50 Essential Science Fiction Books
This was a virtually impossible task. Put together a list of 50 must-read science fiction books and don’t make anyone angry. Science fiction is the most discussed and argued over genre in literature but it actually goes way beyond books and into film, TV, video games and even toys.
Here are the criteria we used. One book per author, so that was hard on the big three of science fiction – Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke, who each have multiple classic titles to their name. Attempt to show as many sub-genres of science fiction and plot themes as possible. Include early stories that influenced the genre as a whole and launched popular themes, even if those books appear a bit dated today.
We wanted to show the unbelievable breadth of this galactic-sized genre and, of course, we failed because this is just the tip of the spaceberg – there are probably 500 essential science fiction books, not 50.
The War of the Worlds is on the list, a famous example of invasion literature, but I could easily have used The Time Machine. For Ray Bradbury, there’s The Illustrated Man but I could have used Fahrenheit 451 or The Martian Chronicles.
You are spoiled for choice, this list includes novellas, short story collections, a graphic novel and books from published 1864 to 2011…