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Best SF Novels Ever Written


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#18 Pyrotex

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 01:25 PM

I have several favorites by A. E. vanVogt. His stuff is considered by many to be extremely weird, out there, off the wall---some have even suggest that he must have BEEN an alien to have created such bizarre stories. Nontheless:

The Players of Null-A In the very far future, leaders are chosen by taking an exam, after years of indoctrination into Null-A (non-Aristotelian) Logic. Only those who make the highest scores are appointed presidents and senators, etc, by the Master Null-A Computer, which is impervous to human tinkering. Only, someone has found a way to cheat.

The War Against the Rull In the very far future, mankind finds itself pitted against a silicon-flourine-based lifeform with technologies that in many ways exceed ours. These aliens, the Rull, are shaped like large caterpillars, but their nervous systems can control light, so they usually appear to our eyes to be human. They are intractible, vastly intelligent and hell bent on destroying all other sentient lifeforms.

Voyage of the Space Beagle An obvious reference to the HMS Beagle, the ship that Charles Darwin sailed on--this ship has the same purpose, to wander as far from Earth as possible and discover what's out there. What is out there is a myriad of lethally dangerous lifeforms. Onboard, as the atavar of Darwin, is the first Nexialist to ever fly on a spaceship. Only his training as a Nexialist can possibly save the ship. Note: the movie Alien was loosely based on a chapter from this book.

#19 Janus

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:21 PM

I, Robot - Isaac Asimov


To be accurate, I, Robot is not technically a novel, it is a collection of previously published short stories strung together by some connecting material.
BTW, Asimov was against the title I, Robot as it it was already the title of a short story by Eando Binder. ( This short story later became the basis of a The Outer Limits episode.)

#20 Pyrotex

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:37 PM

...Do I have further nominees or categories?

Best Rocket or StarShip Propulsion System
The "stutter drive" (?) from We All Died at Breakaway Station
--triggering this drive moves the ship "instantaneously" about half a kilometer. It is normally operated (triggered) at gigahertz or terahertz frequencies.

The "Alderson drive" from The Mote in God's Eye
--previously explained

#21 Janus

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:40 PM

Okay, here are a few more of my faves:



"The Protector"
"Ringworld" -- Larry Niven
Niven writes like a combo of Heinlein and Asimov (which is to say, VERY good) and has the creative genius of Edison. His science & technology speculation is first rate and his characters awesome. In the first book, we learn that humans are just the "juvenile" stage of a space traveling species who landed here a million years ago. We are stuck in this phase of development because we do not have enough Selenium in our soil go grow the potato-like vegetable that triggers our ascension to the "adult" stage at the age of 40 or so. But then a solitary adult of the original species, a "protector" shows up in our solar system with every intention of giving us the technology to become "adults"--which could easily destroy Human Civilization.


Just a couple of nit-picks:

The novel is called Protector, no "The", and missing element was thalium. Another point is that the original juvenile or "breeder" (protectors are sterile and cannot breed) stage was Homo Habilis one of man's evolutionary anscestors. The fact that the line has evolved in the intervening ages adds an additional plot twist.

This was one of the first books I read by Niven.
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#22 Janus

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:16 PM

A couple of favorites of mine not already mentioned:

Rendezvous with Rama , Arthur C. Clarke
The first, and my favorite of the Rama series.

The Legacy of Heorot, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steven Barnes

Colonists on Tau Ceti Four find out that they are sharing the island they live on with a somewhat nasty predator, and go on the hunt to clear them out. It isn't until too late that they learn that the predator has a particular nasty habit.

And not quite SF but a good read anyway:

Inferno, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle.

A newly deceased SF writer takes a tour of Dante's inferno. Included on the tour are the areas for some modern day "sins" that Dante would have never dreamt of.

Hogfather, Terry Pratchett
A "Discworld" novel. When the Hogfather (Discworld's version of Santa Claus) goes missing, DEATH(Yes the bony guy with the scythe) has to take his place on Hogswatch Eve.

#23 TheFaithfulStone

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 03:19 PM

All I know is if I grew a beak when I got old, I'd be pissed.

TFS

#24 Pyrotex

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 12:45 PM

"We All Died At Breakaway Station" -- I forget the author, but it was his only SF novel, I think.

Mankind has colonized several dozen planets in "The Palantine"--I assumed this meant the Pleides or some other star cluster. And we encountered aliens, who could remove their stomachs and clean them out in the sink. One of them showed up at the UN building to give a speech, carrying a small atomic bomb in his gut--and there was war.

Faster than light communication required painstakingly setting up a bi-directional standing wave between comm stations, and the longest path was from The Palantine to Breakaway Station, a lonely planetoid around a puny red dwarf star. A hospital ship and two cruisers arrive at BS on their way to Earth. And there, they and the Station itself are attacked by an overwhelming force. This is one of those "last stand" stories and very well done. It's the Alamo, the bridge over the Thermopylae, and the Charge of the Light Brigade all rolled into one and then some.

The title says it all.

#25 Pyrotex

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 12:57 PM

Arthur C. Clark wrote some damned good novels.

Childhood's End -- Aliens show up at Earth and prove themselves benign and friendly. Their mission is to observe. But when Earth learns exactly what it is they are to observe, it's too late. Humans have come to their evolutionary end and are about to break out of the coccoon, so to speak. Emotionally wrenching and awesome.

The City in the Sand -- Epic novel of a boy on the edge of adulthood. He is the only "child" in a huge domed city on what you eventually learn is Mars. Humanity's zenith had been thousands of years before. The city's (essentially immortal) population is in the millions and is believed to be the last remnant of humanity. But the boy finds a way out of the city, and it eventually leads him across the galaxy.

#26 Tormod

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 01:15 PM

Yes Pyro! I agree. Clarke is one of my all-time faves. I really enjoyed the Rama series, even if it did get a bit long in the tooth in the end. Clarke was one of the first writers I happened upon as a I scavenged the sci-fi shelf at my local library when I was 12... :hihi:

#27 Tormod

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 01:16 PM

"We All Died At Breakaway Station" -- I forget the author, but it was his only SF novel, I think.


Google gave me this:
http://www.strangewo...ve/alldied.html

#28 Pyrotex

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 01:25 PM

Google gave me this:
http://www.strangewo...ve/alldied.html

That's it. It's one of those books I HAVE to read every 7 years or so. And it is so HARD to find. Getting a used copy from Amazon is your best bet. I copied this from the website you found:

Much of what will happen in We All Died At Breakaway Station is obvious from the beginning of the book. The story is like a tale of myth which, though we know what will happen, has its importance in the telling. It is a Saga of heroes, a firelight story that illustrates human foilbles as much as it carries the audience along on a narrative. In its simplicity, it has a power that is rare in science fiction... Meredith is not afraid of the death of his primary characters in his effort to create a tale of archetypical Heroism. We All Died At Breakaway Station does not pander, nor does it shrink from going to the Place where we most fear.



#29 Pyrotex

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 02:28 PM

Okay, just a few more, then I'll shut up.

Fritz Leiber The Wanderer -- A planet shows up in Earth's sky and starts raising tides 80 times greater than usual, causing global catastrophes. Our Moon starts breaking up, and most of it is sucked into this new planet--well, actually it is a spaceship the size of a planet. And they're running away from something even more deadly.

Frank Herbert Dune -- A desert world where the giant sandworms live. And they excrete the "spice", a complex hallucinogenic substance that permits humans to navigate through space, gives precog visions to some and extends life for others. It is the most valuable commodity in all of the thousands of planets where Mankind lives. The story of total war between two Imperial Houses for control of this substance, and the creation of a Messiah.

Theodore Sturgeon More Than Human -- A bunch of misfit humans, some crippled, some mentally challenged, some mutants--come together and form a telepathic community, where their individual abilities add together to form something "more than human".

Isaac Asimov The End of Eternity -- Time travel turns out to be doable and the governments of Earth form a consortium called Eternity to prevent all the tragedies like war, starvation, drugs, and other disasters that usually befall mankind. The protagonist is one of these agents who zoom up and down the timeline fixing things. Then he bumps into a secret agent who is commited to overthrowing the system and returning chaos into humanity's history. He falls in love with her.

Isaac Asimov The Gods Themselves -- Two parallel universes, ours and theirs. Two parallel stories. Until one of our scientists learn how to push a small amount of matter into theirs, and they in turn push some of their matter into ours. Both sides become addicted to this trade. Until the protagonists realize that eventually it will destroy both worlds. The title comes from an old Roman proverb: "against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain".

Dan Simmons Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion
Two epics that make one story, in four huge volumes. Soft SF that beautifully narrates a number of tightly connected tales describing a future Human space empire ruled by tyrannies of authority, religion and technology. Earth was destroyed by the invention of the first "farcaster" which allows anyone to simply step through a portal onto another planet--a device powered by singularities and controlled by an artificial intelligence that has its own hidden agenda. Hyperion is a planet where a bizarre religion worships a cruel metal god that tortures and kills its worshipers, and where its temple travels backwards through time. AWESOME to the 42nd power!!!

#30 Janus

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 04:40 PM

Arthur C. Clark wrote some damned good novels.



The City in the Sand -- Epic novel of a boy on the edge of adulthood. He is the only "child" in a huge domed city on what you eventually learn is Mars. Humanity's zenith had been thousands of years before. The city's (essentially immortal) population is in the millions and is believed to be the last remnant of humanity. But the boy finds a way out of the city, and it eventually leads him across the galaxy.


It sounds like you might have gotten two of Clarke's novels mixed up. The plot is from The City and the Stars, but the city is on Earth, not Mars.

Clarke did also write The Sands of Mars, in which part of the story involves a domed city on Mars.

#31 Pyrotex

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 10:23 PM

It sounds like you might have gotten two of Clarke's novels mixed up. The plot is from The City and the Stars, but the city is on Earth, not Mars.
Clarke did also write The Sands of Mars, in which part of the story involves a domed city on Mars.

Janus, what would I do without you? Thanks again for straightening out my tangled memories.

#32 Edella

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 08:16 PM

Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand-Samuel R. Delaney

#33 sergey500

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:42 PM

Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy

and second place belongs Demons and Angels by Dan Brown

Best SF authors:
H.G. Wells and Jules Vern

#34 TheFaithfulStone

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 03:56 PM

Demons and Angels by Dan Brown


Yeah. The thing about science fiction is that the science shouldn't be pulled completely out of some dark corner of the author's colon. :confused: (I kid, I kid.)

I don't know that I'd consider it science fiction so much as "techno-thriller" but maybe that's close enough.

TFS