– by Brendan Reid, Editor –
The genre of science fiction is about as broad and deep as space itself. A countless number of books examine the nuances of our galaxy, and many move far beyond it. Sci-fi is a genre characterized by its profound sense of imagination and scientific plausibility, as well as its depth of characterization and philosophical ingenuity. Here is a list of four books that exemplify the science fiction genre, ad should not be missed if you are interested in delving into the rewarding universe that the genre has to offer.
- 1984, by George Orwell
Published in 1949, 1984 is a sci-fi story that hits frightfully close to home. It tells of a future when humans are enslaved by the ever-watching eye of Big Brother, a dark future where our world is enveloped in a state of complete totalitarianism. No information is trustworthy, freedom and self-fulfillment are relics of the past, and any sort of insubordination results in a terrifying restructuring of the individual’s thought process. When it was published, the Nazi war machine had only just been defeated, and the Cold War was just getting warmed up. Is the world of 1984 one that could have existed if history had taken a different turn? George Orwell’s classic book will always stand as a warning for how things could really become under a totalitarian regime, and remains as thought provoking today as it was 60 years ago.
- Dune, by Frank Herbert
There are few books that match the epic scope of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Many consider it science fiction’s response to Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings, and it certainly contains all the elements to be a worthy adversary. It tells the tale of Paul Altreides, a young boy of royal lineage who is caught in a whirlwind of mysticism, prophesies, and politics when his family assumes stewardship over the desert planet of Arrakis. The book explores many different themes and weaves them all together into a masterfully, and creates a believable and savage world that is a joy to inhabit as a reader. It is only the beginning of a great saga; the story of Paul and his family continues into five sequel novels, and in numerous other spin-offs written by Frank Herbert’s son, Brian Herbert. Dune one of the most fleshed-out science fiction universes ever created, and is one of the greatest achievements in the science fiction genre.
- Neuromancer, by William Gibson
A book that was truly genre defining, William Gibson’s Neuromancer singlehandedly invented the sub-genre of cyberpunk that inspired countless movies and stories, including well loved classics such as The Matrix and Bladerunner. Neuromancer deals with ideas about technological saturation and the ways that such a future could affect the human race, and it is relentless in its approach. Every paragraph of this seminal novel is a work of art, as it uses its own form of technical jargon to describe its world. Every single piece of technology and location the reader visits feels real and lived in, and the book is as hypnotic as it is challenging to read. Those who persevere and decipher its code will be rewarded by one of the best pieces of fiction that the sci-fi genre has to offer.
- Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Based on the BBC radio program of the late 1970s, this book, which became a series of its own, is just plain fun. It takes everything you know understand about science fiction and turns it on its head, all with a sense of wit that is as entertaining today as it was in the 80’s. It introduces everyman Arthur Dent into a world of the absurd, and it is impossible not to feel as though you are right there with him. It is hilarious and ingenious, and is especially creative when it develops its own science fiction concepts (probability drive anyone?). The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy has stood the test of time and happily embedded itself in our popular culture, and has been an invaluable inspiration that all science fiction satires since have followed.