This is my top 10 Science Fiction books of all time, in no particular order. However, if I had to be marooned on a desert isle with just one of these books (including the series of books it spawned), it would probably be either the Foundation series or Cryptonomicon.
By Isaac Asimov (1951)
This is the first book in the Foundation series, it’s sci-fi on a grand scale; one of the classics of the field. The main topic of the series is the concept that history repeats itself, even 30,000 years in the future. It’s about the theory of science and math and predicting human sociobehavioral patterns millennia in the future so that you can set into motion events that will counteract catastrophes that had been predicted long ago.
By Robert Heinlein (1959)
Many consider this Hugo Award winner to be Heinlein’s finest work, and with good reason. Forget the battle scenes and high-tech weapons (though this novel has them)- this is Heinlein at the top of his game talking people and politics.
It’s written in the first person narrative, about a young soldier in a futuristic military unit equipped with powered armor. We follow the soldier in his career from recruit to non-comm to officer. All the while there’s an interstellar war going on between ‘the Bugs’ and mankind.
By Frank Herbert (1965)
This book spawned 5 sequels, a big screen adaptation, 2 TV mini-series, a PC game, a board game and a handful of prequel novels.It’s Plato in spaceships meet the biggest nightcrawlers you’ve ever seen. to be honest though, I only enjoyed Dune and Children of Dune, after that I couldn’t take any more. But Dune is highly recommended.
By Orson Scott Card (1985)
Set in Earth’s future where mankind has barely survived two invasions by an insectoid alien race, and the International Fleet is preparing for war. In order to find and train the eventual commander for the anticipated third invasion, the world’s most talented children, including the very talented Ender Wiggin, are taken into Battle School at a very young age to prepare for their future as leaders of the next war.
|The Forever War
By Joe Haldeman (1974)
I’m into Military history and fiction. Joe Haldeman delivers war, war heroes and a command of battlefield tactical situations. This novel is perceived as a portrayal of his time in the military during the ‘Nam war but through a space opera filter. Is also considered to be a response to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (see above).
The story is heavy on action and contemplation during an interstellar war following an elite military unit, that because of time dilation caused by their space travel, the soldiers age months while the civilization on Earth advances centuries.
By Dan Simmons (1989)
This is a pretty complex novel, it features multiple time-lines and primary characters journeying together on the eve of Armageddon. Each of these pilgrims carries with them a terrible secret and hope. The most interesting aspect of this book to me is that it’s basically 7 different mini-stories as you hear each tale that led the characters to this backwater planet in search of ‘The Shrike’.
By Neal Stephenson (1999)
This long story is short on plot but insanely detailed to the point that you become deeply drawn into that story. It follows two time-lines, one is the WW II code breakers for the Axis powers and the other time is present day descendants of those code breakers trying to build a data haven but are led into a search for treasure.This book is a geek’s dream. Non-technical readers will find the book a little difficult to read.Funny note: the book describes a fictional operating system called Finux (Linus Torvalds is from Finland, get it?)
By Larry Niven (1970)
Spawned 3 sequels. In the year 2855 we follow 4 adventurers (made up of 2 humans and 2 aliens) as they explore a mysterious ‘ringworld’ which is an enormous, artificial, ring shaped structure that surrounds a star.This is another one of those great Science books that masquerades as fiction to get you into Math and Physical sciences again!
|The Stainless Steel Rat
By Harry Harrison (1961)
In the vastness of space, the crimes just get bigger and Slippery Jim diGriz, the Stainless Steel Rat, is the biggest criminal of them all. He can con humans, aliens and any number of robots time after time. Jim is so slippery that all the inter-galactic cops can do is make him one of their own.When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be just like the Stainless Steel Rat. He’s just like James Bond, but a nice bad guy. Sort of like a Robin Hood meets Luke Skywalker, only he doesn’t give to the poor, he keeps the goods for himself!
|Birthright the Book of Man
By Mike Resnick (1982)
All 26 chapters are essentially complete stories of themselves, similar to short stories. Each focuses on a different profession in chronological order during a timeline of 17 millennia.It describes the history of mankind’s departure from Earth, conquest of the galaxy, its treatment of aliens, internal politics, the development and growth of the human species to the decline and collapse of the race.Think of it as an ultra-futuristic version of the Rise and Fall of Rome.