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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old October 13 2011, 06:14 AM   #1
Starbreaker
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Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

I roll this thread out about once a year to see what favorite novels pop up. And, you may go ahead and list series as one novel, because it'll happen even if I say not to do that.

1. Dune by Frank Herbert

I actually watched the David Lynch movie about six months before I read the book. I don't know why I didn't immediately go out and buy the book when I first saw the movie, because I was pretty intrigued by the 1984 film. The novel lived up to my greatest expectations and then some. I'm not sure if I'll ever read another novel with such great characters and settings.

2. God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were both top notch novels, but God Emperor really took the Duniverse to a new level. I've actually read a lot of comments that GEoD is even better than the original novel, and I can even see the reasoning. The book is mostly talking except for a little action at the beginning and end, but the Herbert created characters make all the dialogue worthwhile.

3. Replay by Ken Grimwood

What if you lived your life over and over, but you had less time each lifespan? That's the basic gist of this amazing novel. I read it for the first time over Christmas and it's something I've recommended to just about everybody I've talked to since then. He has another novel called Elise that I want to read, but just can't seem to come up with $100 to pay for an edition of it.

4. The Dark Beyond the Stars by Frank M. Robinson

A very underrated novel about an amnesiac named Sparrow aboard a generational ship called The Astron. The crew is searching for a habitable world. The ship is approaching a starless void and the captain has to decide whether to cross it, knowing that they will never find a planet in their own lifetimes. I wish more people had read this one. I would really enjoy talking about it to ANYBODY. The thing should have won the Hugo and the Nebula.

5. Exultant by Stephen Baxter

The fifth novel written in the Xeelee Sequence, and the best. Pirius goes to war, disobeys orders, is sent back in time (a regular occurrence due to some physics that I don't really understand, and he and his past self are both punished.

6. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

A great blend of comedy and heart-breaking tragedy involving time travel, the black plague, and a plague in the present... well, the future. Highly deserving of all of its accolades.

7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

This might be an odd choice, but this is truly the HP novel I loved the most. I just though getting out of Hogwarts and into this safe house was a huge leap for the series, and I could hardly put the book down.

8. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

Everyone either seems to love this one or hate it. I loved it. Don't really like a lot of military science fiction I've tried to read, but this one is great.

9. The Terror by Dan Simmons

A polar expedition gets stuck on the ice and the two ships - The Erebus and The Terror have to try and survive a harsh winter - which happens to include an over-sized creature that might be a polar bear.

10. Orion by Ben Bova

This was the first adult novel I ever read. Up until 6th grade I was stuck on Goosebumps and Animorphs books. I happened to come across a copy of Orion on my teacher's shelf. This is really where my love of science fiction began. The novel is about a demigod ho travels through time trying to stop another from ending humanity. I just reread it last month and it was almost as good as I remembered.
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Old October 13 2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

Not necessarily in order:

The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

The Man Who Folded Himself - David Gerrold (simply an amazing reading experience)

Ringworld / Ringworld Engineers - Larry Niven (engrossing SF)

Sir Apropos of Nothing - Peter David (hilarious!; bought only due to knowing his Trek and comics work)

Watership Down - Richard Adams (totally engrossing)

I Am Jack - Susanne Gervay (Aussie kidlit on bullying and resilience)

The Dingiliad trilogy (aka The Far Side of the Sky: Jumping Off the Planet, Bouncing Off the Moon, Leaping to the Stars) - David Gerrold (solid SF, hard to put down)

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (the first is best/funniest)

V - novelization of the first two TV mini-series - AC Crispin.
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Old October 13 2011, 03:58 PM   #3
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

The Man Who Folded himself is on my shortlist. Glad to see some praise for it. I've never heard of that David Gerrold trilogy either. I'll have to check that out.
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Old October 13 2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

Boneshaker wrote: View Post
I've never heard of that David Gerrold trilogy either. I'll have to check that out.
http://www.amazon.com/Far-Side-Sky-J.../dp/073942808X

I got mine as three hardcovers as they were published.
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Old October 13 2011, 11:11 PM   #5
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

Another David Gerrold series that I really enjoyed was "The War Against the Chtorr" (four novels so far: A Matter for Men, A Day for Damnation, A Rage for Revenge, and A Season for Slaughter; three more books are promised... eventually.)

Novels/series I love, in no particular order:

Ringworld (the first is still the best, although I love all of Niven's "Known Space" series)
Dune
Roger Zelazney's Amber series
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Bradbury's book is definitely superior to the movie)
Gateway (first book of Frederick Pohl's "Heechee Saga")
Bloodstone (part of Karl Edward Wagner's "Kane" series of fantasy stories, many of which featured amazing Frank Frazetta covers)
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Rendezvous With Rama
Soldier, Ask Not by Gordon R Dickson (I think this novel is the best of his "Childe Cycle"/"Dorsai" books)
The Lord of the Rings

I suddenly feel like doing some re-reading...
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Old October 14 2011, 01:12 AM   #6
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler
Junky by William S. Burroughs
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carré
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

And it's not a novel but an honourable mention to The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier
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Old October 14 2011, 06:38 AM   #7
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

Dead Duck wrote: View Post
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler
Junky by William S. Burroughs
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carré
Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

And it's not a novel but an honourable mention to The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier
I'm bad at remembering individual novels well enough to pick, so I tend to think more in series, and I'm really now just starting to expand my reading beyond tie ins.
In no particular order:
Harry Potter (I didn't start reading them until at least a couple years into the craze, but I instantly fell in love with them, and they will always hold a special place in my heart)
The Dresden Files (nothing real specific about these books, I just love every moment of them)
The Increasing Innaccurately Named Hitchhicker's Trilogy (I've only read the first three so far, but I loved them)
Discworld (I've only read four of them, but I loved all four of them. Of the four I think my favorites were Guards, Guards, and Mort)
The Sooky Stackhouse books (I started these because I loved True Blood, and very quickly got hooked just as much as I was by the show)
The Hollows (I've actually only read the first book in the series, but I thought it was an absolutely blast.)
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Old October 15 2011, 01:31 AM   #8
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

Under the North Star by Väinö Linna
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Endurance by Alfred Lansing
The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
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Old October 15 2011, 06:24 PM   #9
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

2. God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were both top notch novels, but God Emperor really took the Duniverse to a new level. I've actually read a lot of comments that GEoD is even better than the original novel, and I can even see the reasoning. The book is mostly talking except for a little action at the beginning and end, but the Herbert created characters make all the dialogue worthwhile.
This.

God Emperor is hands down my favorite Dune novel. None of the rest of them even lived up to the original.

Some of the Dune novels (especially Dune, Messiah, which I did not like at all) took months for me to read. God Emperor I read in two days, in high school, during the breaks in a standardized testing day.

(I test really fast - and 99th percentile-ish, so not just filling in random answers.)

I remember zooming through that test so I could get back to reading. I think that's the fastest test I ever took.
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Old October 15 2011, 10:40 PM   #10
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

In no particular order...

- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
- The Once and Future King by T.H. White
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
- Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibson
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
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Old October 15 2011, 11:32 PM   #11
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

For no reason I've ever been able to quite describe, I like long detailed series way way more than individual novels, almost regardless of quality. And yet: I still almost never like epic fantasy. I am irrational. But with that said, my favorite series, in no particular order:

- The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson
- The specific subset of Star Wars books written by Timothy Zahn, all grouped together
- The Commonwealth series + Void series by Peter F. Hamilton
- The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (the only exception to my fantasy rule so far)
- The Uplift universe by David Brin
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (and only Douglas Adams)
- The League of Peoples universe by James Alan Gardner
- whatever the Revelation Space universe is called by Alastair Reynolds
- The Xeelee universe by Stephen Baxter
- The Gaea trilogy by Peter Varley

Oh, and the fact that ALL of Sanderson's fantasy works (aside from Wheel of Time) are going to eventually turn out to be set in the same shared universe is so exciting; I'll have to read all of them eventually.

The only individual standalone novels I can think of that made much of an impact are:

- The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
- Blindsight by Peter Watts
- Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson
- any of the individual Star Wars books by Matthew Stover, which don't really relate to each other but are all incredible
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (which is pretty much a series all by itself)
- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (way better than Snow Crash, for real)

But even with those, I'd rather take the long-form works above, for the most part.


OH: and, can anyone think of a long-form sci-fi series that I've missed that I should try?
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Old October 16 2011, 12:08 AM   #12
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

OH: and, can anyone think of a long-form sci-fi series that I've missed that I should try?
Asimov's Robots universe, and his Foundation universe. (Which in later years he stitched together to be one and the same.)

Also - I've always enjoyed Larry Niven's Known Space universe.
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Old October 16 2011, 12:16 AM   #13
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

Tricky question. Off the top of my head, and with no promises that I didn't leave something out:

- Adam Bede by George Eliot
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
- Feed by M. T. Anderson
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
- The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Kindred by Octavia Butler
- Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

I know I'm leaving out brilliant stuff (no Italo Calvino!) but that's what I'll say for now.
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Old October 16 2011, 12:39 AM   #14
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

DorkBoy [TM] wrote: View Post
OH: and, can anyone think of a long-form sci-fi series that I've missed that I should try?
Asimov's Robots universe, and his Foundation universe. (Which in later years he stitched together to be one and the same.)

Also - I've always enjoyed Larry Niven's Known Space universe.
Never liked Asimov. Tried him three times. And I've read Ringworld & sequels, but wasn't as impressed by them as the 10 that made my list.

Thanks though
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Old October 16 2011, 12:56 AM   #15
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Re: Top 10 Novels (Non Star Trek)

john carter of mars series by edgar rice burrough's <(I love deja thoris )
the hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
the Lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
night shift by stephen king
the foundation trilogy by isaac assimov
mr.murderer by Dean Koontz
phantoms by Dean Koontz
triplanetry by e.e. "doc" smith
on basklith station by David weber
starship trooper by joe haldman
ender's game by orson scott card
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