SciFi Leaderboard

I love science fiction, despite being teased by various people for reading “fantasy books”. Certainly hard scifi is not fantasy; it is a projection into the future based on the trends and theories of the present. But what about when the fictional technology is so far-flung and unexplainable that it may as well be magic? Well, then you’re dealing with science fantasy:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

Add soft scifi to the mix and you might argue that I’m often reading Dragonlance in space. I’d like to say that I prefer hard scifi, but my favorite book right now is Hyperion – which I believe falls squarely in the realm of fantasy/soft scifi. But regardless of the sub-genre, I find that science fiction consistently provides me with new ideas, new perspectives, and of course, entertainment.

A few years ago I decided to filter my scifi consumption by Hugo and Nebula award winners. Below you can see the ones I’ve read, sorted by how much I enjoyed them.

Novel Author Awards
Hyperion Dan Simmons Hugo (1990)
Ender’s Game Orson Scott Card Hugo (1986), Nebula (1985)
Neuromancer William Gibson Hugo (1985), Nebula (1984)
A Fire Upon the Deep Vernor Vinge Hugo (1993)
Dune Frank Herbert Hugo (1966), Nebula (1965)
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke Hugo (1974), Nebula (1973)
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Robert A. Heinlein Hugo (1967)
Mirror Dance Lois McMaster Bujold Hugo (1995)
The Forever War Joe Haldeman Hugo (1976), Nebula (1975)
A Deepness in the Sky Vernor Vinge Hugo (2000)
Moving Mars Greg Bear Nebula (1994)
Ringworld Larry Niven Hugo (1971), Nebula (1970)
Lord of Light Roger Zelazny Hugo (1968)
Seeker Jack McDevitt Nebula (2006)
The Terminal Experiment Robert Sawyer Nebula (1995)
The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov Hugo (1973), Nebula (1972)
Rainbows End Vernor Vinge Hugo (2007)
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein Hugo (1962)
Forever Peace Joe Haldeman Hugo (1998), Nebula (1998)
Foundation’s Edge Isaac Asimov Nebula (1983)
Darwin’s Radio Greg Bear Nebula (2000)
Blue Mars Kim Stanley Robinson Hugo (1997)
Doomsday Book Connie Willis Hugo (1993), Nebula (1992)

One Comment

  1. Chris says:

    I’ve read the majority of this list (exceptions Mirror Dance, Moving Mars, Seeker and The Terminal Experiment). It is interesting to see what I would rate differently. For example, I enjoyed Doomsday Book way more than Lord of Light, they might be swapped on my list. Perhaps it is due to Asimov being one of my first favorite authors (and re-reading all of the Robot and Foundation series a couple years ago), but seeing the Foundation series in the bottom 25% of the list surprised me. I really did enjoy the Hyperion series quite a bit tho.
    I think you may enjoy the uplift series by David Brin which has a dual hugo/nebula award winner in Startide Rising. You know I’m a huge fan of Philip K. Dick, so I’d get some of that in you as well. Rudy Rucker’s Ware Tetralogy is really fun and I quite enjoyed it. I’ve also become a fan of Hugh Howey, a newer author. Since you enjoyed those Haldeman books, you might also enjoy John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War. If nominees qualify, I really liked The Difference Engine by Gibson AND Sterling.

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