Science fiction is my favorite genre and I love reading the classics. I’m going to arbitrarily say a classic is any book that is still being read twenty years after it was first published. Classics have a certain something that makes them worth reading for this long, something more than a shallow action-packed, suspenseful story. If you are just looking for lots of action and suspense, you should probably skip the following recommendations. If you are looking for books with powerful ideas about man’s relationships with science and technology, then give these a try.
Against the Fall of Night (1953) by Arthur C. Clarke
The ten billion year-old city of Diaspar is the last refuge of humanity, protecting it from the destruction caused by the Invaders. Alvin, the only child born in the last ten million years, finds a way to leave the city and discovers that the world is not as desolate as he had been told. (It was really hard to choose one Clarke novel to recommend, so you should definitely read more if you like this one.)
Z for Zachariah (1974) by Robert C. O’Brien
Nuclear war has devastated the world. Ann Burden manages to survive, alone, in a secluded valley safe from the fallout. One day a stranger appears, but he becomes very sick after bathing in a radioactive stream. Ann is excited by the possibility of having another person around and tries to nurse him back to health. But the stranger’s fevered ramblings lead her to think he may not be someone she can trust.
The White Mountains (1967) by John Christopher
In the future, the Earth is ruled by the Tripods and humans are “Capped” when they become adults to make them docile. While many people accept their fate and welcome the cap, Will wonders what life would be like without it. After meeting a mysterious drifter, he sets out for the White Mountains, a place where humans are supposedly free. This is the first book in the Tripods series.
House of Stairs (1974) by William Sleator
Five orphan teens are trapped inside a structure of endless staircases. With seemingly no way out, they are forced to depend on a machine to provide them with food. They learn that they must perform specific actions in order to be fed. As time passes, these actions become more and more complicated. Then they become downright sinister.