Thursday, June 18, 2015

26 essential #sci-fi novels | ZDNet

26 essential science fiction novels to get you ready for tomorrow | ZDNet

Not on the linked list but it should've been.
With summer finally here, it seems the right time to publish some of that list, so I've collated below 26 of what I consider the most essential SF titles for people interested in imagining all possibilities for the future. Think of it as a summer reading list that's a gateway to building tomorrow - all over your cold beverage of choice.
For the descriptions, check out the article. If you just want the list, here it is:
  1. Vernor Vinge: True Names
  2. Vernor Vinge: Rainbows End
  3. John Brunner: The Sheep Look Up
  4. John Brunner: The Jagged Orbit
  5. John Brunner: Stand On Zanzibar
  6. John Brunner: The Shockwave Rider
  7. Bruce Sterling: Heavy Weather
  8. Bruce Sterling: Distraction
  9. Bruce Sterling: A Good Old Fashioned Future
  10. Bruce Sterling: Islands In The Net
  11. David Brin: Existence
  12. David Brin: Earth
  13. Charles Stross: Halting State
  14. Charles Stross: Rule 34
  15. Paolo Bacigalupi: Shipbreaker
  16. Paolo Bacigalupi: Pump 6
  17. Neal Stephenson: Reamde
  18. Ramez Naam: Nexus
  19. Ramez Naam: Crux
  20. Kim Stanley Robinson: 2312
  21. Laura Mixon: Proxies
  22. M J Locke: Up Against It
  23. Brenda Cooper: The Diamond Deep
  24. Linda Nagata: The Bohr Maker
  25. Alastair Reynolds: Blue Remembered Earth
  26. Cory Doctorow: Little Brother

Not a terrible list. But ... c'mon, dude. Not until #18 do we have a recommendation for a book written by something other than a white man. At #21 we get our first woman?  On top of that, why would include the same authors so many times in a list this short? I was delighted to see John Brunner on the list, and I would've struggled whether to recommend The Sheep Look Up or Stand On Zanzibar, but list one and mention his other great works in the description of the one and make room for another author on the list.

I'm going improve the list above by recommending only one per author and making it a little less country club:
  1. Vernor Vinge: True Names  Monica Byrne: The Girl in the Road
  2. Kim Stanley Robinson: 2312
  3. Vernor Vinge: Rainbows End
  4. John Brunner: The Sheep Look Up
  5. John Brunner: The Jagged Orbit Ursula K. Le Guin: The Left Hand of Darkness
  6. John Brunner: Stand On Zanzibar Samuel R. Delaney: Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand
  7. John Brunner: The Shockwave Rider Lucius Shepard: Green Eyes
  8. Bruce Sterling: Heavy Weather
  9. Bruce Sterling: Distraction Joanna Russ: We Who Are About To ...
  10. Bruce Sterling: A Good Old Fashioned Future Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice
  11. Bruce Sterling: Islands In The Net Kate Wilhelm: Cambio Bay
  12. David Brin: Existence
  13. David Brin: Earth Vonda N. McIntyre: The Entropy Effect 
  14. Charles Stross: Halting State
  15. Charles Stross: Rule 34 Joe Haldeman: The Forever War
  16. Paolo Bacigalupi: Shipbreaker
  17. Paolo Bacigalupi: Pump 6 J.G. Ballard: High Rise
  18. Neal Stephenson: Reamde
  19. Ramez Naam: Nexus
  20. Ramez Naam: Crux China Miéville: The City & The City
  21. Laura Mixon: Proxies
  22. M J Locke: Up Against It Lewis Shiner: Deserted Cities of the Heart
  23. Brenda Cooper: The Diamond Deep
  24. Linda Nagata: The Bohr Maker
  25. Alastair Reynolds: Blue Remembered Earth
  26. Cory Doctorow: Little Brother
I left the original list items if I haven't read them, but for the Neal Stephenson book at #18, I'd have gone with Zodiac. I also moved the Kim Stanley Robinson up because if you only read two from the list, that should be one of them. After that, these are in no particular order. For the Vonda N. McIntyre suggestion, I went with one of her Star Trek novels because Dreamsnake is out of print and might be hard to find.


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