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June 2nd, 2008, 01:09
Here are some of my favorites. I actually teach a class on SF occasionally - many of these are not only my favorites, but are the sort of texts which can be successfully taught & enjoyed in a university classroom.

Octavia Butler, especially the Xenogenesis trilogy. Incredible aliens, and incredible agility at standing SF conventions on their head. Probably the best American SF writer since Philip K. Dick's death.

Stanislaw Lem, especially Solaris and His Master's Voice.

Philip K. Dick, especially Valis, Radio Free Albumeth, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and A Scanner Darkly

I've read nearly all of Roger Zelazny's books. Many are trashy (I still like them, though), but Lord of Light is a work of genius.

Zamyatin's We is the basis of A Brave New World and 1984. I like it better than either.

All of H.G. Wells' SF books are great. Understanding the context of his books (his close relationship with Huxley and therefore, second-hand, with Darwin) and his anti-imperialist, pro-socialist politics help. The War of the Worlds and The Island of Dr. Moreau are my favorites.

Olaf Stapledon's books are mind-blowing, and very different from the SF most of us grew up knowing.

I like most of Asimov, especially the robot books. The Gods Themselves, though, is by far his best book.

Vernor Vinge's books are a lot of fun.

Oh - many smart people, including Brian Aldiss (whose history of SF, Trillion Year Spree, is pretty good) argue that Frankenstein is the foundational and most important work of SF. I tend to agree - although modern horror and fantasy are also indebted to Frankenstein.
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Join Date: May 2008
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