Recommend me something to read!
July 31, 2006 2:31 PM   Subscribe

BookFilter: I've read Richard Morgan's Kovacs trilogy through and through, and I'm looking for something similar to read...

I really liked the 'dark' sci-fi aspect of the books, but moreso the brilliant anti-hero that is Takeshi Kovacs.
Having also read Market Forces, the same anti-hero style appears - and I love it!

What should I read next?
More sci-fi is good, but I guess the darker, anti-hero type is more what I'm looking for.

[Bonus points if anyone knows if Morgan is writing more Kovacs Google-fu is weak.]
posted by nafrance to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I hated Market Forces, but if you liked it, hey! I'd try William Gibson's original stuff (i.e. the Bridge trilogy) if you liked that. You may also like the Night's Dawn stuff from Peter F Hamilton, though it's not in the same subgenre per se. Finally, along the lines of popular scifi, Neal Stephenson has some work similar to all this in Snow Crash et al.
posted by kcm at 2:38 PM on July 31, 2006

(And referenced from the first link is Gibson's Sprawl trilogy, also a good starting place.. if you haven't read Neuromancer, please do.)
posted by kcm at 2:40 PM on July 31, 2006

Iain Banks, Consider Phlebas
Iain Banks, Use of Weapons
Iain Banks, Against A Dark Background

Neal Asher's books set in the Polity. If Banks' Culture books are intelligent LeCarre novels, Asher's Polity novels are more like James Bond movies.

The first few pages of Stephenson's The Diamond Age; the bits about Bud.

Morgan's next is Black Man. It doesn't say it's Kovacs, but it might be set in the same universe.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:52 PM on July 31, 2006

not sci-fi as these other suggestions have been, but you might like something by andrew vachss.
his character burke has that same borderline sadist thing going on that kovacs does.
posted by juv3nal at 3:30 PM on July 31, 2006

I've read Morgan's books as well. Good stuff.

I second the Rapid Offensive Unit's suggestion of Consider Phelbas by Iain Banks, although it lacks a certain gravitas. ;) I also suggest Player of Games by Iain Banks.

Other books you might consider:

Kaleidoscope Century by John Barnes

The Golden Age by John C. Wright
posted by Argyle at 3:42 PM on July 31, 2006

All of these
posted by pixie at 3:50 PM on July 31, 2006

Voice of the Whirlwind and Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams are Gibson era cyberpunk, I particularly liked Voice of the Whirlwind, I've re-read it many times.
posted by hardcode at 3:55 PM on July 31, 2006

When gravity fails and A fire in the sun by George Alec Effinger both feature a really dark anti-hero.
posted by grex at 5:34 PM on July 31, 2006

Everyone beat me to it!

I'll second the suggestion of Iain (M.) Banks books, particularly Use of Weapons and Against a Dark Background; see also The Bridge (one of his non-SF, non-M. books).

The Night's Dawn trilogy is excellent but doesn't really have the anti-hero thing going.

I'll add in Zodiac by Neal Stephenson, the main character is an antihero but in a completely different way. The book is similarly fast-paced.

I can also offer a review of sf, an ancient (2003) self-link. Altered Carbon had just come out when I wrote that; there's a load of recommendations in there, particularly if you include the 370+ comments that people have posted below it.
posted by polyglot at 5:44 PM on July 31, 2006

you might also like jack womack's books.
posted by judith at 6:19 PM on July 31, 2006

They're on a somewhat lighter theme, but Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" stories contain an abundance of anti-heroism.

The books are very mild, and are gore- and bad-language- free (unlike anything with Kovacsin !) but "Slippery" Jim DiGriz is still one of my favourite criminals ever! :)
posted by Chunder at 1:32 AM on August 1, 2006

One of the best anti-heros has to be Harry Flashman...a series of historical fiction novels by George McDonald Fraser. Not dark, but funny in spots.

Also a fan of Richard Morgan, although I've liked each book in the series less and less.
posted by Brando_T. at 2:49 AM on August 1, 2006


With Neal Stephenson mentioned above, I can't help but think of Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe from his Baroque Cycle.

Not sci-fi certainly, but no character has lingered in my mind greater and longer than Half-Cocked Jack, and let me just say I read a book every week or so and have been since I was a teen, which is a lot of books.

With that said, the Baroque Cycle follows other characters also, so you have to read a lot of other characters in between the Jack chapters.
posted by poppo at 7:39 AM on August 1, 2006

Oh, I also must include the author Jim Thompson. Almost every one of his protoganists is anti-hero. Again not sci-fi. Thompson wrote gritty noirish mysteries, many of which have been movies over the years. Try one you haven't seen.
posted by poppo at 7:48 AM on August 1, 2006

Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series has a similarly dark edge, and live right next to Richard Morgan on my bookshelf.

Charles Stross rocks, and you can read Accelerando for free, right now.

Greg Egan also rocks; try Quarantine for a bit of merc-for-hire anti-hero stuff with some crazy quantum fizzicks type stuff mixed in.

Greg Bear is also worth reading; Queen of Angels, Slant and Moving Mars are set in one of my favourite universes.
posted by Freaky at 3:00 PM on August 1, 2006

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