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What’s Your Favorite Sci-Fi Novel?

It’s Monday Question time!

Last week, the European Space Agency managed to land a space probe on a moving comet that’s 377 millions of miles away. The probe launched from Earth ten years ago and traveled billions of miles through space before finally landing on the comet last week.

That’s some serious sci-fit stuff right there. Is this a Robert Heinlein plot? Did Bruce Willis make the trip? Did Areosmith provide some background music for the probe as it flew through space?

Anyway, I’m fascinated by all things space, but I’ve somehow never been drawn to science fiction. For the most part, I just flat out dislike it.

I’ve read a few sci-fi novels from the Time list—Neuromancer, Snow Crash, Ubik—with mixed reviews. Ubik was pretty good, the other two—not so much.

So I can’t sit here with authority and tell you what my favorite sci-fi novel is. I love 1984, but that’s not really sci-fiction, right?

So, enlighten me (and everyone else) friends. Tell us what your favorite science fiction novel is, and what makes it so good.

Go!

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37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Can’t say I’ve read a lot of sci-fi, which makes my next project (YA sci-fi) a bit of a challenge. I’ll definitely be checking back to see other’s recommendations as I’ll need some research novels to read! I enjoyed Marissa Meyers Lunar Chronicles, and there are a lot of YA’s I’ve read that would be considered Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic and light sci-fi, (which all fit under the sci-fi umbrella) but I’ve never been into deep space opera sci-fi. I think the difficulty for some readers may be they need something more familiar to anchor to while drifting in a sci-fi world and many heavy sci-fi’s are just too “out there” for the average reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 17, 2014
  2. Lucille #

    In my lifetime I think I read about 5 books that could be called sci-fi. One that stands out is The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson but I perceived it as more a “if this had happened instead of that” story. Western civilization is almost totally wiped out by the Black Death. Very good.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 17, 2014
  3. Another one that could be considered more dystopian than sci-fi, Hugh Howey’s WOOL series is definitely the best series I’ve ever read that you’ll find in the sci-fi genre.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  4. Science fiction is a broad genre, books like “Flowers for Algernon” fall into it, however there is the more classic science fiction that everyone thinks of when they think Sci-Fi. My top would be “Hyperion” followed by “Rendezvous with Rama”. I’m just discovering science fiction and loving it all so far.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  5. I find myself coming back to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series often. And the first two books of the Orson Scott Card’s Ender series (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead) are other favorites.

    Liked by 2 people

    November 17, 2014
    • Ender’s Game is actually won I wouldn’t mind reading.

      Like

      November 17, 2014
    • Holly #

      I second the recommendation for Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. The first has a lot more action, while the latter leans towards a more psychological analysis. Both fantastic.

      Liked by 2 people

      November 17, 2014
  6. I’m not a huge sci-fi reader either, but I love John Wyndham and Douglas Adams’ works. Wyndham is more leaning to the dystopian side but with definite sci-fi elements and Adams is just flat out crazy and hilarious fun.

    Liked by 3 people

    November 17, 2014
  7. Growing up I read a lot of science fiction. Never liked the sci fi peg. Ben Bova got me started with The Star Conquerors. I even took a course on science fiction in college. So my favorites? The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (I think it is his best book.)
    The Riverworld Series by Philip Jose Farmer.
    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
    Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
    A Canticle for Lebowitz by Walter Miller
    Dangerous Visions by Harlan Ellison (It’s an anthology)
    Ringworld by Larry Niven
    Dorsai by Gordon R. Dickson (It was first published in the fifties. I don’t have proof but I think the Dorsai are what inspired Gene Rodenberry to create the Klingons for Star Trek)
    All of these novels gave me hours and hours of entertainment. Don’t know why, but sometime in the seventies, I lost my taste for the genre. Maybe it was reading Lord of the Rings.

    Unfortunately the field has been taken over by fantasy. About 95% of the novels you find in the science fiction section of your library or your bookstore are fantasy.

    I do think science fiction is such a great introduction to reading. I think that if you questioned the scientific community, you would find the genre was what got most of the scientists interested in science.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 17, 2014
  8. I don’t know … there are so many that I have enjoyed! Maybe Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.

    Liked by 2 people

    November 17, 2014
  9. Whilst I love Fantasy I struggle with Sci-Fi. The closest i’ve got is Terry Pratchett’s collaboration with Stephen Baxter- the Long Earth series. Well worth a read.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 17, 2014
  10. Kayla Ichiba #

    Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card
    Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip Dick
    Unwind – Neal Shusterman

    Liked by 1 person

    November 17, 2014
  11. ibikenyc #

    It’s really tough to pick only one from Foundation, but if pressed, I’d go for “The Naked Sun.”

    (I’d move to Solaria in a HEARTBEAT!)

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  12. I love that one and The Robots of Dawn!

    Liked by 1 person

    November 17, 2014
  13. Actually I’m fairly certain that 1984 is considered sci-fi. Mind you, I’m not an expert, but it contains many elements pertinent to sci-fi.

    I don’t typically appreciate straight up sci-fi, but I love it when you throw in a little fantasy. I definitely recommend anything by Tom Holt, he’s absolutely hilarious. Neil Gaiman is more fantasy, but his collaberation with Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, borders on sci-fi. Also the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant is fantastic!

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  14. The Martian Chronicles! I’m not a big sic-fi reader, but Bradbury’s book stuck with me. It was creepy, creative, and engaging.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  15. I usually prefer the classics: Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.

    Liked by 2 people

    November 17, 2014
  16. Dominick Sabalos #

    To suggest some that haven’t been:

    The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
    -> Cyberpunk 30 years before there was cyberpunk. It’s basically the Count of Monte Cristo in space, and it’s a rip-roaring little book.

    Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
    -> a journal about events some thousands of years in the future after an apocalypse of some kind, written in the broken-down, long-uneducated language of that future. The reimagined, pun- and double meaning-filled English it’s written in is the main draw, but it’s also a great novel.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  17. Alison's Wonderland Recipes #

    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! I also really like Ender’s Shadow (it’s the only Orson Scott Card book I’ve read).

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  18. Liz #

    Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Dune by Frank Herbert, Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  19. I like The Coming of the Quantum Cats.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  20. I might have plugged it here before, but Anathem, by Neal Stephenson, is great. It’s very different from all of his other stuff, not to mention most other science fiction. The thing that makes it so great is that it takes the time to really slow down and deal with scientific ideas, with philosophy, really, in a way that is close to my heart. The kind of trade off is that it doesn’t emphasize war as heavily as a lot of SF does. The main characters are very sympathetic, which has something to do with my age, but they are also just strikingly humane.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  21. Reblogged this on Rosevoc2's Blog.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  22. The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov was one of the first things that popped into my head upon reading the question. Another commenter mentioned Flowers for Algernon, I don’t know if I really consider that to be a SciFi book, but it’s absolutely wonderful, easily one of the top 5 books I’ve read in the past couple of years. I’m also a big fan of the Ender series by Orson Scott Card, I’ve read I think 10 of the books that Card has written in that world, although the first two (Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead) are easily the two strongest books. And of course the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams, some of the funniest books you’ll ever read.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  23. Hmm, great question! “Ender’s Game” by OS Card is definitely up there but I also love “Kiln People” by David Brin.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  24. creina #

    I have not read a great deal of science-fiction but I think Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein is a classic and wonderful. While not big on the ‘hardware” of spaceships etc it is absorbing and a clever way to reflect on human-kind, particularly on religion.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed Contact by Carl Sagan. As his only fiction it really is a book about our existence and religion (there it is again) but I found it very satisfying This is unlike many which leaving me wanting more – 2001 and Solaris.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  25. At the moment it’s a mixture between Lem, Asimov and McCaffrey (though it took long till I realized she wrote sci-fi and not fantasy). This may change in the future, because I just started reading my way through sci-fi classics.

    Oh, and of course Douglas Adams – his works are kind of obligatory for those studying the same as I do.

    Like

    November 17, 2014
  26. shagun1593 #

    I haven’t read one sci-fi till now. That’s a shame. I m going to take reading sci-fi novels as a challenge.after my exams.

    Like

    November 18, 2014
  27. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

    Like

    November 18, 2014
  28. …the list could be long- Snow Crash was fun, though the best part is that the main character is called ‘Hiro Protagonist’… Neuromancer is better than Count Zero, though both should be absorbed rather than read too closely.
    Kim Stanley Robinson is my recommendation for epic- the Mars trilogy and his alternative present ‘Antarctica’ are well worth reading.
    However the best Sci-Fi i’ve come across is that of Iain M Banks- utterly genius. The flawed heroes and joyful complexity of his Culture novels make for a wonderful backdrop for some really good character driven novels. My favourite would be ‘Player of Games’ though if you like your universe dystopian then ‘Use of Weapons’ will leave you suitably glum.
    Oh, and 1984 is sci-fi… just set on earth.

    Like

    November 18, 2014
  29. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, because 42.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 18, 2014
  30. I don’t have a favourite sci-fi book. Not because I haven’t read sci-fi, but because I don’t have favourite books (or films, of TV series, or flavours of ice cream…) Sci-fi is a real pain for me, because I love it, and can never find things in the genre (now that word should go on your banned list) which just cry out to be read.

    When I was younger I read a load of E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith books and enjoyed them. I was a huge fan of Hitchiker’s Guide, though it’s better ‘read’ in the original radio format. I quite enjoyed Asimov’s robot stories (but they are primarily shorts, not novels). I enjoyed Neuromancer, mostly for the imagery and Molly (the computer stuff makes me cringe). I was a huge fan of the Dragonflight books until they went off the reservation, and MacCaffrey’s The crystal Singer and its sequel were firm favourites (I believe I still have an autographed copy of Killashandra).

    Going back to your last column (I think), the problem with a lot of sci-fi is that it’s preaching something. Sort of anyway. Sci-fi authors often have the same problem as literary authors (IMO, obviously): they are so caught up in their cleverness that they fail to tell a story. I want a story, not a lesson on grammar, a tour of my dictionary, or a social commentary. If I can get those (not the dictionary one; never the dictionary one) alongside a good story then I’m quite happy, but too much sci-fi is too busy pointing out flaws in modern society, or in letting you know just how much effort the author went into to create his awesome universe, to tell you a tale.

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    November 18, 2014
  31. Desolation Road by Ian McDonald – I’m more of a fantasy man. But this sci-fi novel was kinda fantasy-esque even though it’s set on a futuristic Mars. It’s funny and sad, it pulls on your heartstrings and makes you laugh out loud. First published in 1988, it’s still being published today, it’s a timeless classic that you’ll find many sci-fi (and fantasy) novels have evolved from. It’s quite a journey involving many different characters and how they all eventually come together.

    Like

    November 18, 2014
  32. I just read Slam by Tash McAdam about a week ago and it was epic!
    Slam is a novella and a precursor to her Psionics series. I digress. It was a page turner and so imaginative. I would definitely suggest it.

    Like

    November 23, 2014
  33. 1984 is science fiction. I would consider that and Slaughterhouse-Five by Vonnegut my favorites.

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    November 30, 2014
  34. Well, of course Gravity’s Rainbow. Against the Day would be a runner-up.

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    December 1, 2014
  35. The original Twilight Zone book series- Science Fiction at its finest.

    Like

    December 4, 2014

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