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Hard-Science SF

Hard-science science fiction is what you get when the author emphasizes the science in "science fiction." Typically the author tries to make the science accurate, and the scientific aspects form a major component of the story.

Biological SF

"Bio-SF" is my name for SF novels that use biology as the science being fictionalized. Michael Crichton was an early pioneer in this field. Others have followed where he led. Some have done better than he did, others not as well.

  • AFTER MAN: A Zoology of the Future
    Author: Dixon, Dougal
    Copyright:1981
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    ISBN: 0-312-01163-6

  • BRIDGE, THE
    Author: Young, Janine Ellen
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: Warner Books
    ISBN: 0-446-60799-1

  • DARWIN'S RADIO
    Author: Bear, Greg
    Copyright:1999
    Publisher: Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 0-345-43524-9

  • MAN AFTER MAN: An Anthropology of the Future
    Author: Dixon, Dougal
    Copyright:1990
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    ISBN: 0-312-03560-8

  • ANDROMEDA STRAIN, THE
    Author: Crichton, Michael
    Copyright:1969
    Publisher: Dell
    ISBN:

  • JURASSIC PARK
    Author: Crichton, Michael
    Copyright:1990
    Publisher: Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 0-345-37077-5

  • JURASSIC PARK: THE LOST WORLD
    Author: Crichton, Michael
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 0-345-40288-X

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Technology-based SF

Advanced computers and other technology form the basis of a number of good hard-science SF novels.

  • ADOLESCENCE OF P1, THE
    Author: Ryan, Thomas
    Copyright:1977
    Publisher: Ace Books
    ISBN: 0-441-00360-5

  • CYBORG
    Author: Caidin, Martin
    Copyright:1972
    Publisher: Warner Books
    ISBN: 0-446-76643-7

  • TWO FACES OF TOMORROW, THE
    Author: Hogan, James P.
    Copyright:1979
    Publisher: Del Rey
    ISBN: 0-345-32387-4
    An exotic journey into the realm of computers and artificial intelligence. As it begins, a world-wide computer network called TITAN has begun to malfunction, doing things it was never intended to do and inadvertently endangering humans in the process. A team of experts in artificial intelligence sets out to build a supercomputer that will avoid the kind of mistakes the TITAN network has been making. But there's one problem: what to do if the supercomputer decides to take over for some reason? One of the team has a genius idea: build a miniature version of the supercomputer, give it a miniature world to run in the form of a large space station, then try to turn it off and see what happens. What happens, of course, is rather different from what they expected... the supercomputer proves more than equal to the humans' opposition, until it makes another connection that no one ever expected.

    In many ways this novel exemplifies Hogan at his best and Hogan at his worst. As a computer salesman and trained computer engineer, he understands and writes about computer technology as well as any SF writer I've ever read. The computers in this novel are completely believable, from the foolish-child AI called FISE to the space station's supercomputer Spartacus. On the other hand, the computers are the only really good characters in the book. The human characters are, one and all, simply a handful of necessary traits with a thin shell of flesh around them. None are anything approaching complete people. As with my other Hogan books, I recommend you read this for the story and the tech, not the characters.

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Believable Aliens

Inventing an alien species isn't hard. Inventing a scientifically believable alien species is very hard. You have to invent not only your alien(s), but also an entire planet and ecosystem for them to inhabit, and that planet and ecosystem have to be evolutionarily plausible. Robert L. Forward had a unique knack for doing this, but others have managed it too.

  • DRAGON'S EGG
    Author: Forward, Robert L.
    Copyright:1980
    Publisher: Del Rey
    ISBN: 0-345-28349-X

  • MINERVAN EXPERIMENT, THE
    Author: Hogan, James
    Copyright:1981
    Publisher: Nelson Doubleday
    ISBN:
    Omnibus reprint of the three Giants Novels: INHERIT THE STARS, GENTLE GIANTS OF GANYMEDE, and GIANTS' STAR
  • FAR-SEER
    Author: Sawyer, Robert J.
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Ace Books
    ISBN: 0-441-22551-9

  • FOSSIL HUNTER
    Author: Sawyer, Robert
    Copyright:1993
    Publisher: Ace Books
    ISBN: 0-441-24884-5

  • FOREIGNER
    Author: Sawyer, Robert J.
    Copyright:1994
    Publisher: Ace Books
    ISBN: 0-441-00017-7

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Deep Space Travel

As with alien life, writing a scientifically plausible "deepspace travel SF" novel is extremely difficult. The primary reason for this is that (as far as we know) faster-than-light travel is impossible, so any novel in this genre must have a sublight starship. This limits the author to shipboard stories, or possibly shipboard-plus-one-planet stories. Few authors have tried it; even fewer have succeeded.

  • GOLDEN FLEECE
    Author: Sawyer, Robert
    Copyright:1990
    Publisher: Tor Books
    ISBN: 0-312-86865-0

  • TERMINAL EXPERIMENT, THE
    Author: Sawyer, Robert J.
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Harper
    ISBN: 0-06-105310-4

  • VOYAGE FROM YESTERYEAR
    Author: Hogan, James
    Copyright:1982
    Publisher: Del Rey
    ISBN: 0-345-29472-6

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