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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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The Best Science Fiction Books of All Time

Comments (357)

I love reading science fiction. I started when I was ten-ish and have never stopped. While on vacation in Mexico recovering from my kidney stone surgery, I read a bunch of books including one science fiction book – Nexus by Ramez Naam (he sent me the pre-release.) It was awesome.

I was talking about science fiction with a friend. We started rattling off our favorite science fiction books. Asimov’s Foundation, Herbert’s Dune, and Niven’s Ringworld topped my list of classics. When we started talking about contemporary ones, I raved about Suarez (Daemon) and Hertling (Avogadro Corp). And I’ll read pretty much anything from Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein.

I’m going to go on a scifi reading rampage over the holidays. I need some new ideas to read.

What are your favorites?

  • RedRookDigital

    I’d recommend anything by Neal Asher or Alistair Reynolds. My favourite of all time is “The Player of Games” by Iain M Banks.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I love Banks Player of Games. Great one.

      • http://twitter.com/njyx Steven Willmott

        Yep – this is great. I just read the new one (Hydrogen Sonata), not amongst his best but still a good read. Iain M. Banks the other one I love apart from player of games is Feersum Endjinn (http://www.iain-banks.net/uk/feersum-endjinn/), where page one is impossible to parse and then a few pages in you’re able to flawlessly read the main character’s phonetic spelling.

  • http://twitter.com/bogdaniordache Bogdan Iordache

    Definitely The Ender Saga by Orson Scott Card. Very good writing, interesting ideas & perspectives.

  • http://twitter.com/CharlesSmithC Charles Smith

    Not sure if it fits, and you’ve probbaly already read it, but Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon is my favorite all time book.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup – I prefer Diamond Age and Snowcrash but Cryptonomicon is a good one.

    • Browncoat

      any author who can rap about Cap’n Crunch, beards, cryptography, haiku and data havens is the man…my fave too

  • http://about.me/nicholasbagg Nicholas Bagg

    Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.

  • Adam

    Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card

  • http://www.investingwithoptions.com/ steveplace

    I ran through the kindle top sci-fi list and picked up Neuromancer.

    I get halfway through it and he starts describing Cyberspace as “A consentual hallucination experienced daily by legitimate operators”

    And I thought to myself: how corny can you get.

    Until I realized this book was written in 1984 and invented the term cyberspace.

    So I will throw this book into the fray, along with its descendent Snow Crash.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      One of my favorite lines ever is that “X” is a consensual hallucination. Substitute “money”, “the world”, “life” for X

      • http://www.investingwithoptions.com/ steveplace

        since i’m at it, check out the “Atopia Chronicles” It’s a series of 6-7 novellas that run in parallel and have an awesome ending.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          This one is new to me. I’ll grab ‘em.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alex-Hollins/660979174 Alex Hollins

    Cold cash war and the bug wars by robert aspirin. The myth adventures/phules company one, yes. The above two are hard sf, very gritty, awesome reads. no humor.

  • John J. Walters

    I’m not sure if it’s entirely science fiction (it’s definitely out there!), but The Jamais Vu Papers is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s in a similar vein as House of Leaves, which is also a very interesting book.

    Here are some links:
    http://www.playsonideas.com/book_Jamais_Vu_Papers.html
    http://www.amazon.com/House-Leaves-Mark-Z-Danielewski/dp/0375703764

  • http://twitter.com/farulg farulg

    Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. Any of the Hugo and Nebula winners if you haven’t read them already.

    • http://www.eventwist.com/ Duane Lawrence

      Agreed. I best pure SciFi novel I’ve read in several years.

    • http://www.eventwist.com/ Duane Lawrence

      Agreed – best pure scifi novel I’ve read in several years.

  • http://twitter.com/hertling William Hertling

    Here’s what I’ve read and really enjoyed this year:
    - Ready Player One by Earnest Cline
    - Wool by Hugh Howey
    - The Killing Star by by Charles R. Pellegrino and George Zebrowski
    - Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams (reread for the first time in 15 years, loved it.)
    - The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
    - Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

    • Doug Gibbs

      I’ll second Wool. I could not read it before bed, one, I would stay up until 1 AM zoned into the story, then I would be wound up and have weird dreams. That is good stuff.

  • DaveJ

    Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (who was the first to use the term Singularity, though not in this novel).

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Yup – Vinge is AWESOME.

  • http://twitter.com/rcdshiddy Chad Deery

    John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War

    • http://twitter.com/farulg farulg

      I second this suggestion. I read the whole series and enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • http://twitter.com/SeedSeries J. Brian Anderson

    All of my friends say Enders Game is amazing – how many people could be wrong about that?

    • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

      The rest of the books are echoes.

      • http://chrisconrey.com/ Chris Conrey

        Agree that Ender’s Game is above and beyond, but the Shadow series really comes together nicely.

    • Mike136

      Found Enders Game repetitve and predictable

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        I really enjoyed Enders Game – thought it was awesome.

        • TheKid

          Enders Game was OK, but Speaker for the dead was awesome.

    • Ed

      I don’t understand the appeal of Ender’s Game. It’s a joke to anyone not scientifically illiterate.

      • http://www.feld.com bfeld

        I read it as a wonderful coming of age book.

  • RAD

    Snow Crash by Neil Stevenson and Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

    • http://blog.ricardodiz.com/ Ricardo Diz

      Snow Crash is probably my favorite one! Nice.

      I more recent one I would add is “Ready Player One”, from Ernest Cline.

  • http://twitter.com/rcdshiddy Chad Deery

    David Brin’s Kiln People

  • MHSzymczyk

    Not books per say, but 2 Sci-Fi movies that you likely haven’t seen yet and are both amazing are:

    Sleep Dealer – Mexican film that has quite a few HCI/NUI/AR concepts in it.

    Mr. Nobody – European film that follows the last living mortal man (everybody else is immortal) and he relives his live(s) to a reporter. If you like theories on multiverse, you’ll love this movie…

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Thx – just added Sleep Dealer to my Netflix queue. I’m having my stent removed today and I expect I’ll spend the afternoon laying on the couch watching movies so that’s a timely suggestion.

  • http://twitter.com/zackola Zack Halbrecht

    I enjoyed the Windup Girl recently. http://www.amazon.com/Windup-Girl-Paolo-Bacigalupi/dp/1597801585 Good genetic engineering near future stuff.

  • http://www.eventwist.com/ Duane Lawrence

    Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin is the best pure SciFi book I’ve read in several years. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6581795-spin

  • http://www.clearcontext.com/ Deva Hazarika

    Don’t have any new suggestions not mentioned already, but I am kinda sad Ray Bradbury didn’t rate a mention in your post!

    • StevenHB

      I’m not a big short story reader any longer but I remember reading The Illustrated Man more than once – and enjoying it every time

  • Shannon Bruzelius

    Anything by Michael Stackpole. try his mechwarrior or star wars series. Too many to pick just one.

  • phollows

    I’m a sucker for anything by Iain M. Banks

  • http://www.TractionSoftware.com/ Greg Lloyd

    A good time to read (or reread) “The Space Merchants” a Pohl and Kornbluth classic. Real pop-up ads, a world ruled by corporate hegemons and their ad agency mandarins. Ad agencies create markets by using circular brand addictions : Munchies addicts need to drink Popsi; Popsi addicts need to smoke Kools; Kools addicts need to eat Munchies. The adventures of star class executive copywriter Mitch Courtenay.

    IMO even more outrageously funny and savage today.

  • Lavelle

    Most of the greats have been mentioned. I’d also recommend:

    The Mote in God’s Eye, Niven
    Anathem, Stephenson
    The Descent, Long

    Enjoy!

  • Jeffrey Hartmann

    Not sure if you ever read Venus of Shadows, Venus of Dreams and Child of Venus by Pamela Sargent. I thoroughly enjoyed them as a kid and adult, I think I found the first one in a used book store when we were up at our lake house one summer. I remember tearing through it and enjoying it a great deal. I don’t remember these being so popular, but I love the concepts and the issues brought up over the story arc.

    Obviously Dune rocks, never read Ringworld will have to put it on my list. I recently read Hertling’s two Avogadro books and those are awesome.

    Fahrenheit 451 and Slaughterhouse Five are two great classics that I haven’t seen anyone mention. Slaughterhouse Five is one of my favorite books of all time.

  • http://twitter.com/andyidsinga andyidsinga

    two of my favs among too many to list…
    A Planet Called Treason – Orsn Scott Card
    The uplift series ( 6 books) – David Brin

  • http://twitter.com/wplayford Bill Playford

    Clarke’s Odyssey series are some of the best. Kubrick’s adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey is still epic to this day.

  • StevenHB

    I’m a big Heinlein fan but would call out a couple of books in particular: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (TANSTAAFL!) and Stranger in a Strange Land.

    I also liked The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin.

    I read Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human and A E Van Vogt’s Slan as part of a science fiction class that took in high school (Dune and Stranger which have been mentioned in comments here as well). Both have stuck with me.

    I’ve not read much SciFi lately (exceptions for two authors recently recommended here: Suarez and Hertling). What other more recent SciFi is worth reading?

  • http://twitter.com/RossIngram Ross Ingram

    Just started a fire upon the deep by vernor vinge. Recently finished 1984. Foundation and fahrenheit 451 are in my top 5. Also hoping to jump into a reading frenzy over the holidays… if time permits.

  • Craig Thrall

    I just read Neal Stephenson’s “Anathem” and liked it. It is more futuristic/fantasy than Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon but I enjoyed it. Also, I really liked Tad William’s “Otherland” series (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otherland).

  • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

    Daybraker by Philip Jose Farmer.

    Triple Detente – Piers Anthony

  • http://chrisconrey.com/ Chris Conrey

    Ender’s Game (and the entire series that follows, but especially the Shadow books around Bean) by Orson Scott Card quite literally changed my life. Additionally any contemporary list that doesn’t include Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and most anything from Gibson is missing key pieces.

  • http://twitter.com/galtenberg C Galtenberg

    Hey Brad, I’m also a huge Dune fan. Have you read Herbert’s Destination: Void yet? Maybe his best.

    Also make sure to read Dan Simmons’ Hyperion and Greg Egan’s Diaspora. True epics.

    Happy holidays.

  • Scifi

    Dragon’s Egg – If you’re looking for hard scifi
    Robert L. Forward
    http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Egg-Del-Rey-Impact/dp/034543529X

  • Matthew

    I’m a little sad not to see Stanislaw Lem mentioned here.

  • Matt Toth

    The Sprawl Trilogy (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive) by William Gibson is a must read for anyone in technology.

    Reamde by Neal Stephenson is a fun read. It is less Sci Fi and more techno thriller. Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash and The Baroque Cycle are also good books by Stephenson.

    Ender’s Game is an amazing book. I buy it for people when I find out they haven’t read it.

  • Gary Rosenzweig

    Agree with those who recommend Spin by Wilson. But Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was my favorite read of the last few years.

  • Appeos

    Dune wins easily for me, especially when you consider the depth and breadth of the whole series. I’d love to see them made into a series of films, but I suspect nobody has the budget for it. The TV series was surprisingly good.

    • StevenHB

      The movie with Sting sucked hard.

    • DaveyNC

      If Peter Jackson can pull off The Lord of the Rings, he could pull off Dune. We can hope.

      • http://www.muschamp.ca/ Muskie

        Not enough merchandising opportunities in the Dune universe. What kid wants to play with a giant sandworm. Drug addiction is also tough sale to parents. Some of Frank Herbert’s other books are very good. I like the one about cheese. “The Saratoga Barrier”.

  • http://twitter.com/philosophygeek Mark Johnson

    The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.

  • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

    The Road. It haunts me to this day.

  • Lura

    I read all of Heinlein’s books as a teen and young adult and loved every one of them. Then, as an adult with kids, I re-read a couple, and found them to be extremely chauvinistic, and regretfully found that I couldn’t recommend them for my own daughters to read. Has anybody else had that experience? Good science fiction should be truly timeless!

    • StevenHB

      Heinlein did have a thing for redheads with green eyes and large, um, lungs.

  • Rick Angell

    Lots of great recommendations, here. Try Embassytown, by China Miéville, too.

  • http://www.TalkingPointz.com Dave Michels

    I read Daemon years ago based on a recommendation from your blog. I’m curious about the sequel – waiting for your review.

    • StevenHB

      I thought that Daemon was better. So much time had elapsed between reading the first and second book that I forgot much of the content of Daemon, which made following the sequel harder.

  • Abraham Murray

    Surprised not to see Charles Stross mentioned yet; a bunch of his stuff is just fun brain candy (but still scifi) but I truly loved Accelerando and Singularity Sky.

  • alasdairtrotter

    I’ve already seen Alastair Reynold’s name (start with Revelation Space), so I’ll continue the British Sci Fi theme, by endorsing Iain Banks (start with Consider Phlebas), and I’ll throw one new one into the mix – Peter F. Hamilton (start with the Night’s Dawn Trilogy)

    • DogHermit

      Funny that I got this far before I hit Iain M. Banks’ name! “Consider…” is great, but “Player of Games,” “Excession” and “The Algabraist” are by far my favorites. Thanks, Alasdairtrotter, for getting him in there!

  • Steve Newman
  • StevenHB

    One more thought over lunch: I’ve read and re-read Thrice Upon A Time by James P. Hogan. It’s a cool time-travel story, if you’re into time-travel. Hogan has a number of other popular books to his credit.

  • Edward Tierney

    Walter Miller- A Canticle For Leibowitz

    William Gibson- Neuromancer

    Paolo Bacigalupi- Windup Girl

    Neal Stepenson- Snow Crash

  • http://mvalente.eu/ Mario Valente

    Anything from RIchard Morgan and anything from Peter Hamilton.

    I’d also suggest Stephen Donaldson but the Gap Sequence series arent my favorite and the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever, are not really scifi but more fantasy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/swfranks Steve Franks

    Rudy Rucker – the Ware books
    Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age (among MANY others)
    Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven – The Mote in God’s Eye, Footfall

    Kim Stanley Robinson – The Three Californias (aka Orange County) Trilogy

  • http://ventureswell.com LukeG

    All Gibson. As someone else pointed out, he’s a must-read for anyone in technology and, from my perspective, a much better writer than most of the authors in this collaborative list.

  • http://twitter.com/DelValBiz DelVal.biz

    David Brin – Earth
    David Brin – The Postman (The movie sucked because of Costner, the book was great.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702606570 Cole Morrison

    Enders Game. If you haven’t read that yet, you’re missing out on some mind-blowing awesomeness.

    if you’re looking for something along the lines of an epic, Stephen King’s magnum opus – The Dark Tower Series – is INCREDIBLE.

  • Tony Casson

    Wool and Windup Girl are two recent favorites, mentioned here by others as well, that each do a fantastic job of transporting you into their near-future reality.

  • ed_rogers

    Blindsight by Peter Watts

  • Andy Blackstone

    Old Man’s War and others by John Scalzi

    A classic is the Amber series by Roger Zelazny – now only available as a 10-book volume

    Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series

    • Browncoat

      Yay for Dresden!

  • Dan

    Lots of great ones on the list!

    Three I’ll add:
    * Lucifer’s Hammer is a great end of the world read
    * The Sparrow is a touching story about first contact with religious overtones
    * Climate Wars is part non fiction part scifi and is about climate change in the next hundred years

  • http://www.yinyee.com/sc Lai

    Flow My Tears the Policeman said by Philip K Dick is one of my favs :)

  • Dave

    I second the recommendation for Wool – I read that recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. I disagree with all the love of Ender’s Game though – I read it a long time ago, and was not impressed. I’m not saying it’s a bad book (you want to read a bad Orson Scott Card book, pick up “Empire” – that book sucked hard), I just came away thinking it was seriously overrated. I think it’s a book that you have to read at a certain age, otherwise it doesn’t work for you.

  • Peter Williams

    “Glasshouse” by Charles Stross excellent. Actually, everything of his i have read of is well worth the time.

    Also +1 to the mentions of Iain M. Banks. I am partial to “Against a dark background” personally.

  • Bo Molai

    Fantastic list, pleased to note that I’ve read a lot of these but that this comment thread generated a whole new reading list for me!

    Kim Stanley Robinson’s Memory of Whiteness is an interesting and somewhat surreal take on humanity in the distant future and how technology/science are driving us, I quite enjoyed it.

    I would also add Nightfall (Isaac Asimov & Robert Silverberg). Being a Mars obsessive, I thoroughly enjoyed Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars/Green Mars/Blue mars series, as well as Greg Bear’s Moving Mars. Nightfall/Moving Mars are relatively quick/easy reads, Robinson’s Mars series is moderate-to-hard sci-fi.

  • Jennifer Binder-Le Pape

    Nice trip down memory lane with the classics. For more recent picks, I second the votes for both Dan Simmons’ Hyperion series and Alistair Reynolds’ trilogy. Thanks to all for the great additional suggestions – will definitely add a few of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=517182859 Ryan Lackey

    Richard Morgan — Market Forces
    Charles Stross — Accelerando

  • Silverborn

    Anything by Greg Bear but Darwin’s Radio and it’s sequel Darwin’s Children are really different and really good. All the old Zelazny’s but Lord of Light is my favorite. If you like a bit of humor with your SciFi John Varley is great. The Gaea Trilogy – Titan, Wizard, and Demon or Steel Beach and it’s sequel Golden Globe are really good. Love to see what you end up reading.

  • http://www.facebook.com/isaac.squires Isaac Squires

    2 of my favorites:
    Snow Crash (virtual worlds + action + humor, insanely awesome)
    The Diamond Age (futuristic world of matter compilers – programmers of objects)

  • http://twitter.com/kevinmarks Kevin Marks

    Jo Walton reviewed every Hugo Winner and nominee at tor.com she also just posted suggestions on whom to read if you like heinlein:
    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/10/something-else-like-heinlein

  • Marc Brandsma

    Let’s try to be contrarian. What I couldn’t sustain in 2012:

    - WIRED and AMPED by Doug Richards, sets the bar for naïveté

    - The Martian by Andy Weir, Mac Gyver on Mars iced with tech

    - Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson,

    - Daemon and Freedom by Daniel Suraez, sorry much too teen for me

    - Cry From a Silent Planet by John Rowland,

    The good ones:

    - 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

    - Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

    - The Forever War, a classic by Joe Haldeman

    - Reamde by Neal Stephenson

    - The Long Earth

    • http://blog.ricardodiz.com/ Ricardo Diz

      I’ve been reading Reamde from Neal Stephenson, but I have to confess that I actually stopped 1/4 of way, since it doesn’t thrill me so far. Does it improve along the rest of the book?

      • Marc Brandsma

        It may not worked for you but I just went from a to z in a couple of days. It actually accelerates to end in a whirlwind. End is a bit too sweet but still.

        • http://blog.ricardodiz.com/ Ricardo Diz

          Thanks for the feedback. Will give it another chance…

      • Browncoat

        Not really…it’s mostly “Zora in mortal peril and being brave in many different places.” (did I remember her name right?) I LOVE Stephenson but not this one. I recommend Anathem (assuming you’ve read Snow, Diamond and Crypto) starts slow but so worth the read

        • http://blog.ricardodiz.com/ Ricardo Diz

          Thanks. I’ll look into Anathem.

        • 1The_Public1

          Snow crash was one of my tops. Altered carbon is my favorite. Thought I couldn’t go wrong with Anathem… In the book they have “The book” which one must read as punishment and if you read more than 5 chapters you will probably go insane. Very ironic, I LOL’d when I came across it about 350 pages in (before the plot begins). Pure punishment.

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  • http://blog.ricardodiz.com/ Ricardo Diz

    This is a great topic, and I’ve added a few books to my Kindle’s wish list. Thanks.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/TomLabus Tom Labus
  • http://twitter.com/jlicciardi Jeff Licciardi

    Ender’s Game!

  • http://twitter.com/jchawner John Chawner

    I’m not certain it’s stricly scifi, but A Canticle for Leibowitz is excellent. And I too think Ender’s Game can’t be missed.

  • http://www.muschamp.ca/ Muskie

    I collected my favourite books into a list on goodreads:

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4278281?shelf=recommended

    I like futuristic novels not necessarily the ‘hard sci-fi” whatever that really means:

    Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    The Saratoga Barrier by Frank Herbert

    You could do worse than to read some Margaret Atwood either “Handmaiden’s Tale” or “Oryx & Crake”. I trust you’ve read “The Man in the High Castle”.

  • http://www.engag.io/Abdallah Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I love these posts where I discover new books. Last time, I took your suggestion and read Suarez books and they were awesome. I am adding Nexus and Ringworld to the list!

  • http://www.andrewice.org/ Andrew Ice

    One more vote for Ender’s Game!

  • http://shuttlecloud.com/ EduardoF

    This is great. I love science fiction and I’m looking forward to reading many of the books mentioned here.

    I wanted to mention a few of my favorite classics:

    The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
    Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
    Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
    The Chain of Chance – Stanisław Lem

    • http://twitter.com/brafglover brad glover

      I love the martian chronicles ever year or 2 i get them out and reread the trilogy.

  • Peter Neame

    I frequently quote Heinlein’s “man who was too lazy to fail” as an illustration of how I tend to think (alas not so succesfully). Most of Heinlein’s writing had the benefit of value for money (i.e long) rather than quality, however. No arguments on the other choices. Some of the self-published post-apocalyptic books on Amazon are quite fun and I’d second (third, fourth?) Howey’s “Wool” series in this genre.

  • http://www.facebook.com/twalker920 Tom Walker

    “The Mote in God’s Eye” Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle is my all-time favorite first-contact story. I’ve read it at least 6 times. I also second “Old Man’s War” and “Wool”.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      I love it and Lucifer’s Hammer. I just downloaded them again to read after not reading for a long time.

  • Willem

    It all depends on what you want to read in sci fi, do you want to read hard science at the back of the story or just a good story set in the speculative future?

    I loved Enders Game By Orson Scott, but I did not like the rest in the series
    Agent Cormac series from Neal Asher, this is one of my favorites that speaks about when the human and AI becomes one.
    Deathstalker Series by Simon R Green, good fantasy
    Vorkosigan Saga Lois McMaster Bujold for good laughs
    Union-Alliance series C. J. Cherryh
    Rama Arthur C. Clarke
    Childe Cycle Series Gordon R. Dickson
    Mission Earth Series L. Ron Hubbard for good laughs
    Adiamante L. E. Modesitt Jr. This is one of my favorites, a good writer
    War World Jerry pournelle
    Singularity Sky Charles Stross
    The World of null-a A. E. van Vogt

  • fuchsr

    1. Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light — my all-time favorite. A twisted play on Buddhism and immortality.

    2. I highly recommend the four books in the Otherland series by Tad Williams. Halfway through you’re thinking, how in the world can he bring this all to a logical conclusion, and (unlike Lost), Williams really pulls it off in the last book with a very satisfying ending.

    3. Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky, and A Fire Upon The Deep. Both are incredible characterizations of alien entities in a strange cosmos.

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  • http://twitter.com/D4R1NG DKG

    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson http://amzn.to/WCwSMd

  • Summer Ficarrotta

    Surprised not to see CO author Connie Willis mentioned. Her Hugo award winner “Doomsday Book” is fabulous. For something lighter, check out her follow-on “To Say Nothing of the Dog”, and set in Boulder CO is “Bellwether”. “In Conquest Born” by C.S. Friedman is another winner.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Just grabbed a copy of Doomsday Book.

  • http://www.zoomis.com/ Daman

    Callahan series by Spider Robinson

  • Greg

    Wow. So many awesome books recommended here. Truly a great thread. I’d add the two Olaf Stapledon classics, “Star Maker” and “Last and First Men.” And while I see Lem mentioned, I don’t see my favorite of his works, “Solaris.” Miller’s “A Canticle for Leibowitz” is a great read. Heinlein, “A Stranger in a Strange Land” — a real classic, worth reading, even if you’re not a fan of his other work. “The War with Newts” by Karel Capek is playfully imaginative and very entertaining. I recently read and really enjoyed “A Deepness in the Sky” by Vernor Vinge.

  • Ezra Nanes

    Happy Holdiays Brad. Late comment to the post, but I love the theme and will get lots of ideas from it.

    Very surprised not to see any mention of Stephen Baxter. He’s incredible.
    Two series:
    - A Time Odyssey series co-written with Arthur C. Clarke (Time’s Eye, Sunstorm, Firstborn)
    - The Manifold Series (Time, Space, Origin…)

    Another missing name: Jack McDevitt
    - The Academy Series (starts with The Engines of God, then Deepsix, Chindi, Omega, Odyssey and Cauldron)

    Also, casting a vote for Alastair Reynolds
    - The series starting with “Revelation Space”

    Enjoy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnspottiswood John Spottiswood

    Awesome list. To Ender’s Game…I would add Ender’s Shadow. If you want to get back into that world…this book is a fascinating way to do it. As good a sequel as either of the Hunger Games follow ons. While it’s a mix of science fiction and historical revisionism, I thought Card’s Pastwatch was an absolute triumph and a non-stop page turner. The first two books of Alvin the Maker -The Seventh Son and Red Prophet- are also remarkable. These are more fantasy/historical fiction though, and don’t have any science to them at all. Pathfinder is a recent story of Card’s about time travel…and another that I couldn’t but down. A childhood favorite of mine was Slan, by A.E. Van Vogt. It’s short, and the character develoment is weak, but still a very good read.

  • http://www.joshrutstein.com/ Josh Rutstein

    Several references for Brave New World but I have always felt that Childhood’s End was Huxley’s best work. Only fiction book I can read multiple times.

    • BjamminD

      Childhood’s End is Aurthur C Clark

  • Joe G

    Looked through most if the thread and no one has mentioned Ursula LeGuin. Left hand of Darkness, and the Dispossessed. Sci Fi that truly illuminates the human condition and makes one think.about a bigger universe at the same time.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Good catch! I love Ursula K. LeGuin

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  • Rhomom

    A couple of obscure books – Psion, Catspaw, and Dreamfall by Joan Vinge. I loved these. She also wrote Summer Queen and Winter Queen, some engaging scifi aspects, and the World’s End novella is fascinating. Two more that I like, Nature’s End and Armor. Fun reads.

  • Browncoat

    Card and Stephenson have gotten lots of (deserved) props…I love Elizabeth Moon, CS Freidman, Octavia Butler. I just finished A Red Sun Also Rises…the Monster Hunter books are fun…Deathstalker is epic…but my favorite is the hard-to-find Witches of Karres. Happy reading :)

  • sharbar

    Just read ‘Pure’ by Julianne Baggot, it was great and we seem to have similar tastes in sci fi

  • saracen16

    Dune… Hyperion… the Sprawl trilogy.

  • Rob

    Hi I read a book by Fred Hoyle called the black cloud which is still one of the best sci fi books I have come across.

    Other favourites include rendevous with rama, anything by heilein or Clarke, dune, the mars trilology, to yor scattered bodies go to name a few.

    I

  • http://twitter.com/njyx Steven Willmott

    Amazing thread – my book budget for the year is about to get blown… Great stuff already mentioned – a couple of humble additions: John Varley Titan, Wizard, Demon + The Golden Globe. Another outside contender Body of Glass (Marge Piercy).

  • Nick Adamek

    Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse): James S.A. Corey was my favorite of 2012. Cryptonomicon is my favorite of all time

  • http://www.facebook.com/svyatoslav.zemlyanukhin Svyatoslav Zemlyanukhin

    STAR MAKER!

  • Linda

    Childhood’s End by. Arthur C Clarke. I have been reading sf since I was ten and I’m 61 now and have read many great books by the masters but new authors as well. But you can’t beat Clarke, Asiimov, Bradbury or Heinlen Recently Clarke’s books became available for Kindle I always thought this novel would have made a great movie maybe even better than 2001 which he also wrote from one of his short stories called The Sentinel.

  • http://www.toddandelin.com Todd_Andelin

    Harlan Ellison is a tremendous writer. A real feisty person too.

    http://harlanellison.com/iwrite/mostimp.htm

    “Repent Harlequin!”, Said the Ticktockman” is a great short story, very popular…

  • http://thegongshow.tumblr.com andrewparker

    I have a strong preference for scifi that has “one foot in tomorrow” instead of scifi that is about a million years in the future (or past). The semi-familiarity of the “one foot in tomorrow” approach really adds to the verisimiltude for me.

    Snow Crash is of course the definitive “one foot in tomorrow” book, but of course you’ve already read that one. The runner up for the “one foot in tomorrow” crown for me is Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.

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