mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest
Best Science Fiction book ever. Options
Geeman
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 4:29:40 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/2/2009
Posts: 1,787
Neurons: 125,022
Location: Whittier, California, United States
What would be your vote for the best SF book ever written? Why?
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 5:03:38 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
Posts: 43,205
Neurons: 604,649
Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 5:16:08 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,326
Neurons: 167,071
That's a really tough question Geeman, I've been an avid reader of science fiction for nearly 40 years, and I think there are many "bests" across the myriad sub-genres.
Offhand though, and because it keeps bouncing to the top no matter how I try to set it aside, I would say that Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" would be the one I considered best, if forced to a single choice. The portrayal of just how arbitrary, and superficial much of culture is, through the use of alien yet human innocence was an amazing feat.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 5:17:14 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,326
Neurons: 167,071
Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.

the primary contender.
almostfreebird
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 5:23:43 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan




The Cosmic Puppets


Why?


Because it opened up the door for me to enter contemporary SF world.






leonAzul
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 5:57:10 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,589
Neurons: 31,166
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Epiphileon wrote:
Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.

the primary contender.


That works for me.


As a slightly off-kilter recommendation, one might also consider The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.

The science fiction elements of the novel are fully integrated into the story-telling, and not just arbitrary features, in my humble opinion.
excaelis
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 6:27:59 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2010
Posts: 10,965
Neurons: 32,652
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I'm more of a short story/novella SF reader, so I'd nominate either Heinlein's Future History collection or Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, with a huge nod to Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

For a novel how about Dune by Frank Herbert ( but only the first one ).
almostfreebird
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 8:52:15 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan


[image not available]
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 8:52:45 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,326
Neurons: 167,071
For short story Id put Larry Niven's, "Neutron Star" way up there, wonderful hard sci/fi, with a marvelous twist of incidental discovery, that is as good as the primary plot.
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 9:42:15 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,589
Neurons: 31,166
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
almostfreebird wrote:

<content-free snippage>

Yeah, we get the point that you enjoy reading books written by Philip K. Dick.

Have you actually digested what he wrote, or are you just content to regurgitate copypasta vomit?
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 9:46:01 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,589
Neurons: 31,166
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Epiphileon wrote:
For short story Id put Larry Niven's, "Neutron Star" way up there, wonderful hard sci/fi, with a marvelous twist of incidental discovery, that is as good as the primary plot.


Among short stories, 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison is a classic. It blends Gothic horror and SciFi in a very creative and expressive way.

FounDit
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 10:22:11 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 14,988
Neurons: 71,670
Asimov's Foundation Tops the list, but really, just about anything he wrote.
Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
From the Earth to the Moon
H.G.Wells The Time Machine
Just a few that come to mind first.
Heinelin, Bradbury, Clark; so many good works by so many good authors, I couldn't choose just one.
jcbarros
Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013 11:23:25 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/14/2010
Posts: 2,401
Neurons: 11,810
D. Carnegie´s "How to Win Friends and Influence People" ;)
gradyone
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 4:33:06 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/2010
Posts: 2,420
Neurons: 12,277
Location: Virgil, Illinois, United States

Ahh, jcb, your levity is exceeded only by your jauntiness.
Should we add L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and The Way to Happiness?

Best? Geeman, you know better -- best is left for better to become.
I think Emily Dickinson didn't say that . . .

I appreciate Asimov's work, especially The Foundation Trilogy and the follow-up
novel, Foundation's Edge, above all others, because the scope of Asimov's vision
of humanity's future is unrivaled. At the same time, I appreciate the mind-expanding works
of every author mentioned in this thread, and other authors not yet mentioned.

Many aspects of sci-fi and fantasy writing changed with the publication -- fittingly in 1984 --
of William Gibson's first novel, Neuromancer. Gibson was one of the first authors who wrote
with the understanding that information is humanity's real gold. As Gibson's views have changed
over the past thirty years, the influence of his thinking can be found in many arenas besides
literature -- sociology and political science immediately come to mind.

Bruce Sterling always is mentioned in relation to William Gibson, and they collaborated on the
short story, "Red Star, Winter Orbit" (1983) and the novel, The Difference Engine (1990).
Sterling recognized the potential of the World Wide Web to revolutionize information sharing,
and he continues to write for online distribution.

Stanislaw Lem, whose works were translated into English by Michael Kandel for more than forty years,
ranks right up there with Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Dick,
Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry as authors of The Best Sci-fi Book I Ever Read. jcbarros drew me into
this thread with his sense of humor, so I'll sign-off by patting Lem on the head as the writer of
the funniest stories collected in one sci-fi/fantasy book, The Cyberiad (1965).

Here's a link to one of the stories in that book: How The World Was Saved
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 5:34:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,326
Neurons: 167,071
leonAzul wrote:

Among short stories, 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison is a classic. It blends Gothic horror and SciFi in a very creative and expressive way.

Certainly one of the best, and Ellison was a most unique talent, "I have no Mouth but I Must Scream", actually gave me nightmares.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 7:39:13 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,856
Neurons: 234,557
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hey! Geeman.

An impossible question to answer - even for a single person.

There is such a proliferation of excellent works. I'm going to name the ones I remember instantly, though many of them I read thirty or forty years ago. I have read thousands since them, but none have stayed in mind like these.
I am going to put them in date order, as "favourite" is an impossible choice to make (maybe at the end, when I've perused my list).

HG Wells - Not his earliest book, but War of the Worlds, written in 1898.
EE 'Doc' Smith. He wrote Skylark in 1920 or so - it took nearly ten years for an editor to accept it. "Too 'far out' for his time. Excellent Space Opera!
L Ron Hubbard - The Final Blackout. Written in the first years of WWII, around 1940. This was one of my earliest 'dystopian' novels. Goes into the after-effects of biological warfare. A bit "black", but memorable.
Isaac Asimov - The Foundation Trilogy (also his 'robot' stories). "Foundation" was 1942. Quite an amazing feat - he wrote two series ('Foundation' and 'The Robots') and several other books - the final couple tied together the whole lot into a single 'future history'.
Andre (Alice) Norton - Beastmaster, written in about 1953. One of the first SF books I ever read. Very much a 'people' novel, rather than 'super machines', but superb SF anyway.
James Blish - the Cities in Flight books. I read "Earthman Come Home" (1955) when I was eleven, around the same time as "Beastmaster". Brilliant concept and characterisation.
Heinlein - the incomparable Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) I can't really add to what's been said before. Definitely his best book, though I liked several others of his.
Frank Herbert's Dune and Dune Messiah - around 1965. These two books particularly left me with a changed attitude. (I'm afraid I did not really enjoy the later ten books in the 'trilogy' ).
Joe Haldeman - The Forever War. Around 1974. I found this a classic, but it seems not to have gained the popularity it deserves - I didn't even hear that there was a sequel until about five years ago! Another characterisation masterpiece.
Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game (1985) and Speaker for the Dead. Yet another book about the futility of war, also the opposing characters of Andrew Wiggins and his siblings create an amazingly complex story, which could have been boring if told differently.

I still can't decide on a 'best' out of this lot. They are all so varied in style and content, and I've missed out Niven, Dick, Verne, le Guin, Bradbury and many others.

How's that for a long no-answer?
excaelis
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 10:27:16 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2010
Posts: 10,965
Neurons: 32,652
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Could 1984 be considered SF ? Because if so...
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 11:46:50 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
Posts: 43,205
Neurons: 604,649
Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
Also: The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:02:39 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,589
Neurons: 31,166
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge won the Hugo award in 2007, and I think it deserves it. It has an emotional range to it that is unusual in SciFi.
almostfreebird
Posted: Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:55:36 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan


I read it and others long time ago, they were translated versions though, like these:





[image not available]



Flow my Tears, the Policeman Said


and I read original versions from time to time when I have time.

I am not sure whether I digested them or not,
but I know I enjoyed reading them.








leonAzul wrote:
almostfreebird wrote:

<content-free snippage>

Yeah, we get the point that you enjoy reading books written by Philip K. Dick.

Have you actually digested what he wrote, or are you just content to regurgitate copypasta vomit?






DontCloudMe
Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 1:21:01 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 4/4/2013
Posts: 29
Neurons: 91
I liked Almuric, which was Robert E. Howard's tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series.
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 5:06:24 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,326
Neurons: 167,071
gradyone wrote:

Many aspects of sci-fi and fantasy writing changed with the publication -- fittingly in 1984 --
of William Gibson's first novel, Neuromancer. Gibson was one of the first authors who wrote
with the understanding that information is humanity's real gold. As Gibson's views have changed
over the past thirty years, the influence of his thinking can be found in many arenas besides
literature -- sociology and political science immediately come to mind.

Hi Grady, Rudy Rucker started writing at about the same time, I was very impressed by his books, "Software" and "Wetware". You may have seen me use the term wetware to refer to brain physiology, I immediately adopted the term. Anyway I think he is well worth reading, it seems he and Gibson were among the first of the subgenre cyberpunk, as I believe it came to be called. Rucker has been far more prolific than I was aware of and apparently added two more books, "Freeware", and "Realware", to the above to form "The Ware Tetralogy", which I'm going to order today.
He also has a cool site and blog at Rudy Rucker's Home Page, where he also offers a freeware version of James Gleik's original Chaos software, with patches to run it on any platform, very cool fractal visualization software.
almostfreebird
Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 5:36:33 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan



I read Neuromancer only a few pages years ago and forgot about it.

What surprised me years later was he was one of the editors of this book, 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake.

I thought it was another William Gibson, but it was the William Gibson who wrote Neuromancer.



leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013 11:50:37 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,589
Neurons: 31,166
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Epiphileon wrote:
gradyone wrote:

Many aspects of sci-fi and fantasy writing changed with the publication -- fittingly in 1984 --
of William Gibson's first novel, Neuromancer. Gibson was one of the first authors who wrote
with the understanding that information is humanity's real gold. As Gibson's views have changed
over the past thirty years, the influence of his thinking can be found in many arenas besides
literature -- sociology and political science immediately come to mind.

Hi Grady, Rudy Rucker started writing at about the same time, I was very impressed by his books, "Software" and "Wetware". You may have seen me use the term wetware to refer to brain physiology, I immediately adopted the term. Anyway I think he is well worth reading, it seems he and Gibson were among the first of the subgenre cyberpunk, as I believe it came to be called. Rucker has been far more prolific than I was aware of and apparently added two more books, "Freeware", and "Realware", to the above to form "The Ware Tetralogy", which I'm going to order today.
He also has a cool site and blog at Rudy Rucker's Home Page, where he also offers a freeware version of James Gleik's original Chaos software, with patches to run it on any platform, very cool fractal visualization software.

Thank you for reminding me of Rudy Rucker. I too have often referred to the meme of "wetware", but I must confess that I have not read the books themselves—yet.

Two more books for the bucket list, then—so many books, so little time.
Dancing
Edited to add:
I plumped for the entire tetralogy, it is now in my Kindle account. Isn't technology grand?
Dancing
almostfreebird
Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013 9:40:20 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan
almostfreebird wrote:



I read Neuromancer only a few pages years ago and forgot about it.

What surprised me years later was he was one of the editors of this book, 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake.

I thought it was another William Gibson, but it was the William Gibson who wrote Neuromancer.







Correction:


He was not one of the editors.


He was one of the authors dedicating his story to the book.



robfredricks
Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013 5:30:22 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/4/2013
Posts: 1
Neurons: 3
Location: United States
Hey there, I am a newbie to the forum and am fond of reading science fiction books. I have my online collection of books. It is from their that I get to know and read about good books. For me, it's Neutron Star and Stranger in the Strange Land.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013 6:03:02 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,326
Neurons: 167,071
robfredricks wrote:
Hey there, I am a newbie to the forum and am fond of reading science fiction books. I have my online collection of books. It is from their that I get to know and read about good books. For me, it's Neutron Star and Stranger in the Strange Land.


Welcome to the forum Rob, these are two of my favorites as well, I think I've read just about everything the respective authors have written.
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013 6:07:48 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/22/2009
Posts: 4,326
Neurons: 167,071
leonAzul wrote:

Two more books for the bucket list, then—so many books, so little time.
Dancing
Edited to add:
I plumped for the entire tetralogy, it is now in my Kindle account. Isn't technology grand?
Dancing


Yea it is Leon, my wife has a tablet, and after seeing it, I'll soon get one as well. In the mean time this thread spurred me to get the Ware Tetralogy as well, I'm about halfway through my first re-read of "Wetware", and loving it. Can't wait to read the two I haven't yet, Rucker is very good.
Prim*
Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:41:47 PM
Rank: Member

Joined: 3/29/2013
Posts: 259
Neurons: 756
Location: China
And the Gold Medal goes to… … … … … Foundation (series)!

Four people have said that Foundation trilogy/series are their favorite (or one of their favorites):
JJ
FounDit
gradyone
Drag0nspeaker


The Silver goes to… … … Stranger in a Strange Land!

Three people have nominated Stranger in a Strange Land as the best Sci-Fi book (or one of the best):
Epiphileon
Drag0nspeaker
robfredricks


The winners of the Bronze are: 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman, Dune, Ender's Game, Neutron Star.

Each of the four books got two votes:
Leon and Epiphileon: 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman
Excaelis and Drag0nspeaker: both Dune and Ender's Game
Epiphileon and robfredricks: Neutron Star
almostfreebird
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:46:08 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan
leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 3:14:40 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/11/2011
Posts: 8,589
Neurons: 31,166
Location: Miami, Florida, United States
Prim* wrote:
And the Gold Medal goes to… … … … … Foundation (series)!

Four people have said that Foundation trilogy/series are their favorite (or one of their favorites):
JJ
FounDit
gradyone
Drag0nspeaker


The Silver goes to… … … Stranger in a Strange Land!

Three people have nominated Stranger in a Strange Land as the best Sci-Fi book (or one of the best):
Epiphileon
Drag0nspeaker
robfredricks


The winners of the Bronze are: 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman, Dune, Ender's Game, Neutron Star.

Each of the four books got two votes:
Leon and Epiphileon: 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman
Excaelis and Drag0nspeaker: both Dune and Ender's Game
Epiphileon and robfredricks: Neutron Star

How did that happen?

If I could nudge Stranger in a Strange Land into gold…
almostfreebird
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 3:31:28 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan


[image not available]
Prim*
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:11:18 PM
Rank: Member

Joined: 3/29/2013
Posts: 259
Neurons: 756
Location: China
leonAzul wrote:

[...]
If I could nudge Stranger in a Strange Land into gold…


d'oh! Too late....
You didn't even mention one word about Robert Anson Heinlein....Eh?
almostfreebird
Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 4:16:02 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/22/2011
Posts: 2,812
Neurons: 7,024
Location: Japan


[image not available]
Articulate Dreamer
Posted: Saturday, May 11, 2013 2:20:12 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/16/2009
Posts: 12,811
Neurons: 99,046
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India
almostfreebird wrote:



Delighted to see Clarke made the list... my introduction to SF four decades ago was simple tale 'Earthlight'

Any takers for Clifford Simak? Michael Crichton is fascinating too ( no, not so much the Jurassic stuff)especially 'Terminal Man' and 'Prey'
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.