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Best SF Novels Ever Written


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Howdy! I have been reading science fiction since I was in the 4th grade. My first SF novel was "Space Cat Goes to Mars". No kidding. Here in this thread, I would like to put together a communal list of the the best of the best SF novels ever written. I would like the Title, the Author, and (optional) a short blurb of what kind of SF it is. There's hard SF, fantasy SF, mystery SF, adventure, science impact on society, and others. Maybe a few sentences as to why you think it is one of the best.

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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

The New Sun tetralogy by Gene Wolfe.   Some time in the distant future, the sun begins to die and Urth descends into the long night. Urth's rulers and teeming masses have fled to the stars, and in the

"The Mote in God's Eye" Larry Niven, Jerry Pournell

This is medium-hard SF, a story about mankind's first contact with a sentient alien species. The reason it's so good, is the aliens are REALLY alien, having segmented into dozens and dozens of specialized sub-species, all of which are fully sentient (or have one abnormally refined mental skill). They are the product of several hundred thousand years of "cycles": advancement, technology, space travel, nuclear war, dark ages, repeat, repeat, repeat... The nuclear radiation has brutally sped up their evolution into a host of surprising forms.

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"The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein

Hard SF about lunar colonies that were started as penal colonies to rid Earth of political dissidents. Contains perhaps the best "intelligent computer" character ever written, Mycroft (or Mike, for short). The plot centers around a revolt for Lunar independence.

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"Stranger in a Strange Land" by RAH RAH RAH!

 

Soft Sci-Fi.

 

This book follows Micheal a boy raised on the planet Mars by Martians, survivor of the first expidition. He ends up with claim to all of mars as the sole survivor. My favorite character in the whole thing would have to be Jubial Harshaw. Great book, I won't say anymore about it as to not ruin the surprise.

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Oh man, so many good ones.Well, off the top of my head:

 

The Forever War-Joe Haldeman

 

Blood Music- Greg Bear

 

A Canticle for Liebowitz -Walter M. Miller

 

The Left hand of Darkness - Ursula K Le Guin

 

More Than Human- Theodore Sturgeon

Sturgeon's Revelation: "Ninety percent of SF is crud, but then, ninety percent of everything is crud".

 

I don't think I could do justice to these works with a simple summary,but reviews are plentiful on many SF sites.

 

For short stories,anything by Theodore Sturgeon or Philip K. Dick.

I'm sure I've forgotten so many,but these authors immediately come to mind...

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Against my better judgement, I do enjoy Starship Troopers by good old Robert Heinlein.

 

I think the best "battle armor" book ever written though has to Armor by John Steakely. It tells the story of Felix, an armored scout who through a clerical error ends up fighting for a BUNCH of extra tours, and is repeatedly the sole survivor.

 

Ooo. We should have like an "academy awards." Here are my nominees.

 

Best AI Character:

Mike from The Moon is Harsh Mistress

R. Daneel Olivaw from The Foundation Series, The Robot Series

HAL 9000 from 2001

Ship from Wreck of the River of Stars

 

Best Aliens:

The Tines from A Fire Upon the Deep

The Moties from The Mote in Gods Eye

Peirsons Pupeteers from Ringworld (that's two for Mr. Niven)

The Avians from Rama II

 

Best Weapons:

Laser Finger from The Forever War

Fusion Drive Cannon from The Man-Kzin Wars

The Death Star from Star Wars (hey, credit where it's due...)

Chyrsknife from Dune (also Stone Burner...)

 

Do I have further nominees or categories?

 

 

 

TFS

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Ooo. We should have like an "academy awards.Do I have further nominees or categories?

How about best"starship"design,or the best idea on how to travel through space?(FTL drives,warp,jump,etc.)

 

SF authors have had so many different ways to get us through the vastness of space to other worlds.Some are more plausable than others,some are just really cool or strange.In Norman Spinrad's The Void Captain's Tale,some rare women have a talent for "psychic bonding" with a starship that allows for instantaneous transportation across vast spaces.The jump, however, is not without cost. Women who become pilots dedicate their lives to this practice, and their lives are shortened and their bodies wasted by this pursuit. What they get in exchange is an intense, transcendental orgasm during the jump.Wow.

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Okay, here are a few more of my faves:

 

"A Trace of Memory" -- Keith Laumer

Arguably Laumer's best non-humor SF novel. A down-and-out intelligence (ex-) officer bumps into an old man who is paranoid and doesn't know who he is or where he came from. But he has a clue: an indestructible notebook (pen in the spine) that is beyond our technology to make. The diary entries go back several hundred years in English, perhaps a few hundred more in Old English, and begin (??) long ago in an indecipherable language. Pretty soon, things get freaky when the old man wakes up looking 21 years old--and his memory is wiped. The action takes them eventually to an ancient (!!) spaceship landing pad in England, and from there to another planet where cities of technology beyond our imagining gather dust while the populace live in medieval barbarism. A wild ride with a twisty ending.

 

"Retief's War" -- Keith Laumer

Retief is a junior ambasador in the Corps Diplomatique Terrestriane, apparently the only human in the diplomatic corps who has any intelligence or talent or a clue as to the nature of "dipomacy". The book is written for laughs and is perhaps even funnier than The Hitchhiker's Guide--but it also contains incredibly creative aliens and societies worthy of hard SF. A riot.

 

"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 Thalium in our soil to 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.

 

In the second novel, deep space probes have discovered an artifact. It is a rigid ring or ribbon, one million miles wide, circling a star that is leaving our galaxy at high speed. The ring is rotating at faster than orbital speed to produce centrifugal force--artificial gravity--on its inner surface. The inner edges of that ring have thousand mile high walls to hold an atmosphere. And there is Life. A multi-race exploratory party is sent to find out who--or what--built the Ringworld.

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"The Star-Maker" -- Olaf Stapleton

This book was written in the 40s or 50s. One of the oldest classic SF novels. Nothing like it has ever been written since. Soft-SF that focuses on one human's "trip" through the galaxy and through the vast reaches of time to the end of the universe. His disembodied mind enters the minds of several aliens on different planets and observes how their societies work, evolve, and either develop or go extinct. The only thing these societies have in common is love, fear and a sense of wonder. Specifically, they all wonder about the nature of the "star maker". In the end, they find out. Breath taking story! One of a kind.

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...Best Weapons:

Laser Finger from The Forever War

Fusion Drive Cannon from The Man-Kzin Wars

The Death Star from Star Wars (hey, credit where it's due...)

Chyrsknife from Dune (also Stone Burner...)

The autonomous AI "super-tank" Bolo from various Keith Laumer stories

The Point Five Millimeter Infinite Repeater ("")

The lased fusion plasma Hellbore ("")

Large Cannisters of Rocks (!!) from RAH's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

The Mobile Infantry Power Suit from RAH's Starship Troopers

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"The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" by Robert A. Heinlein

Hard SF about lunar colonies that were started as penal colonies to rid Earth of political dissidents. Contains perhaps the best "intelligent computer" character ever written, Mycroft (or Mike, for short). The plot centers around a revolt for Lunar independence.

 

While Heinlein is a great writer, this book rather disappointed me. I had read previous works of his and I felt as though it weren't as concise as it could have been.

 

I can count the number of books I have not finished on one hand, this was one of them.

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