Science fiction makes you think.
Although sci-fi pushes past the boundaries of reality, it paradoxically allows readers to think about questions that hit closest to home.
Technology, society, war, existence, family — these main sci-fi themes are things that we all deal with every day.
No literary list is exhaustive, but we’ve put together a list of 17 that any real sci-fi fan should definitely read.
“Foundation” by Isaac Asimov
“The first Foundation trilogy (…) won a Hugo Award in 1965 for ‘Best All-Time Series.’ It’s science fiction on the grand scale; one of the classics of the field,” wrote Brooks Peck.
The Foundation trilogy (paperback): $US16.91
“Dune” by Frank Herbert
“Herbert created what was, in 1965, the most complex backdrop of politics, economics, religion, science, philosophy, and culture to inform an [science fiction] novel to date,” wrote Tomas M. Wagner for SFReviews.net.
“Ringworld” by Larry Nivel
200-year old human Louis Wu, 20-year old fellow human Teela Brown, and two aliens set out to explore an unknown world, Ringworld.
“Daemon” by Daniel Suarez
“Suarez’s riveting debut would be a perfect gift for a favourite computer geek or anyone who appreciates thrills, chills and cyber suspense… A final twist that runs counter to expectations will leave readers anxiously awaiting the promised sequel,” writes Publisher’s Weekly.
“Avogardo Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears” by William Hertling
“An alarming and jaw-dropping tale about how something as innocuous as email can subvert an entire organisation. I found myself reading with a sense of awe, and read it way too late into the night,” writes author Gene Kim.
“I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov
The Will Smith movie version is nothing compared to the actual book.
This nine-story collection is a mind-blowing read. Trust us.
“Contact” by Carl Sagan
“Who could be better qualified than the author of the highly successful Cosmos to turn the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, and humankind’s first contact with it, into imaginative reality?” according to Publisher’s Weekly.
“2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke
“Brain-boggling,” according to LIFE.
“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick
“[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities… that other authors shy away from,” wrote Rolling Stone’s Paul Williams.
“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card
“Intense is the word for Ender’s Game. Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses — and then training them in the arts of war,” according to the Amazon.com review.
The whole Ender Quintet: $US22.88
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adam
“You’ll never read funnier science fiction; Adams is a master of intelligent satire, barbed wit, and comedic dialogue. The Hitchhiker’s Guide is rich in comedic detail and thought-provoking situations and stands up to multiple reads,” according to the Amazon.com review.
“Pandora’s Star” by Peter F. Hamilton
Astronomer Dudley Bose sees a star disappearing one thousand light-year away — and goes out find out what’s going on.
“Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut
“The Sirens of Titan — a lacerating satire that undeniably influenced Douglas Adams — gives humanity the brutal message: You are not in control,” according to the SFreview.net.
“Neuromancer” by William Gibson
“…the novel is not much interested in character and plot. Instead it is dedicated to creating the feeling of a transformed reality, where a new vocabulary is required to describe how perception itself has been changed by computers,” writes John Mullan in The Guardian.
“Hyperion” by Dan Simmons
“Simmons make up a single thousand-page novel about the last days of a vibrant yet self-destructive galactic civilisation called the Hegemony,” according to Gerald Jones in the New York Times.
One of the most thought-provoking moments in the novel is when a character says, “Sometimes, dreams are all that separate us from machines.”
“1984” by George Orwell
“Agreeing with all that the critics have written of it, I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is,” Aldous Huxley wrote in a letter to George Orwell regarding “1984.”
“War of the Worlds” by H. G. Wells
“… true classic that has pointed the way not just for science-fiction writers, but for how we as a civilisation might think of ourselves,” writes Ben East in The Guardian.
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