We pick our ten personal favorite science fiction books of all time . . . and try to avoid all those “classics” they made you read in English class!

Hyperion

by Dan Simmons

Okay, it’s actually a series of four books. The first book is inspired by the frame structure of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and quotes Keats a lot, but don’t let you put you off Simmon’s sprawling, gritty space opera. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

The Reality Dysfunction

by Peter F. Hamilton

More epic space opera. Gives new meaning to the word “page-turner.” [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

 

Red Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson’s intelligent and exciting tale of the future colonization of the red planet will have you saying “so what the heck are we waiting for?” You’d even vote for Newt Gingrich to get the space program started again! (OK, well, maybe not . . .) [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

A Science Fiction Omnibus

edited by Brian Aldiss

A “greatest hits” of science fiction’s best-known short stories ideal for genre newbies. If you don’t like any of the stories lovingly collected here by SF great Brian Aldiss, then science fiction probably isn’t your cup of Alderaanian tea. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

Watchmen

by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

Who said they all had to be novels? Moore and Gibbons’ graphic novels (read: thick comic book) about an alternate reality in which costumed super-powered heroes have to cope with the violent urban milieu of 1970s America can compete with any so-called “Literature” with a capital “L”. Plus it’s got pretty pictures . . . [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

Monty Python in space. Funny and absurdist and will have you quoting from it. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

 

Foundation

by Isaac Asimov

Okay, we lied about there being no “classics.” But this one deserves the classic label. Read it before Roland Emmerich makes his planned Hollywood movie version. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

Childhood’s End

by Arthur C. Clarke

It may be dated – omnipotent aliens didn’t rescue South Africa’s whites from racial retribution in the 1950s – but Clarke’s optimistic vision will have you wishing for the UFOs to come! The ideological opposite of Independence Day. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

1984

by George Orwell

Yes, it’s science fiction. And no, none of it came true. Except for the way swarmy politicians twist language to manipulate the truth and a whole lot of other things. Powerful and unforgettable dystopic tale. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

Use of Weapons

by Iain M. Banks

Modern space opera with an emotionally shattering climax. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

 

 

The Primal Screen: A History of Science Fiction Film

by John Brosnan

Author Brosnan’s history of science fiction cinema may be out of date and out of print, but it is well-worth seeking a secondhand copy of this idiosyncratic book on Amazon.com. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

A Scanner Darkly

by Philip K. Dick

The Keanu Reeves movie is an oddity worth checking out, but the book inspired by Dick’s life in the countercultural ‘Sixties is simply brilliant. [Buy now at Amazon.com]

 

 

 

Okay, so that’s twelve books instead of ten and we left out the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and William Gibson to mention only a few, but you try picking only ten!

 

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Category: Books, Reviews

About the Author

James has been running The Sci-Fi Movie Page since Before the Beginning of Time Itself (TM), i.e. since the site's inception in 1997. In addition to sci-fi James also likes 1970s motorbikes and chili dogs although he doesn't own the former and no longer eats the latter. He currently resides in Kiev, Ukraine for reasons best left unexplained.

  • MuadDib

    DUNE ??? Ender’s Game ??

  • Jigglethehandle

    dune for sure, how bout some jack chalker?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JNDNNACLW5EFQ5WQQIET6DGU4I alanr

    Since you politicized this article-Yes, vote Republican and restart America in space.

  • Texasstormlongview

    Yea, How about Ender trilogy, or Dune, Battlefield Earth etc

  • http://twitter.com/trangthetroll Roger Mihalko

    Starship troopers, Dune, Enders Game, The Martian Chronicles, War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, 20k Leagues under the sea, Brave new World?

    ( I love foundation, Hyperion cantos defiantly top 25….Im reading Red Mars and I find it Scattered and Tedious so far)

  • Lucy Ball28

    I agree! Why can’t anyone just write a simple review? We really don’t want your political views. In my opinion, you’re just as bad as the actors that are out there and think their left winged socialist agenda is important simply because they’re actors. America really doesn’t give a damn about their political views or yours either!

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