Monday, 15 April 2019

Science Fiction Must Read Classics!

Here are all the sci-fi classics that I have heard the most about! I am more of a fantasy fan but as I am currently enjoying Skyward by Brandon Sanderson, I am considering picking some of these up. Have you read any of these?

Title: Dune
Author: Frank Herbert
Synopsis: Set in the far future amidst a sprawling feudal interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses that owe an allegiance to the imperial House Corrino, Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides (the heir apparent to Duke Leto Atreides and heir of House Atreides) as he and his family accept control of the desert planet Arrakis, the only source of the 'spice' melange, the most important and valuable substance in the cosmos. The story explores the complex, multi-layered interactions of politics, religion, ecology, technology, and human emotion as the forces of the empire confront each other for control of Arrakis.

Critical acclaim: Published in 1965, it won the Hugo Award in 1966 and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. Dune is frequently cited as the world's best-selling sf novel.



Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Synopsis: Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.

Critical acclaim: Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.



Title: The Time Machine
Author: H. G. Wells
Synopsis: So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes...and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth. There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.

Critical acclaim: Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machinewill continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.



Title: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Synopsis: Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a utopian society that goes challenged only by a single outsider.

Critical acclaim: 'The best science fiction book ever, definitely the most prescient... Looking at our present trajectory we are on the way to Brave New World' Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus

‘A masterpiece of speculation... As vibrant, fresh, and somehow shocking as it was when I first read it’ Margaret Atwood

A grave warning... Provoking, stimulating, shocking and dazzling' Observer

'What Aldous Huxley presented as fiction with the human hatcheries of Brave New World has become fact. The consequences are profound and, if we don't get it right, deeply disturbing' John Humphries, Sunday Times


Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Trigger warning: Suicide
Synopsis: Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television 'family'. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

Critical acclaim: Hugo Award for Best Novel (1954), Prometheus Hall of Fame Award (1984), Geffen Award for Best Translated SF Book (2002), California Book Award for Fiction (Silver) (1953)



Title: The War of the Worlds
Author: H. G. Wells
Synopsis: With H.G. Wells’ other novels, The War of the Worlds was one of the first and greatest works of science fiction ever to be written. Even long before man had learned to fly, H.G. Wells wrote this story of the Martian attack on England. These unearthly creatures arrive in huge cylinders, from which they escape as soon as the metal is cool. The first falls near Woking and is regarded as a curiosity rather than a danger until the Martians climb out of it and kill many of the gaping crowd with a Heat-Ray. These unearthly creatures have heads four feet in diameter and colossal round bodies, and by manipulating two terrifying machines – the Handling Machine and the Fighting Machine – they are as versatile as humans and at the same time insuperable. They cause boundless destruction. The inhabitants of the Earth are powerless against them, and it looks as if the end of the World has come. But there is one factor which the Martians, in spite of their superior intelligence, have not reckoned on. It is this which brings about a miraculous conclusion to this famous work of the imagination.

Critical acclaim: H. G. Wells was a pioneer of modern science fiction. First serialised in the UK in 1897, The War of the Worlds is one of the earliest stories to depict conflict with an extraterrestrial race, and has influenced countless adaptations and sequels.



Title: Slaughterhouse 5
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Synopsis: Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller – these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse Five is one of the world’s great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.

Critical acclaim: Hugo Award Nominee for Best SF Novel (1970), Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (1969), National Book Award Finalist for Fiction (1970), Chicago Publishers' Award (1970)




Title: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
Author: Philip K. Dick
Synopsis: World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon,

he dreamed of owning a live animal - the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.

Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were never that simple, and his assignment quickly turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit - and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted ...

Critical acclaim: Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (1968)



Title: Flowers for Algernon
Author: Daniel Keyes
Synopsis: The story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance--until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

Critical acclaim: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (1967), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1966), Locus Award Nominee for All-Time Best Novel (36th in poll) (1975)




Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author: Douglas Adams
Synopsis: Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

Critical acclaim: Best Fiction for Young Adults

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