A while ago I posted about my top 5 contemporary teen fiction books, and today I'm doing something similar with my favourite science fiction books. I'm counting science fiction as separate from dystopian fiction, which is coming soon, and also I haven't read a huge amount of sci-fi so I'm not all that knowledgeable on the subject. But anyway, here are my top 5:
First up is The H-Bomb Girl by Stephen Baxter. It is essentially a science-fiction novel, but told in such a way that sets it apart from the rest of Stephen Baxter's more high-tech, futuristic novels. Set in Liverpool in the early 1960s, The H-Bomb Girl is the fictional account of 14-year-old Laura Mann and her role in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The story starts off fairly normally and is easy to follow, but before long the read is thrown into a jumble of potential bomb-threats, parallel realities and criss-crossing timelines (which Doctor Who fans will know is something to be avoided at all costs). I won't give away much more, as it's hard to do this incredibly confusing yet also fantastically brilliant novel.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the comedic genius which is Douglas Adams always has been and always will be one of my favourite series ever, regardless of genre. There are five of the original books (the trilogy of five), as well as another instalment penned by Eoin Colfer for the thirtieth anniversary of the books. The story follows Arthur Dent, who wakes up one morning to find his house is about to be destroyed to make way for a motorway. Soon he has bigger problems, when he finds out the Earth is about to be destroyed by a fleet of vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Along with his old friend Ford Prefect, who he suddenly discovers to be from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, Arthur travels the universe armed with only his trusty towel, in a series of books universally acknowledged to be one of the best works of sci-fi comedy ever written. If you haven't read these books, you won't regret it!
Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is the first in the Chaos Walking trilogy. I remember before I read these books I kept seeing The Knife around all over the place, as it has won various awards, and never really knowing what it was about. It's the story of two characters: Todd Hewitt, who is running from his home town to escape the Noise and the secrets being kept from him, and Viola Eade, whose spaceship has crash landed on Todd's planet. There's a lot more to the story than that, but I've only read this a few times so the details escape me - but it was very, very good, I can tell you that much.
172 Hours on the Moon, by Johan Harstad, was recommended to me by my lovely friend Elisha. It's been over forty years since man first landed on the moon, and the interest in space travel is slowly fading. NASA decide to launch a worldwide event where three teenagers are chosen to travel to the moon for a stay of 172 hours. But there's a reason nobody's gone back to the moon before now, and something evil and destructive waits in the darkness... 172 Hours is easily the most chilling, disturbing and generally terrifying book I have ever read, which is quite some achievement. It actually reads very much like an episode of Doctor Who, even to the point where I found myself hiding behind a cushion while I was reading it, which I'm aware makes no sense. If you love an eerie sci-fi novel bordering on thriller, this is definitely for you.
I first read 0.4 by Mike Lancaster because I was intrigued as to why a book would have a number as a title - several chapters in, I got my fairly satisfactory answer. Kyle Straker has a story to tell, and an editor's note tells us that the book is a transcript of tapes recorded by Kyle in the early part of the 21st century. One perfectly ordinary day, Kyle takes part in a hypnotism act, but he wakes up to find the world has changed, big-time. 0.4 is one of those books which is very difficult to talk about without giving away the ending, so I won't try to. What I will say is that this is one of the most I-can't-put-it-down books I have ever read, and I finished it in a couple of hours. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.
And that concludes my top 5 science fiction novels. You'll notice that none of this could be classed as hardcore sci-fi, and that most of them are aimed at a YA audience, but I've only ever read one heavy duty sci-fi novel (Space by Stephen Baxter) which I wasn't a huge fan of. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed another top 5 post, please comment down below if you've read any of these!