Since my last post was the top ten fantasy novels or series, I might as well follow up with my favorite sci-fi books or series. Again, these are only from the many that I have read. I have a huge bookcase filled with ones I hope to get to someday.
1. Orson Scott Card -- Ender's Game should be required reading in high school, as far as I'm concerned. I liked all the other novels set in Ender's universe, too, but this first one is incredible. I dislike many of Card's personal views and I wouldn't want to know him in real life, but that doesn't stop me from loving this first book.
2. Richard K. Morgan -- Altered Carbon and it's sequels is right up my alley with its dark, gritty storytelling. I hate putting Morgan here, because I find his opinions of readers who love Tolkien to be despicable, so that's two writers in a row leading off my list with whom I have issues.
3. Larry Niven (often with Jerry Pournelle) -- They may not be my favorites, but Niven produces so many that I really, really like that he deserves this spot. Lucifer's Hammer, The Mote in God's Eye, and Ringworld are just a few.
4. Scott Westerfeld -- Few seem to have heard of The Risen Empire and Killing of Worlds, but these are exactly the kinds of hard sci-fis that I love most. His space battle scenes are mind blowing.
5. John Scalzi -- Old Man's War is funny and clever while maintaining a sense that it could truly happen. Keep your eyes on Scalzi, as he has lots more to come, I imagine.
6. Philip K. Dick -- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is good but not a favorite of mine, but I had to move Dick up here because Blade Runner is the most awesome movie of all time, and it was lightly based upon this short novel.
7. Joe Haldeman -- The Forever War is a believable tale of the future horrors of war. It's considered an all time classic by many.
8. Alan Dean Foster -- Okay, so he may not be quite as great a writer as many of these others, but he sure can tell a cracking good tale. Some of my favorites are Alien and Aliens, since I love the movies so much.
9. Alistair Reynolds -- Chasm City (a mixture of gritty dark sci-fi and space opera) is the best I've read by him so far, though the first book, Revelation Space, wasn't bad either. I've purchased all of his many books, so I have loads of reading ahead of me.
10. John Varley -- I own a bunch of his novels but have only read loads of his short stories and one novel, Red Thunder, but Varley writes sci-fi with the best of them.
11. William Gibson -- Neuromancer is the classic that started cyberpunk. I'm not quite as enamored of it as the critics, but I liked it.
12. Isaac Asimov -- His Foundation Trilogy had many unrealistic elements, but the story was so fantastic that I willingly suspended my disbelief.
13. Frederick Pohl -- Gateway is a fun and imaginative space romp, though I haven't read the sequels yet.
14. Frank Herbert -- Dune is another classic that I didn't like nearly as much as the critics did, but it's still quite good. It took me two tries to finally get through it, though, so it might not have been a good idea to try as a young teen. The sequels didn't do much for me.
15. George R.R. Martin -- Since he's my favorite living author for his fantasy series (see yesterday's post), I'll close this top 15 with his Tuff Voyaging series. It doesn't approach the greatness of A Game of Thrones, but then nothing does these days.
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