Most people I know who read science fiction read it throughout their formative years. Also, there’s no law that this period of “formative years” can’t be extended forever, is there!
On Facebook, my friend Afonso asked:
Afonso Cesar Moreira
out of sheer curiosity wants to know what are the favourite ‘science-fiction’ novels of his facebook friends. So, if you had to choose, which one would it be?
This is really a tough question. Even though, seen in hindsight, no book with a thrilling topic or a brilliant idea was ever able to influence me both strongly and lastingly if it wasn’t also well—and preferably very well—written, there are still so many that come to mind!
But I’ll give it a try.
In my Top 5, I would place (in chronological order):
- John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar
- Philip Dick’s Ubik
- Samuel R. Delaney’s Dhalgren
- William Gibson’s Neuromancer (in extension the Sprawl Trilogy)
- Alistair Reynolds’s Revelation Space (in extension the series)
To fill up my Top 10, I would choose:
- A. E. van Vogt’s Isher
- Jack Vance’s To Live Forever
- Bob Shaw’s The Shadows of Heaven
- Cordwainer Smith’s Norstrilia
- Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War
Each of these had a strong and lasting impact. But, if I really had to decide, William Gibson’s Neuromancer would be it.
Regarding short story collections, the “Top 5” of my most formative ones would be:
- Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles
- Robert Sheckley’s Citizen in Space
- Brian Aldiss’s Starswarm
- James Tiptree, Jr.’s Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home
- Cordwainer Smith’s Instrumentality of Mankind
Now what would be yours?