Below I’ve listed a countdown of my favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy books. I have left out the Lord of the Rings. That trilogy is, in my opinion, a timeless masterpiece that everyone should read and it would be unfair to pit other novels against it. I’ve mostly chosen stand-alone novels for this list. When looking for a book to read, it can be overwhelming when someone suggests a 10-book series that will take a year or more to read. But, in some cases, I will recommend series or one book from a series that I find too good to pass up.
10. Ubik by Philip K. Dick. What a strange novel. Dick is known for strange novels, and this one seemed strange even for him. It explores the idea of a science-based life-after-death. Are man-made “half lives” the direction we’re headed? If so, this novel gives me pause. After all, there are worse things than dying.
9. Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan. I remember who I was as a teen and early 20’s recent college grad. No way do I want that version of me running the world. Logan’s Run reminded me why. Youth is beautiful. Experience and wisdom are essential.
8. Animorphs series by K. A. Applegate. Yes, this series is for kids and tweens. But, it tackled some pretty heavy concepts while staying true to its target audience’s age. Also, I’ve always wanted to be a cat.
7. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
6. The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin. This story was the most interesting depiction of first contact with alien life that I’ve read or watched. And I was a huge David Ducho… errr… X-Files fan. This book was the first in a trilogy and I’m excited to read the second two installments.
5. Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. The characters made this book. The concept was interesting, the writing good, but the two (there’s no better way to say it) badass main characters rocked my world. Steely Edie Banister and son-of-a-mobster Joe Spork are now my standard for other characters to live up to.
4. His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. I wasn’t a fan of the Chronicles and Narnia. I liked The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but only when my mom read it to me. As I grew up and read the rest of the series I couldn’t identify with the religious undercurrent. For me, His Dark Materials was an antithesis to the Chronicles of Narnia, and I was able to relate more fully to the struggles of Lyra and Lord Asriel.
3. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Writing fiction is really just about telling a story. I firmly believe that. When a writer tries to beat readers to death with a message, they don’t often appreciate it. Geek Love just tells a story. An extraordinary, complex, amazing story, and Dunn tells it beautifully. Sure, there’s a message. But, it’s up to the reader to find it. Storytelling at its finest.
2. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Is there a downside to basing your decisions solely on logic? I think Spock discovered that there was. This novel addresses the toll of being the ultimate General.
1. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.