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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Dune was interesting if murder to get into after being used to Heinlein. Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were also interesting ... but God Messiah, Chapterhouse and Heretic I thought were a waste of space. I can't help but notice that the Sci/Fi channel quit with Children and just as well.
Those were the three I was referring to.

It's kind of sad - and shows the difficulty of writing SF as literature. For example - Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld was one of the best ideas ever - in any genre. But, alas, it seemed to ambitious to pull off.
The first three books of Riverworld were great and then the wheels fell of the cart.
The same could be said of Dune, however, the prequels by Herbert's son and Kevin Anderson are pretty good.
I'm with Sean....choosing three favs just can't be done.
To cop out... only three is impossible! Some in the top:

The Foundation Trilogy and Foundation's Edge (Never managed to get further)
Hitchhikers' Guide (Gotta love a five-book trilogy)
I Will Fear no Evil or The Number of the Beast (Even better than Stranger, imho)
The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison

*I know the last is not likely to be a common favorite and, after the fifth novel, they really tanked, but for the first five books, I really enjoyed the story.

Most of what I read or watch (both TV and movies) is for the pure escapism. Throw in some laughs and I love it even more. I do like serious topics, I just like laughing better.
Laughing is incredibly underrated. Making someone laugh is much harder than any other form of communication, even if the serious critics look down their noses at it. ("Dying is easy; comedy is hard."--Edmund Kean) I treasure good comedy, which is why I so adore Robert Sheckley and Terry Pratchett.
>Laughing is incredibly underrated.

Not by me. A healthy appetite for the absurd, is I think vital.

Hitchhiker's still makes me laugh. Agree about Pratchett. Not read hs latest though. Been on a factual reading spurt of late (got some Robert Sapolsky books for Christmas)and am gearing up for some H.P.Lovecraft (finally!) later this year.

About favourites, I suppose I reasoned, it thus:

Were I marooned on a desert islands, my times spent there would be improved if I ahd these over other possible candidate books with me. So it's a fuzzy list not a set-in-stone list.
Re: Heinlein and humor - He was the first to point out, clearly, to me that laughter is a response to pain (Stranger in a Strange Land)
The Number of the Beast, while amazing, was, by far, the best example of Heinlein's inability to write an ending. Don't get me wrong, he remains "The Dean' - but c'mon - what a bizarre, self-indulgent, and unimaginative thing to do to try and wrap up a book. I was riveted till I got to that party. He might as well have just ended with: 'Just as the dream was getting good, the alarm clock buzzer cut through the fantasy like a broken scimitar.'
Enders Game - OSC
Lord of Light - Roger Zelazny
Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins

OSC does tend to interject his Mormanism but he avoids that in at least the first book in the series.

Quote from Lord of Light: "His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a god. But then, he never claimed not to be a god." And his gods are all technologically artificed humans.

Jitterbug Perfume - I know, I know, Tom Robbins isn't technically sci-fi but the prose in this book is so intense that I can read it again and again and be transported every time.
How did I forget Donaldson??? That just reminds me that I forgot The Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg. They're not exactly great literature but, not only did I like them, they came out about the same time that a friend and I were discussing writing about a similar theme.
this is so hard, I'm more into sci-fantasy now, but let me give it a go

"Time enough for love" by Heilein
Amber series by Zelancy
Dune series by Herbert

How;s that and I stayed away from Jordan, Goodkind, Donaldson, Eddings to name a few. ha ha

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