Great thread, with some great suggestions. Thanks, Anthony
I'm glad someone finally mentioned Dune
. If I might suggest to those who haven't read it, though, consider stopping after the original; or maybe the first 3. IMHO, they just go downhill from there, but the original is brilliant!
Also, though I didn't really love the Uplift
novels, I really enjoyed David Brin's Earth
. It has its quirks, but I liked it.
And since no one else seems to have mentioned it, one of my very favorite "non-scifi scifi" novels of recent times was The Sparrow
, by Mary Doria Russell (the sequel, Children of God
is pretty decent, as well.)