I know we've all read a lot of fantasy/sci-fi over the years, but if you were allowed to keep just three books, which three would you choose? I had to really think about it to narrow my choices to just three, but here they are:

"Dune" by Frank Herbert
"Lord of the Rings" by JRR Tolkien
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card

Since I'm still reading books by new authors, my list may change over time. If you want to explain why you chose the books you did, I'm curious and would love to know.

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I love sci-fi more than any other genre of writing and all of you have reminded me of books that I'd forgotten all about. Some of my best memories are of the stories I've read, and remembering ones I'd forgotten is like a gift. I do plan to go back and re-read my favorites again but I can't make up my mind about which one to start with! Or maybe I should read some of the books you've all listed here that I've never read.

Someone who knows more about computers than I do should set up a list of downloadable books and create an A/N library here. I'm going to try to choose from the audiobooks I've been downloading lately and get lost in another world for awhile. I suggest you all do the same!

PS or in Stephen's case, write one :P
OK Susan, since you ask so sweetly... < g >

Actually, I've fallen in love with a young woman named Nellie Bly, whom some of you may have heard of. She was a fearless investigative reporter in the period 1885-1895 who did all sorts of incredible things. I intend to make her the heroine of a series of steam punk novels, the first of which will be Nellie Bly and the Zombie Legion. See my Current Projects page for more details.

If you want to download a really good audiobook, I highly recommend Nellie's Around the World in 72 Days, where, in 1889-90, she challenged Phileas Fogg's fictional record. (In the 16 years since Verne's book was initially published, no one else had even tried to duplicate the feat.) She didn't break Fogg's record, she shattered it by more than a week--and she did it solo. (Fogg had Passepartout with him.) While most 19th century writers' prose tends to be kinda stodgy, Bly's is anything but. The reader on this recording, Mary Reagan, is superb, and totally captures Nellie's spirit. I promise you a thoroughly enjoyable time with this one.

My local library has a good collection of audiobooks available. I'm currently in the middle of Kevin J. Anderson's massive "Saga of Seven Suns," starting with Hidden Empire. The story moves glacially, at first, but there are so many characters and plot lines that it takes a while to get them all in motion.

I've got a number of audiobook sources for you to check out:

Public Domain works:
LibriVox
Project Gutenberg
AudioBooksForFree.com

BooksShouldBeFree.com

More recent titles:
Recorded Books Library Site
Audio Book Store
Open Culture
Gizmo's Freeware
SFFaudio

I've got an even bigger list, but this should get you started for now. Happy hunting!
Boy - I HATE even the idea of favorites - so limiting - especially since I started reading SF, fantasy, and speculative fiction 36 years ago -but here goes:

Foundation
Clockwork Orange
Stranger in a Strange Land

Soooo limiting.
My favorite science fiction books:

The Dreaming Jewels (Theodore Sturgeon)
More than Human (Theodore Sturgeon)
Contact (Carl Sagan)

Nightfall (Isaac Asimov) and Re-Birth (now I'm forgetting the author) are up there too.
Why?

1 This is one of the first science fiction books I read, around age 11. It was different from anything I'd ever read, especially the scene where he is describing two trees that are completely identical on a cellular level (something like that)--I need to read that again, it's been awhile!

2 I like his writing style, characters, the way he developed the plot.

3 I like his writing style too, he wrote convincingly from a woman's viewpoint and he used his scientific background along with his imagination.

Well, in general the science fiction books I've liked have been ones that expanded my mind and made me think of entirely new concepts.
My three:


The simply superlative Hitchiker's Guide to The Galaxy (Complete and unabridged, a trilogy in five parts) by Douglas Adams.

"Why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?"
"I don't know. Why is life like hanging upside down with your head in a bucket of hyena offal?"
"I don't know either. Wretched, isn't it?"



Frankenstein (or The Tale of The Modern Prometheus) By Mary Shelly
"Blasted as thou wert, my agony was still superior to thine!" The Monster's final address to the dead Victor. Classic and Sci-fi to it's core.

I'd like to say 1984, but I'm not sure I can classify that as "sci-fi" so instead I'll go with "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, for the Shakespearean allusion, the babies in grown in vats, and the immortal line "They'll grow up with what the psychologist used to call an 'instinctive' hatred of books and flowers. Reflexes unalterably conditioned. They'll be safe from books and botany all their lives."
Boy - this thread just keeps putting the lie to the idea of 'favorites'. I have literally read hundreds of such novels and boiling it down is impossible - plus there are so many types of 'fruit' to choose from (apples, oranges, kiwi's - you get my point.)

Re: Frankenstein - does anyone know where I can find the Harlan Ellison article about the six archetypal SF plots? (Frankenstein was one. Dracula another. War of the Worlds, etc.)
Former love was an English major (now a literature Phd, last I checked) and she had the book on the six basic plots I can't remember if it was the same guy though.

Re: Frankenstein as an archetype.


Boy meets girl
Boy looses girl
Boy digs up corpse....

o_0
Heinlein's 3 basic plots:

Boy-meets-girl
The man who learned better (character starts off with one point of view, ends up with another)
The little tailor (little-shot who becomes a big shot or vice versa)

He contended everything was some combination of those 3.
Romeo and Juliet
A Christmas Carol
The Prince and the Pauper

This leaves out the Clint Eastwood school of storytelling - you f'd with the wrong guy!

This still rings true in his recent work - The Changeling, and Gran Torino
"Dune" Frank Herbert
Masterpiece in all aspects.

"Fahrenheit 451" Ray Bradbury
No explanation required.

"Altered Carbon" Richard K. Morgan
IMO, the best new cyberpunk. While he owes much of it to William Gibson (almost chose Neuromancer)
Morgan creates a believable future with regard to most of the technology, throws in some good political commentary and has one badass anti-hero.
Dune was, indeed, a masterpiece. Some of the sequels were just masturbation.

His son's follow ups are pretty fun, though.

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