Since the list of “My Top 5 Fantasy Series” continues to be extremely popular (well, second spot in “Hall of Fame”, to be precise), I thought it was time to continue the “Top 5” lists. This time, I am going for the other half of fantasy, Science Fiction.
And like last time, I am not going to list the giants like “Foundation” series by Asimov, “Space Odessy” or “Rama” by Arthur C. Clarke or “Hitch-hiker’s Guide to The Galaxy” by Douglas Adams.
Well, the fact that any Clarke series doesn’t make it to my all-time Top 5 doesn’t make a difference here, right? So, on to the list:
- Dr. Who series by BBC: A TV series converted into books, comics and what-not. The basic premise is extremely simple: A Time Lord from planet Gallifrey, known only as The Doctor moves through the universe, travelling in space and time in his TARDIS, accompanied by his (mostly human female) “companions”.
Extremely well written, the books are as much fun as the episodes. The Doctor displays a ingrained sense of justice and freedom, not to mention, humour. What with little quirks like the Time Lords’ ability to regenerate after mortal injury (which makes changing actors in the series pretty much seamless), and the great humour in the series, it is not exactly a surprise that the series is on the TV for more than 30 years. That goes for books, too. (More about this, later)
- “Robots” series by Isaac Asimov: Collection of short stories and novels, this series is a brilliant collection of sci-fi robotic novels. It is filled with memorable characters like R. Daneel Olivaw (who makes a “guest appearance” in Foundation series, too) and R. Giskard Reventlov, as well as Elijah Baley, and is based in first few centuries of human expansion in Galaxy from Earth, with robots with positronic brains getting introduced in all walks of human life.
Of course, the series is everybody’s first introduction to the “Three Laws of Robotics”, which have now been deeply ingrained in literature, as well as science.
- “Jurassic Park” series by Michael Crichton: For those who haven’t seen the films, the premise: A eccentric genius millionaire plans to create a petting-zoo containing dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the plans go horribly wrong while an evaluation committee is visiting, when the carnivores get loose. Of course, completely destroying the island doesn’t destroy all the production facilities, as a reporter finds out on another island where the dinosaurs are roaming in wild.
For those who have seen the films, yes, the first two films are based on books. And I must say, after reading the books, the credit for the film should go to the story as well as direction and special effects. And remember, converting books to movies means that the ends are a bit changed. I am just sorry Crichton stopped with just two novels, as these are well filled with scientific info and “science (sometimes well-meaning) gone bad” theme which is a characteristic of his collection.
- “Net Force Explorers” by Tom Clancy: In a almost completely computerised future world, Net Force is FBI branch fighting cybercrime. Explorers are whiz-kids apprenticed by Net Force, who in the true tradition of “kids knowing more about technology”, help the Net Force operatives with the cases.
The world of “Explorers” is full of adventures in VR, which remind you of the world of Matrix (admittedly, here the people have complete control over when to enter and exit VR, and what they do there). There they fight criminals trying to test technology to harm people in real world using VR, in a medieval MMRPG, and expose the plot of totalitarian state to circumvent scientific embargo by winning a VR space race, among other cases.
And even though that last sentence is a bit weird, the heroes in the series being kids, the preachy “good guys to the rescue of hapless world from evil dudes” rhetoric in normal Tom Clancy novels is much muted here.
- “Dirk Gently” by Douglas Adams: Dirk Gently is a “holistic” detective. His approach to investigation can be seen in his approach to driving: when he is lost, he follows the person in front, assuming the next driver knows where he is going. This may not be a real help in solving his cases, but it allows him to get his primary objective: build up huge bills for his clients to pay.
What makes this sci-fi-meet-detective-meet-humour series special, is whatever crazy ideas Dirk comes up with to put on his bill come true. Needless to say, when Douglas Adam writes detective stories in the same vein as he wrote “Guide”, it is going to be a huge laugh-riot.
Well, like last time, you can take this as a tag. List your top 5 books/series in your favourite genre. Do it anywhere you want, and remember to tell me if you think I am missing something.
Quote of The Day:
I’d call you a genius, except I’m in the room
– The Tenth Doctor.