Best Science Fiction Series
Most people find their first science fiction book in a disorganized accident. Picture yourself as a puberty-aged kid forced to go to some family gathering where the house smells of old people and there is absolutely nothing to do, for hours. Eventually you take refuge in the bathroom and there stacked on top of the toilet tank are a pile of dog-eared paperback books with swollen pages from too much moisture and covers that look like really bad quality comic books. So you sit down to do your business and thumb the old things open. One clings to your sticky fingers.
That’s how they hook you, the writers of pulp fiction, when you are trapped in the void of your own mind. The price of admission is a big red ring on your ass and a plundered book stuffed into your underwear as you clandestinely seek out some isolated privacy to – read more.
Every science fiction fan knows that the objective is to read everything, just not on the toilet. There’s just too many for that level of privacy. Be selective. Go for the good ones first and avoid the swirlies.
So what counts as the best science fiction series? This is a tricky question to address indeed. Book favorites are like ***holes -- everyone's got one. I've tried to sort out the gold from the silt in the genre, drawing from a range of older classics and newer works from various science fiction subgenres.
For the rankings here, I look at the series as a whole, the level of impact the series has had on the genre, the quality mantained by the series as the books progress, the quality of ideas presented in the book, the quality of the characterization (something that earlier classic science fiction works had which newer works put a lot more emphasis on) and of course, how damn entertaining the plot itself is.
You can view the crowd-ranked version of this list and vote on the entries at the bottom of this page.
What a crazy ass ride this series is. Still wildly popular and selling off the shelves after nearly 50 years, the Dune series has spawned a movie, computer games, board games, and numerous authorized sequels (sic).
The seminal first book in the series, Dune, is widely recognized as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel. What makes it so good? Everything.
Ok, you want some reasons. Mostly it’s because Herbert delivered a masterfully crafted world so beautifully layered and rich in detail that it became the template for every "epic" science fiction series that came afterwards. It’s so good that no one has managed to catch Herbert yet although many are trying. Winner of both the Hugo and the first Nebula award ever given, Dune was published in 1965. The series plunges you into the life of an imperial family in a feudal interstellar society. Yeah, you got it. Dune is both high-technology science fiction and feudal fantasy all woven into one epic braingasm series. Spinning at the center of this story are complex politics, religion, ecology, advanced technology and people behaving badly. All of this is set on a difficult desert planet that is home to massive worms and ‘spice’ a drug-like substance that transforms humanity.
Yea it's more a combination of space opera, planetary romance, and science fantasy than hard sci-fi. Yea yea, those grand blow-your-mind ideas present in some of the other classic works (like foundation) are not there.
But dammit to hell, it's such a sweeping epic of character and enviroment struggling against each other that this series just can't be missed. The series does degrade after the first couple books. Overall, it's a towering epic that just must be read.
The first three books are good reads but the series winds down and gets pretty bloaded by the time you reach the 6th book. The books cover generations, however, and you read about the decendents of characters you loved in the first one. Unless you are crazy about the Dune world, give a skip to the sequels written by Frank's son, Brian. Overall, they are an attempt to just milk the series and pretty dismal. Worth reading if you absolutely have to have your "Dune fix" but are really not even in the same class as daddy's origional works.
You can’t call yourself a science fiction fan if you haven’t read the Dune series. So, get blown.
What we’ve got here folks is a bad case of list failure. Science fiction is just the name on the sign over a couple aisles in the bookstore. Under that sign are a dozen different sub-genres and each of these has one or more series that are the best of their type. There’s nothing second place about the Vorkosigan series. In fact, this series is arguably the best militaristic science fiction series ever written. Individual books within the series have won eight Hugo, Nebula or Locus awards and been nominated for 13 additional awards. They’re that good. Bujold likes her novels to reflect deeply conflicted characters, to explore issues of privacy, personhood, bioengineering, politics, ethics and social structures. If there is a fault to be found with this series it is simply that you will need to block out a month of time because there are 28 books in the series to date spanning 1986-2012. Be prepared to become addicted.
The series proper can be started with The Warrior's Apprentice which is a good starting place, though not the "first" chronological book in the series.
If you are looking for hard science ideas or blow-your-mind concepts, give this series a skip. But if you want a series with some of the best deep characterization in the genre with plenty of space battles, planetary politics, and galactic warfare out there, this series can't be missed.
Ever read a book that is good in spite of its author’s controversial reputation? Card has landed himself in a lot of hot water for his political commentary, primarily driven by his personal religious viewpoint. This has alienated many fans. In spite of this, his Ender series is so good you shouldn’t be dissuaded from reading it, despite the author's intrusive mormon ideas that leak through his pen.
This is a series (rather the first book, Ender's Game) that seems to top pretty much every best 'sci-fi' list out there. And of course, there is very good reason for this.
This series began as a militaristic science fiction short story that was published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Card expanded the short story into the novel Ender’s Game that was published in 1985.
Think Lord of the Flies set in space with an alien threat, advanced computers, military strategy and guns thrown into the mix.
What you don’t get in a lot of science fiction is an authentic portrayal of children in the primary role and focus of the story. Card delivers. In fact he does this so well that it doesn’t freaking matter what he says or does outside of the book. Read him anyway. The book is recommended reading for the American Marine Corps as a study in military training. Yeah, it’s that good. The novel won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. There are five additional novels in this series plus another novella. Most people love the first book and the sequel (Speaker for the Dead) the best. The sequel is a radically different sort of book though. The other books in the series (and novellas) are good enough reads, but lack the brilliance of the first and second books. It's rare to find a series that remains strong the whole way through.
The movie “Ender’s Game” is due for release in late 2013. So, read the damn series.
Starts with A Mote in God's Eye, the award winning first book in the series of 2 with the 3rd book written by one of the authors.
Nothing will prepare you for this book. You will find this book on every damn list of great science fiction – ever. Technically this series is about first contact and it is hard science fiction. Are you tired of reading books where the aliens are basically humans wearing weird costumes?
Then read this series -- one of the best about "first contact" out there. This series puts a lot of effort into developing a fascinating human society and a complex and enthralling development of and entirely "alien" alien society. There is just the right amount of mystery and suspense to keep you captivated the who way through.
This stunningly good novel The Mote in God’s Eye, written collaboratively by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle and first published in 1974 gave us the Moties. It's an older work, but it hasn't aged at all and is certainly readable even in the post 2013 era.
Robert A Heinlein, one of the giants of science fiction was consulted on this book and he famously blurbed the book saying, “Possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read.” He was right. Although nominated for all the big awards, the book never received any of them. Instead, it infected its readers with microscopic Moties who enter fan brains through reading. There are two sequels, The Gripping Hand and an authorized sequel by J.R. Pournelle, daughter of Jerry Pournelle. Get your alien on, go read you some Moties.
Are you ready to dive off the high board into the books that earned a special Hugo in 1966 for the best all-time series? Asimov is classic, hard science, heavy-duty science fiction. He is often identified as one of the three giants of science fiction (along with Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke).
He wrote Foundation, a collection of five short stories grouped as a complete novel from 1942 to 1951. This is hard-core science fiction that kicks ass, takes names and pushes the reader. You need to be broken in a bit before you decide to chew you some Asimov. He wrote four additional books in the series, several short stories and authorized other writers to produce tales in his universe. These are epic books that span millenita between books in the series. The ideas introduced are fascinating (though ultimately a flawed idea as proven by science).
Why should you read Asimov? Because, he elevated science fiction into the consciousness of everyone, fans or not. He was too legit to quit. And because Foundation is widely considered one of the pinnacles of classic science fiction. It's not a series for everyone, especially if you are a fan of space operatic action, hard core violence, or deep characterization. But if you are the type who is spell bound by ideas and concepts, then this is one of the best reads in the genre.
Some books are like chocolates – irresistible. You bite into the first one and then you can’t stop. Maybe it’s the idea of living in a world without hunger, disease, violence and suffering and how the absence of these elements transforms basic motivation. All of this and the books are rather funny too or as the Brits say, witty. Bottom line, you’ll love this series. This is one of the more "modern" series on the list.
Banks is a Scottish writer best known for his popular The Culture series. This series began publication in 1987 and includes nine books of which Excession is frequently noted as the most popular. Banks’ work focuses on a post-scarcity world where all of the basic needs of humanity are being met. His world is egalitarian and controlled by the benign AI Minds. This setup pushes politics to the edges where people can act against the basic policies of the culture in order to achieve the Culture ideal. This positions the series as psychological science fiction with a direct exploration of artificial intelligence, or, you know, hard and soft science fiction.
In this post scarcity world of the Culture your mind will be working overtime trying to come to grasp with the amazing ideas presented. There's also a lot of fun when this perfect society bangs against the primitive and barbaric cultures its forced to deal with that don't share in this utopia. The Culture novels are both thrilling as well as fascinating and to boot, you can be sure that beneath the thrill there's always a number of fascinating set of philosophical questions buried in there as well.
Confused yet? No worries. No major awards either, just lots of fans. In fact, this series is enormously popular and you get to learn things without feeling like your brain is about to shatter.
There are a number of different books in the series that are mentioned as the best. A popular starting place in the Culture Series is Player of Games which is a good introduction to the series and the culture world, but wrapped in an exciting package of action, suspense, and intrigue. Another loved book is Consider Phlebus, which has a more space operatic feel to it than the other books in the series. And finally, Excession is regarded as one of the best in the series.
Ever bought some electronic thing and two days later discovered it was already obsolete? Sucks. This whole idea about broken things is defined by the concept of The Singularity -- a field that Vinge is the master of. Basically this means that as civilization accelerates it is also abandoning things, ideas and people who can’t keep up. And the Zones of Thought books are all about this concept.
Vinge is a retired professor of mathematics, best known for his exceptional science fiction vision. His Zone of Thought series includes A Fire Upon The Deep, published in 1992 and winner of the Hugo, A Deepness In The Sky, winner of the Prometheus and The Children Of The Sky. Don’t be scared by his credentials – save that for his dark vision of the singularity-driven future. Vinge explores super intelligence, artificial life forms and group minds. His novels also examine how technology accelerates human evolution in sometimes disastrous ways.
All this pseudo scientific babbled aside, these books are fraking good reads. They are compelling, fascinating, and a thrill ride from start to finish. These are NOT dry old books full of visionary concepts but dull on action, plot, and characters. No, they are exciting. The first book is awesome, the second even better. The third is a let down and rumor is there will be another book coming out in the series. All in all, this is one of the very best science fiction series ever written and one of those series that you see topping all the best list charts for good reason.
Bar non, the Zone of Thought books are probably the best portrayal of how a true galactic society might actually work. No other series comes close to portraying this as accurately as the "Zone" books.
The series is space opera with a twist of the hard science and dash of social science fiction sprinkled in. Asking why you should read this series is really quite stupid. You don’t want to be left behind do you?
So, you think you’ve got a good grasp on science fiction? It’s time to plunge you into the soft science realm where psychology, behavior and culture take center stage. If you are a fan of social science fiction or just science fiction with deep characterization that makes you think deep and hard about the way things are and how they got to be the way they are, this is a series for you.
Butler is perhaps the best-known African-American female writer of science fiction. In 1995 she became the first science fiction writer to ever receive the MacArthur Fellowship (commonly called the Genius Grant). And she's a multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winner to boot. Not bad.
She takes science fiction where it’s never gone before, pun intended. Lilith’s Brood was originally called the Xenogenesis series with publication as early as 1987. Butler masterfully departs from traditional science fiction focus and directly explores issues of gender, genetics, slavery, captivity and sexuality in this highly regarded series.
The three novels in the series are: Dawn, Adulthood Rites and Imago. These aren’t easy books. They push your buttons and force you to reconsider concepts you thought you understood. They’re better than damn good – so read them.
One of the finest space opera series out there. No, one of the finest Science Fiction books ever written. Hyperion stands on the top of many science fiction lists.
Simmons, a genius writer, manages to use an archaic English literary device as the main story telling method (an allusion to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales). Hyperion features some of the most tortured and interesting characters in the history of science fiction. Combined with some really superb writing, a plot drags you along, and an exciting, action-packed plot. If science fiction has perfection, Hyperion is nearly the poster-boy for such.
The Hyperion Cantos consists of two duologies for a total of 4 books. The second duology takes place many years after the first duology.
Most agree that the first book, Hyperion, is the jewel of the series with the direct sequel, "Fall of Hyperion." The sequel series is not nearly as good, though still stands better than most of the other science fiction out there.
Some like it dark. Some like it hard. When you like your science fiction space operas both dark and hard, you must be talking about the Revelation Space series, one of the darker space opera series out there.
When a scientist takes up science fiction writing, like Asimov before him, what fans get is fiction where the underlying science is likely to be spot on. Reynolds believes that technology will advance while human beings remain in basically the same lower state where violence, deception, crime, greed and suffering continue to rule; and with the greed and corruption humanity has shown over the past hundred years despite all our technological innovations, it's hard to argue we are going to be any better in a thousand years! That’s the darkness indeed and a far vision from some of the other science ficiton greats (like the Culture Series) that feel mankind will evolve into something better. Alastair creates dark and dirty worlds but oh so entertaining to read about. Think of Richard Morgan's gritty and violent writing merged with a grand space opera tale in the vein of Victor Vinge and you have Revelation Space.
This series includes: five novels, seven novellas and at least five short stories. This series, while not a fan of the awards committees, has a deep and passionate legion of fans. He sells books. Read him because his projections on the future are quite possibly accurate and because you don’t want to be the dumbass who doesn’t know his books.
Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Revelation Space
Best Science Fiction Series
Best Science Fiction Books
Best Space Opera Books
Best Hard Science Fiction Books
You can relax now, we are into one of the very best Dying Earth series. After all, at some point our sun will fizzle out when its fuel runs out. Ain’t you or I going to be around to see this eventuality but it is damn fun to read about it. Wolfe began publication of his tetrology, The Book Of The New Sun in 1980. This is a series of four, one-volume novels. Wolfe has written other works in the same universe.
The first book start millions of years into the future with a story of a young torturer Severian, who's part of a secluded guild fostered away from the greater world, who commits the cardinal sin by falling in love with his victim and is banished into the world, a world he's completely familiar with.
A lot of people like Wolfe’s series because he’s a genre bender. You can easily categorize this series as science fantasy as well as science fiction and be correct either way. This explains how these books won the British Science Fiction and World Fantasy awards in the same year. Other books in the series also won the Locus, Nebula, and Campbell Memorial awards. It’s confusing. Don’t worry, no one else knows where to judge them either. The best part of this confusion – they are really fun to read.
These are books that are so beautifully written they are practically poetic and undoubtedly literary; Wolfe proves that science fiction writers can actually write beautiful prose. There's a lot going on when you read these books. The conscientiousness reader can literally spend countless hours delving into the various theories, ideas, and myriad allegorical meanings contained within these books or you can just ignore all that subtext stuff that fascinate the literary geeks and get lost in Severian's personal journey into a fascinating world that he discovers.
So if you are the type that loves beautifully crafted sentences and loves to be drawn into a world that's familiar yet so different, this is your series to read. The Books of the New Sun are NOT for everyone, but for those who "get" what Wolfe has done with this series will be blown away. Fans of hard action, space opera battles, and fast pace plotting, and functional straight forward prose might want to give these books a skip, but the fans of literary works (in the tradition of say the Dying Earth series by Vance), you are going to love these.
Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Book Of The New Sun
Best Science Fiction Books
Best Dystopian Science Fiction Books
Best Science Fiction Series
Do you like your science fiction with overtones of Humphrey Bogart? That’s noir, baby. No-one does it better than Morgan. He writes noir-style cyberpunk with the terse clarity edged in sleaze of a cheesy 1940’s mystery novel. His novel Altered Carbon is set in a dystopian future that centers around a single protagonist. The series is loosely named after the protagonist Takeshi Lev Kovacs, the Hungarian name for Smith. In Morgan’s universe humans have the technology to store their personality and consciousness to be sleeved over a new body. Kovacs is a futuristic spy, soldier, mercenary, bad-guy for hire type of person called an Envoy. He has total recall and no attachment to current political interests and 100% bonebreaking badass. This allows him to get involved in all kinds of mischief. There are three novels in this series.
Altered Carbon won the Philip K. Dick Award.
Is your lip bloody? The first good taste of cyberpunk is like a right cross to the face. It’s painfully good. Go get you some bruises.
You can’t be a real science fiction fan without developing a love/hate relationship with more than one author. See, they grab you by the you-know-whats and toy with you and sometimes they are full of shit and you really don’t care that they’re full of shit because they have you by the you-know-whats anyway.
Ringworld was published in 1970 and it is set in Niven’s Known Space universe. The novel Ringworld won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards and led off a total of thirteen novels and more than 30 short stories positioned within the Known Space universe. All of this happened while people were noticing a few flaws in some of the science stuff. Ringworld is a constructed environment shaped like a ring. Yep, the same ringworld-type you’ve seen in more than one science fiction movie. The Ringworld stories span 1000 years and the space around Ringworld has been thoroughly explored so they are in an area called known space. Now you might think science flaws would doom a series but you would be completely wrong. Read the books but just don’t try out the science on your own. Oh, and be ready to get your fan on because Ringworld is currently in production to become a 4-part television movie.
Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Ringworld
Best Science Fiction Series
Best Space Opera Books
Best Hard Science Fiction Books
Best Science Fiction Books
Some series are sneaky little bastards. The Gap Cycle is a good example. What became book one in this series was actually a novella (a very short novel) and as you know size matters.
A major complaint by many readers was the lack of depth of the first book due to its size. Hang in there, book two delivers in spades. Donaldson wrote the science fiction epic called The Gap Cycle. There are five novels in this series published between 1991-1996 beginning with The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story.
The overarching story positions humans expanding into space trying to find and replace depleted resources. This places miners in very powerful positions. Complicating these mining efforts, humans are trying to prevent an alien species who uses genetic mutation to assimilate other species.
It's a dark space opera that takes you into the void where humanity is human and the nasty and cruel rules the day. You won't read another science fiction as dark and depressing as Gap.
The best reason to read this series is because it’s a good story, well told with a brilliant dark edge. Oh, did I mention its dark? You've been warned!
No science fiction list would be complete without the inclusion of a science fiction mystery that morphs into an action adventure. Published in 1987 Startide Rising won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards and The Uplift War won the Hugo and Locus awards. Most series teach you how to read them during the process of reading them. Brin elected to use the mystery format as a vehicle to launch his Uplift Saga. This worked well in the first book but required Brin to move to an action adventure style for later books. Familiar themes in Brin’s series include ecology, genetic diversity, slavery and issues with religion that result in genocide. There are six novels in the Uplift Universe with the author stating there will be at least one more. You should read Brin as a continuum of the works of earlier writers who challenge moral and legal constructs. Escape your slacker tendencies and get busy reading.
there are 6 books in the saga made up up two trilogies with the first book functioning as a backstory that sets the stage for the following two books in the first trilogy. Book 4 is the start of another sequel trilogy.
Are you frustrated when a series book is too short? A quickie can certainly be produced faster and reach the shelves sooner but a lot of fans experience a lack of satisfaction in this trend. Don’t worry. Hamilton delivers. He is the author of the Night’s Dawn Trilogy. This series includes: The Reality Dysfunction published in 1996, The Neutronium Alchemist and The Naked God.
Hamilton writes epic space opera -- the science fiction version of epic fat fantasy. There's a large cast of characters, interplanetary warfare, politics, love, treachery and an inimical force that threatens the universe itself. There's a lot of action, suspense, love, violence and sex in this series so be prepared for a thrill ride -- you won't be bored. If one series on this list gets my vote for "most entertaining", Night's Dawn trilogy get that vote. It might lack the grand ideas, scientific depth, or social critiques of some of the other books, but it more than makes up in epicness and thrills.
The series is set in a somewhat dystopic future and it explores themes of telepathy and sentient starships in conflict with conventional humans using nanotechnology and mechanical enhancements. There are continuing undertones of religious ideologies and numerous space battles complicated by three different aliens. This series keeps its science in the middle so that even if you failed your high-school biology class you can probably read through without feeling like a dumb ass. Hamilton compensates by creating complex plot lines and a very detailed world. Bring snacks, you won’t finish any of his books in one sitting.
Other works by Hamilton: Commonwealth saga (starts with Pandora's Star) and The Dreaming Void trilogy. For the gritty altered body wetware approach Hamilton takes with his characters, read Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon and sequels.
This series is old school done so right it remains near the top of most science fiction book lists, including this one. Why? That’s easy. LeGuin is a renowned science fiction author associated with the era of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke.
Her book The Left Hand Of Darkness was published in 1969 and it won both the Hugo and Nebula and is set in the same universe/world as the other books in the Hainish Cycle.
You can’t really judge any series by its placement on a list. That would be like trying to opera music to hip hop. In reality LeGuin is at the top of her genre. She is regarded as the first major writer of feminist science fiction. Her novel is regularly taught at both the high school and university levels. The series is called the Hainish Cycle. In this series LeGuin actively explores complex gender roles where the binary male/female is no longer a constant. The series includes seven novels and some shorter works. Her works are considered to be soft science fiction with anthropological and sociological features. As you can see, being well read in terms of science fiction series, means you must throw yourself into every genre and read the best of the best. It’s the fan thing to do. What you will start to discover is that all of the books on this list are part of a single cloth. They are related and interwoven all at the same time.
Starts with Downbelow Station. The aliens are coming. The aliens are coming! Until you read Cherryh you haven’t really read good aliens. She’s got this peculiar gift for summoning aliens to life as distinct from humans – lots of aliens. This gives her series a unique flavor, once tasted, never forgotten.
Cherryh is one of the most prolific science fiction writers. Her book Downbelow Station won the Hugo in 1982. This book is part of Cherryh’s Alliance Union universe. She has 27 novels, a host of short stories and several other series all within this particular universe. Her novels and series in this universe are categorized as: space opera, militaristic and hard science fiction depending on which series you are reading at the moment. She explores life extension, human cloning, subliminal conditioning, advanced propulsion and species interactions giving insight into probable issues humans are likely to face when we encounter other sentient species. You know that movie-version space-station bar filled with aliens? Draw up your bar stool and get ready for a ruckus, a few dented skulls, tentacles and the ever-wonderful Hani (cats).
You could easily swap Alliance-Union with Cherryh's Foreigner series, which is probably the best series about the intricacies of human-alien relations. The Alliance-Union series is more expansive with more books and a more developed overall world (hence it's a better "series"), but for focused characters and characterization, Foreigner wins.
Check out the following crowd-ranked lists which contain Downbelow Station
If you haven’t read any Willis, you are a total fail at science fiction street cred. Willis has won more major awards than any other science fiction writer – ever! She has won 11 Hugos and 8 Nebulas. Her Time Travel series features the superb novel Doomsday Book, as well as To Say Nothing Of The Dog, and Blackout/All Clear. Her short story Fire Watch is also part of this series. She’s kind of mean in the sense that she likes to pop reader’s bubbles. This series features history students at the University of Oxford, England, time traveling to critical points in history. In fact, her mastery of history coupled to science will smack you around like she’s the cat and you are the bell in the little plastic ball. Ouch. Swat. Give me more, I hate you. Don’t just take my word for it. Read the books!
Mars. Hello. We have a rover there right now cruising around sampling things. Let’s talk relevance. There’s an offer to transport volunteers to live on Mars. The future is now!
Mars Trilogy explores the terraforming and settlement of Mars by long-lived humans. The three books in the series: Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars have individually won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards. The novels follow the familiar theme of ecological destruction, powerful corporations, and overpopulation on Earth in contrast to the development of Mars, it’s egalitarian society and the promise of a future beyond the disasters on Earth. This is a near-future dystopic science fiction series. We don’t have to look far to see our own greedy corporations, overpopulation and ecological destruction. Are you ready to lift off?
At the core of all the best science fiction series is good story telling in one form or the other. I mean, who wants to read only about novel ideas and grand concepts if there isn't anything outside of that -- you might as well just read a science manual!
What drives this series is consistent excellent story telling with wonderful characters and a plot that delivers. There's mystery, action, adventure, romance, and a wonderfully fascinating world that keeps you captivated the whole way through. And plot twists? It has those too. And while huge ideas and concepts are not explored as in some of the other great works of science fiction, the awesome story, mystery, and great characters more than make up for it. If you are looking for a great series that will actually keep you enthralled, this series is your fix -- especially if you like those vagabond-becomes-hero type of stories.
We would expect nothing less from a Science Fiction Grand Master. This series is like eating meat and potatoes after several days of dieting. Delicious. Eat up, there is no shortage of stories to dine on.
His Majipoor Series were published beginning in 1980. There are eight novels in the series. In addition Silverberg has more than 67 other novels and he has won Hugos and Nebula awards.
Amber Chronicles (Roger Zelazny)
Now that we’ve relieved you of the insane notion that all science fiction must be based in credible science, now’s the time to hold you down and torture you with comedic science fiction. No. I didn’t just make up the genre. Science fiction can be quite funny. And, funny science fiction is perhaps the most popular weird science fiction genre of all.
Published in 1978, this comic science fiction novel has been adapted to radio, stage, film, comic books and television series. There are five or six official sequels (depending on how you count them) and many confusing adaptations for specific venues. At the center of all of this is Arthur Dent a hapless Englishman who gets involved with a peculiar array of aliens, robots and other beings immediately before the destruction of Earth. It’s important to know that in every version of the many versions and adaptations of this novel one thing always stays the same, they end with the destruction of Earth. How’s that funny? It just is. Stop asking dumb questions and read it for yourself.
Got popularity? I don’t know if you can find a more popular science fiction writer right now. He’s socially astute, spot on with his commentary and is nearly too cool to maintain his geek cred. You’ve heard of Old Man’s War, it’s well on its way to becoming a Paramount block-buster movie. For some really good reasons too.
Scalzi gives us something unique, an older protagonist meshed with a militaristic science fiction future, sort of. He gives the old man a young body with all kinds of special abilities but the character maintains an older mentality. His universe includes nano-technology, consciousness transfers and body mod. This series offers an updated take on familiar military-oriented science fiction although it retains many of the tropes of earlier works in the same sub-genre, taking some of the best from Starship Troopers and The Forever War (both considered great science fiction works).
There are six books in the series with more possible. Now truth be told, it's the first book with the most shebang with the sequels never quite living up to the initial greatness. But the world and ideas presented do make for a hell of a ride throughout the whole series. Other science fiction might be more cerebral or philosophical inducing, but these books are sure as hell fun to read.
The Old Man’s War was nominated for the Hugo but then – well, someone else won. One of the great lessons of science fiction is that the fans often drive the future. Read Scalzi because he’s dope. If you don’t know who he is or what he writes you’re a putz.
Erasmus is a Fraa – one of the few great thinkers held in a world that prevents them from using any technology more complex than pen and paper due to a thousand year old decision made to save the race from extinction. The world on which he lives – called Arbre, is home to many such concents of Fraa and their female counterparts, called Suur, as well as people of the pale – called collectively the Sæcular, and governed by the inquisition The Fraa and Suur live in stable, slow changing societies while the Sæcular live in a more familiar fast paced technologically legal society, the Sæcular referring to the Concents for new ideas and tech developed by the intellectuals, though they may not use it themselves. There is little contact between the two societies on the planet aside from what is officially permitted, and then only in controlled fashion. Then there appears an alien spacecraft orbiting the planet – and it soon becomes an open secret. and what about the illegal video camera that Erasmus’ teacher, Orolo, was using to film the ship – an illegal action that gets him (more or less) excommunicated. But then it seems that there is more to this ship than any would suppose, and perhaps they are not from this reality at all, perhaps reality is not what we think it is...
Neal put some pretty heavy-duty scientific theory into this alternate universe story: specifically his major themes revolve around the ‘many-worlds interpretation’ of quantum mechanics (the one that deals with waveforms and multiple universe theory and the conflict between ‘formalism’ and ‘Platonic Realism’, which is a form of ‘Ethical Realism’. The story is intricate, convoluted, well thought out and alive. There is enough depth to drown in if you feel the need, and some understanding of the theories and themes contained can be gained from reading it.
A series that’s leaked into the collective imagination of man. Thanks the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, terms like HAL have become pop culture. The whole idea of an A.I. revolt has percolated into the human psych thanks to Clarke’s award winning novel.
The first book 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the best contact novels ever written. It’s a tour de force of not only ideas but of the human soul. The first book tries very hard to answer some of those fundamental human questions. The “who we are” and “why are we here” and “what’s our future” questions. The answer of course is supplied to humanity by an outside force.
The first book is one of the greatest science fictions ever put to pen. The sequels tell an all together different tale for a different set of readers, with some of the books being excellent and some being so so. All in all, the Odyssey books are must-reads, a deep set of work that forces you to examine the purpose and ultimate destiny of the human race.
Contact by Carl Sagan. Clarke's Rendervez with Rama and Child Hood End books. Petter Watt's Blindsight.
Dune Chronicles (Frank Herbert)
Vorkosigan Saga (Lois McMaster Bujold)
Ender Series (Orson Scott Card)
Mote Series (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle)
Foundation Novels (Isaac Asimov)
Culture (Ian M. Banks)
Zone of Thoughts (L. Sprague de Camp)
Lilith's Brood (Octavia E. Butler)
The Hyperion Cantos (Dan Simmons)
Revelation Space (Alastair Reynolds)
Book of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)
Takeshi Kovacs Novels (Richard Morgan)
Ringworld (Larry Niven)
The Gap Cycle (Stephen Donaldson)
The Uplift Saga (David Brin)
The Night's Dawn Trilogy (Peter F. Hamilton)
Hainish Cycle (Ursula LeGuin)
Alliance-Union Series (C.J. Cherryh)
Oxford Time Travel Series (Connie Willis)
Mars Trilogy (Kim Stanley Robinson)
Majipoor Series (Robert Silverberg)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
Old Man's War Series (John Scalzi)
The Heechee Saga (Fredrick Pol)
Space Odyssey Series (Author C. Clarke)