HackerNews Readings
40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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wildermuthnonApr 28, 2021

You might really enjoy the science fiction novels Children of Time and Children of Ruin, if you haven’t already. Or hell, based on your comments, maybe you wrote them! Either way, they are spectacular and thought-provoking.

mathewsandersonJune 8, 2021

The article mentions the Portia jumping spider. Children of Time is a novel that explores descendants of Portia spiders who evolve to become a complex technological society and it’s a really enjoyable read :)

pp19ddonJuly 23, 2021

Hard sci fi is hard to define for me personally. But, Children of Time by Adrian Czajkowski is worth a look, and maybe Saturn Run by Ctein and John Sanford.

wolfram74onAug 4, 2021

I haven't read Hex, but I just read Children of Time, and Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter (1979) plays around with the loosely computational nature of an ant colony. Probably a few people thought about it before then, but it's getting closer to the dawn of general computation at that point

queseraonApr 24, 2021

Evolution takes a long time. And there aren't many (any) environments that we've identified and can reach which are conducive to the sort of life we know about. Also it'd be a bit presumptuous for us to colonize a hospitable planet for our own experimentation.

But it's an interesting question. In fiction, I can recommend Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time, and sequel Children of Ruin.

renke1onJuly 23, 2021

* Seveneves (I haven't read much else from Neal Stephenson, but I've heard good things)

* Children of Time / Children of Ruin (both really good)

* Remembrance of Earth's Past (even the fan fiction one is good)

* A lot of stuff from Alastair Reynolds (House of Suns being my favorite)

* Classics like Tau Zero, The Forever War etc.

* A Deepness in the Sky / A Fire Upon the Deep

Although not all of these are strictly considered hard scifi, I guess.

Btw, I love it when somebody asks this question every now and then on HN. Lots of stuff for one's (ever growing) reading list.

code_WhispereronAug 4, 2021

The one that sticks in my head the most (and which I did not think I would enjoy based on the book jacket blurb) is "Children of Time" by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I highly recommend to anyone who listens. I also recently encountered "The Fifth Science" by someone named 'Exurb1a' and enjoyed it so much that I am now reading another of his books named "Geometry for Ocelots"
Andy Weir's "Hail Mary" is an imaginative and fun read, as is "The Startup Wife" by Tahmima Anam. Oh! And "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet' (or almost anything else) by Becky Chambers.

ryanSrichonJune 14, 2021

Others have recommended Three Body. I’d second that. Amazing trilogy.

Rendezvous With Rama is one of my favorites.

I’d also recommend Children of Time and Children of Ruin by adrian tchaikovsky. It was one of those random ones I picked up with low expectations, and it turned out to be amazing. It’s well regarded now, but this was when it first came out.

Dune is one I recommend reading even if you’re aware of the story or the movie. It’s an amazingly creative work that lays the foundation of many modern science fiction concepts.

I’d also highly recommend Fire Upon the Deep.

Last ones I’ll recommend are the space odyssey books. I’m a huge fan of long timelines (if you couldn’t already tell) and this series spans 1000 years.

TimSchumannonJune 29, 2021

Read the whole Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy a few years back.

Check out 'There Is No Antimemetics Division' -- just the most recent one I read and really enjoyed, quick read too, probably only a few hours if you really dig into it, took me like 4 or 5 IIRC.

Also, because it's timely. A friend recommended me the above book, and it reminded me of this book that I have yet to recommend to him...

The Fifth Science by Exurb1a

Other good ones in no particular order.

House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds -- probably my favorite starting point for his work as it's a standalone novel, but I've read everything he's written and enjoyed most of it. This is a story told over the course of multiple tens of millions of years, and it flows well.

Culture Series by Ian M. Banks -- Only made it through the first two books, and really enjoyed them, having trouble getting into the third but I have a feeling I'll enjoy the rest of the series. Just re-read the 2nd a few days ago.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky -- Planet of the Apes but with Spiders, not entirely accurate but an apt teaser I think.

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie -- Only got through the first in this series of three, but really enjoyed it.

I've probably burned through another 250 books in the last 5 years or so, this is just top of mind recent memory stuff. I have the good luck that my father is an absolute monster with reading, so I'm a few thousand recommendations behind.

Feel free to reach out, e-mail is username here at gmail.

AnIdiotOnTheNetonJuly 23, 2021

Depends what you mean by 'hard'.

Anything by Greg Egan is probably going to be the hardest sci-fi you've ever read. Dude wrote a book where he considered the ramifications of a universe built on a positive-definite Riemannian metric, and another one where the universe has 2 time dimensions.

Robert L. Forward's Dragon's Egg explores what life might look like if it evolved on a neutron star.

Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time and Children of Ruin explore the evolution of other earth species if they were given a kick towards sapience.

Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep is half space adventure (not very hard) and half an exploration of a lifeform which only achieves sapience in small groups. A Deepness in the Sky is generally harder and explores a lot of things, including the power of focused human attention, the difficulty of galactic scale civilization, and alien life evolved in a star system where the star periodically dims.

Steven Baxter and Clarke collaborated on The Light of Other Days, which explores the technical and sociological consequences of a device which allows you to see the past.

With a broad interpretation of 'hard' I can highly recommend Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, which have soft science but hard humanity.

Similarly The Long Earth series, a collaboration between Pratchett and Baxter, where it seems Baxter handles the sociological and technological consequences of the science while Pratchett handles the characters and philosophy.

Asimov's I, Robot is an exploration of what happens when you try to constrain intelligence with rules.

Asimov's Foundation Trilogy gets a lot of hype, but it isn't very hard and I also found it utterly mediocre. Instead I recommend The God's Themselves, which is so good it's like Asimov was channeling a much better writer to get his ideas down. It explores the limited interaction of our universe with one that has slightly different physical properties.

Also perhaps stretching the definition of 'hard', but I want to recommend it because it's relatively unknown, is Leonard Richardson's Constellation Games, in which an incredibly advanced multi-species anarchic alien civilization makes first contact with humanity, and the protagonist really just wants to play their video games. It's actually harder sci-fi than it sounds.

cx42netonApr 2, 2021

I try to read every night before going to bed, and I'm trying to alternate between a technical book, and a pleasure book.

I recently finished the whole lot of Foundation from Asimov, Zero to sold from Arvid Kahl and I'm currently reading "The wealth of Nations" from Adam Smith (Gotta admit, it hurts).

The motivation behind alternating between pleasure and technical is to try to increase my knowledge (even though I feel like I retain 1% of what I read), and to enjoy reading too (with the pleasure book)

On my to read next list, I have:

- High growth Handbook (Elad Gil) (Pleaure book)
- Utopia - Thomas More (Technical)
- Beyond the rift - Peter Watts (Pleasure)
- Manufacturing consent (Noam Chomsky) (Technical)
- Children of time - Adrian Tchaikovsky

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