Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Question of the Day

What is your favorite science fiction novel, and why?


John Peterson said...

Snowcrash by Neil Gaiman. It provides a roadmap to the wild woolly metaverse where I do ministry.

Johnny Cat said...

Tough question. The ones that made lasting impressions on me were Hyperion, and the full length novelization of Asimov's Nightfall.

The former for its unabashed treatment of one of the oldest books in history, along with some amazing sci-fi elements; and the latter for its concept that played out on so many intellectual levels, while still being a fun ride.

Anastasia Beaverhausen said...

I'm only 17, and just discovering the wide world of science fiction, but I'd have to say my favorite novel (so far) is Ender's Shadow. It has an interesting main character and I love reading sequels that are from the point of view of different characters.

And John P., did you mean Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson or am I missing out on an awesome Neil Gaiman novel?

John Peterson said...

@Anastasia - yes Snow Crash. one of many very awesome books by Neil. Orson Scott Card's Ender series is an amazing collection of work as well.

Anastasia Beaverhausen said...

Coolio. I'll have to check it out. Very soon I shall be broke and books shall be the cause. ;)

bob said...

I really couldn't choose just one mood dictates my leanings. However anything by Heinlein, particularly Time Enough for Love,Podkayne of Mars, The Past Through Tommorrow is a collection of his short stories but ties his whole future together.

One that came to mind when thinking about your question was City by Clifford D. Simak. A story of a city clinging to life as cities decentralize and lose population.

Brian J. said...

I'd have to go with the original Ringworld. I like books that introduce you to a wondrous place and make you wonder what goes on there and where it came from.

I didn't like the sequels, though, as Niven had to go back and correct his science and to build the narratives and plots around his oversights made while telling a good story.

I have a similar affection for Rendezvous with Rama and disdain for its sequels.

RevAnne said...

All of the above. But for sheer feel-good, I'd want it on a desert island kind of book: The Cat who Walks Through Walls.
I've always wanted a cat like Pixel.

Divers and Sundry said...

My favorites change. As I think of ones I've liked over time, many would better fit into one of the fantasy sub-genres. I'm conflicted!

Maybe the Foundation novels, 'cause I read them early on and they encouraged me to look for more SF.

How about you?

John said...

I've not read any Gaiman, Stephenson, or Niven, but my wife is a big fan of Stephenson and has enjoyed Larry Niven. Maybe I should try them.

I've read Starship Troopers and one other early novel of Heinlein. It was a rather odd one. A man woke up in the future and found that the poverty had been eliminated by simply printing lots of paper money. It was not, as far as I could tell, a parody, and Heinlein was being quite serious.

He never really grabbed me. But I've heard that Have Spacesuit, Will Travel is a good read.

The Foundation series was good, and I read the first five novels while in middle school.

I don't actually do much novel reading anymore outside of alternative history. Or novel reading in general. Most of my science fiction comes from flickering screens. But if I had to choose, I'd say that either The Man Who Folded Himself or Ender's Game is my favorite.

Bob Hawkins said...

"Rogue Moon" by Algis Budrys, Because it really puts the science in science fiction. (I lent my copy to a grad student in physics, who didn't like it. "I read for escape," he explained, "and it's too much like my real life.") The plot is hypothesis and falsification, with "falsification" being death.

The scientist recruits a death-defying adventurer to be his next hypothesis. "We'll make a great team!" the adventurer gloats.

"Of course we will," the scientist replies. "You're a suicide. I'm a murderer."

John said...

Bob, so it's like the scientific method turned into a novel?

Bob Hawkins said...

> Bob, so it's like the scientific method turned into a novel?

Exactly. The scientist is trying to study a 50 million-year-old artifact/base/who knows on the Moon. But everyone who goes into it dies in impossible ways. The whole novel is about him figuring out how to send someone in and get him back alive. As the novel opens, he's given up on sending in engineers with crewcuts and decides to try a guy who lost a leg in a mountain climbing accident, then went back and finished climbing the mountain. The crewcut hypothesis was falsified by experiment. The one-legged mountain climber hypothesis, that's the next experiment.

JD said...

I am going with Sharon Shinn and the Samaria Series (Archangel, Jovah's Angel, and The Alleluia Files.) A 3 parter that has sci-fi, romance, a little religion, and song all rolled into a set of books. Interesting use of the area of Samaria, familiar places to most, to draw the reader into a foreign world.

I also enjoyed John Steakley's only 2 novels: Armor and Vampire$. Armor was Steakley's attempt to better tell Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Vampire$ was made into a VERY bad movie adaptation by John Carpenter. Vampire$ is the only book I have ever read in which I laughed out loud in public.


JD said...


I also liked Stranger from the Depths, a book by Gerry Turner which I picked up while traveling to Yellowstone in 7th grade at a random truck stop. The cover looked cool, so I bought it. I couldn't put it down once I started it. Out of print and hard to find, it centered around a group of students that find a crystal figurine that looks similar to an amphibious humanoid and their search for where it came from.


John said...

JD, did Steakley succeed in making a better Starship Troopers?

JD said...

I only saw the movie of Starship Troopers. It was much better than that. The book centers around a main character and his place in the war with the bugs as opposed to the bugs. It is a good read, and coincidentally, Steakley uses the same names for his main character in both Armor and Vampire$. Reading them back to back was a little weird at first.

If you have read Starship Troopers, I would definately recommend Armor.