With this question, we’re going to split it into a few areas so people aren’t quite as narrowly focused or stressed in trying to come up with that single top-tier favorite. I grew up on science fiction, being a seven-year-old when I first saw Star Wars during its original theatrical premiere and having my life altered forevermore. That lead me to comics which got me reading, much to my mothers satisfaction, and then it got me onto reading juvenile novels and then onto the harder adult stuff as the years went on. Science fiction is the backbone of my reading and it always left me frustrated in school because we’d be reading “the classics” and I’d regularly ask why we weren’t reading things more complex and involved like some of my favorites below. The categories this time around are:
- Your Favorite SF Novel/Series
- Your Favorite Classic Novel/Series (pre-1980)
- Your Favorite SF Author – Modern & Classic
- Your Favorite SF/Fantasy Mixture
- Your Favorite SF Expanded Property
I’ll keep my answers brief. Topping the list of favorite for me as both novel and series is mixture. I adore the core four-volume Dune series with God Emperor of Dune often being at the top of my list with a fight with my next. This is where my classics side digs in as Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein was hugely influential on me at a young age, within reason, and the Notebooks of Lazarus Long have stuck with me throughout my life – though not all are adhered to!
Authors are tough, damnit, but if I have to have go with the classic side I’ll go with Isaac Asimov and all that his works introduced me to and prepared me for when it came to discovering Heinlein. On the modern side, it’s a real tough choice between Peter F. Hamilton and Stephen Baxter but Baxter’s entire Xeelee Sequence works have captured my heart and soul.
When it comes to the SF/Fantasy mixture, I grew up reading a lot of Piers Anthony and he had a lot of really neat works in that arena – hell, I still use Blue Adept as a username! Anthony has long fallen out of vogue but the series that really won me hard with this particular branch was the Darksword Trilogy by Weis & Hickman. They put out a ton of great books (Rose of the Prophet!!) but this one definitely got me hard.
To clarify on the Expanded Property, this is a novel/series that’s taken from film and TV and expanded here. Your Star Wars and Star Trek kinds of things. And honestly, I’m such a Star Wars junkie that was defined by it at such a young age that it’s a no-brainer. I loved a lot of adaptations of films – the Aliens novel in particular expanded things wonderfully – but the first wave of Star Wars books like Han Solo at Star’s End and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye helped me into really reading novels. And the modern relaunched expanded side has me picking up nearly every novel. I’m addicted.