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10 Favorite Science Fiction Novels

  • May 25, 2010
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I don't like to title a list "best" because it's such a subjective word, so I called this my favorite books. I have been reading science fiction for decades and these are the novels I remember most fondly. There are some seminal works that aren't on here because I didn't like them (like CHILDHOOD'S END, which I agree is a good book, but I didn't enjoy the ending).
Shards of Honor
If Jane Austen wrote science fiction, she could have written this book. It's a novel of manners, romance, and adventure, in a far-future setting. I've read and enjoyed almost all Bujold's books, and I still like this one best.
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
This is a real classic that portrays what kind of culture might evolve if you turned the moon into a giant prison colony. I think it stands the test of time a lot better than some of Heinlein's other works.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)
I am having trouble editing this list! This is supposed to be "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Connie Willis. She writes beautifully crafted books that are often funny and sometimes very sad. This time travel novel is funnier than most and not at all sad. I can't make myself read her DOOMSDAY BOOK based on what I know of the ending.
The Left Hand of Darkness
Speaking of seminal works, this one is right up there. What can you say about a story that contains the sentence "The King was pregnant"? It may have been done again, but LeGuin was first.
Beggars in Spain
Nancy Kress is a writer's writer. This story about what happens when genetic tinkering produces people who don't need to sleep deserves more attention than it gets.
No one did feudal science fiction (Duke and Barons!) better than Herbert. The imagery and the ecological backdrop make this a rich, engaging story.
A Fire Upon The Deep
I can't say what I loved about the story without giving away a crucial plot point. Vinge does a fantastic job of setting up a unique species and then letting the reader figure out for himself/herself how they're unique.
Citizen of the Galaxy
This is my favorite of all the Heinlein "juveniles," most of which I consider to be better written than his adult novels. For one thing, the characters have real families and real relationships. Ad of course, the space-faring traders have a cool culture, too.
The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia
LeGuin is on my list twice because she writes about fundamental issues. It was gender in THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and it's about fairness and human nature in the this one. It's grimmer than my other favorites but still earns a place.

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April 03, 2011
Nothing by Isaac Asimov? Not even "Nightfall"? It made the best SciFi novel and the worst movie I have ever seen.
July 21, 2010
I'll give you three's across the board just for choosing Citizen of the Galazy as one of Heinlein's all time great juveniles. It is one of my favorites as well!
May 30, 2010
Great list. Everything Connie Willis writes has been really good, but Doomsday Book was far and away her best work, and one of the few books to win both the Hugo and the Nebula. It is better to go in without knowing about the ending, but I highly encourage you to read it anyway :)
May 25, 2010
Hmm I think there must be some mistake with item nr 4 - Three man in a boat !!! Certainly not Science Fiction and not by Connie Willis. It´s a humourous late Victorian novel about three friends who travel the Thames on a boat. written by  Jerome K. Jerome.You must mean some other book.
May 25, 2010
Actually, it is and it isn't! the Connie Willis book is called "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and it is written very much around the Victorian novel, which the characters reference constantly. I have read both, and I can see why Connie Willis used it as an inspiration for a time travel novel, but I do get the titles mixed up!
May 25, 2010
@Scotsman-- I'm sure it would be up there if I could bring myself to read it!
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Karen Wester Newton ()
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Member Since: Nov 11, 2009
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