While I may not be as big of Geek when in comes to comic books, tv shows, or tech gear, I do love a good sci-fi novel. For me the allure has always been the how far can an author go without making the reader throw their hands up and say,” why oh why didn’t I take the blue pill?”
So for your humble appraisle I give my summary of what I think are the top three sci-fi books of all time.
3. “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline – I rarely say that I couldn’t put a book down, but this book is the exception. Being a gamer, I was hooked from page one, but what kept me there was Cline’s attention to detail, character development, and insane world building. The main character takes us through the inner workings of a virtual world that makes anything created to date look like a Commodore 64 (which is referenced numerous times in the book). As my fellow Adam stated in his article, the book is crammed to the hilt with 80’s pop culture, but what intrigued me was how Cline weaved that culture into something that you wanted to know about. Granted I’m pretty skilled on pop culture of that era, but he was pulling out stuff that went way over my head. This was written in a way though that didn’t frustrate the reader, but spurred them on to find out more about it.
Add in a fantastic big-bad, a treasure hunting protagonist on the run for his life, and a treasure hunt worth billions of dollars, you end up with one heck of a good read.
2. “The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” by Douglas Adams – I always have appreciated an author who is brave enough to leave the realms of this planet for another. Douglas Adams took care of that by blowing the entire thing up to make way for a hyperspace bypass, and forcing our main characters to hitch a ride on a Vogon ship. From that point on things stop being weird and get flat out surrealistic. That has always been the appeal for me with this series, and of course we can’t forget the cast of self interested, egotistical, blundering, and down right nonsensical characters.
For example, there’re plenty of stories out there about protagonists thrust into adventure. Arthur Dent makes it very clear that he never has and never will want part of any adventure, and would rather just spend the rest of his time traipsing through the universe in search of a good cup of tea.
More importantly we learn that there’s nothing more vital to intergalactic travel than a good towel. So at all costs please make sure you have your towel, your copy of “The Guide,” and no matter what “Don’t Panic.”
1. “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson – It takes a lot of guts to start your book with an epic pizza delivery, but it takes a stroke of genius to make it fit perfectly into the story as an important plot point. Not to mention we get a fantastic look into the personalities of the samurai sword wielding, pizza delivering, computer hacking main character named, “Hiro Protagonist,” and the loud mouthed, teenage, skateboard courier, Y.T.
Neal Stephenson does a fantastic job in painting his own version of a dark and depressed not-so-distant future where corporations really rule the roost. Much like “Ready Player One” most people prefer to stay online as opposed to dealing directly with the crippling poverty, corruption, and general anarchy that covers their waking world. That being said you do get to see much more of that world than you do in “RP1.” Taking you through in style through an everything from privately run city states to a nuclear aircraft carrier turned refugee camp, and how can I forget the tech, the TECH!
Stephenson does a fantastic job making technology that isn’t too far fetched. From simple things like super light body armor, to a nuclear powered guard dogs. Alright so that second one is a little crazy, but when your book is placed in a society that is run by corporations that have created their own rule, who’s to say what’s possible. Regardless, I love how everything reads as if I could hop online and buy it today.
So there you have it, I hope I can make it through my first Threeway without being to beaten down too badly, but when you belly up to the bar with two guys who most likely wear bantha underpants; you learn to keep your expectations low.