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Which sci fi book to read first?(Also, what do you think of 1984, by Orwell)

  1. Mar 11, 2010 #1
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  3. Mar 11, 2010 #2


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    Ender's game #1 ??????
    So you could pretty much dismiss the rest of the list, but most of the other booksmake sense.
    ps. Arthur c Clarke's book 2001, is just a cash in novelisation of the movie, it's by far not his greatest work. I didn't think any serious SF fans had ever read it. Don't see how it got to #5

    1984 isn't really shocking anymore, Harry Harrison's Make Room is a better gloom and doom for the future.
    Harry Harrison is a much under-appreciated writer, because he writes a lot of fun books (stainless steel rat, bill the galactic hero) people dismiss him, but he is one of the most varied writers in SF.
  4. Mar 11, 2010 #3
    Second vote on Ender's Game. Other possibilitys:

    Herbert's Dune series
    Herbert's Destination:Void series
    Asimov's Robots series
    Asimov's Foundation series
    Van Vogt Weapon Makers / Weapon shops of Isher
    Van Voght Non-A series
  5. Mar 11, 2010 #4
    I liked 1984. It's a dystopia novel rather than sci-fi. However some of the torture scenes are just too graphic, like a cross between Silence of the Lambs and Saw.

    The best sci-fi book is Rendezvous with Rama. Clark takes you on a tour of a super advanced spaceship. They were going to make a movie starring with Morgan Freeman, but they canceled it.
  6. Mar 11, 2010 #5
    I think the 2001 book is better than the movie and it doesn't have the weird ending of the movie either. It sends an interesting message.
  7. Mar 11, 2010 #6
    Maybe we don't have to wait too long anymore to really understand the message of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  8. Mar 11, 2010 #7
    Many books on the list were great visionary tales back when they were written, but seem naive and simplistic to a modern reader. That includes most of Wells, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke and the likes.

    If you apply a somewhat arbitrary cutoff of 1985 to that list, you're left with only a handful of books. "Snow Crash" and "A Fire Upon the Deep" are must reads. "Cryptonomicon" is not really a sci-fi book. "The Forge of God" is a deeply disturbing book but a good one nonetheless. If you like "Snow Crash" and you're a patient person with lots of time to lose, check out "Otherland".
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  9. Mar 11, 2010 #8


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    Actually, the novel and movie were more or less written at the same time. They were "co-creations" as it were. The book represents Clarke's take on the story, and the movie is Kubrick's. The story is an expansion of an idea taken from Clarke's short story "The Sentinal".

    As far as the list goes, I've read almost half of them. There seems to be a few missing. Where's Van Vogt's "Voyage of the Space Beagle", or Hal Clement's "Needle" or " A Mission of Gravity"? "Grey Lensman" won't make much sense if you haven't read the first three books of the series.

    My copy of "The Reader's Guide to Science Fiction" gives what it calls " The 5 Parsec Shelf", a suggested reading list of 50 books, And over half the books on it weren't listed.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  10. Mar 11, 2010 #9


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    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson was great. Animal Farm by Orwell is timeless.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  11. Mar 11, 2010 #10
    Is this fun, photos, or games? :smile:

    Asimov's Foundation series

    I'm not sure whether The Hitchhiker's Guide counts as sci fi or comedy. (It's worth a read in either event.)

    1984 is worth the read if you acquire a bit of background information first. Find out a bit about Orwell and understand the political and social climate of the time in which he wrote. It makes the book far more interesting when you put it in context. And yes, it's a dystopian novel.
  12. Apr 13, 2010 #11
    This are the ones I know I have read, and in the case of series, a portion of them if not all of them. I recommend the Hitchhiker's Guide, always a good read. Also, Rama series, The Mote in God's Eyes, The Gods Themselves, Blood Music. Flatland is a good read for those unfamiliar with dimensions.

    2 Frank Herbert Dune
    4 Douglas Adams Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (read many many times)
    5 George Orwell 1984
    6 Robert A Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land
    8 Arthur C Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey
    9 Isaac Asimov [C] I, Robot
    14 Arthur C Clarke Rendezvous With Rama (full series several times)
    17 H G Wells The Time Machine
    18 Arthur C Clarke Childhood's End
    19 H G Wells The War of the Worlds
    25 Niven & Pournelle The Mote in God's Eye (both books)
    26 Ursula K Le Guin The Left Hand of Darkness
    28 Michael Crichton Jurassic Park
    36 Jules Verne 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    39 Michael Crichton The Andromeda Strain
    41 Isaac Asimov The Gods Themselves
    51 Mary Shelley Frankenstein
    54 Jules Verne Journey to the Center of the Earth
    60 David Brin Startide Rising
    72 Michael Crichton Sphere
    78 H G Wells The Invisible Man
    89 Edwin A Abbott Flatland
    95 Greg Bear Blood Music
  13. May 23, 2010 #12
    I recommend the Foundation series by Asimov, it's awesome futuristic and intricate science fiction. For more dystopian fiction like 1984, check out "We" by Zamyatin.
    Check this out for a decent list of SciFi:
    http://sites.google.com/site/sftop100/Home/sfextended-p1 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  14. May 23, 2010 #13
    I didn't like 1984 seemed like a childish book in may ways.

    I haven't really read that many sci fi books I really liked. Why is it you want to read a sci fi anyhow? It might help us give you suggestions.
  15. May 24, 2010 #14


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    I've only read 32/100.

    1984 changed me in a way no other book ever has. The world was smaller and darker after reading it.

    Care to post it?
    Last edited: May 24, 2010
  16. Dec 17, 2010 #15


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    Hopefully seven months doesn't constitute necroposting. Whilst rummaging about in our loft (for something else), I found my copy of Triplanetary, which I am now rereading. I first read it when I was 12-13 and loved the whole Lensman series (except Masters of the Vortex which was just another story tagged on the end). Also loved the Skylark series, which I tried rereading that in my early thirties but found it too sloppy. I may try again though. I also found Olaf Stapledons Last and First Men, recommend that along with Sirius and Star Maker (I haven't read Star Maker yet, but it looks good). Also recommend Solaris. Agree with the views stated on 1984 and Animal Farm, and would add Brave New World, which, IMO, are just as relevant today, if not more so, than when they were written.
  17. Dec 17, 2010 #16


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    Ender's Game and Dune are classics, not that the OP needs nudging this far down the line. I'd also recommend The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and all of Asmov's Robot series. There is not a lot of commonality in this little list, except that the authors can write.

    Splash in a little William Gibson (especially his early stuff) for dark near-future vision. I think this is an OK time to necro-post with mid-winter break bearing down on some college students that need some down-time.
  18. Dec 17, 2010 #17


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    Just plucked some more off the list:

    Isaac Asimov Foundation - only the original trilogy
    Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 1954
    Isaac Asimov [C] I, Robot 1950
    Philip K Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 1968
    Philip K Dick The Man in the High Castle 1962 - definitely
    Isaac Asimov The Gods Themselves 1972
    John Wyndham The Day of the Triffids 1951
    Philip Jose Farmer To Your Scattered Bodies Go 1971 - and the next three in the series
    Philip K Dick The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch 1964
    John Wyndham The Chrysalids 1955 - any John Wyndham really
  19. Dec 30, 2010 #18
    What do you mean? In 1984 (the year), there were already lots of similarities between the Communists in the Soviet Union and 1984 (the book). Not completely, but lots of the totalitarian government stuff, big brother is watching you has already happened (and blown over) in some places in the world.

    It is very possible that's all Orwell wanted to point out in 1984. He wrote Animal Farm to dig at the communists, didn't he?

    I also second the comment that 1984 isn't so much a sci-fi novel as a political piece. Yes, it envisions a world in the future, but it's not the science that's scary, it's the government. Same for Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451-- as far as I remember, there's no science in it.
  20. Dec 31, 2010 #19
    The Soviet Union had a lot more in common with the book in the year it was first published (1949), than in 1984.
  21. Dec 31, 2010 #20


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    I haven't read 1984 in a long time, maybe I should read it again. How about the (ab)use of language to control a population, i.e. propaganda. Doesn't happen anymore? How about lying to a population to justify a war, hasn't happened recently? Here in the U.K. we have a surveillance society that could be argued is down the path towards Big Brother. Maybe Orwell was nailing Communism at the time, but I think 1984 and Animal Farm can be read more universally that that, i.e. the corruption of power in general. It's a lesson we forget at our peril. And maybe Andre meant something completely different, I don't know.
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