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WWDR (What Would Dad Read?)

November 8, 2011

I love books (and not just cookbooks). If you look around our house it is quickly clear that I love books more than I love bookshelves. I come by this affliction honestly and grew up in a house where there was always a lot of books and a trip to the mall always meant we would come home with new books. My mother enjoys books and is a reader, but my dad is the one with the real problem. As a kid he was so bored once that he read the encyclopedia. For those of you who are too young to remember an encyclopedia is a paper version of what people used before Encarta Wikipedia. I once  tried to emulate him, but I never made it past A. I knew more about armadillos than any ten-year old should.

My dad reads books all genres, but what he really reads is Science Fiction. I’ve always had more of Fantasy leaning myself, but that doesn’t stop me from reading a lot of pure SciFi. If you don’t think there is a difference you can probably stop reading at this point because the rest is just a list of some great science fiction books. Aloha’s dad inspired me to put together a list of science fiction novels that I would recommend and here it is.

Top 10 Science Fiction Books I (and my Dad) Would Recommend

10. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card- OK. I’m not actually sure my dad has read this one. I think for it to really hit you it has to be read before you turn 20. If you get too far away from childhood it doesn’t seem as magnificent. I have gone back and reread it a few times and I always enjoy it, but I can never tell if I am enjoying the book or remembering the first time I read it in college.

9. Ringworld by Larry Niven- This one doesn’t really help Mr. Aloha’sDad because it was on his list too, but really no SciFi list would be complete without it.

8. Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway – “Amazing multi-layered dystopian fantasy. With Ninjas.” I am actually reading this one right now on my Kindle so I don’t know the second half of the book, but I going to go out on a limb and assume it doesn’t get worse.

7. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – Space military, killing alien bugs book in the tradtion of Starship Troopers, but with a great twist and some incredible writing by Mr. Scalzi.

6. Birthright: The Book of Man by Mike Resnick – It took me a while to figure out which Resnick book I wanted to put on this list and I decided to go with the first one I ever read. He is the master of the space opera. The Widowmaker Series would be my second choice. Excellent SciFi pulp.

5. Jumper by Steven Gould – Hollywood turned a well written coming of age concept novel into an action flick that didn’t really work. Stephen Gould is my favorite under-appreciated author and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. 7th Sigma is his most recent book and I devoured it in a day.

4. Dies the Fire by S.M. Sterling – I thought I had discovered Sterling when I read this book and recommend it to my dad who pointed out that Mr. Sterling has been writing since before I was born. Dies the fire is a vague parallel to the Island in the Sea of Time that was written in the late 90’s.

3. In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker – The first book in a great time travel series by Ms. Baker. It starts to bog down a little after the 4th book, but its still worth reading the whole series.

2. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress – What if you never had to sleep? Nancy Kress takes her great premise for a short story and flushes it out into a novel. I think I might like the short story better, but they are both good. She has a great collection of short stories called Beaker’s Dozen.

And the Number One Science Fiction Book I would Recommend is

1. The Foundation Trilogy by Issac Asimov – I wrote a 10 page paper in high school defending the premise that this Trilogy defines good science fiction. I got an A.

This list is in no way complete, but I think it is a darn good start. Dad if you are reading this feel free to add a few.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Aloha's Dad permalink
    November 15, 2011 9:26 pm

    This is awesome! I’ve been looking for some new books to read, I plan to print this list and take it with on the next trip to the used bookstore. Thank you!

    I’ve been looking for a book to read with my family for awhile that I read a long time ago (pre-marriage). It was called ‘The Rolling Stones’ and it was about a family that traveled together in Space. I just looked up the author, it was Robert Heinlein! I remember enjoying it a lot then and I think the kids would enjoy it also. When I find it I’ll let you know if it was as fun as I remember.

    • November 15, 2011 9:39 pm

      Glad I could help. I run hot and cold on Heinlein, He has definitely helped defin the genre, but some of his stuff is very dated both in technology and culture.

  2. November 12, 2011 2:34 pm

    Books rock! Great list, Mike!

  3. November 11, 2011 8:07 pm

    Wow. I’ve only read 2 on your list, Ender’s Game, which I loved, and Asimov. One of his books was the first SciFi I had ever read and it hooked me. He’s still my favorite SciFi writer ever. I need to check out the others on your list.

  4. November 10, 2011 12:12 pm

    I am going to add an honorable mention – The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It is exquisite and could stand on it’s own as non-genre fiction if they didn’t travel to another planet.

  5. November 10, 2011 11:59 am

    Aside from short stories, I haven’t really read any straight Sci-Fi. I was always a horror gal – Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker,etc.
    I’ve been interested in exploring the genre, though, so this list sounds like a great place to start.

  6. November 8, 2011 11:57 pm

    What is about these coincidences? I was just telling someone this weekend about how our family trips to the mall revolved around the stop at the book store!

    The only one I’ve read on either of your lists is Ender’s Game. And I can’t remember it well enough to say what I thought. I’m truly feeling out of my league here, just like I always did on those trips to the mall. 🙂

    • November 9, 2011 1:01 am

      seriously, can’t I just have these comments linked to my fb notifications so I don’t have to go look for them? or is there a default to keep the ‘Notify me of follow-up’ checked whenever I comment?

  7. Dad permalink
    November 8, 2011 7:19 am

    You’re probably right about the age thing–I never could get into O. S. Card’s books.

    Asimov–under The Naked Sun
    John McDevitt–On Ancient Shores (McDevitt’s a fellow Philadelphian!)
    Alan Dean Foster–The Flinx Series,
    Etc., etc., etc.
    Always tough to come up with favorites when I will read almost anything that is labeled SciFi (or do I have to spell that with “y” now?) There are three and a half unread books in my library and one is SF, one is semi-SF, and two are thriller/mystery.

    Liberario ergo sum!

    • November 8, 2011 7:52 am

      Alan Dean Foster wasn’t even on my radar. That was an oversight. I never got into McDevitt, but I may have to give him another try in my “old age.”

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