Wednesday, July 18, 2018

MY Top Ten: Science Fiction Novels

Posting one’s top ten favorite this-or-that list has been a trend for years. Recently, I posted my top ten in books and in movies. Today, I’m returning to the written word but narrowing my scope to a single genre, science fiction.

I’ve always enjoyed science fiction works. My reading these days are usually focused in other genres, though. Nevertheless, I decided to take a moment and reflect on the various novels in this subject matter which I have read and attempt to select my favorites. As I expected, it was not an easy task. Yet, here they are as of this writing. They are subject to change.

Some criteria for my selections:

1. It must be a printed publication (I don't do e-books).
2. It must not be a novel written based on a television show or motion picture.
3. It must be a work I have read completely at least once!
4. Its position in the list is, for the most part, indicative of (a) how much I enjoyed it and (b) how often I have read it.

10. “Millennium” by John Varley. Travelers from the future snatch passengers prior to crashes, leaving prefabricated bodies in their place. The life of an air disaster investigator changes forever upon his examination of the event.

9. “After the Fact” by Fred Saberhagen. Financial Advisor Jerry Flint takes a position with the Pilgrim Foundation. His first assignment: travel to 1865 and save Abraham Lincoln from assassination.

8. “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson. The well-known story of the good doctor who develops a potion that releases his wicked, inner self.

7. “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. While the special effects in all the “JP” movies are outstanding, I found Crichton’s original story to be even better in print.

6. “The Lost World” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Yes, the creator of Sherlock Holmes also wrote science fiction! Journalist Edward Malone meets Professor George Challenger, a scientist who claims he has discovered a “lost world” inhabited by prehistoric animals. The expedition begins.

5. “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. Firemen in the future have a new assignment and it involves books. No, they aren’t reading them! Firefighter Guy Montag, however, falls in love with a book-hoarder and his life begins to change.

4. “The Invisible Man” by H. G. Wells. A scientist named Griffin creates a serum which makes him invisible. Of course, it also drives him to insanity!

3. “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne. Nineteenth century Professor Liedenbrock heads an expedition into an extinct volcano in Iceland on a journey to the Earth’s core. The geologist takes his nephew Axel and guide Hans into the subterranean world.

2. “The Time Machine” by H. G. Wells. The traveler has developed a machine which will carry him through time. Convinced the distant future will hold better days for society, he journeys to the year 802701 and finds something quite different.

1. “The War of the Worlds” by H. G. Wells. It’s the nineteenth century and strange cylinders are falling from space and landing in Britain. The Martians have arrived, and they are not our friends!

Sure, there are many others I could have put on this list. Here are a few also-rans.

·       “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne
·       “From the Earth to the Moon” by Jules Verne
·       “The Island of Dr. Moreau” by H. G. Wells
·       “The First Men in the Moon” by H. G. Wells
·       “Out of the Silent Planet”, “Perelandra”, “That Hideous Strength” by C. S. Lewis (his space triology)
·       “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov
·       “Frankenstein” (or “The Modern Prometheus”) by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
·       “Gateway” by Frederik G. Pohl, Jr.

Obviously, my favorite science fiction authors are Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. To be frank, I could have made a top ten list easily from just these two men!

Well, that’s my present list. If you read science fiction, which ones do you enjoy?

No comments: