Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Essential Science Fiction Reading List

Purely subjective and in no particular order:

1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
2. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
3. Santiago by Mike Resnick
4. Beggars in Spain (and sequels) by Nancy Kress
5. Lucifer's Hammer by Niven & Pournelle
6. Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
7. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
8. City of Truth by James Morrow
9. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and sequels) by Douglas Adams
10. Worlds (and sequels) by Joe Haldeman



mybillcrider said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

My list is as follows:
1. Wrinkle in Time by John Christopher
2. Replay by Ken Grimwood
3. Blindness by Jose Saragamo
4. Something from the Nightside (Series) by Simon Green
5. Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman
6. Rising by Brian Keene
7. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham and Edmund Morris
8. The Fog by James Herbert
9. Jumper by Steven Gould
10. The Regulators by Steven King

- Sungo

mybillcrider said...

My list would have to include City by Clifford Simak, The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester. Oh, what the heck. Here's a list I made 47 years ago. Let's just use that one.

Victor Gischler said...

I should probably mention that I restricted myself to Science fiction ... saving fantasy andor horror for another list.


Bill Cameron said...

Great list. I'd probably have to figure out a way to stick Ender's Game in there somewhere, as well as A Canticle For Liebowitz by Walter Miller Jr.

Neil said...

It's a no brainer:


(He actually included the exclamation mark)

JD Rhoades said...

Okay, my "essentials" in the sense of not just my favorites but the ones who have to read to have as good a grasp of SF as you can get in 10 books (and in no particular order):

1. Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
2. Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers
3. Joe Haldeman, The Forever War (preferably read right after Starship Troopers)
4. William Gibson, Neuromancer
5. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
6. Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy
7. Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
8. Larry Niven, Ringworld
9. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game
10. Frank Herbert, Dune.

Okay..no way can you do it in just 10...


11. Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep
12. Alistair Reynolds, Revelation Space
12. Peter F. Hamilton, The Night's Dawn Trilogy
13. Ursula K. LeGuin, The Lathe of Heaven
14. Stephen Baxter, Ring
15. Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon
16. Frederick Pohl, Gateway
17. Phillip K. Dick,The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich
18. Arthur C. Clarke Rendezvous with Rama
19. Iain M. Banks, Consider Phlebas
20. Cordwainer Smith, The Instrumentality of Man

Ali Karim said...

And this could go on and on - but as for SF novellas - SANDKINGS by George RR Martin is hard to beat


Anonymous said...

what!? no snowcrash or ender's game or dune or neuromancer? Are these too mainstream for you?

Mike Cane said...

In no priority order

1) ALL of PKD, period
2) Beggars from Spain (all 3)
3) The Stars My Destination - Alfred Bester
4) The Demolished Man - Bester
5) ALL of Barry N. Malzberg
6) The Diamond Age - Stephenson
7) ALL of Harlan Ellison
8) Crooked Little Vein - Warren Ellis
9) The Chain of Chance - Stanislaw Lem

That's all I can think of, teacher. I flunk all tests!

Mike Cane said...

Of course you realize YOU will probably #10 when I finally read it.

I see through your ploy now!

Another Gischler trapdoor. And I fell for it!

Derek Johnson said...

My list, in no particular order:

1. Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick
2. Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler (historical fiction, until you realize that Sarah is an alien)
3. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
4. Ubik by Philip K. Dick
5. Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
6. Synners by Pat Cadigan
7. Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg
8. Dr. Adder by K.W. Jeter (one of the most perverse science fiction novels ever written)
9. Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling
10. Green Eyes by Lucius Shepard

Patrick Shawn Bagley said...

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
The Hawkline Monster by Richard Brautigan
The Avram Davidson Treasury, edited by Robert Silverberg and Grania Davis
anything by Howard Waldrop
anything by Lucius Shephard

Anonymous said...

1. Snow Crash -- Stephenson (one of my favorite books of all time)
2. Neuromancer -- Gibson (One of my all time favorite writers)
3. Hardwired -- Walter Jon Williams
4. The Man Who Never Missed -- Perry (Pulpy SF fun)
5. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep -- Dick

If I kept going, it would be mostly Gibson and other cyber punk authors. Guess I've got some reading to do sci-fi wise.

Anonymous said...

Maybe add David Gunn's two DEATH'S HEAD novels? Perhaps?

Dana said...

My list is the one that I use to introduce someone to SF and is what I go to for re-reads. In alphabetical order:

1.Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide
2.Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
3. Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game
4. Harlan Ellison, "A Boy and His Dog"
5. William Gibson, Neuromancer (or Burning Chrome)
6.Robert Heinlein Starship Troopers
7. Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
8. Ursula LeGuin The Lathe of Heaven
9. Neal Stephenson Snow Crash (or The Diamond Age)
10. John Varley Wizard (and Titan and Demon)

An extended list would include Haldeman, Asimov, Niven, Dick, Brin, and the DANGEROUS VISIONS collections.

Victor Gischler said...


You're not the first person to choose Starship Troopers over other Heinlein novels. My memory is that it was a darn good read, but I found a handful of his other novels just a tad more interesting. Nobody picked Stranger in a Strange Land?


Mike Cane said...

Gischler, you are ruining my head! These lists NEVER END. I had rotten sleep!

I forgot Bellwether by Connie Willis

And how could I forget DUNE?!!?

I read Stranger in a Strange Land late in life. I was not impressed.

Derek Johnson said...

What Mike said re: Stranger. Even when I was in high school, back in the days when Heinlein was still drawing breath, I found Stranger in a Strange Land to be obtuse: round around the edges and dull.

I also can't believe I forgot Bellwether, though the Willis I mentioned should make up for it.

Victor Gischler said...

Yeah, Stranger in a Strange Land wasn't my Heinlein pick either. (See above.) But because it's a bit more "philisophical" it seems liek that's usually listed as an important Heinlein work.


p.s. I did like it. Just not my favorite.

Dana said...

Victor, I considered The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and "Waldo" (for various reasons), but I think what some would call RAH's "juvenile fiction" is his strongest writing, and Troopers is the best representative of that: civics and science, suits AND bugs. It sets the stage for a lot of later work by other authors. Stranger is too much of his philosophy, for me.

Randy Johnson said...

1. Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
2. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein(I'd read the juveniles. This was my first "adult" Heinlein)
3. Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke(it was either this one or Childhood's End)
4. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick(the best of a long line of really odd stories. He deserves every good thing said about him)
5. The Essential Ellison: A 35-year retrospective(only because I don't own the updated 50 year version)
6. The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov(my first work by the master)
7. Dune by Frank Herbert(the first only)
8. A Case of Conscience by James Blish(unfortunately these days he's probably more well known for adapting the original Star trek episodes into short stories)
9. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman(my favorite of his novels)
10.Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock(this one astounded me. The idea of Jesus on the cross being a man from the future)

Victor Gischler said...

There we go. A vote for Stranger in a Strange Land. Randy, did you read FRIDAY?


Randy Johnson said...

Yes, I read Friday when it first came out. I remember enjoying it(I mean, it is Heinlein, you know), but I have to admit it doesn't stick with me as well as some of his others.

JD Rhoades said...

Umm...I voted for Stranger.

Victor Gischler said...

That's true, Dusty. I glossed over it and stand corrected.
My bad.


JA Konrath said...

Armor by John Steakley.

Boy, I love that book.