Must Reads: Science Fiction

I was going to do a Classic Science Fiction, but seeing as everyone doesn’t think classic in a genre is classic literature, but just highly recommended, I’m sticking with a standard science fiction list and maybe I’ll work on the classic one later on when I have far more time.

As per usual the lists aren’t influenced by my tastes or opinions, these are put together from what I’ve found on the net from people discussing the genre and recommending books. These are 15 of the most mentioned books in the science fiction genre.

Dune by Frank Herbert

The Duke of Atreides has been manoeuvred by his arch-enemy, Baron Harkonnen, into administering the desert planet of Dune. Although it is almost completely without water, Dune is a planet of fabulous wealth, for it is the only source of a drug prized throughout the Galactic Empire. The Duke and his son, Paul, are expecting treachery and it duly comes – but from a shockingly unexpected place. Then, when Paul succeeds his father, he becomes a catalyst for the native people of Dune, whose knowledge of the ecology of the planet gives them vast power. They have been waiting for a leader like Paul Atreides, a leader who can harness that force…

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

Earth has become a Utopia, guided by a strange unseen people from outer space whose staggering powers have eradicated war, cruelty, poverty and racial inequality. When the ‘Overlords’ finally reveal themselves, their horrific form makes little impression. Then comes the sign that the Overlords have been waiting for. A child begins to dream strangely – and develops remarkable powers. Soon this happens to every child – and the truth of the Overlords’ mission is finally revealed to the human race.
Foundation by Isaac Asimov

For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future, to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire, both scientists and scholars, and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun or fight them and be destroyed.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden.

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do…
A Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

Valentine Michael Smith, born and raised on Mars, arrives on Earth stunning Western culture with his superhuman abilities.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

When humanity is under threat from an alien race, Ender Wiggin, at the age of six, leaves his family on Earth to journey to the Belt. There he enters Battle School where his life is strictly disciplined by mind games and computer mock-battles fought in deadly earnest. Instinct, compassion, and genius make Ender unequalled. But while he trains, the invasion approaches fast and Ender will be pushed to the limits of endurance.

1984 by George Orwell

Published in 1949, it is set in the eponymous year and focuses on a repressive, totalitarian regime. The story follows the life of one seemingly insignificant man, Winston Smith, a civil servant assigned the task of falsifying records and political literature, thus effectively perpetuating propaganda, who grows disillusioned with his meager existence and so begins an ultimately futile rebellion against the system. The novel has become famous for its portrayal of surveillance and society’s increasing encroachment on the rights of the individual.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

It is a tale of revolution, of the rebellion of a former penal colony on the Moon against its masters on the Earth. It is a tale of a culture whose family structures are based on the presence of two men for every woman, leading to novel forms of marriage and family. It is the story of the disparate people, a computer technician, a vigorous young female agitator, and an elderly academic who become the movement’s leaders, and of Mike, the supercomputer whose sentience is known only to the revolt’s inner circle, who for reasons of his own is committed to the revolution’s ultimate success

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

When the Time Traveler courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700–and everything had changed.

H.G. Wells’s famous novel of one man’s astonishing journey beyond the conventional limits of the imagination is regarded as one of the great masterpieces in the literature of science fiction.

2001 A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

On the moon an enigma is uncovered. So great are the implications of the discovery that, for the first time, men are sent out deep into the solar system. But before they can reach their destination, things begin to go wrong. Horribly wrong.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

One Thursday lunchtime the Earth is unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the galaxy is a very strange and startling place.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

Leaving behind a world on the brink of destruction, man came to the Red planet and found the Martians waiting, dreamlike. Seeking the promise of a new beginning, man brought with him his oldest fears and his deepest desires. Man conquered Mars, and in that instant, Mars conquered him. The strange new world with its ancient, dying race and vast, red-gold deserts cast a spell on him, settled into his dreams, and changed him forever.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

“Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of Aldous Huxley’s utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a “Feelie,” a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

When Earth is ruled by master-machines, when robots often seem more human than mankind, the Three Laws ensure that humans remain superior and the robots are kept in their rightful place. But an insane telepathic robot results from a production error; a robot assembled in space logically deduces its superiority to non-rational humanity; and when machines serve mankind rather than individual humans, the machine’s idea of what is good for society may itself contravene the sacred Three Laws.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin

Winter is an Earth-like planet with two major differences: conditions are semi artic even at the warmest time of the year, and the inhabitants are all of the same sex. Tucked away in a remote corner of the universe, they have no knowledge of space travel or of life beyond their own world. And when a strange envoy from space brings news of a vast coalition of planets which they are invited to join, he is met with fear, mistrust and disbelief

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