Thursday, April 19, 2012

Top 15 Sci-fi Novels or Series

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.


  1. I don't mind getting so surprise myself with some of my own choices. I have to pore over my bookshelves and make lists and see which ones I truly want up top or not!

  2. Of those, I've only read Ender's Game, which I loved, Neuromance, which impressed me, and Dune, which may have introduced me to the genre.

  3. I've read most of Alan Dean Foster's books, and while they aren't deep, they are fun and accessible. (Which is the way I like to write as well.) I need to read Ender's Game some day since so many say CassaStar has the same feel. Tried another of his books though and just didn't get into it.

  4. Alex, because of his twisted politics, Card has some really lame books. You can't judge the Ender books based on those.

  5. I've read a couple of them. John Varley for one and my son has a few of the others on his shelf. Why do some authors put personal opinions out there that cost them fans?

  6. The only things on your list I've read are some of Alan Dean Foster's fluff, and Asimov's Foundation trilogy. I...should brush up on my sci-fi, shouldn't I? >.>

  7. I neglected sci-fi for a while, reading mostly fantasy for several years. I'm glad I got back into sci-fi, especially lately while writing one myself.