You grok? Science Fiction Reading List

As I’m wrapping up Gary (scanning of pages has officially started today), I’ve started a list of things I’d like to do “when Gary‘s done'”.  One of them is reading some science fiction!  There are quite a few books I’ve been wanting to read for the first time, or re-read, or that friends have recommended.  I’m a huge science fiction fan and can’t wait to re-engage the genre with some great books.  This might also be in preparation for my next comic… but we won’t talk about that too much yet.

Here is a snapshot of the books I’ve got in the queue so far:

Man I love used book stores! I’ve been able to pick up most of these for under 4 bucks at Myopic & The Gallery.  I prefer reading books on paper whenever possible.  Though I must admit I’ve read a couple on Ms. T’s Kindle.  Did you know they have pretty much every Philip K. Dick short story for free on the Kindle marketplace?

The complete list of books officially on my Science Fiction Reading List is below.  There are a couple that are not traditionally defined as ‘sci-fi’ but I think they’ll fit nicely.  I did already get through some, so I’ll start with those:

SCIENCE FICTION READING LIST

… Grokked …

Who Goes There? (novella) by John W. Campbell: Wow!  I must admit I was nervous/excited to read this.  As a rabid fan of the John Carpenter film, I wasn’t sure if the source would have the same impact.  This book does not disappoint, with its innovative alien concept and tense moment to moment action.  I will say I prefer the climax of the Carpenter film over the novella, but if you have any love for JC’s The Thing, you NEED to read this!

The Variable Man (novella) by Philip K. Dick: Probably my favorite short by Dick.  Actually, this might be one of my favorite works by him period.  It condenses his ubiquitous themes of ongoing war, humanity’s relation to technology and irony into one exciting tale.

Second Variety (short) by Philip K. Dick: The basis for the film Screamers (which I have a soft spot for), Second Variety is a fun companion to  Do Androids…, exploring human paranoia & technology run amok.

Looking Backward 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy: An interesting book, once you get past some of the quaint Rip Van Winkle set up.  This book is definitely preachy, but you’ll be startled regularly at how close some of Bellamy’s future visions have come to fruition in the present day.

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein: This is easily one of the greatest books I’ve ever read.  Heinlein forces the reader to call into question all that he understands about life, death & eternity.  A perfect example of how a piece of fiction can enlighten the reader and call to mind those deep understandings we rely on every day in communication with eachother.

… Not yet grokked …

The Difference Engine by William Gibson & Bruce Sterling

Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

An Alien Heat by Michael Moorcock

Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock

Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

Mirrorshades (anthology)

The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

We’ll see how many of these I can get through this summer/fall.  I’d be open to hearing any other suggestions or feedback on this list.  I’ll try to give a short review when I finish each book.  If you’d like to read along, please do!

I leave you with a moment of zen from The King himself, a man who understood how to hit you in the face with the genre:

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