Popular New Wave Science Fiction Books

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The Lathe Of Heaven: A Novel

by Ursula K. Le Guin

A classic science fiction novel by one of the greatest writers of the genre, set in a future world where one man’s dreams control the fate of humanity.

In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George’s dreams for his own purposes.

The Lathe of Heaven is an eerily prescient novel from award-winning author Ursula K. Le Guin that masterfully addresses the dangers of power and humanity’s self-destructiveness, questioning the nature of reality itself. It is a classic of the science fiction genre.
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Inverted World

by Christopher Priest

5 avg rating
The city is winched along tracks through a devastated land full of hostile tribes. Rails must be freshly laid ahead of the city and carefully removed in its wake. Rivers and mountains present nearly insurmountable challenges to the ingenuity of the city’s engineers. But if the city does not move, it will fall farther and farther behind the “optimum” into the crushing gravitational field that has transformed life on Earth. The only alternative to progress is death.
The secret directorate that governs the city makes sure that its inhabitants know nothing of this. Raised in common in crèches, nurtured on synthetic food, prevented above all from venturing outside the closed circuit of the city, they are carefully sheltered from the dire necessities that have come to define human existence. And yet the city is in crisis. The people are growing restive, the population is dwindling, and the rulers know that, for all their efforts, slowly but surely the city is slipping ever farther behind the optimum.
Helward Mann is a member of the city’s elite. Better than anyone, he knows how tenuous is the city’s continued existence. But the world—he is about to discover—is infinitely stranger than the strange world he believes he knows so well.
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A Time of Changes

by Robert Silverberg

In the far future, Earth is a worn-out backwater and humanity is spread across the galaxy on worlds that began as colonies, but now feel like home, each with its own long history of a thousand years or more, and each with its own unique culture. One of the strangest is on Borthan, where the founding settlers established the Covenant, which teaches that the self is to be despised, and forbids anyone to reveal his innermost thoughts or feelings to another. On Borthan, the filthiest obscenities imaginable are the words "I" and "me." For the heinous crime of "self-baring," apostates have always paid with exile or death, but after his eyes are opened by a visitor from Earth, Kinnall Darival, prince of Salla, risks everything to teach his people the real meaning of being human.

With a new introduction by the author, and the first-ever map of Borthan, this classic, out of print since 1992, is a fantastic new addition to the Orb imprint.

Nebula
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
5
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Dayworld

by Philip Jose Farmer

2 avg rating
First in the "Dayworld" trilogy, which also includes "Dayworld Rebel" (1987) and "Dayworld Breakup" (1990).
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Collision Course

by David Crawford

Only the strong will survive. But what does it mean to be strong?

The “Smash” has been building for years—runaway national debt, escalating oil prices—but when order finally breaks down, it happens astonishingly fast. Economic collapse. Government in chaos. Gas shortages. Loss of power. No running water. Martial law. Rioting, looting, and lawlessness…

Security specialist DJ Frost saw the writing on the wall, and he has prepared. He’s planned his bug-out route to escape a city many are now trapped in. With his ATV, night-vision goggles, gear, guns, and enough gas to get him to his retreat home in the country, he ventures out alone under cover of darkness.

For Gabe Horne, the “Smash” is nothing compared to his own moral and spiritual collapse after losing his wife and son. But in this time of crisis, he may not have the luxury of drinking himself to death. There are others at his door, and they will need to help one another to survive.

Each man, in his own way, will face the ultimate challenge of preparedness in this new world order—as both hurtle toward a devastating showdown.…
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Beyond Apollo

by Barry N. Malzberg

Two astronauts travel on the first manned expedition to the planet Venus. When the mission is mysteriously aborted and the ship returns to Earth, the Captain is missing and the First Officer, Harry M. Evans, can't explain what happened. Under psychiatric evaluation and interrogation, Evans provides conflicting accounts of the Captain's disappearance, incriminating both himself and lethal Venusian forces in the Captain's murder. As the explanations pyramid and the supervising psychiatrist's increasingly desperate efforts to get a straight story falter, Evans' condition and his inability to tell the "truth" present terrifying expressions of humanity's incompetence, the politics of space exploration, and the intricate dynamics of psycho-sexual relations . . . Originally published in 1972, BEYOND APOLLO incited controversy, polarizing critics and fans despite winning the first John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Always disinclined to sell out or compromise his vision, Malzberg became disillusioned with the SF genre, which purported to be THE genre of innovation. Paradoxically, many SF editors and publishers worried about unsettling readers' comfort zones and insisted that authors write in accordance with a set of rules, formulas and codes. Malzberg would neither heel nor kneel; disillusioned, he unofficially retired from the genre in the late seventies and hasn't looked back. What he produced as a science fiction writer, however, remains among the best published during the twentieth century-important in its historical context, but also entertaining and thought-provoking in its own right. Dark, acerbic, funny and smart, BEYOND APOLLO may be Malzberg's greatest accomplishment. This special anti-oedipal edition includes an introduction by novelist James Reich and a study guide that will prove especially useful in classroom settings.
John W. Campbell
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Pavane

by Keith Roberts

4 avg rating
A classic of alternate history, this novel is set in a twentieth century where the Roman Catholic Church controls the western world, and has done so so Queen Elizabeth was assassinated in 1588.
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The Dream Master

by Roger Zelazny

His name is Charles Render, and he is a psychoanalyst, and a mechanic of dreams. A Shaper. In a warm womb of metal, his patients dream their neuroses, while Render, intricately connected to their brains, dreams with them, makes delicate adjustments, and ultimately explains and heals. Her name is Eileen Shallot, a resident in psychiatry. She wants desperately to become a Shaper, though she has been blind from birth. Together, they will explore the depths of the human mind -- and the terrors that lurk therein
10
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Warm Worlds and Otherwise

by James Tiptree

Ballantine Books, 1975. Paperback. second of two printings, 1979. First collection of Tiptree's stories, many of which won or were nominated for major awards. Includes "Who Is Tiptree, What Is He?" (essay) by Robert Silverberg, and these stories: All the Kinds of Yes (1972); The Milk of Paradise (1972); And I Have Come Upon This Place by Lost Ways (1972); The Last Flight of Dr. Ain (1969); Amberjack (1972); Through a Lass Darkly (1972); The Girl Who Was Plugged In (1973); The Night-blooming Saurian (1970); The Women Men Don't See (1973); Fault (1968); Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death (1973); On the Last Afternoon (1972).
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Dhalgren

by Samuel R. Delany

In Dhalgren, perhaps one of the most profound and bestselling science fiction novels of all time, Samuel R. Delany has produced a novel "to stand with the best American fiction of the 1970s" (Jonathan Lethem).

Bellona is a city at the dead center of the United States. Something has happened there…. The population has fled. Madmen and criminals wander the streets. Strange portents appear in the cloud-covered sky. And into this disaster zone comes a young man–poet, lover, and adventurer–known only as the Kid. Tackling questions of race, gender, and sexuality, Dhalgren is a literary marvel and groundbreaking work of American magical realism.
Nebula
Locus Science Fiction
12
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The Centauri Device

by M. John Harrison

John Truck was to outward appearances just another lowlife spaceship captain. But he was also the last of the Centaurans - or at least, half of him was - which meant that he was the only person who could operate the Centauri Device, a sentient bomb which might hold the key to settling a vicious space war. M. John Harrison's classic novel turns the conventions of space opera on their head, and is written with the precision and brilliance for which is famed.
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Ubik

by Philip K. Dick

3.67 avg rating
“From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you’ll never be sure you’ve woken up from.”—Lev Grossman, Time

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in “half-life,” a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter’s face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.

“More brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo.”—Roberto Bolaño
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Stand on Zanzibar

by John Brunner

5 avg rating

Norman Niblock House is a rising executive at General Technics, one of a few all-powerful corporations. His work is leading General Technics to the forefront of global domination, both in the marketplace and politically---it's about to take over a country in Africa. Donald Hogan is his roommate, a seemingly sheepish bookworm. But Hogan is a spy, and he's about to discover a breakthrough in genetic engineering that will change the world...and kill him.

These two men's lives weave through one of science fiction's most praised novels. Written in a way that echoes John Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy, Stand on Zanzibar is a cross-section of a world overpopulated by the billions. Where society is squeezed into hive-living madness by god-like mega computers, mass-marketed psychedelic drugs, and mundane uses of genetic engineering. Though written in 1968, it speaks of 2010, and is frighteningly prescient and intensely powerful.

Hugo
BSFA
Nebula
16
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Dangerous Visions

by Harlan Ellison

One of the most influential anthologies of all time returns to print, as relevant now as when it
was first published
 
Anthologies seldom make history, but Harlan Ellison's 1967 collection of science fiction stories is a grand exception. Along with Moorcock's New Worlds, it defined the New Wave movement. Dangerous Visions set an almost impossibly high standard, as more than a half dozen of its stories won major awards—not surprising with a contributors list that reads like a who's who of 20th-century SF.
17
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Slaughterhouse-Five

by Kurt Vonnegut

5 avg rating
Slaughterhous-Five is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.
18
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Bug Jack Barron

by Norman Spinrad

Lover and hero Jack Barron, the sold-out media god of the Bug Jack Barron Show, has one last chance to hit it big when he meets Benedict Howards, the power-mad man with the secret to immortality.

With over a hundred million viewers, Jack Barron is a media star of the highest celebrity―think Jerry Springer crossed with Ted Koppel―and his call-in talk show is the perfect platform for reform. But every man has his price, and when a cryogenics millionaire makes Jack an offer he can't refuse―immortality―anything can happen. Bug Jack Barron, Norman Spinrad’s fourth novel, was first published in 1969, and is commonly acknowledged to be the book that established Spinrad’s brilliant style and made his name. Its exploration of the timeless and universally relevant theme of big business corrupting democratic process, stands out now as an unforgettable and bitingly satirical work of imagination that remains as relevant as ever to today’s television and media obsessed culture.
Nebula
Hugo
19
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Camp Concentration: A Novel

by Thomas M. Disch

Louis Sacchetti is a poet and pacifist imprisoned for refusing to enlist in the war against Third World guerillas. Sacchetti and the other inmates are used in perverse scientific experiments, and Sacchetti is infected with a germ that raises intelligence to incredible heights while causing decay and death.
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