It’s come to my attention that I’ve been writing a blog about reading and writing for over four years now, and I’ve never done a round up of my favorite books. Seems like a dumb oversight on my part. Ah well, it’s easy enough to rectify. And hey, if you’re still looking for holiday gifts for anyone, maybe this will help.
I’m going to start with my favorite science fictions stories. I think if I did a full list of favorites it would take too long. So I’m going to hit my three favorite genres, then do an overview of some of the best stories I’ve ever read that might not fit into anything specific.
I’m not saying these are the best science fantasy books, just my favorites. They’re not in any particular order save for the order they came to me. So don’t be offended if I didn’t list your favorite. It just might not be mine, or I just haven’t read it yet.
1984, by George Orwell.
This book gets scarier every freaking year. Just in case you haven’t read it, it’s one of the darkest, heaviest dystopian future stories I’ve ever read. It’s one of those books that everyone acts like they’ve read, even if they haven’t, so you probably already know the story. It’s a world where the government controls everything. Our main character’s job is to write propaganda pieces for the government, trying to put a positive spin on things by just straight up lying. We’ve gotten some great phrases from this book, like doublespeak and the fifteen-minute hate. Every time I hear something about Edward Snowden in the news, it’s the fifteen-minute hate I think of. If you’re one of those people who pretend you’ve read this book and haven’t, put it on your 2019 reading list. But be prepared, it’s a messed up book.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
I’d consider this a science fiction story, even if the science in it is a little iffy. Who am I to judge, after all. Someone asked me the other day how my space stations stayed in the air the other day and my response would have made Neil Degrasse Tyson weep.
I know everyone knows this story, but the original story is still worth reading.
That’s right, I said it. The Japanese anime Chobits is one of my favorite science fiction stories. Fight me.
The story takes place in a world where computers are actual, AI people. You don’t have a laptop, you have an AI person called a persocom hanging out with you, doing your typing in their heads and being the world’s best alarm clocks. There are the same old questions about AI, especially when people start to fall in love with their Chobits. And when they are no longer distinguishable from flesh and blood people.
The story centers around a chobit named Chi is found in the garbage by a man named Hideki. The mystery of her origin, complete with these mysterious and beautiful books about a black and white rabbit, is a dark and fantastic fairy tale.
Dragonriders of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey
I was surprised to find this on lists of science fiction books until I really thought about it. There’s a lot of science behind how the dragons are reared. And, also the mystery behind the people’s parentage. I don’t want to give it away if you’ve never read it. But the trilogy is about a group of people who link themselves to dragons and ride them. It’s a great story of the interconnection between people and beast.
Flowers for Algernon
This is another one everyone thinks they know. It’s the story of a man who’s mentally disabled named Charlie, who wants to learn. He’s going to classes and trying to educate himself. When he’s chosen to partake in an experiment that can make him intelligent, it seems like a dream. And it is until the treatments start to reverse.
Douglas Adams is to science fiction what Neil Gaiman is to Fantasy. His work is modern, wonderful and defies all logic. It’s just twisted and seems totally random until you get to the end of it. Then, it all makes total sense. Damn, I want to write something like this.
Dirk Gently is the story of a man with, well, a different way of looking at the world. His way often gets himself and other people in trouble. The first book in the series involves a time machine, a horse in a bathroom, a grisly murder and a salt shaker in a pot. Trust me, read it. It’s awesome.
World War Z
I’m not talking about the movie. The movie for this book could have been amazing! I mean, this book is a collection of stories about people who survived the zombie apocalypse, years later, collected by a journalist traveling among the remaining human civilizations to get them. And it’s so much better than the movie! My personal favorite part of the story is that people learned to use dogs to detect zombies. And the best dog for the job? Dachshunds. There wasn’t a single zombie detecting dachshund in the whole movie and I for one would like to know why.
Wow, this list is really dystopian future heavy. Oh well, I like what I like. And, in fairness, everyone likes this.
I assume you’ve already read or seen Hunger Games, so I’ll spare you the run through. Instead, let me just say that having the main character literally lose her mind through part of the series is a fascinating way to go. There were a lot of ways that could have gone bad, and I’m sure that there have been more than a few crappy rip-offs who got that part really, really wrong. (Please don’t share any.)
Finally, this is literally my favorite book. I read it every year on my birthday. (Everyone who knows me just said that in a chorus.)
It’s the story of Jonah, who’s been chosen to be the next receiver of memory for his community. His perfect community where there is no war, no anger, no hunger, no choice. There are no broken families, but there are also no true families, not in the way we think of them. There are no real emotions, either. There is just existence, stripped of all the horrors, and all of the pleasures of life.
I keep reading this story for a lot of reasons. What it really comes down to, is this. The price of freedom is pain. The price of love is heartache. The price of beauty is ugliness. And that’s a price that I’m always willing to pay.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the list of my favorite science fiction books. I’d love it if you’d share your favorites in the comment section below.
Station 86 is shocked when a Khloe assassin begins killing members of the all powerful council. Officer Sennett Montgomery and Councilman Godfrey Anders swear to find the assassin after Godfrey’s wife is falsely accused. But the killer, and the council itself, are not what they seem. Neither, as it turns out, is Sennett’s daughter.