fun.

The Night’s Dawn trilogy

Peter F. Hamilton’s Reality Dysfunction, and the ensuing sequels, are top-notch science fiction. The book manages to touch on the problem of life-after-death and space travel between the stars. Instead of making an alien race the enemy, it’s something far more insidious and I loved everything about it.

Foundation

You can’t talk about sci-fi novels without talking about Frank Herbert and the other king, Isaac Asimov. I’ve read through the Foundation series a couple of times now, and I must admit they got weaker towards the end – even though I did enjoy them. With the TV series coming out soon, I’m excited to see how it translates to the screen.

There are a whole lot of honourable mentions out there, and from other genres. I loved the Dice Man, Neuromancer, Ringworld, and Catch-22. I’ve even read through Atlas Shrugged after playing BioShock back in the day. I do have Red Mars waiting for me, which I hear is a pretty great series.

I’ve got some more novels waiting for me to read, but I like having a good backlog for me to dive into. People often suggest the Wheel of Time series, but I just do not relish the idea of having something like 14 books in a series. I’d feel locked in to having to read them all. So what novels have you been reading and what do you always say people have to read? Give me your recommendations!

From The Chatty
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    August 8, 2021 6:06 PM

    is looking for new books to read. Would prefer sci-fi recommendations! But let me know: what book or series do you ALWAYS recommend to people?

    Read more: Give me your sci-fi book recommendations

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      August 8, 2021 6:17 PM

      When I was a kid I loved This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (author of Rosemary's Baby). Dunno how it holds up.

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        August 8, 2021 6:50 PM

        Never heard of it - I'll check it out!

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          August 8, 2021 7:21 PM

          It is more 1984/Brave New World sci-fi than fantasy sci-fi :/

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          August 8, 2021 7:22 PM

          And if you do apocalyptic horror, Swan Song (Robert McCammon) is excellent :(

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      August 8, 2021 6:24 PM

      1) Dune
      2) Hyperion
      3) Ender's Game

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        August 8, 2021 6:35 PM

        Who'd of thought Beast Rabban would recommend Dune :P And yes, Dune and Hyperion are already mentioned in my post! I love them both. I hear Ender's Game is a bit cringey these days.

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      August 8, 2021 6:29 PM

      Ringworld, World Out Of Time, Integral Trees (Larry Niven)

      Hyperion Cantos (Dan Simmons)

      Urth Of The Old Sun series (Gene Wolfe)



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        August 8, 2021 6:30 PM

        Also Simmons - ilium

        • rms legacy 10 years mercury super mega
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          August 8, 2021 8:43 PM

          Is this the first in that trilogy, I forget? Just don't read the sequels, I remember the quality just falling off a cliff (very common with Simmons). Also Summer of Night is awesome.

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        August 8, 2021 6:37 PM

        Yep, I mentioned in the post I've read the Hyperion Cantos - such a great series. I might have to check out the other Simmons title you mentioend. I've not heard of Wolfe's series though!

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      August 8, 2021 6:30 PM

      i've bounced off Remembrance of Earth's Past like 3 times, makes me mad hahah

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        August 8, 2021 6:41 PM

        Did you get past the first book? I had to start it three times before I decided enough was enough and just stuck with it.

        It got to the point where I couldn't put it down. I think the Chinese cultural revolution stuff just wasn't connecting with me initially.

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          August 8, 2021 6:46 PM

          Nope! That’s what I keep bouncing off of

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            August 8, 2021 6:48 PM

            I know the words of a stranger on the internet don't bear much weight, but if you can just soldier on through the cultural stuff, the Three-Body Problem turns into a quite a good look on how humanity might react to the existence of alien life. Not microbial life, but actual advanced alien life.

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              August 8, 2021 6:58 PM

              FINE

              i'll try again after i get through murderbot diaries

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        August 8, 2021 6:49 PM

        Best sci-fi saga ever

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        August 8, 2021 9:09 PM

        The dark forest is the best sci-fi I’ve ever read.

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          August 8, 2021 9:14 PM

          I was absolutely HOOKED throughout The Dark Forest. Absolutely mindblowing stuff.

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            August 8, 2021 9:19 PM

            And so applicable to us right now right?? For those who don’t know the dark forest is chixin lui’s answer to fermi’s paradox. It really is phenomenal and a little bit scary.

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        August 9, 2021 4:48 AM

        I'm about 2/3rd through and it's not grabbing me like I was hoping. The plot just seems off. Like how is this organization murdering people, and a lot of people know about it, but they aren't getting caught?

        And how is this VR game able to be so secretive? In the real world, this thing would be in magazines every issue, all of the gaming world would be listening to its stories, and trying to figure out who the devs are.

        There's like a detachment the protagonist and vibe off the book has that's putting me off, I think. But I should finish it since I've made it this far.

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          August 9, 2021 10:02 AM

          Finish it to read the dark forest—by far the strongest novel of the series.

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      August 8, 2021 6:35 PM

      You’ve probably already read these but my starter sci-fi three pack for young and old is:
      The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
      The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
      The Road by Cormac McCarthy (not, strictly, sci-fi)

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        August 8, 2021 6:38 PM

        I read Hitchhicker's Guide and just did not find it appealing tbh. It was a bit too random for the sake of being quirky. I've watched the movie, but perhaps reading The Road is a good idea! I've not read Haldeman, so I'll have to check it out

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          August 8, 2021 7:33 PM

          how dare you sir

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            August 8, 2021 7:57 PM

            Sam must have made it past the first book

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            August 8, 2021 8:03 PM

            Haha mate, I just can't. Hitchhicker's was just so outlandishly weird that it felt more like a whimsical child's story than an actual sci-fi epic.

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          August 9, 2021 10:46 AM

          I’ve struggled with many books (here’s looking at you, “Don Quixote”) so I feel you. But in this case, I would like to say maybe give it another shot. You won’t find another book more densely packed with amazing science-fiction ideas at their society-critiquing, philosophizing best.

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            August 9, 2021 4:35 PM

            I've already read it all mate! I read the entire damn thing haha

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        August 9, 2021 7:35 AM

        It absolutely blows me away that Forever War was written in 1974, such a great book and I don't remember seeing several of the concepts in the book in earlier books.

        I found the sequel "Forever Free" to be absolutely terrible with a Bob Newhart-esque ending that made the entire thing not worth reading.

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          August 9, 2021 10:48 AM

          Whew, I never knew there was a sequel. I may have to venture in.

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            August 9, 2021 11:21 AM

            I read it immediately after the first book, hoping for more of what I loved about the first book. It started out that way.

            The ending is nothing short of terrible. I almost wish the book didn't exist.

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      August 8, 2021 6:37 PM

      I've been having a great time reading the Murderbot books. It's important to read them in order.
      I loved the GAP series by Stephan Donaldson but the first book might be really uncomfortable for some people, there is some sensitive subject matter going on.
      I loved the Uplift series by David Brin also Heart of the Comet by him as well was really fun.
      The Dream Park books by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes were really cool.
      David Gerrold's War Against the Chtorr series was really cool but we've been waiting for book 5 in the series since 1993..(it also has some subject matter that some people might bounce off of..)



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      August 8, 2021 6:49 PM

      Here's a couple

      Canticle for Leibowitz - Miller
      Book of the New Sun / Book of the Short Sun - Wolfe
      Doomsday Book - Willis
      The Windup Girl - Bacigalupi
      Perdido Street Station - Meilville
      Starship Troopers - Heinlen

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        August 8, 2021 6:51 PM

        Other than Starship Troopers, I've not heard of these. Adding them to my wishlist!

      • rms legacy 10 years mercury super mega
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        August 8, 2021 8:49 PM

        I don't understand the Starship Troopers recommendations – the book is *nothing* like the classic movie. Loved Windup Girl & Perdido tho.

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        August 8, 2021 10:49 PM

        I thought The Windup Girl was OK, not a great.

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      August 8, 2021 6:50 PM

      Neuromancer

      Expanse

      The Martian

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        August 8, 2021 6:51 PM

        also the Broken Earth series

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        August 8, 2021 6:52 PM

        Yeah, I mentioned Neuromancer in my post. Such a great novel, especially consideirng it's like the genesis of the cyberpunk genre. I also loved the Martian, Weir is such a funny writer. OH. I might add his next book to my list.

        I've not read Expanse. But I've started watching The Expanse - is that based on the book?

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          August 8, 2021 7:03 PM

          The Expanse TV/online show is based on the books, but the tv/online show takes sections and characters from the books and mixes them up. There are 8 books now, with a total of 9 to conclude the set. The TV show segments out parts of 1-6 or 7ish to give you a kind of sampler so-to-speak

          in particular the most awesome character Chrisjen Avasarala, who I consider the best character of the whole TV series, doesn't appear in the 1st book, where as in the TV show Avasarala is basically one of the first people you see on screen. Well you might ask, what the heck were they doing in the 1st book? It's all set up, backstory, building the character of the main crew, etc.

          In costco terms, the TV show is like those sampling stations that adds up to a good taste of the Expanse universe, but the book series itself, each book is like a bulk package of the real thing that Costco sells, like a 52 roll pack of TP, or like 30L of olive oil, or like a 30lb pack of steak, etc. Each of them builds the world in different ways, culminating in a really great experience.

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            August 8, 2021 7:05 PM

            if you were to just watch the TV show, it would be like you saying that you know what costco is like just because you ate at all the sample stations.

            the books themselves are massive tombs and go a lot more in depth into things that in retrospect, makes things much more understandable than in the tv show.

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            August 8, 2021 7:13 PM

            One other clue, one of the the writers of the Expanse (there are 2 of them cowriting) - is the assistant of George RR Martin, in the writing of Game of Thrones.

            The apocryphal story is that the Expanse is made out of plot lines and devices/character types that Ty Franck thought up and filed away in their brain while doing sundry research and busy work for George RR Martin while grrm was busy trying to write got.

            In essence, how the Game of Thrones TV Show works is very similar to how the Expanse TV shows works (ie they tries to follow the books, but takes a lot of liberty in what goes into the books, etc) often changing plotlines, erasing or creating characters, etc.

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      August 8, 2021 6:54 PM

      The Rendezvous with Rama series. Particularly, Rama II and beyond https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendezvous_with_Rama

      And holy shit, I did not know that Gentry Lee did 2 novels in that universe. Now I'm going to have to find them.

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        August 8, 2021 7:20 PM

        I literally added Rendezvous with Rama to my Book Depository wishlist last night haha

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        August 8, 2021 8:45 PM

        Wait, why the sequels? Surely the first is the only one really worth reading?

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          August 8, 2021 8:48 PM

          Rama II is good, the rest are "ok, i guess"

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          August 8, 2021 9:07 PM

          For me it's Nicole's journey through it all and the commentary on the human condition.

          I can rarely bring myself to reread them as I know once I hit the very end of it I'll be a blubbering mess. Always have been. And I rarely cry at any media.

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          August 9, 2021 4:27 AM

          Rama II is fantastic.

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      August 8, 2021 6:59 PM

      Did any of you guys read Knights of the Black Earth as a kid? I bought it because the cover art was cool and loved it, but I don't think it would hold up if I tried to re-read it, today.

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      August 8, 2021 7:15 PM

      If you haven't already, Children of Time and Children of Ruin are fantastic.

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        August 8, 2021 9:11 PM

        Yep, currently reading Children of Ruin!

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      August 8, 2021 7:22 PM

      House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

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      August 8, 2021 7:37 PM

      Starship Troopers
      Ender's Game
      Old Man's War
      The Forever War
      The Left Hand of Darkness
      Altered Carbon and it's two sequels. This one especially, because its vastly superior to the crappy Netflix adaptation.

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      August 8, 2021 8:18 PM

      Bobiverse Series
      Agent to the Stars
      Rho Agenda Series
      The Androids Dream
      The Martian
      Ready Player One

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      August 8, 2021 8:47 PM

      have you considered WOOL?

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        August 9, 2021 11:17 AM

        I'm about an hour into this. Such a weird beginning, but maybe its weird because I can tell it is written so differently than anything else I've ever listened to. I'm at the part where... Holston has left the silo.

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      August 8, 2021 8:51 PM

      Lord of Light, Zelazny.
      True Names, Vernor Vinge

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      August 8, 2021 9:16 PM

      Thank you for using Cortex

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      August 8, 2021 9:20 PM

      Been reading the Ancillary Justice series. Really good. Super cool concept.

      Involves AI controlled ships that have dozens/hundreds of bodies all linked to the main ship AI and are simultaneously controlled. The main character is a ship AI that is cut off from the ship and stuck in a single body.

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        August 8, 2021 9:34 PM

        I just finished the first one on audiobook. It’s good stuff so far.

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        August 8, 2021 10:54 PM

        I really enjoyed that, I wish there were more books in that universe.

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      August 8, 2021 9:56 PM

      Of all the books I've listened to lately (totally on the audiobook bandwagon atm), the first one that comes to mind and stands out is The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi. I'd put that series on par with Pandora's Star (The Commonwealth Saga) by Peter F. Hamilton, it definitely has a similar feel to it.

      Also, the narrator for the audiobooks is Wil Wheaton and he was surprisingly great throughout the whole read.

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      August 8, 2021 10:43 PM

      ALL of Fredric Brown's collected short stories. Nightmares & Geezenstacks and The Best Of in particular.
      The Dragon Never Sleeps by Glen Cook,
      Armor by John Steakley,
      WarWorld/Man-Kzin Wars/Ringworld (all same universe) created by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (Man-Kzin & WarWorld are Shared Universes and Novels by other authors mostly),
      Hammer's Slammers series by David Drake. I also dig Leary Of The RCN by Drake but that's not for everyone. OOO Northworld Trilogy! It's very Terra Nova-like, and he also wrote the Terra Nova official novel.
      Lord Of Light and Creatures Of Light & Darkness by Roger Zelazny
      Cluster series and Omnivore/Orn/Ox by Piers Anthony
      The Dying Earth series (Cugel The Clever & Rhialto The Marvelous) by Jack Vance. Also there's a recent-ish compilation of a bunch of authors doing stories in the world.


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        August 8, 2021 10:44 PM

        Oh I used to recommend Kiln People by David Brin but that was when everyone was slavering over Altered Carbon.

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          August 8, 2021 10:45 PM

          OH Fucking A! Robert Forward. Flight Of The Dragonfly/Rocheworld, and Dragon's Egg/Neutron Star.

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      August 8, 2021 11:00 PM

      Have you read any of the WH40K books? I’ve not read much but Dan Abnett is probably the best author that writes for them. I really loved the halo novels too and took a liking to the 40K stuff. If you wanted to start youD go with Horus rising. Part of a trilogy.

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      August 9, 2021 2:32 AM

      To answer your question about the Brian Herbert prequels and sequels: don't.

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      August 9, 2021 3:35 AM

      I think I'm the only person who ever mentions it, but I absolutely love George R R Martin's first proper novel, a one-off called Dying of the Light. He nails the atmosphere so well. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_of_the_Light_(Martin_novel)

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        August 9, 2021 3:36 AM

        I liked Sandkings. That's more horror though.

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      August 9, 2021 4:31 AM

      Pandora’s Star by Hamilton (and the subsequent books)
      A deepness in the sky & A fire upon the deep by Vinge.
      The mote in God’s eye by Niven and Pournelle (also Ringworld of course)

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      August 9, 2021 6:53 AM

      One that I enjoyed is The Unincorporated Man series.

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      August 9, 2021 7:44 AM

      Necroscope Series -- Brian Lumley

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        August 9, 2021 11:05 AM

        [deleted]

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          August 9, 2021 11:16 AM

          i very much enjoyed the first three on Audible. but #4 narrator pronounced several things differently and I could not finish it. have to read the rest.

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      August 9, 2021 7:52 AM

      Lots of great book recommendations. I love sci-fi.

      I am going through book 6 of the expanse. I didn't see it mentioned, but I love it!

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      August 9, 2021 11:11 AM

      Ravenor, set in the 40k universe. Very fun books

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