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(National Geographic)   13 classic SciFi novels as picked by National Geographic to the left, your recommendations to the right   (api.nationalgeographic.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Science fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, Broken Earth Trilogy, author of the short story, Hugo Award, N. K. Jemisin, sci-fi  
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2172 clicks; posted to Geek » on 22 May 2020 at 6:04 PM (13 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-05-22 5:28:07 PM  
Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.
 
2020-05-22 6:07:07 PM  

Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.


Interesting choices by the author, I'd agree with the add of Larry Niven and also want to see Asimov's Foundation Trilogy added
 
2020-05-22 6:10:55 PM  
I'll be the first ITT to recommend The Three Body Problem. The Expanse is also pretty great for the pulp/hard/opera mixture it goes for. I dunno if Vonnegut really counts as Sci-fi in general, but he's fantastic regardless.
 
2020-05-22 6:19:13 PM  
Read Ringworld but never made it past the first one.  Had some really interesting ideas that I've brought up to others as talking points (such as luck being an inheritable trait).  But I just couldn't bring myself to start the next one.  As such, I could never bring myself to read any of his other works.  Might have to give it a shot now.
 
2020-05-22 6:21:42 PM  
"His Dark Materials"

Fark user imageView Full Size


That series sucked major ass.
 
2020-05-22 6:22:40 PM  

Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.


But on the gripping hand, it was co-written by Pournelle.
 
2020-05-22 6:24:35 PM  
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, 2003.

wat

/Iain M. Banks, his pal Ken MacLeod, Alastair Reynolds.
//I've got a claim to fame in that my uncle Ruaridh taught Iain Banks English at Stirling uni.
 
2020-05-22 6:26:41 PM  
Dumb list. Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama" is one of the greatest sci-fi novels ever written. The only reason it's not a movie is that the CGI would cost like half a billion dollars. And nothing from HG Wells?

Morgan Freeman on producing 'Rendezvous with Rama'
Youtube 20DaSHa4I1k
 
2020-05-22 6:30:15 PM  
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
And, the other 4 books in the trilogy.
 
2020-05-22 6:31:49 PM  
No Canticle for Leibowitz? fark off.
 
2020-05-22 6:32:23 PM  

Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.


The gender dynamics have aged very poorly. I tried to re-read Mote a few years back and gave up in disgust at the sexism.
 
2020-05-22 6:36:32 PM  
I know the author is a douche, but Ender's Game is actually good. Until he tries to explain science, then it's crap.

/Second Rendezvous with Rama.
 
2020-05-22 6:44:22 PM  
I really thought Childhood's End was brilliant, once I realized that the Overmind might not be a higher consciousness after all, but a wicked and horrible devourer of souls that the Overlords naïvely served as intergalactic sheepdogs.

There's no explanation for why the Overlords couldn't ascend if the Overmind was the entity they thought it was, but it makes perfect sense if they were being used the same way we use some animals to corral livestock.
 
2020-05-22 6:54:38 PM  

iron de havilland: Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, 2003.

wat

/Iain M. Banks, his pal Ken MacLeod, Alastair Reynolds.
//I've got a claim to fame in that my uncle Ruaridh taught Iain Banks English at Stirling uni.


Reynolds is my favorite modern sf author. Especially his treatment of near light speed travel and some macabre themes.
 
2020-05-22 6:55:32 PM  
Haven't read the Broken Earth Trilogy but I enjoyed The Inheritance Trilogy from N.K. Jemisin. I may give it a looksee.
 
2020-05-22 7:00:35 PM  

mossberg: Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.

Interesting choices by the author, I'd agree with the add of Larry Niven and also want to see Asimov's Foundation Trilogy added


Oh crap- YES! I agree that the foundation trilogy should have been in the list. Yes, it's a bit dated (asbestos building blocks indeed), but the concept is amazing. The mule? Scary dude, even if it was written with sympathy for the devil.
 
2020-05-22 7:17:10 PM  
Exhalation by Ted Chiang is fantastic.  One of my favorite writers.
 
2020-05-22 7:21:11 PM  

Invincible: iron de havilland: Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, 2003.

wat

/Iain M. Banks, his pal Ken MacLeod, Alastair Reynolds.
//I've got a claim to fame in that my uncle Ruaridh taught Iain Banks English at Stirling uni.

Reynolds is my favorite modern sf author. Especially his treatment of near light speed travel and some macabre themes.


Guess I've never read his wiki biography before, because I just have, and it turns out he was a research astronomer at Esa, which quite handily explains why he might tend to the harder end of sf. With a lot of space operatic overtones, of course.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2020-05-22 7:27:15 PM  
Like many such lists it's biased towards recent novels.

Xcott

I thought of Childhood's End as a sad book. Humanity is extinct. Maybe something with a slight connection to humanity still exists, maybe not, but humanity is gone.

Sarah Jessica Farker

Niven has discussed the role of women in Mote and offered an explanation related to the collapse of civilization making women precious. You can decide for yourself if the reason was always in his mind or made up later after 20th Century attitudes towards women changed. To me its no more jarring than having characters in old SF novels smoke. There was a huge fit thrown on usenet after Baen Books edited out references to smoking from some old SF they were reprinting. From my point of view you can have characters smoke, men dominate women, women dominate men, etc. if it's part of the world you are describing, but preach to the reader at your own peril.

mossberg

Not sure how much of the Foundation series deserves a great SF label. The beginning, sure. The end (past the original trilogy), surely not.
 
2020-05-22 7:27:44 PM  
kelly lynch

her name's kelly link and all of her short story collections are worth your time
 
2020-05-22 7:31:33 PM  

Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.


Second.  Yes, the gender dynamics are awkward today, but that could easily be fixed if Netflix or Amazon were smart enough to turn it into a series.
 
2020-05-22 7:41:03 PM  
I've read a few of them but I'm waiting for the paperback release of Exhalation.

Never read City and the City but the TV series was good.

Is Gods of Jade and Shadow just a Mexican version of American Gods?
 
2020-05-22 7:43:38 PM  

Madman drummers bummers: "His Dark Materials"

[Fark user image 221x240]

That series sucked major ass.


Isn't what sci-fi is supposed explore what the influence of a certain tech on society is going to be? So if it His Dark Materials didn't make you at least consider the implication of what forcing full rationality on a population was going to do, you failed at reading it.
 
2020-05-22 7:44:25 PM  
Old Man's War, by John Scalzi, is a series I really enjoyed.
 
2020-05-22 7:54:17 PM  

Sarah Jessica Farker: Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.

The gender dynamics have aged very poorly. I tried to re-read Mote a few years back and gave up in disgust at the sexism.


Niven can be...problematic. 'Lucifer's Hammer' has some pretty disturbing racist undertones.
 
2020-05-22 7:54:45 PM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-05-22 7:55:19 PM  

MightyMerkin: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
And, the other 4 books in the trilogy.


The trilogy wound up being five books and a novella.
 
2020-05-22 7:56:21 PM  

Sarah Jessica Farker: Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.

The gender dynamics have aged very poorly. I tried to re-read Mote a few years back and gave up in disgust at the sexism.


Then definitely skip Heinlein.
 
2020-05-22 7:58:00 PM  
Zenna Henderson's "The People" are the only telepaths I'd love to meet, even good for kids.

For recent hard sci-fi go to the Bobiverse, a series written by Dennis E. Taylor.

Hitchhiker's Guide. 'nuf said. And any Terry Pratchett if you want fantasy.

Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" short stories are awesome, and funny as hell too. He often saves the world by having all the good guys get really high partying together.

I'll stop here but wow there's a LOT of good SF out there.
 
2020-05-22 7:58:08 PM  
Anyone for the Forever War? Dayummm, but the first time I read that, it was a bit too close to home.
 
2020-05-22 7:59:24 PM  
Granted Snowcrash made the list, but Seveneves hooked me like no book had in a long time
Like all Stephenson's books I've read (except maybe Zodiac, but it's been a while) he failed to stick the landing but the first 2/3 was some of the best hard sci-fi ever out to paper imo
 
2020-05-22 7:59:47 PM  

Invincible: iron de havilland: Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, 2003.

wat

/Iain M. Banks, his pal Ken MacLeod, Alastair Reynolds.
//I've got a claim to fame in that my uncle Ruaridh taught Iain Banks English at Stirling uni.

Reynolds is my favorite modern sf author. Especially his treatment of near light speed travel and some macabre themes.


I would have to go with Gibson or Stephenson. Everyone suggests Snow Crash, but it's actually my least favorite book by him. I really liked Anathem and Seveneves.
 
2020-05-22 8:01:29 PM  
I read through the Culture series by Iain M. Banks not too long ago, and it was pretty good.   His other non-Culture books like the Algebraist are good too.

The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons was good.
 
2020-05-22 8:02:10 PM  

Madman drummers bummers: Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.

But on the gripping hand, it was co-written by Pournelle.


god damit I came here to post this.
 
2020-05-22 8:03:03 PM  

Private_Citizen: Anyone for the Forever War? Dayummm, but the first time I read that, it was a bit too close to home.


My first read of that was during the Iraq War pt two and I had a couple of high school friends in the service (would have been there myself if not for a spontaneous collapsed lung a month before shipping out)

Yeah that hits hard
 
2020-05-22 8:03:51 PM  

Private_Citizen: Anyone for the Forever War? Dayummm, but the first time I read that, it was a bit too close to home.


I've heard people say that the Vietnam allegory is dated. It actually works better as a Middle East allegory. That war (general warfare) never ends.
 
2020-05-22 8:05:05 PM  

FunkJunkie: Granted Snowcrash made the list, but Seveneves hooked me like no book had in a long time
Like all Stephenson's books I've read (except maybe Zodiac, but it's been a while) he failed to stick the landing but the first 2/3 was some of the best hard sci-fi ever out to paper imo


Seveneves needed a few more chapters to expand on the ending. Saying more would ruin it.
 
2020-05-22 8:06:03 PM  

baron von doodle: Invincible: iron de havilland: Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, 2003.

wat

/Iain M. Banks, his pal Ken MacLeod, Alastair Reynolds.
//I've got a claim to fame in that my uncle Ruaridh taught Iain Banks English at Stirling uni.

Reynolds is my favorite modern sf author. Especially his treatment of near light speed travel and some macabre themes.

I would have to go with Gibson or Stephenson. Everyone suggests Snow Crash, but it's actually my least favorite book by him. I really liked Anathem and Seveneves.


But Snow Crash caught a wave, and established Stephenson as a good author.

From his oeuvre, I've only read that, plus Zodiac, The Diamond Age and Interface.

/And he does kind of suck at endings.
 
2020-05-22 8:06:14 PM  

LrdPhoenix: I read through the Culture series by Iain M. Banks not too long ago, and it was pretty good.   His other non-Culture books like the Algebraist are good too.

The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons was good.


Just finished book 3 of 4 in The Cantos. Love the books, but they are definitely a marathon read.
 
2020-05-22 8:06:38 PM  

RoyFokker'sGhost: Sarah Jessica Farker: Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.

The gender dynamics have aged very poorly. I tried to re-read Mote a few years back and gave up in disgust at the sexism.

Niven can be...problematic. 'Lucifer's Hammer' has some pretty disturbing racist undertones.


Doesn't stop people from loving H.P. Lovecraft and his Aryan protagonists corrupted by Italians, Africans, or South Sea Islanders.  Of course, Lovecraft's ability to write is simply awesome.  Also, of course, Niven is a lot more recent.
 
2020-05-22 8:07:00 PM  
Submitter got it wrong - the article did not say "classic" for a good reason - nothing written after 2010 can be considered "classic" yet.

These are just a jumbled collection of what the NG staff thinks might be good.

Also, they include fantasy (Gods of Jade and Shadow).  So - Lord of the Rings?  The Night Circus?

Alistair Reynolds, Larry Niven, Flynn's "Firestar" series... even Heinlein got a couple of good books that could be considered classic SF.

A good discussion topic but a terrible list.
 
2020-05-22 8:07:30 PM  

baron von doodle: FunkJunkie: Granted Snowcrash made the list, but Seveneves hooked me like no book had in a long time
Like all Stephenson's books I've read (except maybe Zodiac, but it's been a while) he failed to stick the landing but the first 2/3 was some of the best hard sci-fi ever out to paper imo

Seveneves needed a few more chapters to expand on the ending. Saying more would ruin it.


I would have almost preferred it end at the conclusion of part two and had a full novel of part three

Anyone ever read Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy?
Schlocky space opera but damn it was a lot of fun
 
2020-05-22 8:08:58 PM  

baron von doodle: LrdPhoenix: I read through the Culture series by Iain M. Banks not too long ago, and it was pretty good.   His other non-Culture books like the Algebraist are good too.

The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons was good.

Just finished book 3 of 4 in The Cantos. Love the books, but they are definitely a marathon read.


Oh maaaaaan
Rise of Endymion is my favorite conclusion to a sci-fi series

You're in for a good time
 
2020-05-22 8:10:10 PM  

baron von doodle: LrdPhoenix: I read through the Culture series by Iain M. Banks not too long ago, and it was pretty good.   His other non-Culture books like the Algebraist are good too.

The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons was good.

Just finished book 3 of 4 in The Cantos. Love the books, but they are definitely a marathon read.


It's only about 2000 and a bit pages.
 
2020-05-22 8:13:09 PM  
Technically by the list's criteria Mark Lawrence writes scifi, and his three series (two connected and one Young Adult) are much better than most of the other modern stories on the list.

Also I'd recommend  "The Past Through Tomorrow" by Heinlein. He got most of the tech we use wrong, but most of the challenges and problems faced in his story collection are still relevant. And since we're there, "Stranger in a Strange Land." How the list excluded that is beyond my ability to grok.
 
2020-05-22 8:16:02 PM  
I love "hard" sci-fi, which is to say believable sci-fi based on real science. The kind frequently written by Asimov and Clarke. The more fantasy and/or action type sci-fi never really found a place with me. Excluding Godzilla, Gamera, etc. You can't help but love em. lol
 
2020-05-22 8:19:18 PM  
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Also "The Demolished Man" by Bester, "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" by Clarke, "Small Gods" by Pratchett, "Hyperion" by Simmons, "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by Willis, "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" by Farmer and "Towing Jehovah" by Morrow.

Don't forget Donald Trump's favorite: "Lord of the Swastika" by Hitler which won a Hugo Award.  ;-)
( Google: "The Iron Dream")
 
2020-05-22 8:22:51 PM  

RoyFokker'sGhost: Sarah Jessica Farker: Private_Citizen: Personally, I would have put "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven on the list. Fantastic SciFi, and sharp writing.

The gender dynamics have aged very poorly. I tried to re-read Mote a few years back and gave up in disgust at the sexism.

Niven can be...problematic. 'Lucifer's Hammer' has some pretty disturbing racist undertones.


Never understood the complaints about the various 'isms' in stories. Unless it's a story about a utopia now that all 'those' people are gone. People are flawed and societies aren't perfect. Stories without those flaws aren't interesting to me at least.

My copy of Starship Troopers has "Controversial" written on the cover and the worst offense I can find is that supposedly bald chicks make good pilots. So, yay sexism?
 
2020-05-22 8:23:40 PM  
Vandermeer's Annihilation trilogy was a real treat, nothing like I'd read before. Picked it up after seeing the film adaptation. Heady and bizarre, would recommend
 
2020-05-22 8:25:06 PM  
Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy.
Dan Simmons Ilium and Olympos.
John Barnes The Mother of Storms.
David Brin's Earth.

Of course Niven, Pournelle, Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, Brunner, Pohl, Zelazny, etc.
Although I always hated Childhood's End. Clarke was feeling particularly nihilistic when he wrote that, I suspect. Much prefer The Songs of Distant Earth, my favorite of his novels and his best characterization.
 
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