Not in a precise order, but these are some books that I have really enjoyed (lately) within the sci-fi genre.
Swan Song by Robert McCammon
(This story, though it follows a plot line that has been done many times- the end of the world via cataclysmic world war- it does so in a way that is completely fresh and fascinating. We see here a real look at the battle between right and wrong, between Good and Evil. It’s a well-told masterpiece of science fiction.)
(This book is such a great father and son journey. It’s probably less of a science fiction novel and more a traditional road story (as the title gives away), but it’s so well written. You fall in love with this father and son, and your heart yearns for them to make it…. to be okay… all the while learning a lot about love, devotion, strength, courage, and hope.)
(I’m a fan of post-apocalyptic novels, can’t you tell? – Alas, Babylon is a more straight forward, but superbly done, doomsday story. The fun mental experiment of ‘what will we do to survive if the unimaginable happens?’ There is good character development here, and a very down to earth telling of one way humans might respond to such an environment.)
(Dune is a great story, on a level of the greatest of Science Fiction- certainly as complex and multifarious as the worlds we find from the likes of Tolkien and George RR Martin. Dune rewards re-reading; that’s perhaps the best compliment of all.)
(The inhabitants of earth, who have used technology to solve virtually every major problem facing mankind, suddenly find out there is a massive asteroid heading straight for impact with earth! What would we do? What can we do? How would people react? … well, read this short novel to find out.)
(I read this book just a couple months ago. I liked it instantly. It’s a fast moving, multi-plot line story that involves inter-galactic beings and political racing for hegemony. It turns out this book is the first in what has become a several volume series. Unfortunately, the rest of the books don’t maintain the strength of this great first novel.)
(This novel is comprised of a series of inter-related short stories. Rarely have I come across a work so completely unique and original in its creation. Several of the “short stories” are masterworks in and of themselves, and whether you like the novel as a whole or not, you’ll not be sorry for reading these intriguing narratives that come at you from where you least expect.)
(One day, without warning, there are alien spacecraft hovering silently and ominously over major cities around the world. For a long time, nothing happens… for days…. months…. and then, the “aliens” begin communicating; they want a truce, and they offer solutions to many of the world’s problems. What’s to follow?)
(This is a book that I must admit that I haven’t read in years. But it was one of the first sci-fi “thrillers” to really grab me as a young teen. I came across the title as I was going through some book lists. I just remember that this book really caught my attention- that nuanced love of the mysterious craft that’s found at the bottom of the ocean- by the military of course- and they have to hire a regular Joe to come and investigate. It combines the fear of the utter deep ocean, and “alien” interaction… from the past or future? It’s good stuff. I’d be curious what I’d think of it if I read it again now.)
(This is an epic- some 900 pages, I think- journey to an unexplored planet where …something? Doesn’t seem to want humans to stay… I haven’t enjoyed all of Hamilton’s novels, but I was really into this one, and found myself on some occasions really scared out of my wits. It’s colorful, and rich in characters- with scene descriptions clear and vibrant. You feel as if you too have visited a new world.)
* note: This list is not a “best ever” but as I wrote above, merely what has stood out lately in my readings. A best of would include many more of the “classics” such as Fahrenheit 451, etc.