June 01, 2010

What are your favorite sci-fi novels?

Statement of the obvious:  I'm a geek.

Always have been.  Always will be.  And I wear it proudly.

Heck, when I was in middle school, instead of joining Columbia House, I joined the Sci-Fi Book Club, where a new science fiction novel was shipped to my house to read every month.

Last week, the New York Times magazine published an article where the interviewed top authors in various genres and asked them to list their favorite books in their own genres.  The one that caught my eye was William Gibson, author of the famed cyberpunk novel "Neuromancer"and his list of science fiction novels.

Now, long time readers of Macroscope know I've had a bit of a bee in my bonnet over the years about how modern day science fiction film seems stuck in "Blade Runner", largely because most sci-fi screenwriters today only reference other films instead of actually reading sci-fi fiction like their predecessors in the 60's & '70's.  And, frankly, I criticize them because I am one of them.  I've not read nearly as many classics in sci-fi as I would like, and I would really hope to change that.

If nothing else, how can you go beyond what's been done if you don't know where the edge is?

So, with that in mind, I'm curious to know, among you folks out there, what are your favorite science fiction novels out there?

And, by science fiction, I mean fiction that is in some way referencing some actual scientific theory.  Fantasy like "Lord of the Rings" or "Chronicles of Narnia" don't count.  And neither does "Star Wars", since there's really no underlying science at work in those stories.

And, with that in mind, here are some of my favorites.  Not in any particular order, but, of course, the order the come to mind probably indicates a level of preference:

  • Frank Herbert's "Dune" series (I've read 4 of the 6 of his original series.  Working on "Heretics of Dune")
  • Arthur C. Clark's "Rama" series (the 1st one is a bit dry, but after he teams with Gentry Lee for "Rama II" and the rest of the series, it's a pretty amazing treatise on evolving human society, literally in a bubble)
  • Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" series
  • "The Demolished Man", by Alfred Bester - perhaps the best prose depiction of telepathy I've ever seen or could even imagine.  Just on a totally other level.
  • "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and its sequel, "The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul", one of the most underrated sci-fi comedies, courtesy of Douglas Adams
  • Mary Shelley's original "Frankenstein"
  • H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds"
What about you?  Feel free to contribute.
Post a Comment