Sunday, November 05, 2006

From SuicideGirls > Wil Wheaton's Geek in Review: Five Books Every Geek Should Read
I chose these books for various reasons, including their contributions to the genre, how well they hold up over time, how fun they are to read, and how significant they were to me in my development as a geek. Those of you non-geeks who have a geeky significant other can also use this list as a starting point to eventually understand exactly why your geek looks at Google News and says there's a Seldon Crisis brewing, but this list is by no means comprehensive (Fahrenheit 451 and Flowers for Algernon are conspicuously absent, for example,) but I had to keep it concise.
I, Robot Author: Isaac Asimov Published: 1950

Neuromancer Author: William Gibson Published: 1984

Ringworld Author: Larry Niven Published: 1970

The Hacker Crackdown Author: Bruce Sterling Published: 1992 (The entire text of this book was made available online, for free, by its author.)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Author: Douglas Adams Published: 1979

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I will acept Wil's challenge to find my own list, despite his very good list. I admit I like mine just a tad better.

I, Robot is now too juvenile for me and I would replace with the Foundation trilogy, which has several Seldon Crises he mentions.

I would replace the next by The Watchmen as there are no graphic novels on his list, although he mentions this one in what I haven't digested here.

The next Niven I replace with Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or his original shorter and tighter version of Stranger in a Strange Land.

On the next I have read everything by Bruce Sterling but this, which I know about and have read excerpts from. This is probably getting a little too dated for nonfiction technogeek hacker stuff. Replace it with a subscription to Wired Magazine or perhaps Mirrorshades, an anthology of Cyberpunk, or Harlon Ellison's Dangerous Visions, a cutting edge anthology of SF from 40 years ago.

For the last I would be replacing The Hitchhiker's Guide with a Terry Pratchatt like The Truth. It is hard to choose which one of his - Small Gods is another good possibility.

I see I had to leave out Snowcrash and anything by Philip K Dick of which Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep most fits his criteria. All of Wheaton's choices were good and arguing over the ranking of these in some Galactic Geek Hall of Fame could go on for years. Which reminds me that an excellent geek series would be The Hugo Winners for an historical overview of the very best science fiction. Overall mine are a bit more political and although I complain about some of his being dated, mine are dated as well but to me don't seem like it. Good writing lasts.

BTW, this article from Suicide Girls demonstrates that like Playboy they have more than just pictures of hot babes.

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