Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Sci-Fi Group Reads



Time again for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).  To kick off Sci-Fi Month (hosted by Rinn Reads and Over The Effing Rainbow), I’m looking at my favorite books for a sci-fi/fantasy discussion group.

  1.  Dune by Frank Herbert.  Dune is a great novel that can generate a lot of conversation. From the world-building done by Herbert to the themes of the novel to discussing the multiple adaptations brought to our screens, there is a lot of good material to cover in Dune.
  2. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick.  A superb alternate history, this is great “entry level” PKD.  It touches on his themes of questioning identity and the nature of reality but isn’t quite as trippy as some of his later works.  There’s also a fascinating use of the I-Ching both in the novel and in how Dick wrote the novel.
  3. The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester.  It’s got space opera, it’s a precursor to cyberpunk and it’s a revenge tale in space.  If you like rooting for an anti-hero, this one is great for that.  (Think Breaking Bad in outer space and you’re on the right track)
  4. The Caves of Steel by Issac Asimov.  It’s tempting to go for the 1,000 pound gorilla from Asimov’s catalog, the Foundation trilogy. And while I enjoy Foundation, I find this sci-fi who-done-it to be far more satisfying.  It brings up a lot of interesting topics from the world-building to some of the questions Asimov asks.  And it’s got the three laws of robotics as a core.
  5. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein.  While I’m not a huge fan of Heinlein, I feel like any good sci-fi/fantasy book group should at least read one novel by Heinlein.  Like Asimov, I feel that avoiding the 1,000 pound gorilla from his catalog is the better way to go.   Not that this one is necessarily less famous, mind you.  It’s military sci-fi that asks some interesting questions about citizenship and the nature of war.  If you’re looking for a good pairing, you could read this and follow it up next time with.
  6. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.  Another solid military sci-fi novel that looks at some of the philosophical conundrums of Troopers but in a slightly different and intriguing way.  It’s also accessible as all get out and a real page-turner.
  7. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.  Because everyone sci-fi book club should have some Bradbury in it.  And since Fahrenheit 451 is required reading for many during high school, this is the other Bradbury I’d recommend.  I feel it’s a better example of how Bradbury at his best.
  8. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.  Be prepared for this book to potentially polarize your group.  Some love it, some hate it.  But that sounds like a good starting point for conversation.
  9. The Science-Fiction Hall of Fame Volume 1, edited by Robert Silverberg.  It’s hard to find a definitive collection of sci-fi short stories but this one by Silverberg is pretty close.  A lot of the history of sci-fi isn’t just from novels but in short stories.  And this collection includes a lot of the big names from the genre.  It can also be a great way to sample new authors and then add them to the list for future reading/discussion.
  10. Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  Character-driven sci-fi that is rich and deeply textured.  Only negative point is you really need to read this one and its sequel to get the full story.


Filed under meme, Top Ten Tuesday

6 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Sci-Fi Group Reads

  1. It looks like I have some catching up to do – I’ve only read the Asimov! 🙂

    Lauren @ Always Me

  2. Great list, I see a few books I need to check out. I’ve read Caves of Steel, Dune, Martian Chronicles and The Sparrow, and a few by Scalzi but not that one. I tried reading Stranger in a Strange Land and didn’t really take to it, so maybe I’ll try your Heinlein suggestion. I struggled with The Sparrow but ended up floored by it, so I second your recommendation (and the caution that goes with it).

  3. A lot of these books are on my tbr. I loved Caves of Steel too – mix of sci-fi and mystery.

  4. I’ve read half of these, and Hyperion was my absolute favourite. I think every SF fan should read it 🙂

  5. I love the Martian Chronicles, I try to force it on everyone I know.

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