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Thread: Commonly Accepted Top 10'ish Sci Fi Books

  1. #1
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    Commonly Accepted Top 10'ish Sci Fi Books

    Everyone has their own top 10. I understand that. But i'm curious if there is a common theme amongst the opinions of the top 10 sci fi books out there. Oh, and don't include Hitchikers Ride since I read that one (and I'm hoping for something a little less cheeky and hopefully something more geeky).

    I am on a contract that requires me to drive 1.5 hours each way, every day. I'm interested in downloading some audio books for the road and was hoping for some suggestions. Sadly enough, I haven't read nearly as much as I'd like to. I think the last sci-fi book I read was something by Piers Anthony (Macroscope I believe....more sci-fi/fantasy).

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Just about any Hugo award winner would serve you well, but you also can't go wrong with the classics such as The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds or From the Earth to the Moon. In fact the classics may even do better as audiobooks than modern literature. Add to those three The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Childhood's End and The Gods Themselves. You also might like the Ray Bradbury anthologies, such as The Illustrated Man or the Martian Chronicles. Hard science fiction, such as that written by Larry Niven, might be difficult as audiobooks but you might try the Neutron Star anthology.

  3. #3
    I don't think there really is a canonical list nor yet should there be. I don't think scifi needs a Citizen Kane.

    Major award winners are a good start of course, and then there are some good publication series like the Millennium/Gollancz SF Masterworks series (which is a little heavy on PKD for my tastes but then again, so many swear by him that it's hardly unexpected):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SF_Masterworks

    Probably not all of those are available in audio book form tho.

    Finally, here's a fairly long thread on another forum about fave scifi novels, HTH:
    http://www.rationalskepticism.org/bo...hat-t1168.html
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  4. #4
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    A big problem with a "generally accepted" top ten list is that there is too much variation in what people like. Do you like hard science fiction, science fantasy, cyberpunk, early 20th century science fiction, Golden Age, New Wave, or only recent science fiction? What authors do you like or dislike? And so on.

    Another issue for me is that I don't really have a top ten. I could give a list of my favorite stories, but I wouldn't put them in a numbered list and ten is really too small a grouping for my favorites.

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  5. #5
    I'm fairly certain anything other than number 1 would be different if I made the list in one months time, or two years ago, but for what it's worth:

    1. Dune - Frank Herbert
    2. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein
    3. The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
    4. The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov
    5. The Mars Trilogy - Kim Stanley Robinson
    6. City - Clifford D. Simak
    7. To Your Scattered Bodies Go - Phillip Jose Farmer
    8. Redemption Ark - Alastair Reynolds
    9. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
    10. Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke

    Which list kind of dates me.

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    11. The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
    12. The Demolished Man - Alfred Bester
    13. A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
    14. The Gods Themselves - Isaac Asimov
    15. Childhood's End - Arthur C. Clarke
    16. A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge
    17. The Caves of Steel/The Naked Sun - Isaac Asimov
    18. The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin
    19. Ringworld - Larry Niven
    20. Startide Rising/The Uplift War - David Brin
    21. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
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    I can happily second 3, 14 & 15 as listed above.

    & 8, 16, 19 & 20.

    For listening to whilst driving I know the BBC has produced a plethora of recordings of all sorts over the decades, hopefully Mr Beardsley will be dropping by with some suggestions soon.
    I remember listening to an adaptation of Judge Dredd's Apocalypse War whilst driving up to Scotland many years ago. IIRC it was adapted from the original material in 2000AD to a far greater extent than the movie version and much more substantial as a result.


    There have also been various audio versions of War of the Worlds, I enjoy Jeff Waynes musical version, but (if available) the original radio broadcast of Orson Welles could be fun.

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    One of my lists -- they vary at random -- would be a permutation of ToSeek's.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

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    Harder SF might include Clarke's A Fall of Moondust or The Fountains of Paradise.

    John Varley's Gaia trilogy.

    More recently, I liked Ian MacDonald's River of Gods and The Dervish House.

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    I would say War of the Worlds would HAVE to be on that list. I would think that Stranger in a Strange Land might merit a spot too.

    On my top ten list, I would have the following books but not in this order:
    1. War of the Worlds
    2. Stranger in a Strange Land
    3. The Forever War
    4. Foundation Series
    5. Shatterday or Repent Harlequin Said the Tick-Tock Man.
    6. I, Robot (I hate it but it is too important to skip)
    7. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
    8. Jurassic Park (Just the first one)
    9. 2001 (either the whole series or just the first)
    10. This spot saved for future use.
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    EDIT - Deleted duplicate post. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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    Not sure I can make 10 this evening, but I will back up my choices. These are novels that entertain but do much else besides, such as change the way we look at the world. I've got nothing against novels that "merely" entertain, of course.

    Frank Herbert's Dune - one of the first works to recognise that other planets are not simply the arenas for swashbuckling adventure (though we get that too), but that planetology, religion (mostly non-Christian), Macchiavellian politics and economics will play a major role in their running. Set in a future in which mildly taboo things that were impossible at the time of writing are taken for granted - a woman defiantly giving birth to a son when she was ordered to have a daughter. Downside: Abundant free oxygen in the desert planet's atmosphere. Best adaptation: The miniseries, not the film.

    H.G. Wells' The Time Machine - a gem. Takes a rational approach to time travel (moving along dimensions, as opposed to being struck by lightning or whatever), explores then-modern ideas of evolution, invents social evolution, comments on the then-present upstairs/downstairs social order, speculates and vividly portrays the winding down of the solar system, and delivers a killer last line. Downside: Some of the musings about how the world of the future came about are a bit wodgy. Best adaptation: The BBC radio play, in which the Eloi don't speak English! The scene in which Weena sings a hymn of praise to the sun is heartbreaking.

    Stanislaw Lem's Solaris - to my mind, the tragic love story in space, as portrayed so well in the Tarkovsky movie and the BBC radio play, is the most interesting aspect, even if Lem didn't think so. But the story also warns us that the universe is not the cosy place we have come to expect from other science fiction stories. Downside: I don't think the descriptions of the various features of Solaris are especially good, and I wonder if that's a failure of the translator. Best adaptation: The aforementioned Tarkovsky film and the BBC radio version. I haven't seen the 1968 film apart from two clips on YouTube, and the George Clooney version is irrelevant.

    Greg Egan's Diaspora - (deliberately?) reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke's The City and the Stars, Egan's novel explores the implications of uploaded consciousness that most SF writers tend to shy away from, notably "the myth of the individual". I would like to live in this world.

    Stephen Baxter's Voyage - I'm not a huge fan of alternative world stories as they can come across as "fiction with added irrelevance", although the better ones ask and answer intriguing "what if X had happened instead of Y" questions. Voyage works for me, though, partly because if you're going to do a science fiction novel, it might as well be about space travel! With this novel, I felt a definite yearning for the world in which the Apollo programme was brought to an early close in order to get a manned craft on Mars by 1986, even though the people of this world would have been denied Viking, among other things. Also, even at the time of writing, the Mars landing would have been old news. Downside: The book is really very long - perhaps too long; someone who knows more about these things than I do said that some of Baxter's storylines were modelled on actual events - events that would have already taken place in the world of the novel; I wasn't overly keen on the flashback structure. Best adaptation: The BBC Radio 4 serial. When it gets to the actual landing, it feels as if it's really taking place, live.

  13. #13
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    thanks for the suggestions gang.

    this is plenty of brain food to keep me going for a while. i'm going to grab ender's game and The Gods Themselves as I've heard them recommended before.

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    I'm not sure I would count Something Wicked as SF. Horror, more likely. But if you want to include Ray Bradbury, why not take that Sci-Fi classic of his, Fahrenheit 451?

    Some others to recommend:
    Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
    2001 (makes a little more sense than the movie), Arthur C. Clarke
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
    Protector, Larry Niven (there's a few more books in the series as well, but I especially like the thinking in this one)
    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, RA Heinlein

    Will add more if and when I think about them.


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    Here are my thoughts, in sort of order from most favorite to less, and some are mulitple books (added some comments too)

    1. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein
    2. Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
    3. Gaia triology - John Varley (the three books of the triology are Titan, Wizard, and Demon; Varley's short stories are wonderfull too)
    4. Startide Rising/The Uplift War - David Brin (Sundiver is also good, but didn't like the second triology)
    5. A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller, Jr.
    6. The Dispossessed - Ursula K. LeGuin
    7. Ringworld - Larry Niven (the follow-up books are good, but not as good; love his early short stories in the "Known Space" universe)
    8. The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. LeGuin
    9. Cities in Flight - James Blish
    10. The Mote in God's Eye - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
    11. The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov
    12. The Caves of Steel/The Naked Sun - Isaac Asimov
    13. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
    14. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes (some might not consider SF)
    15. The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. LeGuin
    16. Footfall - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (though reading it now, it comes off a little dated; Lucifer's Hammer was also pretty good)
    17. Dune - Frank Herbert (went seriously downhill after the first book)
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  16. #16
    At least two of Vernor Vinge's Zones of Thought books should certainly be on the list:
    A Fire Upon the Deep
    A Deepness in the Sky
    Children of the Sky (not my favorite)
    Selden

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    Our continuing list of the hundred top ten SF books!

    Where is Poul Anderson? Tau Zero belongs here. Also Orion Shall Rise.

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    In Post 12 I listed 5 works. I find I'm reluctant to add works simply because I enjoyed them - there's got to be more to it than that.

    Anyway, three more:

    Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven - often overshadowed by her more "serious" work (The Dispossessed, which I haven't read yet, and The Left Hand of Darkness) and her "superior juvenile" work (A Wizard of Earthsea sequence, of which I've only read the first book, and preferred the BBC audio adaptation which starred Judi Dench). But this is probably the cleverest working of "wishing things had gone differently", and the emotional impact is stunning. So much so that I actually found it exhausting to skim through years after I'd first read it. Lines that might at best raise an interested eyebrow if taken out of context ("Do not do unto others what you would not have them do to you") or the scene with the Beatles record are moving beyond belief. Downside: Overshadowed, not just by the author's own work, but also by comparisons with the work of Philip K. Dick, even though the town is (surprisingly) big enough for both of them. Best adaptation: Er, dunno. The early TV version is difficult to get hold of, and the one from the 90s is not really watchable.

    Robert Silverberg's Dying Inside - SF works best when there's only one miracle. David Selig is an utterly ordinary man apart from his ability to read minds. Remarkably, in contrast to most skiffy works, his ability is actually getting weaker as he approaches middle age. How his ability shapes his life, and how it comes to define him and his relationships, makes for extremely compelling reading, with an emotional impact comparable to that of The Lathe of Heaven. Downside: Someone nicked the title for a truly dreadful comic book adaptation of the Silent Hill game series.

    Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun - often described as a literary SFnal epic, I see no reason to disagree. Immense futurity, time travel, a palace within a palace, swordplay, wordplay, vast decaying libraries, mysterious strangers, reverse cyborgs, devastating acts of mercy, and time turning our lies into truths. Downside: The sequel, The Urth of the New Sun, added much, but also took some of the joy away.

    An observation:

    If a work of science fiction has not been adapted into another medium (film, TV miniseries, radio play, comic book or play) it is for one of three reasons:

    1. It's not good enough.
    2. It is simply too difficult and/or expensive to do the original justice.
    3. None of the above.

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    My first reaction was the same as Van Rijn's: what people like to read is very individual, and we would be better able to help you if you were more specific about your tastes in science fiction. But I guess sometimes people just want a few random suggestions to broaden their horizons. And it turns out I do have a few suggestions and comments to make after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven - often overshadowed by her more "serious" work (The Dispossessed, which I haven't read yet, and The Left Hand of Darkness) and her "superior juvenile" work (A Wizard of Earthsea sequence, of which I've only read the first book, and preferred the BBC audio adaptation which starred Judi Dench). But this is probably the cleverest working of "wishing things had gone differently", and the emotional impact is stunning. So much so that I actually found it exhausting to skim through years after I'd first read it. Lines that might at best raise an interested eyebrow if taken out of context ("Do not do unto others what you would not have them do to you") or the scene with the Beatles record are moving beyond belief. Downside: Overshadowed, not just by the author's own work, but also by comparisons with the work of Philip K. Dick, even though the town is (surprisingly) big enough for both of them. Best adaptation: Er, dunno. The early TV version is difficult to get hold of, and the one from the 90s is not really watchable.
    You simply must read at least the second Earthsea book, The Tombs of Atuan! I've read The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness and the first three books of the Earthsea series. Unfortunately I never got my hands on The Lathe of Heaven. My impression so far is that her science fiction is rather dry and minimalistic, while her fantasy is more engaging (Earthsea is fantasy). The Left Hand of Darkness is nevertheless a worthwhile quiet read, though I don't think I'd put it on a Top 10 list. I'm not so sure about The Dispossessed. Not a bad book by any means, but I didn't feel that it fully met its ambitions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Stanislaw Lem's Solaris - to my mind, the tragic love story in space, as portrayed so well in the Tarkovsky movie and the BBC radio play, is the most interesting aspect, even if Lem didn't think so.
    I agree. This one deserves to be on the list, although I fear that the technical/speculative chapters, which are the majority, might feel distracting and boring in audio. Perhaps one that is best read than listened to?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Downside: I don't think the descriptions of the various features of Solaris are especially good, and I wonder if that's a failure of the translator.
    Well, he was trying to "describe the indescribable" -- a common feature of his serious novels. This can sometimes come off unclear or unconvincing or, to put it less charitably, contrived and fake. But if describing the indescribable is a literal impossibility, I find that Lem gets as close to it as one could possibly hope most of the time. He's also excellent (as I once read somewhere) at mimicking scientific jargon and academic discussion. He can create a realistic impression of "science" and "scientists" like no one else -- just don't think too hard about the details, lest your suspension of belief drop. Lem wrote two kinds of stories: the gloomily serious, at times bordering on pretentious, but still thought-provoking ones like Solaris, and (often dark) humourous stuff like the Ijon Tichy tales. The latter can be quite enjoyable, but it's among the former that you'll find his greatest work. Another rival to Philip K. Dick, though really Dick, Lem and LeGuin each have their own distinctive style.

    Quote Originally Posted by jokergirl View Post
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
    Speaking of Dick, although he is one of my favorite science fiction writers I must say that those two books, which I read recently, did not make much of an impression on me. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, while closer to the film than I was expecting (yet still its own beast) felt like it was lacking something, and The Man in the High Castle frankly felt overrated. Perhaps I just read them at the wrong time (too many of the same gimmicks and themes I'd already seen in other books of his?...) Both made it more obvious to me that Dick, like a few other golden age science fiction writers, was not very good with endings. I would suggest instead Ubik or The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, good "typical" Dick books, and then perhaps one of his later novels that touch on religion. Not everyone is comfortable with the latter, but I like them a lot; the best are VALIS and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. (VALIS is only borderline science fiction, though, and The Transmigration isn't science fiction at all, but rather semiautobiographic.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    9. 2001 (either the whole series or just the first)
    Different opinion here: see Kubrick's movie and afterwards read 2001 and 2010. The movie 2010 is optional and the other books you can skip. And I would also recommend Childhood's End and Rendezvous with Rama from Clarke, but skip the rest of the Rama series.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    4. Startide Rising/The Uplift War - David Brin (Sundiver is also good, but didn't like the second triology)
    I liked the first two books in the second trilogy as well, but I never got round to reading the third one, and the reviews I've see aren't encouraging. It's heavy reading, though. Many characters and parallel plotlines. Perhaps another one that is best read than listened to.

    Here are a few more novel suggestions:

    Brian Aldiss - Hothouse
    George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty Four (famous dystopia)
    Jack Vance - Any book from the Demon Princes series or the Alastor trilogy. Vance at his best is a treat.

    If you're into early science fiction, I second the H. G. Wells suggestions, and add:

    Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
    Jules Verne - Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to the Centre of the Earth (short ones), Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (longer)

    I would second many of the other suggestions that have been made, but will just single out Bradbury's Martian Chronicles. I hope the fact that it's an anthology of short stories doesn't put you off. While there are some good science fiction novels and novellas, I often think that the best format for science fiction is really the short story. In that vein I would suggest picking up other short story anthologies, like Asimov's robot short stories. Or any of Asimov's short story anthologies, really. And Clarke has many good short stories, too.

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    In my world, Dan Simmons' "Hyperion" quadrilogy and Iain M. Banks' Culture novels deserve to be in a Top 10 list. For some strange reason I also quite like the space operas of Peter F. Hamilton. Besides that, I agree on all the suggestions above.

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    I could list a lot of books that I've enjoyed, in fact most have already been mentioned.

    My more specific criterion is not just readability but rereadability, which in my case is usually a series: Varley's Gaia, Aldiss' Helliconia, and (up to a point after the first book) Dune.

    Curiously, I've found Banks to be enjoyable, but with the exception of Excession, never go back to him.

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    Thanks for your responses to my post, Disinfo Agent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent View Post
    You simply must read at least the second Earthsea book, The Tombs of Atuan!
    I will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    The Left Hand of Darkness is nevertheless a worthwhile quiet read, though I don't think I'd put it on a Top 10 list.
    I think I need to reread it some time. When I read it I found the politics quite dull. Crucially, I didn't feel that the story emerged from the premise. With a very few tweaks it could have been set on a planet where people don't change sex.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    I agree. This one [Solaris] deserves to be on the list, although I fear that the technical/speculative chapters, which are the majority, might feel distracting and boring in audio. Perhaps one that is best read than listened to?
    To be clear, the BBC audio version was a radio play adapted from the novel, not a straight reading of the novel. I felt it captured the essence of the novel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Well, he was trying to "describe the indescribable" -- a common feature of his serious novels. This can sometimes come off unclear or unconvincing or, to put it less charitably, contrived and fake. But if describing the indescribable is a literal impossibility, I find that Lem gets as close to it as one could possibly hope most of the time.
    I don't agree with this. Describing the indescribable is something SF writers do for a living. In His Dark Materials (which I nearly added to my list for the brilliantly realised alien race in the third book), Philip Pullman managed to convey the feeling of having your demon touched. As demons don't actually exist, this should have been impossible. Yet I found myself squirming with revulsion and horror when the children's demons were being handled by the scientists at Bolvanger. And I shed tears when I read the scene with the first encounter with a severed child.

    Lem, by contrast, was merely describing coral-like structures growing out of the Solaris ocean (the mimoids, IIRC), and I have to say, I found it hard to picture them based on his descriptions. The likes of Niven and Baxter are much better at this sort of thing. Perhaps it is a failing on the part of the translator.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    He's also excellent (as I once read somewhere) at mimicking scientific jargon and academic discussion. He can create a realistic impression of "science" and "scientists" like no one else -- just don't think too hard about the details, lest your suspension of belief drop.
    This I can agree with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Speaking of Dick, although he is one of my favorite science fiction writers I must say that those two books, which I read recently, did not make much of an impression on me. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, while closer to the film than I was expecting (yet still its own beast) felt like it was lacking something, and The Man in the High Castle frankly felt overrated. Perhaps I just read them at the wrong time (too many of the same gimmicks and themes I'd already seen in other books of his?...) Both made it more obvious to me that Dick, like a few other golden age science fiction writers, was not very good with endings. I would suggest instead Ubik or The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, good "typical" Dick books, and then perhaps one of his later novels that touch on religion. Not everyone is comfortable with the latter, but I like them a lot; the best are VALIS and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. (VALIS is only borderline science fiction, though, and The Transmigration isn't science fiction at all, but rather semiautobiographic.)
    In some ways Dick was a victim of his own success. His books inspired others to explore similar ideas. Blade Runner is a beautiful film (or should that be films?), and it's much less of an effort to watch that than read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Also, there's a famous quote from Dick about two "people" having a duel with pistols, and as both are hit, the human bleeds oil while the android bleeds blood. I found that image much more vivid than the novel.

    I loved VALIS. I loved the way Dick suddenly became himself, and he could give the characters access to movie studios because some of his novels had been optioned.

    I loved "Flow My Tears" The Policeman Said. I was fascinated by the title because it was referenced in a very early Gary Numan/Tubeway Army song: "'Flow My Tears' the new/Police song/The slogan of peace is:/You must live." Another Gary Numan song referred to "A random pol check" which was also taken from this novel. The novel itself was emotionally very powerful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Different opinion here: see Kubrick's movie and afterwards read 2001 and 2010. The movie 2010 is optional and the other books you can skip. And I would also recommend Childhood's End and Rendezvous with Rama from Clarke, but skip the rest of the Rama series.
    I probably agree. For 2001, I prefer the stories that inspired the film to the actual novelisation (collected in Expedition to Earth) but I loved the novel when I read it at the age of about 14, exactly a year before I saw the film.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty Four (famous dystopia)
    Yes. Literary types might not recognise it as SF, but it's hard to see how it's not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Mary Shelley - Frankenstein
    Hmm. I like the book, but what is it really trying to say? Don't mess with nature or you might end up with a bloke who's a bit unsightly...

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Jules Verne - Around the World in 80 Days,
    Not really SF but a good read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Journey to the Centre of the Earth (short ones),
    Yes, a lovely book.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (longer)
    It's been decades for me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    I would second many of the other suggestions that have been made, but will just single out Bradbury's Martian Chronicles. I hope the fact that it's an anthology of short stories doesn't put you off.
    Another lovely book, but I think it's more fantasy than SF. That's how I read it, at a time when Viking had not long landed on the real Mars, and I was at my most literal-minded, but I managed to enjoy it when I accepted it wasn't a work of Hard SF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Disinfo Agent
    While there are some good science fiction novels and novellas, I often think that the best format for science fiction is really the short story. In that vein I would suggest picking up other short story anthologies, like Asimov's robot short stories. Or any of Asimov's short story anthologies, really. And Clarke has many good short stories, too.
    The short story is often overlooked, even though many of the very, very best works are short.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agingjb View Post
    My more specific criterion is not just readability but rereadability, which in my case is usually a series: Varley's Gaia, Aldiss' Helliconia, and (up to a point after the first book) Dune.
    To my mind, rereadability can be an excellent bonus, but I could name some wonderful books which are not rereadable. Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates springs to mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    To my mind, rereadability can be an excellent bonus, but I could name some wonderful books which are not rereadable. Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates springs to mind.
    I found it good on second reading too.

    And I'm a fan of Powers' style of writing stories which starts by researching everything publicly known about a person, including chronology on whereabouts, then spin a tale where that person is something quite different but without contradicting anything known.
    Basically he's the anti-Dan Brown in the way he treats existing knowledge.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    To be clear, the BBC audio version was a radio play adapted from the novel, not a straight reading of the novel. I felt it captured the essence of the novel.
    Yes, radio plays are a good suggestion. And what about Orson Welles' famous dramatisation of War of the Worlds? I've never listened to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    I loved "Flow My Tears" The Policeman Said. I was fascinated by the title because it was referenced in a very early Gary Numan/Tubeway Army song: "'Flow My Tears' the new/Police song/The slogan of peace is:/You must live." Another Gary Numan song referred to "A random pol check" which was also taken from this novel. The novel itself was emotionally very powerful.
    I never got round to reading that one, but you've rekindled my interest. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    I probably agree. For 2001, I prefer the stories that inspired the film to the actual novelisation (collected in Expedition to Earth) but I loved the novel when I read it at the age of about 14, exactly a year before I saw the film.
    Expedition to Earth is a great anthology.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Beardsley View Post
    Not really SF but a good read.
    I thought Verne had written the book before anyone travelled around the world in 80 days, but according to Wikipedia it had been done before. So you're right, it's not really science fiction.

    Here are a few more suggestions I bumped into on the Internet a couple days ago.

  26. #26
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    Verne didn't really write science fiction, he wrote fantastic voyages with technological trappings. The stories are mostly about the journey, not the technology.
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    So? Does science fiction have to stress the technology above all else?
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  28. #28
    I do believe rather few books classified as science fiction are specifically about science or techonology. I'd say Verne in fact is a sort of a precursor to hard science fiction in the sense that he typically has single cadget or concept his stories and characters are build around.
    The dog, the dog, he's at it again!

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    Some of my favorites, in no order:

    Poul Anderson, The Boat of Million Years
    Frederick Pohl, The Heechee Saga,
    Arthur C Clark, Childhood's End
    CS Friedman, The Madness Season
    Stephen R Donaldson , Lord Foul's Bane (Dark fantasy, not really Sci Fi)
    Frank Robinson, The Dark Beyond The Stars

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