What science fiction novel should I read next?

Last month, I posted a list of science fiction novels that I should have read, but that I’ve never gotten around to. After going through the various comments, I have culled the list down to five novels and I am asking for you help in choosing which science fiction book I read next.  Think: “You can’t call yourself a real science fiction fan if you haven’t yet read ________!” Vote in this poll and choose the science fiction novel in this list that I am simply must read next.

[poll id=”3″]

I recognize that there may be other books that I should be reading, but for now I want to keep the scope of this to the five books listed in the poll.

Keep in mind that when I say “next” I am mean the next science fiction novel I read. I currently have a small stack of books that I am making my way through, and once there is an opening for a science fiction book, I’ll choose the book that gets the most votes in the poll as the one that I read next. And, of course, I’ll report back once I’m done reading it.

The poll will remain open until 11:59pm Friday night, which gives you just over two days to get your vote in. In the event of a tie, I will select the book that comes first in the tie as they are listed in the poll. I will report the winning book on Saturday.

So come on, science fiction brain trust: which of these five books should it be?


  1. I wonder if anyone else voted for a title just because it sounded cool. That’s what I did. It’s also the last title someone mentioned to me. 🙂

  2. 1.Mote in God’s Eye
    2. Have Spacesuit will Travel (as a nice comparison of both “space” novels)
    3. Blood Music– jumping forward into the more experimental.
    4. This Immortal–Zelazny does New Wave.
    5. The Lathe of Heaven–the most literary of the group

  3. No contest. It’s a crime against nature that you haven’t read “Have Spacesuit…”
    You have a classic Heinlein juve THAT YOU’VE NEVER READ waiting for you. What are you waiting for?
    Even if you don’t like it, come on.
    It’s a classic Heinlein juve.
    That you’ve never read.
    Did I mention it’s a classic?
    By Heinlein?
    A juve?
    And you’ve never read it?

    I’ll buy you a copy.

  4. The Mote in God’s Eye! It’s mandatory, isn’t it? Seriously… I reread that book regularly because it’s written so well. Great action scenes. Interesting ideas. And a SF education is not complete without this classic alien first contact story. It sets all the other first contact books and movies into context.

    1. Michele, I don’t really know how I missed reading it over the years–how I missed reading any of these, since I am otherwise fairly well-read in the genre. Just one of those things, I guess. I do like first contact stories, though. At the moment, Mote has the lead. It will be interesting to see if it stays there…

  5. Out of list, “This Immortal” offers the best contrast to your Golden Age Vacation reading. The novel is a good encapsulation of what made Zelazny such a potent force in the sixties: here Roger dances between SF and fantasy, gets to play around with various mythologies, all while telling a crackling good adventure yarn. Also “This Immortal” is the briefest book on you list – how can Conrad Nomikos and the Vegan not be your first choice?

    1. Mark, I hear you, and I will read that book eventually, but unless it makes a comeback in the next few hours, it won’t be the next one. And I’ve got to be honest, I’m beginning to have my fill of Venus stories. How did the fans of the 1940s stand so many of them? It’s like the deluge of Mars stories in the early 1990s, only without the accurate science to back them up.

  6. In contrast to Roger’s “The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth”, I assure you that “This Immortal” is 100% Venus free (unless Conrad spies it in the night sky during the crucifixion scene).

  7. Venus = Africa / South America.

    A simple way for the pulp author to retrofit an H. Rider Haggard type yarn into science fiction.

    1. Ah, I got the Haggard-type story but for some reason I didn’t make the Africa/South America connection. That actually helps make the stories more interesting when you look at them in that context.


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