I'll get back to the rest but I prefer this first.
chaz wyman wrote:
Dune was a masterpiece, without doubt.
I used to read nothing else but sci-fi, but one fine day I just stopped - about the same time I finally started my Access course before my degree. The last sf book I read was probably "Bug Jack Baron" the next thing I read was The Origin of Species, which I lapped up from cover to cover.
Hmm.. as I but he was dullish prose I think, so I kept in touch with sci-fi and a dearth it went through with rise of Sci Fan and Sword but there have been some gems that I think you'd like. Not least Douglas Adams I'd have thought.
But for new ones I'd recommend, Iain M Banks, Ken Macleod, Rudy Ruckner, Greg Egan, Charles Stross(not the late funny stuff maybe), Vernon Vinge, Jeff Noon, Neal Asher, Steven Baxter, Greg Bear, Alexander Besher, Kim Stanly Robinson, Katherine Ann Gonan, Paul Macauly, China Miéville, ... all very different I think, would offer a broad range of whats been out there. Think of it as a reflection between the list you could probably make between Azimov and Norman Spinrad.
Me I still try to read both philosophy and bits of whatever sci-fi's getting up to at the time.