Something inspired me to read a dozen old sci fi novels the past few months, some for the first time, others a second. My favorites follow.
1. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin. A wayfarer from an anarchist society visits a feudal capitalist one. The subtitle is “An Ambiguous Utopia” and the book explores the beauty and perversities of each. Just enough thoughtful political philosophizing to make me think I’m smarter having read the book.
2. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. A beautiful, only sometimes clumsy story about a mentally-retarded man made genius.
3. Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Better considered social science fiction. I’d read the series as a teenager, but had forgotten that the whole premise is that a sufficient knowledge of statistics and psychology and you can predict all of human behavior. (On second thought, we’d better classify this as fantasy.) They start wonderfully then get kind of lousy in the later novels.
4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Kind of like popcorn. You have a little and you keep stuffing your face. You know it’s not really the best food you could be eating, but there’s a lot worse out there and this tastes so good right now.
Since there’s no other natural place to blog this, I’ll also mention here that one of the most enjoyable (new) books I read all year was Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.