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Recommend some Sci-Fi

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Joined: 06/21/2012

I really need some more science fiction to get into. I'm very particular about the settings I like. Basically, I really want the setting to feel very futuristic; I want it to feel like I'm actually in that time that space travel has been achieved and there's galactic exploration. Naturally, the aesthetics would match such a time (futuristic design, etc).



I really like a lot of alien species, though I'd like them to actually be alien rather than humans with fancy skin colours or nose ridges. Specifically, I'd like alien mindsets and beliefs, though they don't necessarily have to be of the Lovecraftian variety for me to get to like them.



I really, really love ancient and mysterious alien civilisations- particularly, those that have gone extinct or vanished. I love the feeling of exploring alien ruins. It just stirs awe in me for some reason.



Great character development and a rich world. I really want to feel for the characters that I'm reading about/playing with. Very few games and books have been able to do that with me.



Now here's where I can explain better with pre-existing settings that I really like:



-Mass Effect- 

Probably the best science fiction setting I've come across these days. I've never felt so much for the characters I've been with than any other setting. The character depth just really touches me enough to move me to tears at certain moments.



Mass Effect also covers the ancient alien civilisations easily with the Protheans and their lost civilisation. I really loved the whole mysterious air about them (and actually meeting one was one of the best things ever).



The world of Mass Effect is our own, so it was easily relatable. I really loved the futuristic art style of it all as well. If you need a reference to what I like, just go on Google images and search 'thessia', 'illium', 'quarians', or 'the citadel mass effect' to get the gist of what I mean.



-Star Wars- 

Star Wars is great for its diverse alien species and the worlds that are in it. I really love the mysticism of the Jedi and Sith and the art style of some of the worlds (Alderaan in particular).



However, Star Wars does get me sometimes with some of the older sci-fi art with the more clunky looking machines that are more reminiscent of older sci-fi art styles, rather than anything current.



-EVE-

EVE is a very intriguing setting. Though the only species in it is a human one that is divided into several races, the setting draws me because of its mystery and the rich detail into the political factions and its futuristic art style.



Some of the EVE fiction that I've read is extremely well written as well. Here is some of it for a point of reference.



-Star Trek-

Star Trek is very good, but for some reason, I'm finding it kind of hard to get into. I really love the Vulcans and Romulans, but I find most of the species not to be very unique in their look (there are some very interesting ones, don't get me wrong).



Star Trek does have the futuristic elements down good and it also features ancient alien civilisations in the Iconians (who I'm finding more interesting every time I read about them).



-Halo-

Though I haven't really been into Halo much, I really admired its portrayal of different alien species and ancient alien civilisations. I really enjoyed the background lore on the Forerunners (the ancient civilisation) and the religion that was developed around them by the prophets. 



I also found it interesting that there was a galactic community that excluded humans because, according to the belief of the Prophets (a species of aliens), humans were an abomination that were to be completely destroyed.



So yeah. I know this is rather vague and not written to the best of my extent (I'm kind of in a hurry writing this), so if you have any questions, just ask. I'm really eagre to hear suggestions.

Xarnac The Conqueror's picture
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Are you just talking games, or books and movies as well?

Lady N's picture
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Iain Bank's Culture series. 

Xarnac The Conqueror's picture
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If books, Ringworld and To Your Scattered Bodies Go. So many other books/movies ripped off those two, it's not even funny.

IceFireWarden's picture
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The Pendragon Books are pretty good. Animorphs as well (even though their old).

Sotha Chill's picture
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I have some I think you may like:

The Riddick series of movies

Prometheus

and Earthblood. (Which is a book)

Plus if you like Sci-Fi novels, I would recommend John Ringo as an author. Check out hisbooks like The Vorpal Blade series, the Live Free or Die series, and the March Upcountry series.

 

Fiore1300's picture
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Sotha Chill wrote:

Prometheus

COUGH COUGH COUGH HACK SPUTTER COUGH WHEEZE GASP

Xarnac The Conqueror's picture
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Yeah, do yourself a favor and do not watch Prometheus (it will ruin any Alien nostalgia you have and make you wonder if Ridley Scott was abducted by Michael Bay). Watch Duncan Jones' Moon instead.

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Joined: 06/21/2012

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

Prometheus is really bad? I was actually hoping to watch it because I've been a huge Alien(s) fan for quite some time :(

Oh, and I really love space operas.

Lady N's picture
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I think as long as you don't try to relate it to Alien(s), don't expect to watch the best thing ever,  and allow for the fact that it's a movie and everyone in movies is plot-stupid, it's actually pretty entertaining until the end. Got some really sweet designs. 

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Lady N wrote:

I think as long as you don't try to relate it to Alien(s), don't expect to watch the best thing ever,  and allow for the fact that it's a movie and everyone in movies is plot-stupid, it's actually pretty entertaining until the end. Got some really sweet designs. 

That's exactly why I recommended it. If you don't try and tie it in with the Alien series, it has some pretty cool CGI and a moderate plot.

Xarnac The Conqueror's picture
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The problem is, it ties itself into the Alien movies... With a hammed fist. Regardless of any pre conceived notions of what the film is or should be (I went into it knowing it was a Jockey film, and couldn't have cared less if there were any Alien franchise references, other than the obvious universe tie in). Though that's not getting into the complete illogical actions of the crew (something Scott has never really been guilty of until Prometheus). It's not that it's a bad Alien(s) movie, it's that it's a bad Ridley Scott movie and bad movie in general, in my opinion. Sure you can go into it with a "mindless fun" attitude and that it's not to be taken seriously (even though it takes itself seriously), but with that logic, 99% of contemporary movies aren't suppose to be taken seriously.

 

Spoiler: Highlight to view
I've still yet to see anyone successfully defend or even explain the beginning of the third act, that goes straight into John Carpenter "Franken-Zombie on steroids" mode.

 

I personally like thought provoking Sci-Fi. The proverbial "mind blowing" material that makes you positively question what you've just watched/read/experienced. The only meaningful question I had after watching Prometheus, was if they could successfully remake Lawrence of Arabia with Michael Fassbender.

 

But, different strokes for different folks.

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Eh, I could care less about its attachments to the Alien franchise. I only ever really liked Aliens anyway. It was the quality that really upset me. Made a group of supposedly pioneer scientists look like dumb college horror movie victims. Stupid initiating device with the cave paintings. Characters motivations didn't make any sense and personalities can be summed up as plot devices. Nothing was ever explained. Nothing was rendered significant. Reminded me of Daybreakers, actually (although, fairly, that shits-kabob was much worse).

Okay, I guess I've done enough negativity here. What would I recommend?

Movies:

I) Alien Films

The Day the Earth Stood Still (the original 1951, not the preachy 2008 one) - A sincere Cold War call for peace amongst nations, this one kind of touched my heart.

Attack the Block (2011) - a group of street urchin kids defend their block from an alien invasion of Underfyke Matrons, and no I'm not kidding. Think The Goonies meets Aliens. Not a movie for young kids though.

District 9 (2009) - You've probably heard of this one. An example of how great an action film can be when it is centered around its characters. South African Apartheid figures prominently as a theme, and probably the coolest Mech ever to grace the big screen makes an appearance.

II) Low Sci-Fi

Her (2013) - Just saw this recently, and while it hasn't had the proper time to sit with me, I really liked it. At face value, its a story of a man who falls in love with an A.I. But, more deeply, it is a story about Sithis.

Moon (2009) - I don't think this one is terribly well known, but it has some great surprises and kicks out the expected delivery of a few sci-fi stereotypes/tropes.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004) - Worth a watch. I'm still unsure what to think of it myself, so I'll probably watch it a second time at some point. Features Jim Carrey losing his mind. Or memories, rather.

Games:

E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy - I haven't played too far into this game yet, but the setting is intricate and deep and quickly brings you in. In many ways (beyond the texted dialog) it reminds me of Morrowind. It is really hard to get into, however, as the tutorials don't really help very much with learning the game.

Metro Series - I'm playing Last Light now and have finished 2033. Although I'm not keen on post-apocalyptic settings, this one is a bit more unique because it doesn't take place in America, like about 95% of other apocalyptic settings. Also, the Dark Ones are really, really interesting.

Do I even need to mention Valve's Portal and Half Life games?

Xarnac The Conqueror's picture
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Also, check out (very minor plot spoilers, not even spoilers really):

The Prestige: Magicians trying to one up each other over a rivalry, until it hits scientific proportions.

 

The Man From Earth: Cro-Magnon Jesus spills the beans.

 

Primer: Memento for time travelers.

 

Minority Report: Crack babies see crimes before they happen.

 

Contact: Jodie Foster finds signs of Aliens.

 

Sphere: A motley group of scientists, mathematicians and biologists find a space ship under the ocean that crashed in the 18th century.

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Oh! I almost forgot to mention, the new War of the Worlds movie, with Tom Cruise. I really liked it, and thought it was a good remake.

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Xarnac The Conqueror wrote:

Primer: Memento for time travelers.

I can't believe I forgot this one. It has probably been too long since I've watched it. One of my favorite time traveling movies.

Ralen's picture
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What I have recently seen and liked: Star Trek Into Darkness, Oblivion, TRON: Legacy, Dredd, Orphan Black (TV show)...

Anchorite's picture
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If you haven't already read it, might I suggest the original Dune series? I know it's outside most of your stated parameters, but I think that Frank Herbert succeeds in making our own species seem incredibly alien. One specification which you stipulated, deep character development, would definitely apply here. Ditch the television series(es), though; the movie is... an acquired taste, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Also, try playing Alpha Centauri and it's add-on Alien Crossfire. Concise plot: Sid Meier's style civ-building game on an alien planet with ruins and a planet-wide fungus-based alien organism fighting against the human colonies. Factions are not just cultural, but philosophical and political as well... And the add-on includes alien factions!

It's ancient, but deserving of love.

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Four words: The Stainless Steel Rat. 

Awesome series of books from like the 1960's and 70's.

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Anchorite wrote:

Also, try playing Alpha Centauri and it's add-on Alien Crossfire. Concise plot: Sid Meier's style civ-building game on an alien planet with ruins and a planet-wide fungus-based alien organism fighting against the human colonies. Factions are not just cultural, but philosophical and political as well... And the add-on includes alien factions!

I've been wanting to play that for years. I got my copy from GOG.

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Also, the Hyperion Cantos by D. Simmons. Didn't read it, but I was told that it was pretty trippy and intellectual scifi full of references to almost everything.

A short, feel-good, pulpy and compulsively readable novel by Asimov which I read several times: "Pebble in the Sky". A good old fashioned intergalactic adventure where we learn much about love, earth, humanity's origins, galactical politics, and telepathy. Also his "Foundation" series.

Do you like cyberpunk? There is some crazy shit going in that sub-genre. It sometimes takes place in space, though more often just on earth.

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It's funny, I actually like SciFi more than fantasy as a general rule, but TES is probably my favorite IP.

Fiore1300 wrote:

E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy - I haven't played too far into this game yet, but the setting is intricate and deep and quickly brings you in. In many ways (beyond the texted dialog) it reminds me of Morrowind. It is really hard to get into, however, as the tutorials don't really help very much with learning the game.

I'd like to ditto this. It's opaque (very opaque), but totally worth it if you can muscle your way inside. It's also really difficult, so there's that.

 

As for my recommendation: aside from what has already been mentioned, I'd have to say the Foundation series (or anyhing else by Asimov for that matter), or most of Zelazny's work (especially Lord of Light).

Also: why has nobody mentioned Dune yet? Go read Dune! You're missing out if you haven't!

YH
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Bit surprised some of the things on my list weren't mentioned yet, or maybe they were just obvious picks.

 

Also, gratuitous amounts of thumbs up for the Zelazny and Day the Earth Stood Still mentions.

 

Games

  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
  • Freespace 2
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • Deus Ex series
  • System Shock 2

 

TV

  • Almost Human
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Batman Beyond
  • Sym-Bionic Titan
  • Samurai Jack
  • Firefly

 

Movies

  • Blade Runner
  • Gattaca
  • Pacific Rim
  • Wall-E
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds
Sotha Chill's picture
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YH wrote:
Pacific Rim

Eh.

Dagoth Relnav's picture
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I don't know what you're talking about, Sotha. That's the coolest dumb robot movie ever! In a similar vein, Iron Sky is a lot of fun.

YH
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Sotha Chill wrote:

the new War of the Worlds movie, with Tom Cruise. I really liked it, and thought it was a good remake.

 

*cough*

Xarnac The Conqueror's picture
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Looks like taste in Sci Fi will start WWIII in here. Everyone is coughing at each other's suggestions, LMAO.

Sotha Chill's picture
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lol, differences of opinions, apparently.

Veleda's picture
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I don't think anyone's suggested Enemy Mine under the film category?  It's been a while since I've seen it, so maybe I'd feel differently on a re-viewing, but if people liked District Nine, then it would be in a similar vein. Heavily dependent on character and on the acting of the two protagonists.

Reign of Fire for the fantasy/sci fi blend category. Post-apocalypse where the apocalypse is dragons.

Event Horizon, which is a Hieronymous Bosch painting set in space.

I can't recommend any sci fi books, since it's not really my genre. I'm just getting around to reading Neuromancer myself.

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Veleda wrote:
Event Horizon, which is a Hieronymous Bosch painting set in space.

Event Horizon is a horror movie set in space, not exactly science fiction. Furthermore, the script writer forgot to mention where he took his inspiration (well, maybe he did but I haven't found anything on that): Solaris by Stanislaw Lem.

Good science fiction? Somebody mentioned Iain Banks and there is a list there: http://io9.com/5423847/20-best-science-fiction-books-of-the-decade that includes Harry Potter. Is Harry Potter science fiction?

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I'm not going to get into genre arguments, mainly because I don't care. I said that the movie was a painting set in space, I think that gives an indication it's not meant to be "hard" science fiction with lots of technical mumbo jumbo. In fact, I don't care to distinguish fantasy and sci fi at all. Meaningless, arbitrary categorizations imposed by publishers trying to figure out how to market.