Yes I know, a lot of people hate rec threads but I promise you I've scoured the boards posts and lists as well as a fair amount of time going through amazon/goodreads. So personal recommendations are the next step.
I'm looking for Sci-fi novel taking place in space (preferably) where the main premise is based around exploring the unknown. What that unknown is is unimportant, I'm mostly interested in the discovery aspect and a compelling journey. Some examples:
- Blindsight by Peter Watts - Loved this book, anything similar is an instant-win for me.
- Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear - Great setting, lots of unknowns, characters driven to survive through exploration
- Ship of Fools by Richard Paul Russo - Has the elements but kind of weak in the characterization/dialogue department.
- Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer - Excellent exploration of the unknown, mysteries abound. Main character feels like a human being.
- Rendevous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke - Kind of sparse on details and a bit flat at times, but interesting ideas and the journey of exploring Rama was good.
Here are some elements/themes I'm looking for:
- Prefer it not to be based on war. Fighting/violence is fine, I'm just tired of the "long military struggle, both sides seek hidden artifact to give them an advantage" trope.
- No "good guys vs bad guys", I mean this in the sense that there's some adversarial conflict and one side is definitively good (e.g. wants to save the universe) and the other definitely evil (e.g. wants to enslave the universe). I like moral ambiguity.
- Strong realistic dialogue and multidimensional characters. No cardboard cutouts spouting off stilted monologues. This is probably the most important thing to me.
- Strong emotional content, able to feel connected to the main character.
- Trials of the mind in addition to the body.
- Dark/gritty or horror-esque tone and setting. Anything that plays on the fear of the unknown.
- Gradual unraveling of a mystery. I enjoy reading through the process of attaining knowledge. It doesn't matter what the end result is, the book can conclude with questions still unanswered. Annihilation and Blindsight did this spectacularly.
- Emphasis on the journey (not necessarily a physical one) of discovery as well as the investigations in the pursuit of knowledge
- Leaves room for the reader to fill in some blanks. Doesn't explain everything in verbose detail.
- Tense atmosphere
Keep in mind I'm not looking for something that fits this bill exactly, these are just some flexible guidelines. Thanks!
Edit: Updated, added more details and some stuff from below.
Edited by dbcooper, 13 March 2014 - 05:25 PM.