Ten Best Fiction Books of All Time

Ten Best Fiction Books of All Time

Mostly I read non-fiction. But here are some favorite books and authors to relax with on a weekend. Some are outstanding and thought-provoking. Others are wallpaper for the mind. (Affiliate links).

Slaughterhouse-Five: Vonnegut, Kurt

Billy Pilgrim has come adrift in time. His life progresses as determined. But not in chronological order. Starting with some resemblance to the author's war time experience as a PoW interned in a slaughterhouse in Germany, the book explores all manner of ideas and experiences. There is so much I could say about this book. But the short version is to just read it. It's a gem and an absolute classic. One of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own lives. So it goes...

Cryptonomicon: Stephenson, Neal

Most of us have a favorite book. And this one is mine. Weaving parallel tales of the codebreakers of World War Two with modern cyberpunk cryptographers the action and ideas never let up. It is, for me at least, so beautifully written that I would find myself rereading passages that were so descriptive that I would lose myself in them.

Ilium: Dan Simmons

Ilium was one of the most incredible novels I've ever read and I put it right up there with Hyperion Cantos for the sort of science fiction that goes in great depth but feels like it's only scratching the surface. The book retells the tale of the Iliad from a different perspective where the 'gods' of old are an advanced species wielding near magical powers. Fabulous.

The Martian: Andy Weir

What happens when you a gifted writer does astro-physics maths for fun? You get a gripping, fascinating, and factually accurate sci-fi yarn that explores the boundaries of survival in a hostile environment. The move was great. The book is predictably much better.

Foundation: Asimov, Isaac

Asimov is one of the all time greats of science fiction. A prolific and gifted author. But this is a good place to start if you've not read anything of his yet.

The Terminal List: Carr, Jack

Most (?many) women will tell you that James Bond is just a male fantasy figure. Most men on the other hand, realize that James Bond is just another career option. Jack Carr has taken that idea with a former Navy Seal called James Reece. You can guess the rest. The good guy wins. But along the way it's one rollercoaster of a ride.

Snow Crash: Stephenson, Neal

Well ahead of it's time, this story of a cyber punk redefines the way we look at the world. Weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age. In real life, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s Coso Nostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse.

Dune: Herbert, Frank

Dune is one of those sci-fi books that everyone who loves science fiction will one day read (and probably re-read). The series of books are staggering in breadth and detail.

Rendezvous with Rama: Clarke, Arthur C.

Arthur C. Clarke was one of the authors who defined the genre of sci-fi. Rama is a good place to start but there are so many amazing books by Clarke that it is hard to pick on out.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values: Pirsig, Robert M

Part autobiography, part philosophy, part travel tale, and hugely entertaining is the story of one mans journey through life. The background is a motorcycle journey with his son. But the story interweaves so much more. The sequel (Lila) is worth reading because it ties it all together in the end. But this book is a modern masterpiece and a must read for everyone - even if you don't love motorcycles.

Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos): Simmons, Dan

An outstanding piece of science fiction that just draws you in with mind bending ideas. The fourth book pulls things all together in a very satisfying way. One of my all time favorites.

Jack Reacher Box Set: Child, Lee

Like a bit of a guilty secret, Jack Reacher novels are definitely in the 'wallpaper for the mind category' but if you grew up on Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming, you'll probably like these for a Sunday afternoon chill out on the couch.

Winter World (The Long Winter): Riddle, A.G.

There are a couple of very satisfying twists by the time you get to the end of this series.