Foundation by Isaac Asimov: A clever and original storyline that shows how ahead of his time Isaac Asimov really was. This novel is the first in the Foundation series and set far into the future, at a time when humans have left Earth and live all throughout the Galaxy. A brilliant mathematician, Hari Seldon, develops a way to accurately predict the future by analyzing the past and trends in human history. He predicts the decline of the Galactic Empire and establishes a Foundation in order to save the knowledge of the human race and rebuild a new empire after the the current one is destroyed.
Ringworld by Larry Niven: Hugo, Nebula, and Locus award-winning novel from 1970 with a fast-paced and imaginative story. A group of travelers are sent on a mission to explore an unknown object in space. From Earth the object appears to be a perfect ring, million of times larger than Earth moving through the universe. The crew is gathered by an alien named Nessus and consists of two humans and two aliens. The four of them head out to the massive ring-shaped world 200 light years from earth to explore it and then return to earth but a crash landing forces them to stay and deal with it’s inhabitants.
H.G. Wells’s The War Of The Worlds is the first novel that explores the idea of what could happen if an intelligent and more technologically advanced civilization decided to invade and colonize Earth. The invaders here are the highly evolved Martians, who find that their planet is cooling and will be unable to sustain life for much longer. To survive they must find a new planet on which they can rebuild their civilization. They look towards their warmer and larger neighbor, Earth – and make plans to conquer it.
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Publication date: 1972
Rendezvous With Rama is a story about humankind’s first encounter with an alien space ship. Detected by astronomers in 2130, it is originally mistaken for an asteroid and named after king Rama, the seventh avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. Continue reading
A Farewell To Arms (Ernest Hemingway) – A semi-autobiographical novel depicting Lieutenant Frederic Henry, an American serving in the Italian army during World War I. When Henry gets wounded while at the front he is sent to a hospital where he meets a nurse, Catherine. They soon fall in love and together they abandon the army.
All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque) – An intense first person account of the war describing the experience of German soldier Paul Bäumer and his friends. The story is about their horrifying time in the trenches on the western front.
Company K (William March) – Written in 1933 by an American veteran of The Great War, this novel consists of 113 episodes each describing the experience of a different man in the company.
The Good Soldier Svejk (Jaroslav Hašek) – A satirical novel about the futility of war. Svejk from Prague joins the Austrian army and manages to constantly frustrate the officers with his incompetence and idiocy. If his incompetence is real or acted is not clear, and it ends with Svejk being mistakenly taken prisoner by his own troops while wearing a Russian uniform. This novel is 700+ pages long and might require some patience to get through, but it is still an enjoyable story.
Author: Joseph Conrad
Publication date: 1899
Narrator: The unnamed narrator is one of the men present on the boat Nellie at the beginning of the novel. It is through his point of view we learn about Marlow’s story.
Marlow: A British sailor who is the main character of the story. He captains a steamboat up the Congo river to find the mysterious Kurtz.