Five Must-Read Science Fiction Classics

If you are looking for new books to add to your reading list here are five novels that everyone should read. These novels are classics that have really pushed the boundaries for the science fiction genre.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – The first collection of Asimov’s fantastic robot short stories which are all tied together with a common theme. In this collection we are first introduced to Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics: 1 – Don’t kill people, 2 – Do what people tell you (except kill them), and 3 – Don’t destroy yourself (unless it’s to save someone). The stories explore what the implication of the different laws are and describe the interaction between them, possible problems and the most scary of all – what happens if a robot doesn’t have the laws programmed into it at all.

Dune by Frank Herbert – In this novel mankind has left Earth and Herbert describes a complex and detailed universe far into the future. The story is about Paul Atreides, heir to one of the three Houses fighting for power. His father Duke Leo Atreides has taken control over a desert planet containing huge amounts of a valuable spice called melange which extends life, expands consciousness, and is required for space travel. When his father loses control of the planet, Paul is forced to flee into the desert and is taken in by the Freman people who live there.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – You’ll never read a funnier sci-fi book, this is a political and social satire of just about everything, almost every paragraph contains some bit of humor or a piece of parody. The story begins with Arthur Dent being rescued in the last moment by his friend Ford Prefect when Earth is about to be destroyed to make way for an intergalactic bypass. Together they start a journey with the help of The Hitchhiker’s Guide. After a while Arthur ends up on the spaceship Heart of Gold where he meets Zaphod Bebblebrox, the irresponsible and self-centered ex-president of the Galaxy; Marvin, the depressed robot; and another human named Trillian.

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke – A novelization of the movie by Stanley Kubrick. In this book, Clarke explains everything that the movie didn’t and provides an interesting and entertaining look into the evolution and intelligence of humans. The story begins three million years B.C. where a group of apes find a strange monolith, starting their evolution into humans. The story then jumps forward to the year 1999 where a similar device is found on the moon, which leads to the discovery of intelligent extraterrestrial life. An exploration team is sent to Saturn but the crew soon realizes that the ship’s computer is trying to kill them.

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick – This dystopian novel is set in Orange County, California and describes the drug culture and life of a group of drug users. The protagonist is Bob Arctor who lives a double life as drug dealer of Substance D, which he also uses himself. In his other life he is Fred, a narcotics agent assigned to spy on and bust Bob Arctor. What he doesn’t know is that Substance D gradually splits the users personality in two and that he is in fact in pursuit of himself.

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