Recommended Science Fiction Books
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Recommended Science Fiction Books

This is a short list of SF novels I love. No, I'm not embarrassed that several of them were written for the 10-15 age group; many of the greatest works of literature were written for children. Parts of this short list originally appeared at the IPRR.

Feel free to submit short reviews of your own favorite SF books if you like.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The millitary manipulates a peaceful child named Ender Wiggin into annihilating an entire alien race.

This is currently my all-time favorite science fiction novel. It is one exciting, touching, and brilliant story with much to say regarding morality, responsibility for actions, and empathy for those we do not understand.

Card originally published Ender's Game as a short story in the SF magazine Analog during the 1970's. He lengthened it into a novel in the 80's so he could use it as a prequel to another novel, Speaker for the Dead.

Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
The protagonist, A.Square, lives in a two-dimensional, highly stratified universe in which working-class people are Isosceles Triangles and aristocrats are Polygons and Circles. He begins to realize the emptiness and narrow-mindedness of his world when he sees a vision of a one-dimensional universe and is visited by a Sphere from three-dimensional space.

This is a fascinating and unique work which serves as an adventure, a critique of 19th Western Society, a celebration of free-thought, and a geometry lesson all in one. Abbott published this book in 1884, yet it feels neither dated nor modern; the story is strangely timeless. Its theme of discovery reminds me of Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

The Giver by Lois Lowry
A futuristic society has abandoned all pain and sorrow to live an easy, sterile existance. The story's young protagonist is assigned to carry the memories of those who lived years before, when people still experienced suffering. However, as he learns what pain is, he learns how much more colorful and fulfilling life can be.

The Giver also reminds me of Allegory of the Cave as well as the ads for "Pleasantville," although I haven't seen that movie. Like Ender's Game, the Giver is exciting, touching, and brilliant.

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
A mentally handicapped man, Charlie Gordon, undergoes surgery to increase his intelligence beyond that of a regular genius, only to discover that the brighter people he once adored are shallower and more fallible than he had ever imagined.

This is, easily, the most beautiful science fiction story I have ever read. The novel is excellent, but the short story version is even better, because it is more focused. It's ending is a tear-jerker. If you will fogive me, this story also reminds me of The Allegory of the Cave which is odd considering that I'm not actually that familiar with the Allegory. Something fascinates me with the theme of discovering the there is more to the world than previously suspected.

The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead, The Pool of Fire by John Christopher
A small band of humans fight to reclaim the Earth from extraterrestrials that rule and enslave the population with mind control.

As a thirteen-year-old, I tore threw this trilogy in breathless excitement. It has been adapted as a British television series, but I have seen only one episode. By the way, these books do NOT remind me of the Allegory of the Cave.

The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
The human detective Lige Bailey and his cybernetic partner R.Daneel Olivaw solve a murder mystery on the planet of a compulsively anthropophobic society.

The plot is unimportant here, existing primarily as Asimov's tool to flesh-out and explain the intriguing characters and settings of his imagination. This is one of the Good Doctor's classic Robot stories.

Children of Morrow by H.M. Hoover
This is a touching and exciting tale of two children with extraordinary talents escaping from a dystopian, dictatorial colony in a post-apocalyptic future.

A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones
At the beginning of World War Two, a girl is mistakenly abducted by two boys from a city that exists outside of time. Traveling to different eras, the three of them must stop an unseen villian from dismantling all of Earth's history. Relentlessly wild, clever, and funny, this is a great roller coaster of a novel.

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