Welcome to Sci-Fi November, hosted by Oh, The Books! and Rinn Reads! A couple of weeks ago, I gave you my Top Ten Sci-Fi Books Written by Women – Since I Started Blogging, and today I’m listing my Top Ten Sci-Fi books before I began blogging. Most of the books on this list aren’t your typical science fiction classics, and those of you who are die-hard fans of SF will probably wonder why so many big name SF authors are missing. But I was never one to follow the crowd and read the popular books, as you might be able to tell. In any case, I love each one of these and I recommend them without hesitation. (This list is in no particular order.)
Evolution’s Shore by Ian McDonald. (1995) This was the first McDonald book I read, and it’s definitely my favorite. I don’t remember very many of the details, because it’s probably been almost twenty years since I’ve read it, but this would be one of the first on my list to re-read, I remember it being THAT good.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. (1968) Most people have seen the movie this book is based on (Blade Runner) but haven’t read the book. It’s really a heartbreaking story, and one of my favorite PKD books.
Vurt by Jeff Noon. (1993) I discovered Jeff Noon during a trip to London in 1994, and immediately fell in love with his drug-fueled storytelling. Vurt and it’s follow-up, Pollen, are still two of my all-time favorite books. If you haven’t read them, PLEASE make time to do so.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons. (1989) This book, you guys. THIS BOOK. Please read it, I beg you. The story is told in the style of The Canterbury Tales, and it brilliantly sets the scene for the second book in the series, which is:
The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons. (1990) Here’s where the story really gets going, and it was even better than Hyperion. Two more books followed this one, but I didn’t enjoy them nearly as much.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. (1996) This was a very difficult book to read. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. It’s a terribly sad, but beautifully written story of first contact with an alien race. Russell wrote a sequel called Children of God, but I don’t think I was ready to go back into her world, so I never read it.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. (1990) You’ve seen the movie, but have you read the book? The book was amazingly readable, with fantastic pacing and lots of terrifying moments. Definitely worth a read, especially if you haven’t seen the movie in a while.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. (1985) Say what you will about the controversial Mr. Card, but this book was the bomb, and it was also the first book I remember reading that had an amazing twist at the end.
The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman. (1989) Before the Wizard of Oz retelling Wicked came along, Ryman wrote a little book called Was, which also told a twisted sort of Wizard of Oz tale. But The Child Garden was the first Ryman I read, and I nearly didn’t finish it. It’s terribly sad and beautiful (I’m sensing a trend of “sad” and “beautiful” stories on this list…) and depressing, but I was so glad that I made it to the end. Well worth the pain.
Emergence by David R. Palmer. (1984) This book is long out of print, unfortunately. I bought my copy at a used bookstore, probably eighteen or so years ago, after a good friend told me I HAD to read it. He wasn’t wrong. You can still find used copies (I just checked on Amazon, and someone is selling a paperback for over $400!), but it’s a shame it isn’t readily available. It’s a post apocalyptic story about a scary smart little girl and her psychic parrot.
So there you go. Wow, writing this post has made me so nostalgic! I want to re-read each one…Have you read any of these? Which (older) science fiction books would you put on your top ten list?