Which book will I like best?
Gabrielle avatarToo Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
23%
CliveFreeman avatarProject Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
23%
Bart avatarThe Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
20%
ahalekelly avatarPlayer of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
10%
dreev avatarLuminous (collection of short stories by Greg Egan)
5%
ahalekelly avatarAncillary Justice
4%
SG avatarLaw's Order by David Friedman
4%
horse avatarConsider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (book 1 of the Culture series)
3%
dreev avatarThe Precipice, by Toby Ord
3%
CliveFreeman avatar The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann
2%
dreev avatarThere Is No Antimemetics Division (by qntm)
1.6%
Sort by:
dreev avatar
Bart
answered
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
dreev avatar
@Bart Yeah, it's insanely good. One of a tiny number of books I've liked enough to reread. And as I mentioned elsewhere, we even read the entire thing out loud to our kids.
Bart
answered
The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
dreev avatar
@Bart Ooh, definitely a candidate!
Bart
answered
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Bart avatar
Saw too late that you've already read it!
Adrian
answered
Ancillary Justice
GriffinWolf avatar
Griffin Wolf
bought Ṁ1
@Adrian, I don't think you can assume anything like that about Ann Leckie's inspirations with that kind of confidence, although I've not read the culture series. I'd add that one of the things I remember thinking is that Leckie writes aliens that are properly alien well, and human cultures that are alien to my experience very well, and that the main characters and their interactions are compelling as well as the setting and premise
Adrian
answered
Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
horse avatar
@dreev I haven't read it, so no strong rebuttal. I had heard that Player of Games is more Culture-y after I started reading Consider Phlebas, but I was enjoying Consider Phlebas just fine.
Adrian
answered
Ancillary Justice
ahalekelly avatar
It's been a long time since I read it, but my recollection is that it was incredibly well written and engaging and above average on philosophically interesting themes. Definitely Culture inspired in that they both examine the social implications of superintelligent AI ships and a post-scarcity economy, though Ancillary Justice focuses on the former and The Culture on the latter.
Daniel Reeves
answered
There Is No Antimemetics Division (by qntm)
JiSK avatar
Antimemetics does a really good existential horror, which is hard to get anywhere else
Clive Freeman
answered
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
dreev avatar
@CliveFreeman Ok, I'm sold. And yes, read _The Martian_ and loved it. (The movie is good too!) (Also TIL "sarky" which initially I thought was a typo for "snarky". I'm tipping extra for that.)
Clive Freeman
answered
The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann
dreev avatar
@CliveFreeman Oh ho, you have my number. Back as an undergrad I read _The Prisoner's Dilemma_ by William Poundstone which is largely a biography of von Neumann and loved it and have been endlessly fascinated by von Neumann ever since. So this sounds like a great candidate, although possibly repetitive if I already know all the classic von Neumann anecdotes?
Gabrielle
answered
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
StephenMalina avatar
Rereading your description, I'd say that this is by far the most "ridiculously erudite" sci-fi book I've ever read in terms of the knowledge Palmer brings to bear from being a historian. While maybe some of Greg Egan's books can compare in terms of physics erudition, Palmer is unmatched in terms of her knowledge and creativity on history and structuring a society. I think this review (https://www.gleech.org/palmer) does a good job of describing the book but it's really spoiler-filled so I've copied the first two, non spoiler-y, paragraphs here: > The series is a lot of things. It is the most sustained fictional portrait of Archipelago and polystates, one of the few utopias I would maybe like to live in. Palmer starts in an Enlightenment utopia (post-war, post-nationalism, post-scarcity, post-gender, post-theocracy, post-fideism, post-meat, post-capital-punishment, post-nuclear-family, general justice via universal voluntary surveillance) and then shows what the tensions will do to any system that has to handle humans as we are. > > The worldview diversity is probably the greatest thing about it. I’ve read twenty-author anthologies with less variance in values than this. Speaker’s Corner and SSC comments have nothing on Palmer.
Gabrielle
answered
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
StephenMalina avatar
@dreev (not Gabrielle) but if you've ever wished you could read a book about a utopia that actually makes sense but is actually weird and a bit transgressive relative to our norms, you'll like this. You've probably never thought this second part, but it's the only sci-fi book I've ever read that (successfully, IMO) has a narrator who (internally) dialogues with Enlightenment philosophers like Voltaire.
Adrian
answered
Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
StephenMalina avatar
Stephen Malina
bought Ṁ30
I agree with the comments here re: Player of Games vs. Consider Phlebas. The latter was my first Culture novel and it actually turned me off from the Culture series a bit. Then I read Player of Games and proceeded to read most of the others in quick succession.
Clive Freeman
answered
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir
CliveFreeman avatar
Clive Freeman
bought Ṁ10
I'm presuming you've already read "The Martian", or I'd recommend that! But this is very much in the same vein - smart, sarky person, solving nearly-impossible problems with science to stay alive (and save the Earth!)
horse
answered
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (book 1 of the Culture series)
CliveFreeman avatar
Clive Freeman
bought Ṁ25
Great choice, and I can't believe @dreev hasn't read the Culture series! The Player of Games is much more Beeminder-y, but this is great too.
Adrian
answered
Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
dreev avatar
@JiSK @Adrian This sounds persuasive. Any rebuttal, @horse?
horse
answered
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
dreev avatar
@horse Great suggestion! I'd already heard good things about it. I may bid this one up myself, though there's already extremely tough competition here!
S G
answered
A Canticle for Leibowitz
dreev avatar
@SG Sounds like a classic I should absolutely read. If you give a mini pitch, I will mash the tip button!
Adrian
answered
The Three-Body Problem
dreev avatar
@ahalekelly Ooh, a friend loaned me a hardcopy of this book and I intend to read it anyway. So if this market also makes me read it, all the better.
Adrian
answered
Leviathan Wakes (Book 1 of The Expanse)
dreev avatar
@ahalekelly I watched the first several episodes of the TV show based on this (without even knowing it was based on a book) and I didn't get excited enough about it to keep going. So I'm less excited about this candidate but it's a candidate and if the market tells me to, I'll read it!
Adrian
answered
Unsong
dreev avatar
@ahalekelly Already read this! It's amazing. I basically hang on every word Scott Alexander writes about anything. (But since I've already read it, this one can't win. Though if Scott publishes an edited version of it, as he at least vaguely intends to, I'll probably read it again.)
Adrian
answered
Ancillary Justice
dreev avatar
@ahalekelly Excellent, it's a candidate. Got a mini pitch?
Gabrielle
answered
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer
dreev avatar
@Gabrielle Ooh, hadn't heard of this. Definitely a candidate, especially if you're the Gabrielle I know (?). Would love to hear your mini pitch for it. I will even mash the shiny new tip button for it.
Adrian
answered
Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
JiSK avatar
JiSK
bought Ṁ25
A much stronger book than Consider Phlebas IMO. I think the top tier of the Culture series are _Player of Game_, _Excession_, and the one that takes place on Earth. _Consider Phlebas_ is mid-tier, good but not particularly special. And the lowest tier is merely mediocre.
Adrian
answered
Ancillary Justice
GriffinWolf avatar
Griffin Wolf
bought Ṁ2
@ahalekelly Excellent suggestion. One of my favorite pieces of science fiction
Adrian
answered
Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
ahalekelly avatar
Also Elon names his ships after Culture ships, and Player of Games was the title of a (not good) Grimes song about Elon!
Adrian
answered
Player of Games by Iain M. Banks (book 2 of the Culture series)
ahalekelly avatar
Adrian
bought Ṁ10
The stories in the Culture series are independent and don't need to be read in any order. Consider Phlebas was good but Player of Games has a much more interesting story and touches on more themes of the Culture. Use of Weapons was also great, though the complicated narrative timeline requires some work to keep track of.
horse
answered
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
horse avatar
horse
bought Ṁ2
Historical/anthropological exploration of debt and it's relationship with social institutions. Did you know money was probably invented before the barter system was ever extensively used? That sort of thing.
horse
answered
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (book 1 of the Culture series)
horse avatar
@dreev It fits the criteria of erudite and gripping sci-fi, in my opinion. It does some fun things with AI and it's a generally solid space opera. I've only read this book in the series, but there's 8 more, and I believe the other books explore themes of post-scarcity more, which is something I'm interested in.
horse
answered
Permutation City by Greg Egan
dreev avatar
@horse I've read this! So not a candidate. It was very good! It's been a while but I think it was about Tegmark's mathematical universe, right?
horse
answered
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (book 1 of the Culture series)
dreev avatar
@horse I hadn't heard of this! Would love to hear why you like it. This is certainly a candidate, ie, I will read it if it makes it into the top 2!
horse avatar
What are some sci-fi classics you've already read? I feel like that's pretty relevant for suggestions!
dreev avatar
@horse Oh, yeah, good question. I loved _Cryptonomicon_, for example. And Andy Weir's _The Martian_ was great. Feel free to add books, betting just 1 mana and if I've already read it, I'll add a comment with how I liked it.
Mr Stone
answered
HPMoR, but the audiobook
dreev avatar
@stone I've not only read Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, we read it again out loud to our kids. It's ridiculously good. But I guess I'm vetoing it for this market, probably no matter how good the audiobook version is. (Is hpmorpodcast.com the right link for it?)
S G
answered
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang
dreev avatar
(And since I've read it already, I won't be choosing this one, so people should bid up other candidates!)
S G
answered
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang
dreev avatar
@SG I've read this and it's great and gives me all the more reason to think your other suggestions are going to be brilliant!
S G
answered
The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate by Ted Chiang
SG avatar
S G
bought Ṁ1
Raises questions about decision theory tangentially related to Beeminder.
dreev avatar
Great candidates so far!
ian avatar
S G
answered
Law's Order by David Friedman
SG avatar
S G
bought Ṁ1
Surprisingly fun and readable intro to the field law-and-economics. Read it for free here: http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Laws_Order_draft/laws_order_ToC.htm