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Best Science Fiction Books - Where To Get Them Online.

-- by Alan Detwiler
Science fiction is an arena for exploring the possibilities of what might have been and what might someday be. It is a vision of the author and it is more than that. The author's presentation is a synthesis of all concepts coming to the author from many sources: other writers, scientists, news people, people in general, and the author's view of nature and the author's view of the manmade world. His view is mostly a product of what has been explained to him as understood by our collective wisdom. So, his vision is more a collective vision of all mankind than his own personel vision. The author is intent to produce the most profound and gratifying ideas he can conjure using insight forged from a lifetime of interaction with ideas active in humanity's collective conscious. When we apply concepts to his words and feel the author's intent, we experience an affirmation of the greatness of civilization and culture, and can revel in what prospects the future may eventually deliver.

The list below includes a brief description for a few science fiction books that seem likely to be enjoyable reads for me because of their classic status and because the descriptions that I happened to find suggest that these books, to a more than average extent, present plausible scenarios for the future. A clickable link takes you to the Barnesandnoble sales page. Some of the books may be available through your local library.

Books available through

  1. The Drowned World
    Aurthor: J. G. Ballard 
    Publisher: Penguin Group Incorporated
    First published: 1962
    Pub. Date:  12/09/1976
    ISBN-13: 9780140022292
    Describes the earth in the middle of the twenty-first century when the temperature of the atmosphere has risen. Polar ice has melted flooding enormous areas of land. London is a swamp. Civilization has moved toward the poles, what has been abandoned has reverted to dinosaur-era-esque landscape. An expedition is sent out to survey the reminants of London. Three of the expedition members become overwhelmed by the psychological impact of their primal surroundings. The expedition heads back leaving the three behind to whatever fate awaits them.

  2. The Sheep Look Up
    Aurthor: John Brunner
    Publisher: Benbella Books
    First published: 1972
    Pub. Date: May 2003
    ISBN: 1932100016
    ISBN-13: 9781932100013
    pp: 388
    is a description of a world dying from enviromental degradation. It is a story told from the perspectives of an array of characters. The book can be considered as a warning that either our misuse of the earth must stop or we will deal with the chaos of climate change and water shortages.

  3. Synners
    Aurthor: Pat Cadigan
    Publisher: Perseus Publishing
    First published: 1991
    Pub. Date: 09/12/2001
    ISBN-13: 9781568581859 
    Synners are computechs skilled at obtaining images from a performer's mind. A consumer purchases a surgical implant to experience a virtual reality created from those extracted images. It's big business involving corporate/employee conflicts, moral dilemas, and struggles to maintain personal freedoms and values.

  4. The Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart Of The World
    Aurthor: Harlan Ellison
    First published: 1969
    Pub. Date: August 2009
    ISBN: 0759230129
    ISBN-13: 9780759230125
    pp: 300
    $8 at
    It is 2024. The Third War hasdestroyed civilization. The only remaining cities are deep underground, away from the radiation and savagery of the surface, where gangs known as Roverpaks forage, barter and kill to survive. Vic is on his own in this desolated world, alone except for his sidekick Blood. Blood is a highly intelligent dog descendant from genetically enhanced lab animals. Depicts how brutal life is after a nuclear holocaust.

  5. Make Room! Make Room!
    Aurthor: Harry Harrison
    Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
    First publishe: 
    Pub. Date: April 2008
    ISBN: 0765318857
    ISBN-13: 9780765318855
    pp: 288
    $14.95 plus shipping at
    The year is 1999 and New York is in chaos from over population. 35 million people are struggling to find food, and to survive. The story of a policeman hunting a killer and his involvement with the victim's girl friend. Predicts what the future could be like if population continues its current rate of increase.

  6. Brave New World
    Aurthor: Aldous Huxley
    Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
    Pub. Date: October 2006
    ISBN-13: 9780060850524
    pp: 288
    Describes a future world in which social evils have largely been eliminated. The non satifying culture is made palitable by the pleasures of sex and psychotropic drugs. Genetic engineering produces individuals suited to various rolls in a world society operated by industrial principles. A couple of leading characters become dissatified and struggle to adopt a different mode of living.

  7. The Dispossessed
    Aurthor: Le Guin
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Pub. Date: December 1994
    ISBN-10: 0061054887 
    ISBN-13: 978-0061054884 
    pp: 400
    $8 at
    Takes place far in the future. A brillant physicist living in a anachicial society visits a world much different from his own and yearns for a way to transform both cultures. A character study and examination of what would make an ideal society.

  8. Ringworld
    Aurthor: Larry Niven
    Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
    First published: 1970
    Pub. Date: September 1985
    ISBN-13: 9780345333926
    ISBN: 0345333926 
    pp: 352
    A 29th century explorer's experiences in a gigantic, engineered, artificial planet and the strange ecosystems and civilizations he finds there.

  9. Nineteen Eighty-Four
    Aurthor: George Orwell
    Publisher: Penguin Group
    First published: 1949
    Pub. Date:  03/15/1985
    ISBN-13: 9780451518651 
    The countries of the world merge to form 3 superstates where mind control and torture insure conformity. The three states are constantly engaged in limited warfare. Ritualized hatred and propoganda unites the citizenery. The leading character, Winston Smith, works in the Ministry of Truth, rewriting newspaper articles to suit whatever is the current political stance of The Party. Thought Police and surveilance Telescreens are everywhere. Smith secretly hates The Party and is constantly worried that he will be found out and forced to undergo inhuman reindoctrination. That nightmare becomes a reality. Smith survives the agony but losses part of his self.

  10. Man Plus
    Aurthor: Frederik Pohl
    Publisher: Orion Publishing Company
    Pub. Date: 2000
    Cybernetic technology enhances the human body for colonizing Mars. Ethics becomes subordinate to expediency as conditions on Earth deteriorate making a Mars colony a likely means for man's continued existance. The cybernetic additions and subtractions give the cyborg great ablilities but also cause anguish and predicament.

  11. Earth Abides
    Aurthor: George R. Stewart
    Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
    First published: 1949
    Pub. Date: 09/28/1986
    ISBN-13: 9780449213018
    A plague destroys civilization. One of the very few survivors meanders through desolate America, finally finding a female companion. After generations of progeny, knowledge of pre plague ways is lost, and life becomes similar to that of indigenous people in America before Europeans arrived in North America.

  12. Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang
    Aurthor: Kate Wilhelm
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
    First published: 1976
    Pub. Date: August 1981
    ISBN: 0671435329
    ISBN-13: 9780671435325 
    An epidemic leaves humans unable to procreate. Cloning becomes the only way to sustain humanity. But the clones are different than their predacessors, they begin to function as a unit, somehow developing common attitudes and pursuing common intentions. It is discovered that cloning only temporarily continues the human race - only three generation of clones can be produced. Then a normal human child is born whose individuality becomes a blessing and a possible calamity for both the clones and for survival of the human race.

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Updated 20091015
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