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My All Time Favorite Science Fiction Novels
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ISBN-10: 1-23345-234-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Non-Fiction
eBook Length: 54 Pages
Published: August 2010
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

This is a much revised, updated and re-edited version of a simple article I wrote years ago listing my 100 most re-readable science fiction novels. In this edition, that article has now grown to over 16,000 words and encompasses somewhere around 200 novels that entail untold hours of treasured reading experiences. So much new science fiction has come out in the last few years, as well as older titles I missed when this was first published, that I felt readers deserved a new, expanded edition with many more entries and descriptions of them, including a list of my favorite science fiction series. Thus the new title.

As both a science fiction author and a life-long voracious reader of science fiction, I feel almost compelled to pass on to other lovers of science fiction all the wonderful novels I’ve read in the past and continue to read in the present. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I have.

Darrell Bain
September 2010

My All Time Favorite Science Fiction Novels (Excerpt)


MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SCIENCE FICTION NOVELS

This is a much revised, updated and re-edited version of a simple article listing my 100 most re-readable science fiction novels that I wrote years ago. In this edition, that article has now grown to over 16,000 words and encompasses somewhere around 200 novels that entail untold hours of treasured reading experiences. So much new science fiction has come out in the last few years, as well as older titles I missed when this was first published but have since discovered, that I felt readers deserved a new, expanded edition with many more entries and descriptions of them, including a number of series. Thus the new title.

As both a science fiction author and a life-long voracious reader of science fiction, I feel almost compelled to pass on to other lovers of science fiction all the wonderful novels I’ve read in the past and continue to read in the present.

The books listed here are no longer numbered in order of ranking as they were originally nor do they include the publication dates (other than the 100 in that first article).That certainly doesn’t mean the others aren’t as good, though. Any book I describe here is one that captured my attention on first reading and has remained on my shelves for reading again and again in the future.

Since this book is devoted to my favorite science fiction novels, perhaps it wouldn’t be amiss to describe just what I mean when I speak of "Science Fiction". I wrote an article once describing the difference between science fiction and fantasy. I no longer remember where it was published but I think this would be the perfect spot to reproduce it. Here’s what I had to say:

Fantasy vs Science Fiction by Darrell Bain

Without getting into subgenres, here is a classic description of how to tell science fiction and fantasy literature apart: fantasy describes a situation which has never occurred and (presumably) never can occur, such as fairies, magic, trolls, wizards and so forth; science fiction describes situations which have not yet occurred but (presumably) could occur in the future if present day technology and/or scientific knowledge is extrapolated far enough, such as life on other planets, nuclear war, faster than light travel, extraterrestrials, and so on. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But it isn’t.

I’m reminded of Author C. Clarke’s oft-quoted adage: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Now where does that leave us? If you can’t tell it from magic, it is magic--for all practical purposes. And there goes your definition of fantasy. Or take it from the another direction and delve a bit into quantum theory. If you get deep enough into it, you’ll find that just about anything can happen, or will happen or has happened--and the very theory of quantum mechanics is so counter-intuitive that it seems more like fantasy than science anyway. And there goes your definition of science fiction.

Okay, that’s theory, but let’s be practical. If you’re talking about a quest for a philosopher’s stone that will make you immortal when you say some magic words, that’s fantasy. If you’re referring to a spaceship to mars, that’s science fiction. We would probably all agree in both cases--but they are the extremes. But suppose we say that genetic engineering has succeeded in creating an ogre which for all practical purposes duplicates the ogres told about in fantasy stories. Now where are we?

We’re in the middle, that’s where, and that’s where I would place a lot of the fiction being produced in both realms today. It is impossible to accurately divide fantasy and science fiction into two mutually exclusive genres without a lot of overlap. Each has a bit (or sometimes more than a bit) of the other in it. At best, the line between them blurs toward the middle, where the more fantastic the story, the more it resembles fantasy and the more realistic it is, the more it smacks of science fiction. A lot of it meets its other self in passing, and I submit that the only people who really care are the book sellers when they are deciding which shelf to place the book on. The rest of us readers don’t worry about categorization; we just enjoy a good story, regardless of which genre it’s placed in.

So why argue? If you like a story, read it. If you don’t, toss it and start another. That’s what I do.

Now that we have the definition taken care of, let’s move on.