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Old 07-13-2011, 03:03 PM   #76
GlennD
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Most of my favorites have been mentioned already:

Starship Troopers
Dune (although I give a nod to God Emperor)
The City and the Stars

To that list I'd add Niven's Ringworld, and mention CJ Cherryh's Foreigner, but that really needs to be read as a series to be appreciated.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:48 PM   #77
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I'm seeing a lot of favourite sci-fi books in this thread, but the call was for the best. Personally, my favourites are nothing like the best (especially since I was a hormone-driven, experience-thirsty teen when reading most of them). C'mon folks, step back and tell us which you think are the best from your current perspective. Don't make me unleash "John Carter of Mars" and "Witch World" in retaliation!
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:33 PM   #78
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"Best" means so many things in science fiction - there are very few writers who can deliver both the science and the fiction convincingly.

With that in mind...

"Best" hard science fiction - Mission of Gravity (Hal Clement)
"Best" soapbox sci-fi - Starship Troopers (Heinlein)
"Best" future history - Foundation (Asimov)
"Best" sci-fi-yarn-you'd-tell-around-a-campfire - Santiago (Mike Resnick)
"Best" political science fiction - Dune (Herbert)

I don't think I could pick just one as the "Best science fiction novel".
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:51 PM   #79
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Great choices Glenn!
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Old 07-14-2011, 01:54 AM   #80
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The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.

For me, it ranks right up there with Starship Troopers and Ender's Game.
Also, although not ground-breaking sci-fi, these are some of my most often-read books:
Redliners by David Drake
Rolling Hot by David Drake
In Death Ground by David Weber and Steve White.
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:24 AM   #81
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I suppose "Gormenghast" is fantasy................
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Old 07-14-2011, 06:53 AM   #82
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It's tempting to write a very long list, but I'll keep it to a few that have been mentioned:

Frank Herbert, Dune
Clifford D. Simak, Highway of Eternity
Iain M. Banks, Player of Games

And a few that have not:

Frank Herbert, Destination Void (although not a generally appealing book, the subject matter, mind and consciousness, fascinates me)

Vernor Vinge, Across Realtime (an omnibus of sorts; Marooned in Realtime is the more fantastic of the two stories. A Fire Upon the Deep receives an honorable mention, because while most of the book is amazing, the last fifth fell flat. Rainbow's End was a very well-balanced story, so I'm hoping he's really hit his stride as a writer.)

Stanislaw Lem, Solaris (is the Clooney movie any good?)

Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun (it took me a few tries to get started on this, but once I got into it I couldn't stop. Wolfe may be my favorite author)

David Drake, the Northworld trilogy (available for free from Baen's website; also Hammer's Slammers and Cross the Stars.)

Of course, the best novel may be sitting on a shelf in some used-bookstore, you never know, so it's important to keep searching for it....
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:36 AM   #83
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Really in no particular order, but if forced maybe Dune, although I never really cared for any of the sequels.

Dune - Herbert
Rendezvous with Rama - Clarke
Stranger in a Strange Land - Heinlein
Left Hand of Darkness - Le Guin
Inferno - Niven and Pournelle
Martian Chronicles - Bradbury
Foundation - Azimov

And then there was this book I read as a kid about a spaceship survivors stranded on a planet inhabited by wolves and the ensuing battle. Whatever it was, as a kid I loved it - so that one too!
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:24 AM   #84
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Very nice choices bluDevil
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:54 AM   #85
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A couple that I don't hear about often and which I've read and re-read numerous times over the years; probably a good sign that they are worthy of an "all-time greatest" list.

Time is the Simplest Thing (1961) ; Clifford D. Simak
The Chrysalids (US title: Re-Birth) ; John Wyndham
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Old 07-15-2011, 11:10 AM   #86
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I may have missed it,but I have always thought
I Robot - Asimov
Was the best I have read.
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Old 07-16-2011, 01:16 PM   #87
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Love all the classical stuff. For more modern stuff, I really like William Gibson.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:00 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by melaniejaxn View Post
Love all the classical stuff. For more modern stuff, I really like William Gibson.
Heh, a lot of his stuff is getting that brown-gravy glow about it, too. The very first line in Neuromancer is an anachronism, comparing the sky to '80s-style ant-fight TV static. I haven't read much of his work, and nothing recent, but Neuromancer definitely struck me as one of those 'futures past' that tell us a lot more about the era in which they were written than the one in which they are set.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:38 PM   #89
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Heh, a lot of his stuff is getting that brown-gravy glow about it, too. The very first line in Neuromancer is an anachronism, comparing the sky to '80s-style ant-fight TV static. I haven't read much of his work, and nothing recent, but Neuromancer definitely struck me as one of those 'futures past' that tell us a lot more about the era in which they were written than the one in which they are set.
I rather enjoy Gibson's more recent works. I may be in the minority there, but I was quite glad to see the "punk" grow up a bit.

I like to think we've both "grown" since Neuromancer: me as a reader and he as an author.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand... I really enjoyed William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's The Difference Engine. I'd rank it right up there as one of my favorites. I'd love to see them hook up for something similar again.
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:44 PM   #90
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Some people have mentioned Ender's Game, which is broadly accepted as genre canon, but Card's best work IMO has been largely overlooked: Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. The title may seem to have political implications, especially given Card's recent reputation as a Right Winger, but it's really just a great exploration of history (the discipline, as much as past events) and probably the best time travel book I've encountered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkomar View Post
I'm seeing a lot of favourite sci-fi books in this thread, but the call was for the best. Personally, my favourites are nothing like the best (especially since I was a hormone-driven, experience-thirsty teen when reading most of them). C'mon folks, step back and tell us which you think are the best from your current perspective. Don't make me unleash "John Carter of Mars" and "Witch World" in retaliation!
If I have to go with just one 'best,' I'd hesitate because it's such a recent work, but Anathem gets the nod both because of its inherent strengths and intricacies and because it contains and synthesizes virtually the whole of the genre (certainly most of the works mentioned in this thread) without strain or overreach (IMO).
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