After reading a lot of comedic fantasy (Robert Rankin, Jasper Fforde, Christopher Moore etc.) and, on a completely unrelated note, Catch 22, I'm looking for something different to read and I could really use some recommendations.
I'm looking for a book that falls into either one of these two very different categories:
1) A witty, heartfelt character-driven novel. What I'm basically looking for here is something along the lines of Michael Chabon, who's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and Wonderboys have become two of my all-time favourite novels after having read them both this year, the former in particular. So anything in that style really.
2) An engrossing science fiction novel with the emphasis NOT being on technobabble or science-theory but more on simply telling a truly gripping, memorable and imaginative story with a real sense of unpredictability - a real page turner. I'm not necessarily looking for anything too deep here as this is basically holiday reading but nothing overly lightweight either. As an example, I remember being completely enthralled with the second half of Asimov's Foundation trilogy, literally being unable to put it down until I saw just where the story was going. I'm looking for something like that.