My Favorite SF Novels

The_Demolished_Man_first_edition

Allan, Nina
    The Race (2014) A fragmentary scifi look at the germination of stories. Unique and bottomless.

Bester, Alfred
     The Demolished Man (1953) Quintessentially fifties, with stilted, yet dynamic style.

Bishop, Michael
     Brittle Innings (1994) Humanity and its monsters, with Southern flair and a baseball backdrop.

Brackett, Leigh
    The Long Tomorrow (1955) The best of pastoral post-WWII post-apocalyptic fiction.

Bradbury, Ray
     Fahrenheit 451 (1953) Prescient tech and social madness.
     Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962) Gorgeous metaphors in a quaint setting.

Brunner, John
     Stand on Zanzibar (1968) A dystopian collage of media overstimulation and neocolonial globalization.

Butler, Octavia
      Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995) The best of Butler’s short fiction, and one of the few short fiction collections I love.

Byrne, Monica
    The Girl in the Road (2014) Hypnotic and intense trek across continents, pontoons, and psychological landscapes.

 

ChildhoodsEnd(1stEd)

Clarke, Arthur C.
     Childhood’s End (1953) Alien invasion story told with humanism and optimism.

Clarke, Susanna
     Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004) In-depth, tongue-in-cheek alternate history of the restoration of English magic during the Napoleonic Wars.

Compton, D. G.
     The Unsleeping Eye/The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe (1974) Post-modern speculation on death and disease as entertainment in decaying near future.

Delany, Samuel R.
     Babel-17 (1966) Dark space adventure with light characters. Plus, space ghosts!darkuniverse1

Galouye, Daniel
     Dark Universe (1961) Subversive religious criticism that mimics Plato’s cave allegory better than Plato did.

García Márquez, Gabriel
Cien anos de soledad (1967) The mellifluous meanderings of magic realism in the form of a strange family in a strange town in Colombia.

Gerrold, David
     The Man Who Folded Himself (1973) Short but wild time-travel tale with a complex protagonist and LGBTQ themes.

Gibson, William
     Neuromancer (1984) Murky but influential cyberpunk.
     Virtual Light (1993) Dry humor, delicious dialogue, cyberlight.
     The Peripheral (2014) Gibsonian style, with future visions of 3-D printing and economic collapse.

Goto, Hiromi
     The Kappa Child (2001) Fresh, invigorating tale about family and friendship. Weird-realism.

Harrison, M. John
     The Viriconium sequence (1971-1984) Hallucinatory deconstruction of Arthurian myth on a decaying landscape.

Hutchinson, Dave
     Europe in Autumn (2014) Spy thriller full of sardonics and European sight-seeing. The most relevant geopolitical series of our time.
     Europe at Midnight (2015) Multiverse allegory about political isolation and strict borders.

Ings, Simon
     Wolves (2014) Augmented Reality overcasts millennial adaptation to the threat of rising waters. Ballardian jadedness.

Kornbluth, Cyril M. and Frederik Pohl
     The Space Merchants (1953) Sophisticated satire about advertising, eerily accurate.

Kress, Nancy
     Beggars in Spain (1993) Atypical female protagonist, concerned with ideas not relationships.

Leiber, Fritz
     The Big Time (1958)  Surreal and strange one-room tale about a bar in the Void during the Time War.
     Destiny Times Three (1945) Alternate worlds allegory about the failures of global conflict. Probably my favorite of Leiber’s.

 

TheLeftHandOfDarkness1stEd

Le Guin, Ursula K.
     The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) Inventive social fiction with LGBTQ themes.
     The Dispossessed (1974) Exploration of political structures and intellectual property.

MacAvoy, R. A.
     Tea with the Black Dragon (1983) Mature adult romance/mystery with a fun dialogue style.

McDonald, Ian
     River of Gods (2004) Near-future India, with speculations on artificial intelligence, gender, sexuality, and polytheism. Biblio-tourism.
     The Dervish House (2010) Near-future tech, modern fears and ancient myths set in beautiful Istanbul. More biblio-tourism.

Miéville, China
     Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag #1) (2000) Squishy and slimy secondary world urban fantasy. Utterly unique.
    The Scar (Bas-Lag #2) (2002) Captivating swashbuckling fantasy with atypical female protagonist.
    The City & The City (2009) Mind-bendy urban fantasy, hard-boiled.

Mitchison, Naomi
    Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) A tour of the galaxy’s most imaginative planets and beings, mirrored with interpersonal tension.

Morrow, James
     Towing Jehovah (1994) Sacrilegious satire about the death of God. Offensive to all.

Novik, Naomi
     His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire) (2005) Man-and-his-dragon romance during the Napoleonic War, filled with 19th century prose.

Okorafor, Nnedi
    Lagoon (2014) A modern and realistic update to the alien invasion scenarios of Wells and Clarke.

Palmer, David
     Emergence (1984) Thoroughly fun YA post-apocalyptic tale. Heinlein-flavor without the bad aftertaste.

Peake, Mervyn
     The Gormenghast trilogy (1946, 1950, 1959) The place to start for rich and textured fantasy. A true masterpiece.

Priest, Christopher
     Inverted World (1974) Mind-bendy metafiction.
     The Prestige (1995) Page magic about stage magic.

Roberts, Adam
     Jack Glass (2012) Genre love letter brimming with enthusiasm for hard sci-fi and mystery.
     Bête (2014) Sharp, fresh, poignant examination of humanity and the beast within.

Robinson, Kim Stanley
     The Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars(1993, 1994, 1996) Extreme world-building with psychological character exploration.
     The Years of Rice and Salt (2002) An alternate imagining of world history if Europe had not survived the Black Death.
     Aurora (2015) An examination of the generation starship concept and the answers it doesn’t hold.

 

TheFemaleMan

 

Russ, Joanna
    The Female Man (1975) Speaking truth to status quo in experimental narrative form.

Silverberg, Robert
     A Time of Changes (1971) Far future alien story with criticism of empty social humility.

Simak, Clifford D.
     
Way Station (Here Gather the Stars) (1963) Pastoral optimism with country flavor.

MoreThanHuman(1stEdPB)

Stapledon, Olaf
    Odd John: A Story between Jest and Earnest (1935) Cynical tale about humanity’s next step.

Sturgeon, Theodore
     More Than Human (1953) Humanistic tale about humanity’s next step.

Vance, Jack
    Tales of the Dying Earth (1950-1984) Best when antihero Cugel appears on the scene.

Vonnegut, Kurt
     Cat’s Cradle (1963) The ultimate Vonnegut: Dry, funny, sardonic.

Wilhelm, Kate
     Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1974) Bittersweet tale about cloning in a post-apocalyptic society.

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20 thoughts on “My Favorite SF Novels

  1. […] is a list of my favorite novels that I’ve reviewed so […]

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  2. Rabindranauth says:

    New reading list? Yep, new reading list. I really should make one of these pages sometime soon. Eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. fromcouchtomoon says:

    You should definitely do this! I’m sure you’ve reviewed more than me at this point, and I’d be interested to see what your list looks like.

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  4. Warstub says:

    The Demolished Man, Fahrenheit 451, Childhood’s End, Inverted World, A Time of Changes – yip, I’m right there with you (though I do prefer The Stars My Destination for Bester).

    – The Big Time just didn’t click for me.
    – Would you believe I still haven’t read Nueromancer, even though I have the original Ace printing! (albeit, hidden in a box somewhere with all the other Ace originals)
    – I really want to read Miéville, but I find it difficult concentrating for long periods now – and I mean that in the sense of reading a novel over an extended period of time. Even non-fiction.

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  5. fromcouchtomoon says:

    -I have not yet read the Stars My Destination, but it’s on the TBR!

    -I went into The Big Time knowing about Leiber’s background in theater and I think that’s what saved it for me. There’s this immediate sense of theater that will put off readers expecting a typical SF novel. But I loved that surreal, exaggerated atmosphere. Another commenter, Jesse (the excellent blogger at Speculiction, pointed out that The Big Time is also a Cold War metaphor, which adds another dimension to the tale. Still, I’m desperate for someone to put this on the stage where it belongs.

    -Neuromancer was one of my first vintage reads for this site and I was so not prepared. My tolerance for SF Megatext has developed a lot since then. I prefer more recent Gibson– I LOVED Virtual Light and the recent The Peripheral, but the clunky, aesthetically-charged Neuromancer is the classic that started it all. (I find Gibson to be one of the most delightful dialogue writers in SF.)

    -Mieville is an author I love to pick on, and there is A LOT to pick on. I always have a thousand complaints, but ultimately end up loving his tales. His style is verbose, pretentious,baroque, (and gross)–a world building tool, but it sometimes distracts from the story. If you have trouble committing to 600 pp of text, I highly recommend the audio books. The narrators are always FAB (although the textual experience of Mieville is an experience in itself. I tend to go half-text, half-audio with his books).

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  6. Rabindranauth says:

    I finally made a list! Though its all fantasy. Do you keep this list updated?

    Liked by 1 person

    • fromcouchtomoon says:

      Yay! I’m going to update my list at the end of this year. So many to add… I just finished Bête, btw! Def will be added. Fabulous novel. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] also included links to other great book lists around the place, such as Megan over at From Couch to Moon’s personal favorites, and the Worlds Without End list of most nominated books for the SFF awards they cover (every book […]

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  8. Tomcat says:

    You have such good taste! 🙂
    Inverted World, Female Man, Long Tomorrow, Childhood’s End, City & City, Dispossessed, ALL among my very faves too!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] From Couch to Moon’s Favorite SF Novels  This is only so low because I want to read more F than SF – these books are surefire going to be spectacular reads. […]

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  10. […] Couch to Moon FC2M’s Favorite SF Novels Book Review […]

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  11. […] Couch to Moon FC2M’s Favorite SF Novels Book Review […]

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  12. […] couch to moon FC2M’s Favorite SF Novels Book Review […]

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  13. […] couch to moon FC2M’s Favorite SF Novels Book Review […]

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  14. […] couch to moon FC2M’s Favorite SF Novels Book Review […]

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