Top products from r/rational

We found 54 product mentions on r/rational. We ranked the 193 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/rational:

u/ZeroNihilist · 4 pointsr/rational

This is a repost of a previous recommendation list I made (with a few updates):

Responses in the order in which I thought of them within each category (don't take it as an order of preference or anything). Lots of fanfic in this list because it's what people tend to write. Assume they're rational unless stated otherwise.

Note that "rationalist" means "rational + demonstrates analytical techniques", so I note where that's applicable (if I remember; a lot of this is fuzzy due to sheer quantity).


  • The Waves Arisen, rationalist Naruto fanfiction
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (HPMoR), rationalist Harry Potter fanfiction, possibly the ur-example of the concept of rationalist fanfiction (probably wrong about that however)
  • Shadows of the Limelight, original story (it's true, I do read original stories) about a world where fame literally grants superpowers (by one of this subreddit's moderators, /u/alexanderwales)
  • Worm, original story about an alternate Earth where superheroes are forged from "trigger events" (moments of intense emotional or physical trauma) by /u/Wildbow
  • Pact, original story about modern magic users and creatures where words have power and consequences (also by Wildbow)
  • The Two Year Emperor (epub), original story (kinda) about an ordinary, albeit clever man transported to a world that runs on Dungeons and Dragons rules as written by /u/eaglejarl; this one was, at one point, only available for purchase on Amazon here but was generously rereleased for free by the author
  • Team Anko, Naruto fanfiction also by eaglejarl
  • The Metropolitan Man, Superman/Lex Luthor fanfiction (by alexanderwales again; the next three are all by him)
  • A Bluer Shade of White, Frozen fanfiction (yes, it is rational)
  • The Last Christmas, Santa Claus fanfiction (ditto)
  • Branches on the Tree of Time, Terminator fanfiction
  • Fine Structure, original story about superheroes that appear yearly, doubling in power (and the damage done in their tumultuous "trigger") each time; the whole thing is so much more than just that, but I don't want to spoil it (by Sam Hughes, who wrote the next two as well)
  • Ra, original story about magic analysed as science; again, it goes on to be much more but I don't want to spoil it
  • Sam Hughes' author page at the SCP Foundation wiki, I recommend reading his entries from 2015 (you may want to read the Foundation's about page and some of the top rated pages from the wiki to get a feel for the setting first if you're new to SCP)
  • Friendship is Optimal, My Little Pony fanfiction about an AI that is definitely not horrifying, no siree, just your average friendly AI over here
  • Cenotaph, Worm fanfiction with a small deviation from canon
  • Wake, sequel to Cenotaph
  • Significant Digits, HPMoR metafic which is very different in character (it has a summary of HPMoR if you don't want to read it, but obviously heavily spoils the plot of that fic)

    Updating often:

  • Pokemon: The Origin of Species, rationalist Pokemon fanfiction
  • r Animorphs: The Reckoning, Animorphs fanfiction by /u/TK17Studios
  • Mother of Learning, original story about a student mage caught in a time loop by /u/nobody103
  • Twig, original story about emotionally savvy, enhanced children fighting biopunk monsters in a world where the British defeated the American colonies using biological superweapons (by Wildbow)
  • UNSONG, the only rational kabbalah story I've ever heard of, with a pleasantly high concentration of biblical whale puns
  • Glimwarden, yet another original story by alexanderwales featuring three rational protagonists fighting against anthropomorphic EM radiation (or at least that's my guess)
  • Hermione Granger and the Perfectly Reasonable Explanation, a rational Harry Potter fanfic that I'm really hoping keeps up the updates (it was in a long hiatus until recently) in part because it has the perfect title for a Hermione fic

    Updating rarely, possibly abandoned:

  • Harry Potter and the Natural 20, Harry Potter/Dungeons and Dragons crossover fanfiction (protagonist is an original character and a munchkin to his core)
  • Weaver 9, a Worm metafiction which swaps the role of two important characters (casting a significant villain in the role as, er, "hero")
  • Juncture, original story about all sorts of time travel tropes by /u/AHatfulOfBomb (currently on hiatus)
  • Lighting Up the Dark, Naruto fanfiction by /u/Velorien

    I can go into more detail about what separates the Naruto/Harry Potter fanfictions on request. They all have their charms but differ quite a lot in theme and characterisation.

    I've also probably forgotten a whole bunch of things. Apologies also if I got authors wrong or missed somebody who's active on this subreddit (I don't remember usernames for everyone who is, sadly).

    There's also a lot of great one-shots on the subreddit, some in the challenge threads that get posted every two weeks.
u/xamueljones · 14 pointsr/rational

I've bought a fair amount of ebooks on Amazon recently and I think most of them are books that a lot of people here would enjoy (heck I heard about most of them through here!).

The Preorders:

Underlord - The sixth book in the Cradle series which is described as a Western Xianxia series. A lot of people here don't really like the Xianxia genre and I agree with their criticisms of how many main characters are very villainous, under-developed enemies and female characters, the economies of cultivation aren't logical, poor scaling in conflict as you go from one city to interstellar in scope, and awkward prose. But I bring up all of these flaws to say that the Cradle series completely avoids all of the typical flaws in Xianxia and has a very smart character who sets out to cultivate smartly instead of bullheadedly.

And the sixth book is coming out in March! (Get the box set. It has the first three books and is cheaper!)

Exhalation - Who here hasn't heard of Ted Chiang, the master of short stories that perfectly appeal to the r/rational crowd? The same guy that we literally use as an introduction to rational fiction. Well, if you enjoyed his first collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, you'll love hearing that the second collection is coming out in....May! (Ugh....really May? I don't think I can wait that long!)

The books you can read right now!:

The Beginner's Guide to Magical Licensing - Has a similar start to Unsong where a magical college-graduate, minimum-wage, sweat-shop worker stumbles on a powerful spell and sets out to start his own business competing with the powerful. The parts of the story that follows afterward makes a whole lot more logical sense than Unsong however. (Used to be online for free, but now you'll have to pay the price for your ignorance if you want to read it! (Nah, I lied.))

Six Sacred Swords - If you liked the Arcane Ascension series, but wished there was more dungeonnering and less of school shenanigans, then look no further! In some ways it's a lot like reading a very good DnD session played by really savvy players who never follow the 'standard' way to solve problems.

The author of Six Sacred Swords made a recommendation for The Ruin of Kings. He said that it reads like a Locke Lamora-esque rogue protagonist, telling the story in a style similar to Kvothe, in a setting similar to Game of Thrones. I haven't bought the book yet, but the review was interesting enough that I wanted to include it in my list of recommendations.

Senlin Ascends - I haven't read this yet either, but skimming through it, I see some fair bit of social manipulation/combat that I think people here would like. Plus the Tower of Babel setting is something that appeals very strongly to me.

Polyglot: NPC REVOLUTION - A lot of people here seem to really like LitRPG and Artificial Intelligence, but almost no one seem to ever question the implications of the NPCs in LitRPG stories having human-level intelligence.

Small Medium: Big Trouble - It's by the same author who wrote Threadbare that people here really liked. Similar to Polygot where the NPC is the main character who needs to deal with players, but smaller scale in scope. There's a lot of fast-talking to convince selfish sociopaths to do what you say.

Q is for Quantum - I was going through my older ebook orders when I found this one. It's the single best introduction for quantum mechanics that I have ever read (not that I've read too many of those). It focuses on building an intuition for the subject and once you've read through the book, you will understand on a gut level what superposition means. Note that it's meant as an introduction for the subject, so don't expect it to cover everything, just what's need to get started learning about quantum mechanics. But I'd still recommend it to experts if only for a better way to explain their subject to their peers and laypeople.

u/phylogenik · 1 pointr/rational

My usual "recipe" for conversations is:

  1. start with observational humor on environmental banalities (weather, pop culture, interesting buildings/statues, recent festivals, etc.) and explore basic biographical details (where are you from, have you lived here long, etc.)

  2. eventually pivot to FORD (family, occupation, recreation, dreams), which can easily fill a few dozen hours

    2.5) actively listen to your conversation partner in addition to thinking about what to say next, e.g. split your attentions 65/25, respectively. Ask them questions about the stories they tell, but if your question is too much of a digression keep it in mind for later (earlier you mentioned X, I think Y, what do you think of Z?)

    2.75) have a bunch of relevant stories of your own in your back pocket that you can retrieve at a moment's notice, but beware one-upmanship; instead, seek to find or build common ground. Helpful to have explored lots of hobbies yourself here

  3. you mentioned grad school -- people usually study stuff they're interested in, so dredge up relevant memories of old articles you've read and questions you had while reading them, and have them clarify tricky concepts for you. If you're not quite right it's just all the more opportunity for them to swoop in and show off, and at least signals your interest in whatever subject they're studying

  4. another poster mentioned lists of questions -- I actually think these can be useful conversational aids! But don't, like, memorize the questions and completely break the flow of conversation asking one. Maybe during a quiet moment when all prior conversation threads have terminated you can pop in with a random "what's your favorite dinosaur" (and why?), but otherwise I've found these best for e.g. long drives together. Also, the linked questions maybe aren't the best -- I'd recommend getting one of these (personal faves have been Greg Stock's books, and I think I've tried most at this point; something like this also works). Each question has usually afforded around half an hour of conversation, though some took us a few hours and some a few minutes. Also, these are great for building a relationship off an existing foundation, which is to say that I've only ever tried the books of questions thing after I'd already talked to the person “organically” for 50-100 hours. But collectively they've probably given me many hundreds, if not thousands of hours of conversation, so I wouldn't be so quick to discount them!

  5. bring it back to local entertainment -- listen to a podcast or audiobook together or watch a movie or documentary and pause to discuss points
u/Amonwilde · 10 pointsr/rational

Anyone have recommendations for novels or web fiction about incremental progress? Delve and The Paragamer are good examples of this, as is Sword of the Bright Lady.

People here might enjoy Delve. It's an isekai + lit rpg where the main character gets no special advantages, and even has to learn the local language. You get excited about things like his scraping together enough money to buy some clothes.

Sword of the Bright Lady is the first of the World of Prime series. The main character gets pulled into a fantasy world where power is gained by drawing a substance from the minds of deceased sentient beings. I'd venture to call it rational, probably the closest I've seen to a rational take on a literal interpretation of D&D. What would the world look like if sentients were actually worth XP? And if there was an alignment system and spells that let you see alignment?

Anyone who isn't reading, or hasn't read, Ted Chiang is missing out. You should run out and buy Exhalation.

u/arenavanera · 5 pointsr/rational

Scifi. The worldbuilding is very rational, but the protagonist isn't at all.

On the topics you mentioned:

  • Young western guy: main character is a preteen asian girl.
  • Good analytical but piss-poor social skills: she sort of doesn't fit on this axis. Her primary skillset is hurting things, being lucky, and stuff I can't mention because spoilers. Gets along well with basically everybody who knows her.
  • Dearly held views on science and rationality: also sort of doesn't fit on this axis. Her thinking is more tactical and political. She has a very clannish right-wing attitude toward life. Likes learning things, but mostly because they help her succeed, rather than for love of learning.
  • Meek but hardworking and philosophical: definitely not meek, very hardworking, not terribly philosophical.
u/owenshen24 · 4 pointsr/rational

Good and Real by Gary Drescher. Covers a similar philosophical stance to that of Yudkowsky in the Sequences, but with more academic rigor. A fun read that goes over computation, decision theory, morality, and Newcomb's Problem (among other things.)

Thinking Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman's lifetime of research in heuristics and cognitive biases condensed into one epic volume. Highly engaging and 100% recommended if you aren't well-versed in this area.

A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley. A scientific approach to studying, looking at good memory tricks, ways to learn better, and some interesting ideas on procrastination (including characterizing it as a malign reward loop).

u/narakhan · 9 pointsr/rational

Don't know specifics of what you're after, so I'll shotgun you with links:

u/Salaris · 10 pointsr/rational

Hey all,

I just released a new novel, Sufficiently Advanced Magic, that I think would appeal to some of the people around here.

It takes place in a JRPGish setting, with the action split between a magical university setting and a ever-changing uber dungeon. There's a lot of emphasis on learning the rules of magic and applying them - both in research and in combat.

In addition to JRPGs, I drew a lot of inspiration from Mother of Learning and Tower of God. If you like the idea of something like Mother of Learning with more of a JRPGish bent, I think you might enjoy this. (No time loop here, though, so don't expect that.)

In terms of the writing style, I'm most frequently compared to Sanderson, but I tend to lean toward more anime-style tropes.

Feel free to post if you've got any questions or anything. Hope you all enjoy it if you check it out!

u/Gilgilad7 · 1 pointr/rational

It isn't exactly what you asked for but the Bobiverse trilogy by Dennis Taylor might be of interest to you since it is sci-fi and the MC is a hard worker who improves himself through technology although a bit different than you are requesting.

The main character is turned into an AI and placed into an interstellar probe that can self replicate and make copies. He continues to research new technologies while spreading through various star systems. He and his copies are effectively immortal except if they are destroyed by unnatural means and they try to save the human species over the course of generations. Pretty cool read.

u/bassicallyboss · 1 pointr/rational

Perhaps not exactly what you're asking for in this thread (I haven't read any of the stories you've listed), but Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension Book 1) is a litrpg book that has been posted here before. It felt like Azure Dreams for the Playstation, only with a cool crafting system and a well-developed world. I read it and found it pretty fairly rational and very enjoyable, in a junk-food/guilty-pleasure way.

Amazon link

u/Predictablicious · 5 pointsr/rational

For communicating in difficult situations both Difficult Conversations and Crucial Conversations are good. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is the best book on how persuasion works, but How to Win Friends & Influence People is the definitive practical book on persuasion.
The Definitive Book of Body Language is a good book on the subject, which is fundamental to face to face communication.

u/GaBeRockKing · 6 pointsr/rational

MoL is a member of the groundhog's day loop subgenre. Check out Re:Zero, ERASED (AKA boku dake ga Inai Mache), and Edge of Tommorrow (also known as "All you need is kill") for non-fanfic examples. Also check out the peggy sue and groundhog peggy sue pages for when the time loop is on a significantly larger scale. For some reason I can't find a whole lot of non-fanfic examples (I've probably just forgotten stuff I read a long time ago) but there are oodles of fanfic with that premise.

Are you willing to read MLP:FiM fanfiction? I have a bunch of excellent completed fics to recommend for groundhog's day loops. If you like naruto, there's Time Braid and Chuunin exam day of the top of my head for loops, though they come with caveats: Time Braid is rather overty sexual, and Chuunin exam day is pure tripe written by an author I hate (so I only mention it because of its popularity.) Naruto also has incredibly amounts of peggy sue fics, but they tend to be either fairly blatant wish fulfilment or incomplete. I know for a fact that harry potter has tons of both peggy sue and time loop fics, but I don't really read that fandom much. Worm has a bunch of peggy sue fics, but they're all (or almost all) incomplete.


On the other hand, Hero's War is an "uplift" fic. The only non-fanfic example I can think of off the top of my head is Light on Shattered Water which I'm about halfway through. Aside from that, check spacebattles for ASOIAF SIs: they almost all tend to be of this variety. Again, I also have a bunch of MLP:FiM fics with similar premises.

For sort-of-similar works, check out Erfworld and Two Year Emperor for modern-person-gets-put-in-charge-of-fantasy-land fiction.

Spacebattles really likes both of these kinds of fics, so you may have more luck posting a thread there.

u/embrodski · 4 pointsr/rational

I don't think fanfic is a problem. Exhibit A: HPMoR. But there's critically-accepted/acclaimed fanfic works in the industry. Watts's "The Things" and Scalzi's "Redshirts" are both fanfic, and they were both nominated for the Hugo Award (Scalzi won his, and Watts should have won, but was robbed). SF fans aren't strangers to fanfic.

And fanfic isn't a requirement by any stretch. Sword of Good, Three Worlds Collide, Study of Anglophysics, and Last Christmas are all good non-fanfic rationalist works.

Publishing is hard, and takes ages. I dread the day I finish a novel, because I know it'll be years before anyone else will see it even though it's done and ready! I've delayed starting one partly for that reason. But it can force us to up our game. And IMHO the benefits are worth it.

u/bkkgirl · 3 pointsr/rational
  1. It's really, really good. Stick with it! It's got both the best AI and the best aliens I've ever seen in fiction.

  2. It diverges from the Inside Out model in a bit... (Really mostly in the second book, though)

  3. \^

  4. The first book is about 0.4 HPMoRs, the second is about 0.3. Only the first is free; the second is available on Amazon.
u/captainNematode · 2 pointsr/rational

Referring to them as "Friend 1", "Friend 2", and so on seems a bit dehumanizing/clinical, no?

I any case, I think lists of questions are great under the right circumstances -- I've made ample use of them on long road trips and hiking trips on occasion, and they've provided a springboard for plenty of 10-15 hour long conversations. I think one issue with the ones you're using is that a lot of them are really boring and don't really provide fertile ground for followup discussion. I've probably most enjoyed going through Greg Stock's books (e.g. 1, 2, 3, which you can pick up used for a few bucks each), as well as the "If..." series and books of thought experiments. Each question usually provides 5-120 minutes of conversation, with median time being, I dunno, 15ish minutes.

And I'll second recommendations on getting out and doing other things while conversing with people in person. It doesn't have to be too active -- a walk will do.

u/Empiricist_or_not · 1 pointr/rational

Have you read We are Legion; We are Bob? If not and you (OP only) are willing to pm me with your preferred format and an email. There's a lot of laughable/horribly pessimistic assumptions in the story, but it's a good mix of passages in the void and humorous sci-fi illustrating a counter-argument.

I think you are assuming a sub-sapient probe, and that only makes sense if you don't pursue a K type reproductive strategy (i.e. quality over quantity) for your probe. We are K type reproducers ourselves; and I would hope our first von-neuman probes are, at least, as strongly trans-human as the Bobs are.

u/eaturbrainz · 10 pointsr/rational

Forty Millenia of Cultivation is basically my favorite web serial to follow right now. Possibly my favorite book I'm reading, period, and I've got Orconomics and Inventing the Future for it to compete with!


u/tadrinth · 22 pointsr/rational

I think this is closer to munchkin fiction than rational fiction.

It's fun, though, and I also recommend Perilous Waif which I believe is by the same author.

u/edwardkmett · 31 pointsr/rational

The Erogamer on QQ is probably the best story in that genre that I've read.

Something that borrows some of the elements is Threadbare, by Andrew Seiple, which was first posted as a web serial on SV. Not exactly rationalist, but still a fun read.

u/saltvedt · 11 pointsr/rational

> Blindsight is the Hugo Award–nominated novel by Peter Watts, "a hard science fiction writer through and through and one of the very best alive" (The Globe and Mail).
> Two months have past since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent since―until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who should we send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn't want to meet?
> Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder and a biologist so spliced with machinery that he can't feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing they've been sent to find―but you'd give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them. . . .

u/TheFightingMasons · 3 pointsr/rational

Just got caught up with A Hero’s War it’s a pretty fun fantasy uplift story similar to Destiny’s Crucible , but with magic.

Currently looking for anything similar.

u/literal-hitler · 6 pointsr/rational

I highly recommend the bobiverse series to you as a second point of reference.

u/Mellow_Fellow_ · 13 pointsr/rational

Give Sufficiently Advanced Magic a try. It's a pseudo lit-rpg with a rationalist protagonist. In some ways it's similar to the Cradle series by Will Wight.

u/FormerlySarsaparilla · 6 pointsr/rational

Oh cool, second collection! Didn't know that was coming out.

No though, that collection is just named for one of the stories in it, "Exhalation." Legit copy here:

His first collection was "Stories of Your Life And Others":

u/LaughingMan42 · 2 pointsr/rational

This? a collection of short stories to be released this May?

u/PlacidPlatypus · 3 pointsr/rational

Yup, there it is. Guess I should have googled more thoroughly.

u/whywhisperwhy · 3 pointsr/rational

Blindsight by Peter Watts, and its sequel Echopraxia.

u/ad_abstract · 11 pointsr/rational

I really enjoyed Cast Under an Alien Sun. It has been since The Martian and HPMOR that I haven't loved a book this much.

The story is about a chemistry PhD student who is catapulted into another planet (no real spoilers there since it happens at the very beginning) where humans have been mysteriously "planted" many thousands of years ago and have developed into a culture akin to the Europeans in the 17th century. While it's a bit west-biased, it's really cool to see the main character using science and rational reasoning to get him out of troubles. There's a lot more to it but I can't recommend it enough.

u/Makin- · 5 pointsr/rational

You have read the two sequels, right? (Though I just learned the third book isn't that good, apparently?)