Best Science Fiction Novels
5 Books | by Thrillist
“[Zamyatin’s] intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism— human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself—makes [We] superior to Huxley’s [Brave New World].”—George OrwellTranslated by Natasha Randall • Foreword by Bruce Sterling Written in 1921, We is set in the One State, where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. The novel takes the form of the diary of mathematician D-503, who, to his shock, experiences the most disruptive emotion imaginable: love. At once satirical and sobering—and now available in a powerful new translation—We is both a rediscovered classic and a work of tremendous relevance to our own times.
Ray Bradbury's internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn't live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
The Sirens of Titan
“[Kurt Vonnegut’s] best book . . . He dares not only ask the ultimate question about the meaning of life, but to answer it.”—EsquireNominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American ReadThe Sirens of Titan is an outrageous romp through space, time, and morality. The richest, most depraved man on Earth, Malachi Constant, is offered a chance to take a space journey to distant worlds with a beautiful woman at his side. Of course there’ s a catch to the invitation–and a prophetic vision about the purpose of human life that only Vonnegut has the courage to tell.“Reading Vonnegut is addictive!”—Commonweal
As has been said, The Hill, which had been built to be the Tellurian headquarters of the Triplanetary Service and which was now the headquarters of the half-organized Solarian Patrol, was—and is—a truncated, alloy-sheathed, honey-combed mountain. But, since human beings do not like to live eternally underground, no matter how beautifully lighted or how carefully and comfortably air-conditioned the dungeon may be, the Reservation spread far beyond the foot of that gray, forbidding, mirror-smooth cone of metal. Well outside that farflung Reservation there was a small city; there were hundreds of highly productive farms; and, particularly upon this bright May afternoon, there was a Recreation Park, containing, among other things, dozens of tennis courts. One of these courts was three-quarters enclosed by stands, from which a couple of hundred people were watching a match which seemed to be of some little local importance. Two men sat in a box which had seats for twenty, and watched admiringly the pair who seemed in a fair way to win in straight sets the mixed-doubles championship of the Hill. "Fine-looking couple, Rod, if I do say so myself, as well as being smooth performers." Solarian Councillor Virgil Samms spoke to his companion as the opponents changed courts. "I still think, though, the young hussy ought to wear some clothes—those white nylon shorts make her look nakeder even than usual. I told her so, too, the jade, but she keeps on wearing less and less."...
The Stars My Destination
Gully Foyle, Mechanic's Mate 3rd Class, is the only survivor on his drifting, wrecked spaceship. When another space vessel, the Vorga, ignores his distress flares and sails by, Foyle becomes a man obsessed with revenge. He endures 170 days alone in deep space before finding refuge on the Sargasso Asteroid and then returning to Earth to track down the crew and owners of the Vorga. But, as he works out his murderous grudge, Foyle also uncovers a secret of momentous proportions.