After some conversations, I’ve decided that this week and next, I’ll post some of my top 10 (and then some) lists for books (and a couple stories). None of the lists are in any particular order.
To kick it off, Sci-FI:
1) Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
One of the top cyberpunk classics, following the adventures of the (aptly named) Hiro Protagonist as he navigates a world of corporate enclaves, private security, and mafioso pizza delivery. Mixes high tech, cyberspace, ancient Babylonian myth, and linguistic theory into an enjoyable ride.
2) Tunnel in the Sky, Robert Heinlein
YA adventure novel charting a class of survival students training to lead interstellar colonies. In many ways a response to Lord of the Flies, although Heinlein cheats by giving the students prior survival training and gear.
3) Foreigner-series, C.J. Cherryh
Space opera following Bren Cameron, diplomat between the “invading” human minority and the alien majority on an alien world. The series evolves from Cameron’s work as a glorified translator into a major mover in the alien society.
4) Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
Classic collection of short stories set on Mars. My personal favorite is “Usher II”, a piece against censorship.
5) Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Classic about a telepathic detective that inspired J. Michael Straczinski’s Babylon 5 psi cop Bester.
6) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
Classic better known as Ridley Scott’s film adaptation Blade Runner. Much more complex and philosophical than the adaptation.
7) Dune, Frank Herbert
Classic epic of politics, genetics, religion, betrayal, redemption, and empire.
8) Gather, Darkness!, Fritz Leiber
A relatively unknown novel about a society in which the church governs society and is opposed by “satanic witches”, both apparently using magic. In fact, each side employs concealed technology in their fight for control of society.
9) A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter Miller, Jr.
Classic post-apocalypse piece following the monks of St. Leibowitz who attempt to maintain some semblance of civilization in the apocalyptic landscape.
10) Stainless Steel Rat-series, Harry Harrison
Interesting series that mixes sci-fi crime drama with military sci-fi as the title character is brought into government service as spy and military officer.