- Michele Brown
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Robert Heinlein is a fantastic "old" master of hard science fiction whose famous books include Stranger in a Strange Land and Starship Troopers. If you like his books, you may also like these selections:
COSM / Gregory Benford
On an otherwise ordinary day not long from now, inside a massive installation of ultra-high-energy scientific equipment, something goes wrong with a brilliant young physicist's most ambitious experiment. But this is not a calamity. It will soon be seen as one of the most significant breakthroughs in history. For the explosion has left something behind: a wondrous sphere the size of a basketball, made of nothing known to science. Before long, it will be clear that this object has opened a vista on an entirely different universe - a newborn cosmos whose existence will rock this world and test one woman to the limit as she comes face-to-face with fame and terror. That woman is the physicist who has ignited this thrilling adventure. (catalog summary)
Earth / David Brin
Brin uses the escape of a manmade black hole that is eating away at the Earth's core and a plausible future of sophisticated, instant universal and global computer data linkage and retrieval to reexamine, explore, and expand upon the themes regarding genetic creation and advancement begun in Star tide Rising (1983) and The Uplift War (1987). There is an element of suspense and intrigue as the characters scramble to define, find, and solve the black hole damage before each other and before it's too late. Although less engaging than the previously mentioned books, this is timely in its investigation of current ecological issues…(Joan Lewis Reynolds, School Library Journal)
Factoring humanity / Robert J. Sawyer
When messages that the Earth has been receiving from interstellar space suddenly stop, a scientist finds herself in possession of the signal telling humanity to build a special machine--one that allows mind travel into the collective subconscious of the human race. (catalog summary)
The forever war / Joe Haldeman
Private William Mandella is a hero in spite of himself -- a reluctant conscript drafted into an elite military unit, and propelled through space and time to fight in a distant thousand-year conflict. He never wanted to go to war, but the leaders on Earth have drawn a line in the interstellar sand -- despite the fact that their fierce alien enemy is unknowable, unconquerable, and very far away. So Mandella will perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through the military's ranks . . . if he survives. But the true test of his mettle will come when he returns to Earth. Because of the time dilation caused by space travel the loyal soldier is aging months, while his home planet is aging centuries -- and the difference will prove the saying: you never can go home. . .(catalog summary)
The Hammer of God / Arthur C. Clarke
In the year 2110 technology has cured most of our worries. But even as humankind enters a new golden age, an amateur astronomer points his telescope at just the right corner of the night sky and sees disaster hurtling toward Earth: a chunk of rock that could annihilate civilization. While a few fanatics welcome the apocalyptic destruction as a sign from God, the greatest scientific minds of Earth desperately search for a way to avoid the inevitable. On board the starship Goliath Captain Robert Singh and his crew must race against time to redirect the meteor form its deadly collision course. Suddenly they find themselves on the most important mission in human history--a mission whose success may require the ultimate sacrifice. (catalog summary)
I, Robot / Isaac Asimov
In this collection, one of the great classics of science fiction, Asimov set out the principles of robot behavior that we know as the Three Laws of Robotics. Here are stories of robots gone mad, mind-reading robots, robots with a sense of humor, robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world, all told with Asimov's trademark dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction. (amazon.com) If you like this one, there are other robot books by Asimov. And, you may want to try the Foundation books.
The light of other days / Arthur C. Clarke & Stephen Baxter
A new novel from the most famous science fiction author alive, writing with one of the hottest young SF authors of the decade. When a brilliant industrialist harnesses the cutting edge of quantum physics, his discovery amounts to the complete abolition of human privacy forever. Society reels as technology proves able to look backwards in time, instituting a change in the human condition for which no one is prepared. (catalog summary)
On Basilisk Station / David Weber
On Basilisk Station (or "HH1" as it's known to the faithful) is the first installment in David Weber's cult hit Honor Harrington series, which has charmed the socks off schoolgirls and sailors alike. Honor--the heroine of this fast-paced, addictive space opera--is a polished, plucky bulldog of a naval officer, part Horatio Hornblower, part Miles Vorkosigan, part Captain Janeway, and with a razor-clawed telepathic cat thrown over her shoulder for good measure.
The series' kickoff puts a giddy Commander Harrington at the helm of her first serious starship, the HMS Fearless. But her excitement quickly fades--political maneuvering by top brass in the Manticoran navy has left her light cruiser outfitted with a half-baked experimental weapons system. Against all odds (just the way Honor likes it), she still manages a clever coup in tactical war games, a feat that earns her accolades--and enemies. The politicians she's offended banish her to a galactic backwater, Basilisk Station. But that outpost soon proves to be a powder keg, and it's up to Harrington and the Fearless crew to thwart the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic. A perfect mix of military SF and high adventure. (Paul Hughes, amazon.com)
Primary inversion / Catherine Asaro
Set in the distant future, Asaro's debut novel pits Sauscony Valdoria (Soz) and her crew of Jagernauts-bioengineered fighting empaths-against the Trader Empire. Traders are a race that derive pleasure from the amplified pain and anguish of empaths-especially Jagernauts, as Soz knows from personal experience. Soz is also a likely heir to the powerful Skolian Empire, rival of the Traders. On a neutral planet, she meets the Trader heir and discovers he has the unusual psi abilities her race possesses. The two link mentally and fall in love. But will Soz be forced to kill her lover to protect her empire? Though Asaro, a physicist, provides more than enough esoteric detail on faster-than-light inversion drives, cybernetic enhancements and computer networks, she manages to anchor her story with thoughtful, engaging characters and an intriguing vision of the future-and she leaves the door open for a sequel. (Publishers Weekly)
Red mars / Kim Stanley Robinson
The first men and women to colonize Mars bring to their awesome task not only their unique skills but also their private hopes, ambitions, and fears. As the demands of the red planet are met and overcome, differences of opinion and struggles for leadership threaten to erupt into open warfare. This first volume in a trilogy...elicits a sense of drama from the dynamic interplay of diverse characters as well as from the risks involved in creating a human habitat in an inhuman land. Generously blending hard science with canny insight into human strengths and weaknesses, this suspenseful sf saga should appeal to a wide range of readers. (Library Journal)
Ringworld / Larry Niven
A new place is being built, a world of huge dimensions, encompassing millions of miles, stronger than any planet before it. There is gravity, and with high walls and its proximity to the sun, a livable new planet that is three million times the area of the Earth can be formed. We can start again! (catalog summary) A classic, with sequels.
Other “old” masters of hard science fiction: Arthur C. Clarke, Poul Anderson, Frederik Pohl, Larry Niven, and Hal Clement. Some of the newer contributors to hard science fiction that you may like also include: Greg Egan, Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, David Brin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Greg Bear, Ben Bova, Jack Williamson, Charles Sheffield, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Paul Preuss, Nancy Kress, Vernor Vinge, and David Weber.