wickedcool1 Author Well, my dear. I don't know if it is technically sci-fi, but I just read a great book called "When She Woke". NEED to read that one. Excellent book, play on Hawthorne's "Scarlett Letter" based in near future America. SENSATIONAL!
DMHedlund Administrator Hey Sky, Since Steve is giving quasi sci-fi recommendations, I thought I would too. Have you read Never Let Me Go? It's also based in a futuristic society, where cloning is trying to be moralized. I'm a little obsessed. For traditional sci-fi, Joe and Alex will be much better sources, but I love Dan Simmons and Douglas Adams. Which are mostly polar opposites. Happy reading, Dani
galt1034 Author GREAT SCIENCE FICTION RECOMMENDATIONS POWERS ACTIVATE!!!! Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card) is probably the most recommended piece of Sci-fi, but along with it I highly recommend reading the sequel Speaker for the Dead, and the parallel novel, Ender's Shadow. You can skip all the rest in the Ender's series. Dune (Frank Herbert) is a must. It takes a little work to acclimate yourself to the futuristic vocabulary of the characters, but totally worth it. Stranger in a Strange Land, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, and Time Enough for Love are all amazing (Robert Heinlein) novels. Not everyone likes his style, so I suggest starting with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and if you love it, move on to the others. If steampunk is your cup o' tea, try The Windup Girl (Paolo Bacigalupi). If cyberpunk is your thing, try some classic Nueromancer (William Gibson). He is the father of modern cyberpunk. War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells) is amazing. I am Legend (Richard Matheson) blows the movie out of the water. Watchmen (Alan Moore) is arguably the gr eatest graphic novel of all time. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C. Clarke). After reading this I was actually able to watch the movie and enjoy it. The movie and the book were actually co-created, and meant to be experienced together. This book blew my mind. Ringworld (Larry Niven) is a ton of fun, and has a very interesting spin to the story (no pun intended) at the end. And lastly, Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) is a classic that everyone should read.
MRemington Author Leave it to Canby to answer this questions so well. Shall I be bold enough to add Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which is astounding) and C.S. Lewis' overshadowed though amazing Into the Silent Planet series (fun fact, Lewis based the protagonist off of his good friend, Tolkien).
DMHedlund Administrator And Sirens of Titan...because it's Vonnegut at his finest.
DMHedlund Administrator And so damn sad. I still don't know why, but the end of that book broke my heart. I just remember sitting in my apartment, fighting back tears, staring at that strange pink cover with the dog float atop it, wondering why I felt so crushed. I think I'm the only person though.
Akaless Administrator A lot of what Vonnegut writes tends to be Sci-fi. I can't recommend the short "Harrison Bergeron" enough. It's amazing and kind of ties to Sirens. Dan Simmons Hyperion series is fantastic. Fahrenheit is great, but Bradbury's shorts are fantastic as well. Ursula K. Le Guin is another great sci-fi writer. Check out The Left Hand of Darkness. And there's plenty of others I'll think of later.
hchsu The best sf I've encountered in recent years aren't literature, but manga and anime. Ghost in the Shell 2, Baccano!, They Were Eleven. For some reason sf works better for me via a visual and dynamic medium. Check out Moto Hagio's work. I think she's better than almost any sf writer I've read.
Alison Author I know this was a while ago, but since we just started accepting story openers for the first DN on the new site, I thought I might suggest "A Martian Odyssey" by Stanley G. Weinbuam and "Leviathan '99" by Ray Bradbury. Both are very imaginative and fantastic short pieces that each take their unique approach to the genre of science fiction. Good luck!
pscottcrouch Author If you want to get some of the nuts and bolts down I would recommend Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle for starters. Also, David Weber has a great series with a strong female lead, which is the Honor Harrington series(this Horatio Hornblower/C.S. Forester in space...or if you like that Irish guy O'Brien then it would be Master and Commander in space...but I'm partial to Hornblower).
BrokenSticks12 Administrator Galt1034 covered most of the good ones, especially "Dune." It's easily a top-three book for me, even outside of science fiction. It's challenging, but completely worth the effort. I'm not sure I've ever read a novel that covers so much ground: intergalactic travel, colonialism vs. indigenous culture, ecological consumption. It's spectacular. As for "Ender's Game" - I would really love to have someone give me a decent explanation of what makes this book so excellent. I found it completely underwhelming. Perhaps this is because my expectations were sky-high due to its cult status, but I've had enough time away from the novel to give it a good deal of objective thought, and I still don't get it. It's structurally one of the weakest "classic" novels I think I've ever read. Frederik Pohl's "Gateway" is definitely worth a read. It uses a really interesting structural technique to draw out the essence of its (mostly unlikeable) protagonist, and it goes into some interesting speculation on the possibilities of space exploration. Walter M. Miller' s "A Canticle for Leibowitz" is excellent as well. Essentially, it follows the struggle of rebuilding a burned Earth after society rejects and destroys science following a nuclear holocaust. It's one of the more religiously involved sci-fi novels you'll find - the title character is more or less a saint to those who attempt to preserve Earth's scientific knowledge. Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" and Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" are also among my favorite novels regardless of genre. "Cat's Cradle" contains one of my all-time favorite lines at the moment of catastrophe. More than any of his other novels, this one seems to bring out the beauty in Vonnegut's language. "The Road" is an obvious choice that I'm sure most people here have already experienced. It's only nominally science-fiction, but it's worth reading for the sheer poetry of McCarthy's language. I actually think John Hillcoat did about as well as could be expected with his film version, but the book is downright essential.
pscottcrouch Author With Ender's Game you have to read it and approach it as a young adult novel, which is what it was intended as. You also have to keep in mind that it was written almost 30 years ago, when young adult novels were far crappier than they are now(for the most part, though there are a few exceptions....and a lot of young adult novels published now are still crap).
rstemple Author Hi, I'd recommend any of the Robot novels or something from the Foundation Series by Asimov. There are some interesting interplanetary politics involved. Of course, you can't go wrong with anything written by Douglas Adams. Ruben
Akaless Administrator For fun, super goofy Sci-fi, I can't recommend A. Lee Martinez's Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain enough. He's such a fun, brilliantly creative writer.