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What are Some Classic Science Fiction Novels?

By A.E. Jaquith
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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Science fiction novels have been a favorite of the literary world for a long time. As it is with all genres, there are some novels that stand as a paragon for everything a sci-fi experience should be. If you are new to science fiction novels, or simply want to expand your collection, there are some excellent stories that should be read.

In 1965, Frank Herbert wrote Dune , one of the most highly successful science fiction novels of all time. The book is riddled with themes of political intrigue, love, violence, and loyalty. Dune explores an intergalactic society that is much more advanced than our own, but at the same time feels very familiar. Frank Herbert wrote six books in the Dune series until his death in 1986. Later, his son Brian finished the original series, and wrote two separate prequel trilogies.

For those who want their science fiction novels to follow a more realistic avenue, check out George Orwell's 1984 . 1984 is a novel that speculates what the world would be like if "Big Brother" monitored every aspect of our life. Political and social dissenters frequently disappear, children are trained to spy on parents and report their misdeeds, and only the upper echelon of society has any flicker of freedom. Though 1984 is a work of fiction, there are a surprising number of similarities between Orwell's world and modern society.

If you seek excellence, you need go no further than the science fiction novels of Phillip K. Dick. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? , which was adapted into the film Blade Runner , introduces us to a futuristic Earth where androids perform many of the tasks previously performed by humans. If these androids go rogue and become a threat to mankind, it is up to the novel's hero, Deckard, to track them down and eliminate them. The novel explores what it really means to live, and the concept of humanity.

Another excellent science fiction novel by Phillip K. Dick is The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch . In this novel, mankind has colonized many different planets and moons across the solar system. Since these colonies often offer less than ideal living conditions, the colonists use a highly hallucinogenic drug to escape their drab existence. The novel explores religion, the human psyche, and the evolution of mankind.

For other excellent science fiction novels, consider reading anything by Isaac Asimov or Kurt Vonnegut. Some of Asimov's more popular novels include I, Robot and The Foundation Trilogy . A few of Vonnegut's more memorable novels include Slaughterhouse Five, The Sirens of Titan, and Player Piano .

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Discussion Comments

By anon37314 — On Jul 18, 2009

List ought to include works by Robert Heinlein, references to Hitchhiker, work by Ursula leGuin- and that's only the beginning. This is a poor list that doesn't reference classic tales, like those written far earlier-- HG Wells, Mark Twain-- this is about classic science fiction novels and ought to address the topic with more knowledge.

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