What Science Fiction Books Should Be In Every Fan’s Library?

The folks over at SFSIGNAL.com had a great two-part post (Part 1 & Part 2) a few weeks ago when they asked a variety of panelists “What science fiction books should be in every fan’s library?” The panelists were allowed to recommend up to ten books, and could explain their selections to the readers. It’s a great read if you are a fan of sci-fi or are just looking for new ideas of what to read.

The article made me think of what works should be in every sci-fi fan’s library, and I compiled the list you see below. I split my list into Classics and Moderns, not so much as to which are older or newer works, but more based on what I consider to be foundations of science fiction (Classics) and which are books that make the genre so great in today’s times (Moderns).

Classics

Dune (Frank Herbert) – First sci-fi book I read outside of school and it’s still one that I pick up to reread once a year or so.

Wrinkle In Time (Madeleine L’Engle) – This was the first sci-fi book I read, and it was a great way to enter the genre when I was young.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Phillip K. Dick) – Though I only read this after watching Blade Runner, it became one of my favorites and is always on the audiobook section of my iPod. Some of the concepts covered in the story are so amazing that it keeps bringing me back for another listen.

Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) – I read this last year and ended up tearing through the entire series in a month. The idea of the Battle School and what happened to Ender is so horrible to consider, but once you finish the novel you see that it could not have been done any other way.

Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert Heinlein) – I just read this earlier this year based on a recommendation from a friend, and the first half of the story is some of the best sci-fi i have ever read, it made me want more from the start. The second half of the story is not really as good as the first, but it still touches on some interesting topics.

Moderns

Anathem (Neal Stephenson) – The concept of the epic story is alive and well with Anathem. Stephenson creates such a large and engaging world that I keep on thinking that the book will go on even though I know I’m at the end. Another book that is always on my iPod. See my review of Anathem to learn more.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) – Almost put this under classics, but I absolutely love this book and the rest of the series (even Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing). Adams does a great job providing a solid sci-fi story with humor and at the same time presenting characters the reader can relate to, even if they have two heads. Read my reviews of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and And Another Thing… to get more details.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Seth Grahame-Smith) – Yes, it’s more Horror or even Biographical than sci-fi. Still, the story was so engaging and the topic of vampires was worked in so deftly and at the right moments that I like to recommend it to people to show how a vampire book can be great without the capes, fangs and eastern european accents. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars in my review last March.

Flashforward (Robert J. Sawyer) – Yes the book and the now-cancelled TV show are different, which is sad because it may lead to people missing out on a great book. The novel provides such a gripping story about destiny and free will that you find yourself wondering by the end what will happen to the main characters. In my review I gave it 3 stars, but it was mainly because it’s really meant for a more hardcore sci-fi audience.

Watchmen (Alan Moore)- It’s a graphic novel / comic book series, but it’s also one of the best pieces of story telling from the second half of the 20th century. Providing a story about heroes and their faults was incredibly compelling, and part of the reason why comic book writers and comic book based films focus on the faults as well as the greatness of our heroes.


So, what do you think? What books am I missing from my list? What books don’t belong on the list? Leave your ideas in the comments!

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  • James

    What about Neuromancer? You added Flash Forward and A Wrinkle in Time, but you didn’t add Neuromancer one of the best Science Fiction novels to come out in the last 30 years.

  • http://nuncadissequefariasentido.blogspot.com Simone Vollbrecht

    I agree with James, this list lacks of some good William Gibson :)

  • http://www.daemonbooks.com Jose @ Daemons

    Thanks for your comments James and Simone!

    Actually I didnt put Neuromancer on the list because I havent read it yet (little ashamed to call myself a scifi fan without having read any Gibson). I’m taking remedial action though and planning to start on Neuromancer tonight! Thanks for the recommendation and keep reading!