Book Recommendation Filter: Vacation, Sci-Fi, Entertainment
November 17, 2016 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Greetings to the hive mind! I'm going to the beach for a week and need some book recommendations. I'm looking for something entertaining, some parameters below the fold.

I read a lot of dense legal tomes at work. In my downtime I prefer reading for entertainment, so I'll admit my assessment of "good" is from a subjective standard, not an objective one.

I've enjoyed but already read: Stross, Scalzi, Jemesin, Watts, Vinge, Schroeder, Pratchett, Butcher and Hiaasen.
I've got a soft spot for military fiction like Cornwell or Abnett.

Any suggestions for some fun reads for the beach?
posted by LegallyBread to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The Expanse series! The first one is Leviathan Wakes. They're pretty much my platonic ideal of a sci fi vacation read - long, thrilling, smart, easy to read.
posted by something something at 7:26 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Walter Jon Williams' Praxis books are right up your alley. Brainier than the usual milsf. He's written some Pirate and Sail books as well, so if that's more your style, he's got you covered there too.

But, if you're really looking for something light and diverting, I might suggest the Maijstral books. They used to be hard to find, but they're all available on the Kindle now. Probably the closest in tone would be some of the Brust Taltos series, thought the comparison to Panshin's Villers books is apt too (if you haven't yet read either of those yet, well then).
posted by bonehead at 7:33 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Have you read the Imperial Radch books by Anne Leckie?

For near-future military sf with an interesting techno twist, look for The Red by Linda Nagata. It's the first book of a trilogy and a very fun read.

The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez is part Hornblower in space, part Martian mystery, and all fun. It's also a trilogy.
posted by mogget at 7:57 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I "read" a lot of Sci-Fi on Audible. Books I liked which I would consider "fun" are:
- "Ready Player One" by Cline (I can't wait for the movie, one of my favorite books)
- "We Are Legion (We Are Bob)" funny and thought-provoking and quirky
- "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson, which I found to be wonderfully diverting
I assume you already read "Armada" by Scalzi.
posted by forthright at 8:06 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Try Bujold's Vorkosigan books for military SF with humor and compassion.
posted by monotreme at 8:40 AM on November 17, 2016 [6 favorites]

I've recently read Carpet Diem and was impressed in how Pratchett like it was. Not sci-fi, but fantasy. There is a guy who is afraid of going outdoors and he has a famous rug in his apartment. God and the Devil are tied and whoever gets the rug wins and the universe gets restarted. There can be no stealing by the angels or the demons, but the rug must be given willingly.

Of course it gets stolen by a human, and hijinks ensue in getting it back. Fun easy read very humorous.
posted by koolkat at 8:47 AM on November 17, 2016

I've enjoyed Daniel O'Malley's The Rook and its sequel, Stiletto, a ton.

Also very high on the diverting list is Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series (link goes to the first in the series). Honestly, I would say if you've got a long plane ride or something, go for the the audiobooks because the narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, is FANTASTIC.
posted by rtha at 8:51 AM on November 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's a few years old now, but I just finished The Magicians by Lev Grossman and it was great. Very engrossing and entertaining.

I apparently like books by writers named Grossman because Crooked by Austin Grossman is a similar entertaining fantasy-in-the-real-world novel.
posted by GuyZero at 8:56 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, I would get Rook and Stiletto and call it a day. They will take a solid week, unless you are reading constantly. Or get started on Kate Elliott's four book Jaran series. Truly, astoundingly excellent. For reference, on your above list, I'm a big fan of Vinge and Jemisin.
posted by mirabelle at 9:07 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

GuyZero - did you know that Austin & Lev Grossman are identical twins?
posted by mogget at 9:15 AM on November 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

Seconding imperial radach by Ann leckie and the Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold. I'd also recommend Kage Baker's Company books, they start with In The Garden Of Iden. They're science fiction but they involve a lot of history too.
posted by azalea_chant at 9:21 AM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Also Nnedi Okorafor is really good.
posted by azalea_chant at 9:23 AM on November 17, 2016

Lots of good suggestions already (especially Leckie and Bujold). I would add Counting Heads by David Marusek, or something by Ken MacLeod - Learning the World is a good standalone one to start with.
posted by penguinliz at 9:36 AM on November 17, 2016

Nthing Imperial Radch, Vorkosigan Saga, Rook/Stiletto, The Expanse, Snow Crash, and Ready Player One.

I also love love loved Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and the just-released sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit. In some ways, they're the opposite of typical sweeping military sci fi, but I found that refreshing and charming and wonderful (even though I love milscifi). It's a beautifully imagined world and society and a close view of a couple of authentic-feeling characters who get caught up in bigger events around them. Highly recommended.
posted by bananacabana at 10:42 AM on November 17, 2016

I've really enjoyed Marko Kloos' Frontlines series.
posted by subajestad at 11:59 AM on November 17, 2016

I would also nth the recommendation for Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. I just recently reread them, and they are both fun and heartfelt.

There are a couple of entry points to the series. Based on your preferences, I would suggest starting with The Warrior's Apprentice (first published, though not first chronologically).
posted by jb at 5:33 AM on November 18, 2016

Wow, thanks everyone!. That's a big help and I'm really looking forward to getting into some new books.
posted by LegallyBread at 7:44 AM on November 18, 2016

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