I recently finished reading Idlewild
, by Nick Sagan. He's the son of Carl Sagan, but his writing is descended more from the work of Neal Stephenson.
Sagan's first novel surprised me in that I rather expected it to be fantasy, based on the cover. The first part of the book carried me along in that notion, but then I discovered it was so much more.
This is by no means a polished work, but it is very very good for a first novel. I've read a lot of sf, and this still managed to surprise me (plotwise, character-wise, technology-wise). Which was refreshing.
It might not be "knock your socks off" good, but it's definitely worth reading. It's really the best thing I've read in a few months, and I've read a few good things in that time. I'll be nominating Idlewild
for the Hugo and Sagan for the Campbell award (best new SF Author) this year. [I already checked and his screenwriting background does not make him ineligible for the Campbell]
And Amazon is offering the hardcover for 60% off, so hey, check it out. I'd like to know what you think.