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Titus Fortner I want to have this posted on Goodreads with all the links, and I can't find another place to do it, so I'm just putting it here...

One of my friends who loves SciFi in TV and movies admitted to not reading much in the genre. This prompted my evaluation of the science fiction I have enjoyed the most. I'm calling this a recommended list instead of a best-of, though, to give me the opportunity to be more flexible in my choices. Feel free to comment on my horrible choices and glaring omissions as desired. :)

1) Dune, Frank Herbert- Wheels within wheels, one of the most fully realized universes with wonderful characters and plot. I recommend not reading the sequels.

2) Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card - Brilliant investigation of the human condition. Speaker for the Dead was amazing for completely different reasons, and Ender's Shadow was a brilliant retelling of Ender's Game from the perspective of another character. Do yourself a favor and avoid everything else in these series.

3) Anathem, Neal Stephenson. I know, his Snow Crash is more popular and humorous and the ideas in it have constantly come to mind over the years, but it also has a poorer plot and just kind of ends, which always annoys me. Anathem is my overall ideal Science Fiction book. I enjoyed The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, really struggled getting through Cryptonomicon, haven't read any of his historical fiction, and Reamde was a fun but ultimately unsatisfying attempt at a Tom Clancy book.

4) The Warrior's Apprentice, Lois McMaster Bujold. This woman is simply incredible. Read ALL of Miles Vorkosigan. Just do it. Some of the best character development of any SciFi books and just a hell of a lot of fun. Memory is my favorite of hers, but you have to have the backstory to appreciate it, so Warrior's Apprentice is the best introduction if you aren't committed to the whole series.

5) A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge. A long-time favorite author, Rainbows End, A Deepness in the Sky, Marooned in Realtime & True Names are also favorites.

6) The Foundation Trilogy - Isaac Asimov is my favorite of "The Big 3." Kind of have to include this series as one big novel, but I'd also avoid the remaining Foundation books unless you fall in love with him. I've enjoyed most of his books (I'd also skip the Robot short stories in favor of the mystery novels - The Caves of Steel, etc)

7) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - My Robert A. Heinlein pick, I consider it better than Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, and his Future History stories (The Past Through Tomorrow, etc); all of which are worth reading.

8) Hyperion, Dan Simmons - I also enjoyed all the sequels as well as Ilium and Olympos

9) Singularity Sky, Charles Stross. Singularity sci-fi at its best. I love a lot of his stuff; he's prolific, but can be hit or miss, but most of his ideas are fascinating. The Laundry Filesare some of my favorite light/hilarious books ever (just really captures my kind of humor).

10) Ready Player One, Ernest Cline - My oddball choice. It is technically Young Adult and has no Hugo nominations, but it is highly accessible, especially to non-traditional SciFi fans, and is one of the most fun books I've read in the genre.



Notable omissions (based on various other best-of lists)

1) Arthur C. Clarke - I haven't especially enjoyed anything I've read of his in the past 10 years. It's been too long since I read 2001: A Space Odyssey perhaps I can bump it onto the list after a re-read.

2) Philip K. Dick - I feel like I would need to do drugs to appreciate his writing. I don't find his characters as nuanced as others tell me they are, the plotting is tedious, and not always internally consistent.

3) William Gibson - I read Neuromancer right after Vernor Vinge's True Names, and Snow Crash and found it lacking in comparison. Plan to read the sequels, haven't gotten around to it.

4) Douglas Adams, fun, but ultimately not my style

5) Classic Dystopia - 1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm - important books, and I like them all, but not enough to include them...

6) Classic Classic - H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson - Really enjoyed some of these, but in my mind don't compare to the above.


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