The Science Fiction Book Challenge

We will attempt to read some number of both canonical and recent SF and Fantasy books before the convention. We will write reviews, offering our honest opinions and drawing links to our lives.

This challenge is our way of honoring the texts that provide the backbone/structure/essence of Science Fiction conventions… and are cool. And stuff.

Clearly, we are still trying to figure out whether to order this by author or book. Please feel free to suggest a format!

By Title

  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  • The Outstretched Shadow by Mercedes Lackey and James Malory
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein
  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
  • Through Wolves Eyes by Jane Lindskold (review)
  • Undertow by Elizabeth Bear

By Author

Don’t see a book you think should be on this list? Suggest it to us!

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8 responses

27 02 2008
Marlin May

Suggestions for canonical SF:
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner
Tales of Known Space by Larry Niven
Ringworld by Larry Niven
The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea

I’m less familiar with fantasy but:
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

See you folks at Denvention. Actually, I’ll probably see you at the beginning of Summer party.

Ta!

27 02 2008
Jacob

I read Stand on Zanzibar a few years ago. I thought it was really good, though Forever War still remains the quintessential Brunner novel for me. I guess I read it at a more impressionable age! Also, I have read Ringworld. I liked it a bunch. These other suggestions are definitely worth looking into (in my copious spare time).

The Last Unicorn… that wouldn’t have anything to do with the animated movie, would it…?

14 05 2008
Stana Wheeler

Stranger in a Strange Land has been one of my all-time favorites….

14 05 2008
Jacob

Stana,
I finally read Stranger in a Strange Land last year, and really liked it. The one thing that kind of bugs me about Heinlein is his tendency to almost rant about various topics. I noticed it was particularly severe in Starship Troopers.

30 07 2008
lunarapollo

Yes “The Last Unicorn” is based on the book.

I’d add Perdido Street Station by China Mieville for a fantasy scifi mix.

As far as good Fantasy Fantasy that doesn’t suffer from cliche I’d recommend either Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris, or Mystborn series. Elantris is a standalone novel and so probably a better choice but Mystborn isn’t dependent on it’s sequels either. I’ve read and like most of the books above so I would think these would be in line with your tastes too.

31 07 2008
Jacob

Ooh, Perdido Street Station was amazing….

One thing I’ll say now is that this list is in need of serious filling out. There’s a lot of books I’ve read (even after starting the list) that haven’t made it on the website yet. We’re still looking for a good layout for the blog, and right now some of our projects are sadly hidden.

3 10 2008
Nye

I just spent 3.5 years reading “100 Great Science Fiction Authors” to be more conversent in the genre. Here are ten that I found spellbinding. If you want more, let me know.

1 – Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. Yes, I know it’s on every high school reading list. There’s a reason. Bradbury’s use of words makes the rest of us look like toddlers.

2 – Engine Summer, John Crowley. Oh. Wow.

3 – Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card. On everyone’s list. Again, there’s a reason.

4 – In Conquest Born, C.S. Friedman. Kick-ass, sexy, guilty reading pleasure.

5 – Make Room, Make Room!, by Harry Harrison. Soylent Green was the wimpy version of this story.

6 – The Wanderer, Fritz Leiber. This would make the best movie.

7 – A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle. Emotional and poetic.

8 – A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller. This is why there is a turkey vulture on the top of my Christmas tree every year.

9 – Logan’s Run, by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson. Chill, elegant, guilty pleasure.

10 – Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut. Changed my religion.

27 10 2008
Bill the sci-fi guy

4 – In Conquest Born, C.S. Friedman. Kick-ass, sexy, guilty reading pleasure.

Oh wow! That’s one of my favorite books, and I’ve never met anyone else who even seems to know about it. Nye, you are my kinda sf fan. :)

5 – Make Room, Make Room!, by Harry Harrison. Soylent Green was the wimpy version of this story.

This is on my reading list.

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