Lv 6
Bet asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

Book suggestions? Science fiction? For school project?

Do you have any science fiction book suggestions? I am doing a independent study school project where I read science fiction books [I have to choose the books to read] and write a review or report for each one. I need classic, new, cheesy, serious, movie or TV tie-in sci-fi, and any other types of science fiction [a large variety is needed]. Please do not suggest books with inappropriate material [adult situations]. Reading level is not a problem, I tested at the college level for reading. Thank you!

24 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My favorite of all time:

    Jules Verne - Journey to the Center of the Earth (free online and a classic)


    Jules Verne - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (free online, classic scifi, plus could be used as a movie tie-in. The Disney version was pretty close to the book - the only significant difference I remember is Disney gave the Nautilus atomic power.)

    Isaac Asimov - I, Robot (considered a classic now - which shows my age - but the standard for nearly all robot scifi since. Not really like the movie at all, so you shouldn't use this as your movie tie-in)

    George Lucas - Star Wars (a good movie tie-in. Any of the original 3 Star Wars novels are very good. 2001: Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke is also a good book, but there are important differences between it and the movie. An excellent book that ties in with an excellent movie is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, but it, too, has significant differences.)

    Isaac Asimov - The Caves of Steel (excellent scifi/mystery, where the story is just as much a mystery novel as a scifi novel. Plus, it's excellent. Would definitely be worth your while to read I, Robot before this because of the Asimovian robot in the story. Of course, it would be worth reading I, Robot before almost *any* story involving robots (such as Star Wars))

    Cheesy - any scifi story based on a comic book character. Actually, I remember the first Superman book (that went with the movie, I think) to be quite good. Even better might be the original Buck Rodgers book I remember it being excellent, but I was young and I barely remember it. Nevertheless, it is likely at least very good. You could tie that in with the original TV series, which is available now for very cheap (no longer copyrighted - you can get the whole series for a song or 4 episodes for about $1 on DVD). The TV series is actually pretty good - and pretty "camp" at the same time. The more recent series - BR in the 25th Century - was pretty lousy (even when I was young, despite the bodacious babes that frequently appeared). If you want *really* (awfully) cheesy, you can take a look at that, too.

    The cheesiest scifi books that are still readily available are probably Edgar Rice Burrough's "John Carter of Mars" series. Many free online. Just like in all his other books (e.g. Tarzan), the men are very forceful with the women, and the women love (need) it. Despite that, there is nothing sexually explicit in his books (written in the early 1900s).

    Another that might qualify as "cheesy" (because of the misinformation) is H G Wells "The First Men in the Moon". Should be free online. They use helium-impregnated metal (helium being recently discovered and supposed to have anti-gravitic properties) to block the earth's gravity and travel toward the moon. Quite reasonable, if helium did have anti-gravitic properties. They then land on the moon (which has an atmosphere) and have a run-in with the bee-hive-like society of intelligent humanoids living there. The more I think about it, the cheesier this seems. This should definitely be your "cheesy" book. Also makes a statement about technological and society advancement (the whole bee-people thing).

    Probably you should get a scifi horror as well. I haven't read any good ones, though. Alien comes to mind, but I never read it.

    Unfortunately, I'm not "up to date" on scifi. Although I could recommend new ones, I cannot vouch for their adult content. Here you can find the ones with the most awards (which are mostly the newer ones, since there are more rewards now), but you will have to discover the adult content for yourself. At any rate, this should definitely help you pick out a very good new scifi.

    Another good category might be kiddy scifi. Again, I am fairly ignorant of such things, but maybe "The Little Prince" would qualify. There are likely also Star Wars picture books - something to fill out your "survey" of scifi.

    I considered another viepoint that you might explore - women in scifi. Andre Norton, for example, is a classic woman scifi author (actually, probably *the* classic woman scifi author) who began in the 30's (full time in the late 50s). Of course, she *had* to use a male pseudonym (since scifi was definitely a boys thing, back then), and nearly all of her early stories (prior to the 80s) have male main characters. She became quite adept at the boy-becomes-a-man scifi adventure books, and I enjoyed almost all of them when younger. Definitely worth a read, my favorite: Star Man's Son (also titled 2250 A.D.) It has an outcast/mutant main character, American post-nuclear holocaust setting, giant intelligent mutant rat people, exploration, war, etc.etc. In fact, it's nearly as good as Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. You could then compare this to another female author, or perhaps even better her book "Moon Called", very similar in topic (post-nuclear holocaust coming-of-age adventure), but here the main character is a woman. Only very good, but still worth the read.

    This is a great topic. Anything more (running on at the keyboard) advice I can give, let me know.


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  • 1 decade ago

    Well this is a fun topic!

    First, The Ship Who Sang (I think that was a suggestion) is by Anne McCaffrey. She is best known for her fantasy, but I really enjoyed her Crystal Singer trilogy (woman with music knowledge but not enough talent "sings" crystal for a living - great pay, but it ends up making you crazy).

    Piers Anthony was mentioned, and for him, my favorite is the Adept series. It's about a man with two different roles in two different dimensions.

    As it's been awhile since I read Crystal Singer and Adept, I'm not positive about their mature content. I'm sure there isn't anything extensive, though I think both main characters end up in relationships at some point.

    Someone also mentioned Uglies. This is part of a series (it was 3 - another coming out soon) by Scott Westerfeld. When you turn 16, you go from being an Ugly to a Pretty, per an operation. They change you on the outside and also, make a few changes that can't be seen. The others are Pretties, Specials and Extras.

    Same author wrote Peeps and The Last Days. Peeps are parasite positives, or vampires. It's set in New York. Not your typical vampire book, because it's not so much about creatures of the night searching for victims, but about why parasite positives are suddenly being created and what might be going on beneath the ground. These are YA.

    I'm not sure if anyone mentioned Dune yet. (I looked back and it is mentioned. There are a number of books in the series now, with his son writing it, too.) That's by Frank Herbert. A planet of sand and spice, where tears shed can be the death of you. The book is pretty powerful and the movie, well, not the best, but I still found it fascinating.

    Have fun!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Isaac Asimov: I, Robot

    --A collection of short stories, that doesn't take the "science" too seriously. It's just backdrop for the various robot scenarios.

    Michael Crichton: Jurassic Park

    --Because he likes to base his books on cutting-edge scientific developments, they're often out of date shortly after printing. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but don't expect to learn everything you need to know about cloning a dinosaur from these pages. What you will find--as in most of his books--is a new perspective on an old (really old, in this case) topic, and lots of adventure.

    Robert Heinlein: Starship Troopers

    --An interesting look at a soldier and his life in military service. . . in the future. . . in space.

    C. S. Lewis: Out of the Silent Planet

    --Sometimes it takes a journey to an alien planet for humans to get to know themselves. Very imaginative and insightful. The sequels are great, too! (Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength)

    Mary Shelley: Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

    --Again, easy to spot the fiction in the science, but quite a tale--and not quite like you've seen in the movies.

    I'm fairly certain none of these have inappropriate material. I read most of them when I was in high school.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The Space Merchants by Kornbluth & Pohl

    Time Out Of Joint by Philip K Dick

    Eye In the Sky by Philip K Dick

    Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber

    A Pail Of Air by Fritz Leiber (stories)

    Red Shift by Alan Garner (marginally scif-fi--but great)

    Far Out by Damon Knight (stories)

    Also, if you can get past that "inappropriate material" hangup I would recommend two more: Dangerous Visions by Harlan Ellison and The World Inside by Robert Silverberg. The latter is loaded with sex, but I read it for the first time when I was 9, so it couldn't have been too traumatic. Also it comes at the free love issue from an unusual angle: it is an extension of the Church's directive to "be fruitful and multiply." The writing technique's maybe a bit too 60's--but I've always found the image of those huge 23rd century skyscrapers to be a haunting one.

    Anyway, thanks. This has indeed been a fun question to ponder.

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  • 1 decade ago

    For classic, I'd consider Heinlein. His works contained a great deal of both social and political commentary. "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is a good one. Some of his work seems dated, but it's a reflection of the time period. Asimov and Bradbury are also both great. You might also consider Dune by Frank Herbert. It's got action, politics, intrigue, pretty much anything you could ask for. I'm not fond of the sequels, though.

    As for humor, you can't go wrong with Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.

    In the modern era, I'd suggest Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (and the sequels - Xenogenesis and Speaker for the Dead), or maybe The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell. Both deal with religious themes, as well as encounters with alien life and cultures and how misunderstandings can have a profound effect. Both are excellent. You might also consider some of Sheri S Tepper's work (specifically Grass, Beauty, and The Gate to Women's Country). She writes SF that often has a feminist theme.

    For TV tie-ins, if you haven't been exposed to Babylon 5 then you might enjoy watching the series (it's available on DVD) and reading some of the books. The sets look a little cheesy these days, but it was written as a five-year story arc so the plotting is pretty tight and the storylines and arcs are well-planned.

    Have you considered any sci-fi themed comic books? I know it's a little odd, but try reading the Supreme Power graphic novels by J. Michael Straczynski.

    I'd also recommend reading some cyberpunk, a branch of sci-fi. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and Neuromancer by William Gibson are two good representatives of that genre. I prefer Snow Crash myself because of the sly sense of humor - one of the lead characters is named Hiro Protagonist, and his roommate is the lead singer of a band called Vitaly Chernobyl and the Meltdowns.

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  • 1 decade ago

    There is some excellent science fiction out there; this is just what I can think of off the top of my head.

    For Sci-Fi classics, I recommend:

    Robert Heinlein. My favourite is 'Stranger in a Strange Land'; 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress' is also a good place to start.

    Jules Verne

    HG Wells

    Arthur C Clarke. I highly recommend his short stories, and also '2001: A Space Odyssey'.

    Isaac Asimov, especially 'I, Robot' or the 'Foundation' books

    Douglas Adams, 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' (terrific comedy!)

    Orson Scott Card, 'Ender's Game' series (also look into his book on how to write Sci-Fi and Fantasy. It would be a wonderful resource for your project!)

    Larry Niven, 'Ringworld'

    Frank Herbert, 'Dune'

    Ray Bradbury, 'Fahrenheit 451', 'The Martian Chronicles', and his collected short stories.

    George Orwell's '1984'

    New(er) science fiction:

    Dan Simmons, 'Hyperion'

    Connie Willis, 'The Doomsday Book' (a nice blend of science fiction and historical fiction)

    Mike Resnick's 'Santiago' & 'The Return of Santiago'

    Gene Wolfe

    Cheesy science fiction? Try Michael Crichton, or some of Piers Anthony ('Race Against Time' comes to mind). If you want classic cheese, Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Barsoom" novels!

    For a movie/TV-based book, check out some of the 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' novels. These get a bad rap for being terrible, but some are actually quite good! For 'Trek,' look into Peter David's 'ST:TNG' novels (he wrote quite a few, but 'Q-in-Law' and 'Imzadi' come to mind immediately). For 'Star Wars,' Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command).

    There is a distinction between "hard" and "soft" science fiction. In a nutshell, "hard" science fiction emphasizes the science and technology, and "soft" science fiction emphasizes the story and characters. I've tried to give you a selection of both.

    EDIT: for more suggestions, check out a list of Hugo and Nebula Award winners, which are given each year to the best in science fiction and fantasy.

    Hugo Award winners:

    Nebula Award winners:

    Happy reading!

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    book suggestions science fiction school project

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  • Ya Ya
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    For a classic.... "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut. You may not at first realize that it is science fiction, but bear with him; it is!

    Not only that it is a classic and a great read. You'll be a Vonnegut fan once you've finished. Not many people will think of it either, so you'll have something unique.

    Source(s): Enjoy! lpl
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  • 1 decade ago

    You probably already know this, but three important authors in the 'classical' category are Ray Bradbury ("The Martian Chronicles", "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Illustrated Man"); Isaac Asimov (The Foundation Series, which incorporates the Robot Novels); and Philip K Dick (most famous for "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", which was the basis for the film "Blade Runner"). Peter Boulle's original novel "Planet of the Apes" is also considered a classic.

    On a lighter note, Doug Naylor's "Red Dwarf" (I think there are at least two books in the series) is absolutely hilarious.

    Terry Pratchett, whose novels generally fall more into the 'fantasy' category (although I would classify them as satire) wrote one very funny sci-fi I know of called "Strata".

    It contains subtle social commentary as well: a member of a team of planet builders is suspended because, deep down in the layers of a new planet, she plants the skeleton of a dinasoaur holding a 'no nukes' sign.

    One author I know a lot of people call 'cheesy' is Ursula Le Guin. I read one of hers called "The Ship Who Sang"and actually found it very moving. Her novels deal with concept of profound platonic love, so there's no inappropriate material.

    Steve J Brust, a contemporary US writer with a cult international following (including other mainstream sci-fi writers) is worth a look, but I think his work falls more into the fantasy/satire category. Just go to his homepage and email him, he's not stuck up.

    Source(s): Complete list of Philip K Dick novels : Steve Brust homepage:
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  • 1 decade ago

    Fahrenheit 451


    Martian Chronicles

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  • 1 decade ago

    ANY of the works of Robert A. Heinlein, the "Dean of Science Fiction" are a Great read, especially his 'juvenile' novels from the 50's. All of his works have a 'timeless' quality that make them as great a read as when they were first published.

    He is the author of "Stranger in a Strange Land"(arguably his best), "Puppet Masters" (The 'based-on' for the Sci-Fi movie starring Donald Sutherland), and "Starship Troopers" (that the Sci-Fi movie and the T.V. animae are LOOSELY 'based on', and I am sure 'the Master' is STILL spinning in his grave!))

    He is my all-time, lifetime favorite author, and his works have kept me Sane & Entertained for all 55 years of my life, including the worst of injury and poverty!

    Source(s): The combined works of Robert Anson Heinlein, the 'Dean of Science Fiction'. Grizzly I I, lifetime fan
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