"Serious" SF - hard to find

Swank

and debonair
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I find myself in a minority among SF fans on this site - I like heavy, sometimes hard-to-parse, high concept SF. Which is decidedly not "hard SF", a concept that has been taken over by the belief that certain types of speculation are "real" and some are not. Examples of people I think of as serious would be Gibson, Watts, Herbert, Stevenson, Banks, Vernor Vinge, Maddox, Liu Cixin, Marusek, Robinson, Robert Reed, Vandermeer and Reynolds (on a good book).

Stuff I have enjoyed that isn't so serious would be Connie Willis, Martha 'Murderbot' Wells, Scalzi, The Expanse. But it's all a little fluffy. Much like classics - Niven, Pohl, Heinlein, etc.

I tried the rather serious Too Like the Lightning, and couldn't get into it. It didn't appear to be going anywhere quickly - or not be about a serious enough topic. Yesterday I picked up SubOrbital 7 because Gibson wrote a blurb for it - it was like soggy Tom Clancy.


I just keep re-reading the same books because trying to read new stuff is so disappointing. And then I just don't read - or switch to some other genre.

Anyone else like this kinda thing? Suggestions?
 
Ian McDonald is definitely worth a read - something like Brasyl, maybe. Calypso by Oliver Langmead might also be worth looking at.

A few other names to throw in - Chris Beckett, maybe Adrian Tchaikovsky (some of his books are more serious than others but I’ve just thoroughly enjoyed Alien Clay, and its take on colonisation), Arkady Martine (I haven’t read them but the serious sci fi readers in the shop rate them) and In Ascension by Martin Innes looks good

Also not so much for her hard sci fi but for her complex interweaving, Emily St John Mandel is a clever writer (but definitely lighter)
 
I can't really help but I'm watching this with interest. I suppose some of it depends on what you consider "serious" - I'd call some of Pratchett's books serious fantasy as he's got something to say, even if it's said with jokes.

Yesterday I posted a comment to say that I disliked the YA-ification of fantasy (and to a lesser extent SF). Actually, I've no inherent problem with books about young people; it's more the approach taken. It makes me think that I miss books about experts doing things very well (rather than origin stories where they learn from scratch). I think this is one of the reasons why I read a lot of crime these days: more competence, less angst, even from detectives whose lives are a disaster outside their job (which is most of them).
 
Thank you all for the recommends. Reed and Pohl were on the favorites list, McDonald and Macleod were names I forgot to include to that list.

But Flynn, Forward (I thnk I read Dragon's Egg 40 years ago), Tchaikowsky, Beckett, Langmead and Mandel, Martine, Innes will go on the list.
 
I find myself in a minority among SF fans on this site - I like heavy, sometimes hard-to-parse, high concept SF. Which is decidedly not "hard SF", a concept that has been taken over by the belief that certain types of speculation are "real" and some are not. Examples of people I think of as serious would be Gibson, Watts, Herbert, Stevenson, Banks, Vernor Vinge, Maddox, Liu Cixin, Marusek, Robinson, Robert Reed, Vandermeer and Reynolds (on a good book).
I am a big fan of Vandermeer (though I confess I struggled with Dead Astronauts) and Gibson.
Also enjoyed Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone "This is how you lose the time war" shades of Vandermeer's Borne but with beautiful prose
 
Some classic authors to look into are Christopher Priest, M. John Harrison, Samuel Delany, John Brunner, Thomas M. Disch, Barrington J. Bayley, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan... I may think of others.
 
I have read Varley, Sterling and Delaney. Appreciate all the suggestions.
 

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