Best Science Fiction Books

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I chose not to attempt to rank these books. You're here looking to see if you missed any, not to see how I rank them. And frankly, the ranking is pretty arbitrary. These are all great books. Also, I am only including one book per author, although most of these authors have multiple excellent sci fi books.

Dune - Frank Herbert

Dune is a grand epic about the struggle between different factions of humanity for control of a resource important enough to enable whoever controls it to rule the universe. In Dune, human capability still reigns supreme over even the dazzling technology of the distant future and the various factions have each adopted their own strategy for honing those capabilities. Dune is undeniably one of the very best, if not the single best, science fiction book ever written.

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Chasm City - Alastair Reynolds

Chasm City is set against the rich and complex backdrop of a city that is both the height of oppulence and the pit of human dispair just as a plague is sweeping through the city eating away at both organic matter and the technology on which a nearly post-human society has become dependent. In my view, Chasm City is the best entry point into the vast and complex universe Alastair Reyolds creates through all of his works.

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2001: A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke

2001 is, of course, one of the great classics of science fiction, but it remains as engrossing today as it was when it was written in 1968. Humanity discovers an object on the Moon that is impossible to explain and when a clue points to Saturn's moon Iapetus, humanity is forced to send a small crew of humans and an artificial intelligence on a mission to investigate it.

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Foundation - Isaac Asimov

Foundation grapples with the possibility that one day science may be able to predict the future. The master of this field of study (called psychohistory) comes to realize that the future of the species is in peril and endeavors to retreat out to the edges of the galaxy with a team of brilliant minds from which he might launch efforts to steer the course of the galaxy towards a softer landing.

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Neuromancer - William Gibson

In a future in which virtual reality, technology, and pharmacology have run amok, a lowly street hustler's fight to get by evolves into a series of missions that blur the line between reality and cyberspace. Neuromancer is such a gripping and bizarre story that they had to form a whole new genre to describe it. It is a must read book for any science fiction enthusiast. Dark and strange and yet it paints a vision of the future that seems almost inevitable while you're reading it.

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Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

The aptly named Hiro Protagonist learns of a new drug called Snow Crash and in his quest through physical and virtual reality to learn about the drug's strange effects, he discovers that far more advanced and powerful hacking techniques are shaping events in surprising ways. Snow Crash is set in a highly advanced wasteland of corporate power and hedonism that is at least as captivating as the spectacular plot.

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Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein

When humanity mounts a second mission to Mars 25 years after its first attempt, it finds a lone survivor still living on the red planet and returns him to Earth where he demonstrates strange abilities and an even stranger perspective on life. Stranger in a Strange land is really an exporation of what it means to be human that uses the futuristic setting and unusual plot to probe social, political and economic ideas that we might not often give much thought to.

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Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

The demands of military combat in a highly advanced universe are so great that only children raised and trained exclusively for doing it are capable of directing strategy. Ender shows a knack for doing just that and it taken to a dedicated military school where he competes with other gifted children in military simulations that become increasingly challenging and the stakes become steadily higher.

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick

When humanity is forced to expand its reach beyond Earth, it finds grim conditions that few humans are willing to brave. The solution is to supplement the human emigrees with androids that border on being human themselves. When some of those androids attempt to return to Earth, bounty hunters are dispatched to deal with them. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is the basis for the great movie Bladerunner and (as is usually the case), the book is much better than the film. It represents the height of Philip K. Dick's masterful career.

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