The story itself is short, enthralling, and easy to read. Even reluctant readers could finish it in a day or so. Murakami is our greatest living writer, and whilst most of his books have flights of fancy that could loosely align them with SF, this is his full-blown masterpiece. Discovered it when I was 11 or 12, in the adult section of the local public library. It opened me up to the world of "what if" that has remained to this day. I was hooked on Science Fiction since.
Mike V. Smith is human, only he was born on Mars, and raised there. That has caused him to think a bit differently, and use more of his brain than the rest of us do.
When the full version of the book was finally released, I also bought a copy of it. Using it as a way to look at life, and how we can treat one another, as opposed to how we do responded to daily life, remains fascinating. It does not cease to teach. I have given copies of it away, as gifts, to whomever asks "Why do you like to read that junk, anyway? Asimov's robot stories not only present a coherent, imaginative vision of the future, but also give us an insight into the ways in which he and others during his lifetime thought about and presented the future.
Not only that, but he writes excellent prose and the stories he conceived are always clever and illuminate the human condition.
I wish very much that he was alive today to see the innovations that are happening now. It's an SF story that's really all about humanity, including man's inhumanity to man. It's really the history of philosophy disguised as SF but don't let that put you off. Its depth and language. It rung a chord at the time, the messiah will be crucified nor what time what century and what period. Our political masters cannot handle popular uprising even if they are democratic institutions.
The original world, within a world, within a world, later used frequently in the matrix inception and others. The thirteeth floor film adaptation doesn't do it justice. I would recomend this book because it deals with exactly what science fiction means to discuss: the unknown. Lem's best novel is about epistemology, and the our absolute ignorance of what lies beyond the bounds of the earth, and how utterly unprepared we are to encounter it.
Very very difficult to describe - but it's simply brilliant. It's wildly imaginative, frightening - psychedelic, even. A great, simple story boy searches for lost sister set in a future Britain seemingly viewed through early 90s ecstasy-flavoured optimism. Gods and monsters, budhism v hinduism v christianity in a fight to the finish, the worst pun ever recorded, and a joy in humanity in all of its many aspects and attributes. And yes, it's SF, not fantasy. I used to re-read this book every couple of years; it's long, confusing at times, but has a wonderful circular narrative that invites further exploration.
It's also got a fabulous sense of place even though the city of Bellona is fictional. Like early McEwan stories, Delany brilliantly captures a sense of urban ennui and although there are elements of hard sci-fi in the book, they are kept in the background, so that the characters are allowed to come through - something quite rare is SF. I also concur with the support for Tiger, Tiger: a thrilling ride. Find it pretty remarkable that such a list would completely omit any of Dick's work. Many of his books are of a high enough standard to be chosen, but 'Flow My Tears The Policeman Said' is one of his best.
Not really SF, but a world where gods actually exist counts as imaginative fiction to me. A haunting modern mythic saga. The first and best of the epic series which ultimately became too convuluted. Characters innocent and undeveloped, I wish I could read this for the first time again. The book that kicked off the 'Foundation' saga. The dead hand of Hari Seldon and his new science, the mathematics of psycho-history unfold against a backdrop of the whole galaxy. Asimov was just so full of ideas and happily his characters were full and real people I cared about - he was THE giant of Sci-Fi and 'Foundation' one of dozens I could have chosen.
Morally ambiguous love-story combined with grounded, 'realistic' sci-fi - i cannot believe no has turned this into a film yet I read it as a child and it has never left me. I believe it leads a young mind to explore "the other" in a different way. Most science fiction, it has been said, is driven by violent conflict; Babel avoids that, having an idea - an untranslatable language - and unpacking it, unfolding out from there.
It packs in interesting and human characters, stylish writing, fascinating concepts and ideas, a manic outpouring of intelligent thought, and a great plot, managing to, even now, 45 years after its original publication, be thought-provoking and boundary-pushing. Utterly gripping. I love the language and the way the book draws you into an "alien" perspective by the assumption that this perspective is "normal".
Much like Jostein Gaarder's 'Sophie's World,' or indeed most of Stephenson's other writing, 'Anathem' is a lesson in science and philosophy wrapped in narrative.
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In this case, the narrative is sprawling, believable and dramatic, although the middle section feels like a lecture, the purpose of which only becomes apparent towards the end of this weighty novel. The world Stephenson creates is rich and believable, a parallel universe in which science and philosophy are restricted to an odd, codified monastic system - at least until a global crisis places the monks centre stage.
Massive, but unmissable. It was one of the first sf novels I read when I was a kid and it blew my mind. The basic idea of taking current trends, creatively extrapolating them into the future and weaving personal as well as social stories from them just stunned me.
And my eldest son is called Isaac. The aliens are fascinating but it's all about the characters and getting inside the heads of flawed, damaged, normal human beings! Not really sci-fi, more fantasy, still a great book to read that gives the world a cracking character - Druss, the Legend of the title.
Displays some of the better gamut of human characteristics, without being overly poncy. Dark, satirical, laugh out loud funny, ridiculous and scathing. The book follows robot Tik Tok as he realises that he does not have to follow the Asimov laws when he kills a young innocent blind girl just for fun.
He soon gets a taste for murder and gets very good at it. Farcical in places with a whole raft of ridiculous characters it draws parallels with the slave trade and the fight for equality. His murderous exploits and cool, calm cunning takes him although way to the top at the White House, his aim: to get his hands on the big war stuff! The novel also takes swipes at celebrity culture, religion, mob mentality and pretty much everything else.
It's one of those goto books when a friend asks for a recommendation. A book that was way ahead of its time, predicting flying machines and total war. Plus it is a great read and adventure story. You believe what you are reading really happended as Martians invide Surrey and London in the late Victorian era.
It also created a sub genre of its own the "Alien Invasion" story. A classic novel that stands above all others. Read this, and it's sequels, 20 years ago. Could not put the book down. Finished it in 2 days. Still totally abosrbs me today. Great detailed story about a lonely, little boy. Also fascinating on the military life of Battle School and the Earth's attitude to alien races. Not just this book but the whole series.
Benchmark sci fi novel and whats important is the prose, the ideas expunded in the books and the fact that all my sci fi hating friends read the series on reccomendation and were completely converted. Amazing book. Incredible vision. Lazurus Long - how I wish to be him! I was twelve when I read Ringworld, my first adult Science Fiction novel. It sparked a life long love of SF.
Charlie Stross reflects on/asks readers about blind spots in SF.
The central concept of the Ringworld a constructed habitat that is a ring around a star is vividly brought to life. The story moves at a pace and the aliens very well imagined - especially the Pearson's Puppeteer. This book is a prime example of why SF will always be a literary form with TV and film being very much the poor relations.
I still have that battered second hand copy I read first over thirty years ago and have reread several times since. Becasue it's a collection of haunting short stories about what would happen when humans got to Mars, each filled with twists, turns and pathos. Like the Martians who defend themselves by changing their appearance to look like humans, to the last human left on the planet after the rest have gone back to Earth. Plus, like all good Sci Fi, it's not really about space, but about humanity. As a young boy this book fed my imagination for sci-fi.
Having been originally written in the 30s the vivid pictures he paints of far away worlds with bizarre creatures in a swashbuckling story were far ahead of its time. As you say if current human civilization was unexpectedly destroyed, I'd like this to survive as a warning of how it could all happen again. A distant star: a group of scientists sent to examine its primitive society.
An ambassador given permission to roam. The discovery that the society is not really primitive and pre-industrial.
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