1. Man and Machine: ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’
Writer: Philip K. Dick This is a post apocalyptic story set in 1992 after the globe has been decimated by the nuclear holocaust and World War Terminus. Animal and plant species are extinct, surviving humans abandon earth to live on Mars and own androids which serve as slaves. Once, they become discontented and flee back to the earth. However the android troubles just begin, with bounty hunters looking for the robots and retiring them. The fiction book talks discusses about where the line between artificial life and real life needs to be drawn.
2. Close to Home: ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’
Writer: Robert A Heinlein
Valentine Michael Smith is a human born during the time of the first mission to Mars. The Martians raise him and when he returns to the Earth, he experiences the culture of mankind just as an alien would have had. Since he is not a passive observer, he becomes the founder of the Church of All Worlds to help humans overcome jealousies and fears.
3. Far, Far Away: ‘The Foundation Trilogy’
Writer Isaac Asimov In the book the Earth is a footnote in history, long forgotten. All through the galaxy the humans have spread and established a Galactic Empire that has been able to survive since thousands of years. Before this, many civilizations have come and gone. This empire collapses under the weight of political infighting, bureaucracy and corruption. Hari Seldon a psychohistorian sets out to preserve knowledge in a vast encyclopedia and save mankind by gathering scholars and scientists and getting them to earth as a stepping stone to humanity in a new era.
4. Near Future: ‘Doomsday Book’
Writer: Connie Willis A young student, Kivrin Engle is the main character at the University of Oxford specializing in medieval history. Before the country is to be ravaged by Black Death she is sent to fourteenth century England. Deadly influenza virus infects the time machine’s technician who is not able to think clearly. The time machine sends her 28 years later than the targeted date to the year 1348 and she is placed in the Black Death’s path. In human history she faces one of the worst plagues of the horror inflicted.
5.Near Future: ‘Fahrenheit 451’
Writer: Ray Bradbury
The name of the novel refers to a high temperature which ignites paper spontaneously. The fires are not put out by the firemen, but they start fires to burn out books. The story is about Guy Montag a fireman who lives a desolate and lonely existence where people never read, pass one day after another, never think independently and enjoy nature. He starts questioning the meaning of life after getting disillusioned. While doing this the value of literature is discovered and he saves himself. 6. Brave New World Writer: Aldous Huxley The Brave New World written in 1932 foretold that individualism is abhorred, everyone is addicted to soma, a hallucinogen and population is limited permanently. The book is described as a classic science fiction by many of today’s critics.
7.Man and Machine: ‘Neuromancer’
Writer: William Gibson Readers are introduced to the computer networks and the online world or cyberspace. A hacker, Henry Dorsett Case uses the interface of his brain computer to hack computer network across the globe. His employer discovers that Henry steals information due to which he loses his job and roams around Chiba City with bleak urban environment for a cure. He is promised by a mysterious ex military officer to repair his nervous system but Henry finds himself in the most dangerous and biggest hack of his life.
8: Close to Home: ‘Red Mars’ Writer: Kim Stanley Robinson Focus of the story is on the initial party of settlers on Mars who begin the process of terraforming, and thus pave the path for settlers in future. While some people believe in preservation of the planet, the others want the Earth’s transformation into a second Earth, whatever the costs. 9: Far, Far Away: ‘Dune’ Writer: Frank Herbert A sand covered planet called Arrakis captures the imagination of the readers in this novel. This planet is the main source of a drug mélange,that grants immortality to anyone who consumes it. The House Atreides and Harkonnen Noble House are the two ruling families that set the stage for an epic power struggle and young Duke Paul Atreides quest to gain a rightful place on the throne in the story.
10. Alien Invasions: ‘Rendezvous with Rama’ Writer: Arthur C. Clarke In the solar system a cylindrical object, truly enormous suddenly appears and is mistaken for an asteroid. It is dubbed as Rama. Scientists learn that it is an alien vessel and not just piece of rock floating in space. Astronauts in a team, trek out to explore the vast interior world of Rama. They find biots or biological robots, the only life on Rama which seems to prepare the craft for some kind of great mission.