Many people have tried to summarize the genre and compile lists but most fail to include a number of essential titles. A must read book list should give you some insight into what the best sci-fi has been so far – including new releases as well as older classics.
To start with a bang, Monkeyscrolls has to recommend the following seven titles as a solid foundation for science fiction.
1) 1984 – George Orwell
The basis of modern dystopian sci-fi, this book which coined the term “Big Brother” is just as relevant now as when it was originally published. In fact, one could argue that its influence upon society has been more significant in recent years as surveillance becomes more commonplace and accepted as a necessary evil.
2) Dune – Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert’s epic series takes place on an alien planet populated by giant sandworms and complex feudalistic power struggles that draw you into the narrative until you are fully immersed. This richly imaginative world is brought to life with impeccable attention to detail and character development that makes each the classic Dune.
3) Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is the central protagonist of the story. A 6th grader, he is short and small for his age, but very clever. He has one particular trait that makes him even more exceptional than any other child in Battle School: he never loses at a game.
4) Hyperion – Dan Simmons
The science fiction classic Hyperion, the first book of the epic science fiction series The Hyperion Cantos. Fireside-style tales blend horror with sci-fi in a way that will keep you gripped to the book.
5) Snowcrash – Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash is science fiction classic of the cyberpunk subgenre. Assume the role of Hiro, a pizza delivery boy who stumbles upon an epic conspiracy that threatens his very way of life. What follows are some hilarious scenes where he has to avoid being killed by Yakuza hitmen and use sword skills to fight ninjas.
6) Foundation – Isaac Asimov
This science fiction book is something like The Lord of the Rings told in science fiction setting with science fiction themes dominating over fantasy elements. It is one of the best science fiction books ever written; it combines science with philosophy to create a masterpiece.
7) Ringworld – Larry Niven
Ringworld is an award-winning 1970 novel that reads like a Dungeon’s and Dragon’s campaign set in space. The science fiction book is best known for its alien creatures, unique science concepts (e.g., the science of Ringworld), and classic battle between good and evil that takes place on an alien planet. It is easy to see why it won science fiction awards when you read it; Niven’s world building skills are unmatched in the genre!