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Amph What sci-fi book would you recommend to someone searching for something like star wars

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by mystic-jedi, Feb 3, 2007.

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  1. mystic-jedi

    mystic-jedi Jedi Youngling

    Jan 28, 2007
    This question has come to me many times. After i first saw the movies when i was 7 years old and read many of the books in later years, i began searching for a novel or a series that was similar ot star wars but not a complete knockoff. I've tried many different authors like Tolkein, Asimov, and McDevitt but I was never able to really find any other sci-fi i really liked. Then, one day in Barnes and Noble i was browsing through the sci-fi department like many times before when a yellow paperback caught my eye: Santiago, A Myth of the Far Future by Mike Resnick. Somehow, I knew this was the book. Here a plot summary from Amazon:
    Santiago is the most notorious criminal in the galaxy with a price on his head like no other man past or present. He is a legend of close to mythic proportions. The only problem is no one has ever seen his face or dealt with him directly in his many years of looting and pillaging. This doesn't, of course, keep every bounty hunter on the galactic rim from trying to hunt him down. Sebastian Cain is one such bounty hunter, a disillusioned freedom fighter who decided to start killing people for profit once he realized all of his fighting to make the universe a better place was futile. The book begins with his receiving a simple tip in a small out of the way bar that puts him on the trail of the most notorious criminal in history. His adventures take him to many ports of call and he crosses paths with gamblers, assassins, a gun toting preacher, a starving artist, a sentient spaceship, alien indians and even a reporter or two. The only problem is that The Angel, the best bounty hunter in the biz, is also close to figuring out the puzzle that is Santiago. The book is a race, a chase, an adventure of the highest order and makes the point that nothing is ever really what it seems.
    I was partially wondering if anyone else read this fantastic book or if they had any other recomendations for someone like me who is looking for novels similar to star wars.

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    There is another..

    The Return of Santiago by Mike Resnick. From a synopsis on

    Santiago is the greatest outlaw of the Inner Frontier (see Resnick's Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future, 1992), and Danny Briggs is no Santiago. He isn't much of a thief, either, but he is smart, capable of turning even disaster into amazing good fortune after he stumbles across the lost manuscript of Black Orpheus. Convinced that there is a secret to be found in the pages, he doesn't stay Danny Briggs for long. He becomes Dante, chronicler of a new generation on the Inner Frontier, in search of the truth about the legendary Santiago. On his interstellar quest, he meets the most colorful criminals, bounty hunters, and lawmen that the Inner Frontier has to offer--quite a varied lot. Finally, he finds Santiago--the real Santiago--where he least expects to, and the stage is set for yet more exploits. An eminently satisfying space western, with just the right mixture of fast-drawing gunmen and talented women to keep the action going. Regina Schroeder

    I've read the first Santiago book and I have this one in the reading pile. I liked the first one.

    As far as stories similar to Star Wars, I guess it depends what aspects of the films/books you like. I've been enjoying the Warhammer 40k books - they are mostly space and planet-based combat (and there is even an Emperor!). If you like the cantina with its mix of humans and aliens, then Spider Robinson's Callahan books might appeal to you. Frank Herbert's Dune books are also good, though some of them got a little strange. I'd start with Dune (the first book) to see if you like it. There's political intrigue, action, even a desert planet. There are also prequel books written by his son but, like Star Wars, they presume you know the originals.
  3. rebel_cheese

    rebel_cheese Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 6, 2006
    Kevin J. Anderson's Saga Of The Seven Suns usually is my suggestion when I asked this. It is a lengthy space opera that reads like watching a big action film. Long series too, perfect for those who have time on their hands, and the short chapters provide you with multiple breaks so you can charge through four or five pages while on break at work and then read more at home.

    It lacks substance, though.

    Karen Traviss' Wess'har books have also impressed me, although it's far more graphic and R-rated.

    Lastly, I second Fett's suggestion about Frank Herbert's Dune books. There is nothing comparable to it in literature. Nothing. Not even Lord of the Rings or 2001: A Space Odyssey can beat Herbert's baby. But the prequels don't match up all that well, and the last two Herbet wrote got a little strange.

    If you want a lot of explosions on the cheap I suggest the Halo novels. Fall of Reach, The Flood, the third one (the title escapes me for the moment) and Ghosts of Onyx provide a lot of popcorn-munching action, although they're even more superficial than SOT7S.

    Greg Bear's written his share of classic space opera-Eon, Moving Mars, Slant, and The Forge Of God all come to mind.

    But unfortunately most of sci-fi has moved in a biological direction. There just doesn't seem to be any will to progress to the stars . . .
  4. Boskone_Kenobi

    Boskone_Kenobi Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 15, 2002
    I have a webpage somewhere on this very topic, and the best thing I can recommend is E.E. Smiths Lensmen series. Heres what I wrote at the time:::

    By E. E. Doc Smith

    A group of special men, women, and aliens; picked, by their dedication and seriousness of thought, to be defenders of law and order in the galaxy. They are given a single elegant weapon to challenge the forces of the Boskone Empire, The Lens. The Lens molds itself to their very wrist and gives them the ability of communication, truth, and mental supremacy over those who would combat them. There are Lensmen in every species of the galaxy, all chosen to free planets held under the thrall of the Boskone, an evil empire built upon layers and layers of subordinate species. The rulers of Boskone are shapeless blobs capable of changing shape and holding fantastic mental powers of their own. They wield their subordinate races against the Lensmen and the rest of civilization in attempts to conquer this galaxy over a time scale of thousands of years. Boskone?s greatest enemy is the Lensman Kimball Kinnison, a human of seemingly unlimited Lens power who eventually brings his own children, who inherit his power, to tear into the heart of Boskone?s grip.

    ?Doc? Smith was the first author to employ sci fi mainstays such as shields, tractor beams, and galactic organizations. Remarkable foresight making all the more astounding that his works are almost forgotten today. Lucas liked the dedication, organization, and ability of the Lensmen ranks, so he mixed them with samurai and reproduced them as ?JEDI?. The other works of Smith including the SKYLARK OF SPACE gave Lucas a scope unheard of at that time. Smith had an entire galaxy to keep under control, so he invented numerous ways to extinguish an entire planet in the course of galactic warfare. And he did so frequently in all his books. (Lensmen also had another ironic influence concerning order. The Third Lensmen book was the first published. Only after its success did Smith go back and write two prequels.)
    But the real Lensman legacy has been brought into today via television. Babylon 5 makes no secret of its connections and its borrowing of certain alien formats. But Star Trek would love to call itself a homage, but THEFT is more like it, Boskone being ripped off hook, line, and slime for Deep Space Nine?s super-villain Founders. Certain producers of DS9 have even slipped up in interviews and described the Founders using the exact same words as E. E. Smith did. They will never admit this of course, hoping on a fan base that gets increasingly more illiterate every season to not be any wiser. The producers can lie to their fans, but not to us. The Trek take on Lensmen is but a pale charlatan compared to what Lucas did with it anyway.

    And here is the page in its entirety, where I also recommend John Carter of Mars:::
    [link=]STAR WARS READER[/link]

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    I liked the Lensman series as well, though I haven't read it in years. I still have the books around somewhere though.
  6. Ender Sai

    Ender Sai Chosen One star 10

    Feb 18, 2001
    If you can find it, Margaret Weis' "Star of the Guardians" trilogy.

    It's more SW than anything else listed here, except of course Star Wars...

  7. Boskone_Kenobi

    Boskone_Kenobi Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 15, 2002
    Since that was written after SW, not before, I would suspect there was a great deal of cross-contamination going on, and any reader would be better off going after something pre-SW as to make sure that the idea was original (Witness Eragon for a modern case of too-obvious contamination). I read Weis's Dragonlance novels before I read Lord of the Rings, for example, and I was aghast out the obvious outright appropriation when I finally read the "real thing." Since Star of Guardians was written a mere 4 years after Dragonlance, I doubt her imagination had improved all that much in the interim.

    Being written in the 1930's however, Lensmen is arguably more SW than SW, as that was exactly the golden era of space opera that Lucas was trying to emulate in the first place, and it is a mistake for any sci fi fan to dismiss it.
  8. JediTrilobite

    JediTrilobite Jedi Master star 7

    Nov 17, 1999
    While Karen Traviss's Wess'Har series is exceptionally good, they're not really similar to Star Wars, at all. But, I also highly recommend them. I'd try Elizabeth Moon's books, or Chris Bunch's. They're easy to get into.

    There's also the old classics, like Dune and Foundation, that Star Wars drew some inspiration from.
  9. Lord Vivec

    Lord Vivec Chosen One star 8

    Apr 17, 2006
    Try Hyperion, by Dan Simmons, and it's sequels.

  10. StarscreamPrime

    StarscreamPrime Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 9, 2006
    I found myself identifying Simon Green's "Deathstalker" series with "Star Wars" characteristics, albeit in a VERY "R"-rated fashion.

    And I will agree with the earlier mention of the "Warhammer 40,000" series of books. They do capture the feel of the large-battle element of the SW movies.
  11. mystic-jedi

    mystic-jedi Jedi Youngling

    Jan 28, 2007
    The second santiago isn't as good as first. the first one really captures your imagination kinda like the original star wars movies. The second santiago, although interesting is about 50-75 pages too long (you'll understand when u read it).
  12. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent Chosen One star 10

    Apr 3, 2002
    Asimov's Foundation is a space opera. It has an Empire, hyperdrives, and even laser swords.

    Alot of Niven's Known Space stuff qualifies.

    [link=]The Culture[/link] books by Iain Banks show a galaxy spanning civilization, and one more powerful than our beloved SW Empire. In a short story a Culture ship visits Earth in 1977 and one of the characters likes SW so much he asks the ship Mind to make him a real lightsaber.

    I would also recommend Steve Perry's Matador books though they center around martial arts, and they have alot of sex thrown in as well. If you get into these make sure to pick up The Omega Cage which is outside the series but within that universe.
  13. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    I tried reading the Foundation series when I was younger but I gave up on it - I just didn't like it.
    I do like Niven's Known Space stories and the early Ringworld books. The later Ringworld books got a bit strange though.
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