Mind-bending Science Fiction

Top 10 Mind-bending Science Fiction : Childhood's End, Ringworld, Ubik, Diaspora, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dragon's Egg, The Dispossessed, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, The Forge of God, The Golden Age

Childhood's End
AuthorArthur C. Clarke
The Overlords appeared suddenly over every city--intellectually, technologically, and militarily superior to humankind. Benevolent, they made few demands: unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. With little rebellion, humankind agreed, and a golden age began.

But at what cost?...
Ringworld
AuthorLarry Niven
ISBN0575077026
The artefact is a circular ribbon of matter six hundred miles long and ninety million miles in radius. Pierson's puppeteers, the aliens who discovered it, are understandably wary of encountering the builders of such an immense structure and have assembled a team of two humans, a mad puppeteer and a...
Ubik
AuthorPhilip K. Dick
ISBN8498000831
Glen Runciter está muerto. ¿O lo están todos los demás? Lo que es seguro es que alguien ha muerto en una explosión organizada por los competidores de Runciter. De hecho, sus empleados asisten a un funeral. Pero durante el duelo comienzan a recibir mensajes descorcentantes, e incluso morbosos,...
AuthorGreg Egan
ISBN3453161815
By the end of the 30th century humanity has the capability to travel the universe, to journey beyond earth and beyond the confines of the vulnerable human frame.

The descendants of centuries of scientific, cultural and physical development divide into three: fleshers — true Homo sapiens;...
AuthorArthur C. Clarke
ISBN0451457994
On the Moon, an enigma is uncovered.

So great are the implications of this discovery that for the first time men are sent out deep into our solar system.

But long before their destination is reached, things begin to go horribly, inexplicably wrong...

One of the greatest-selling...
AuthorRobert L. Forward
"In science fiction there is only a handful of books that stretch the mind--and this is one of them."--Arthur C. Clarke

In a moving story of sacrifice and triumph, human scientists establish a relationship with intelligent lifeforms--the cheela--living on Dragon's Egg, a neutron star where...
The Dispossessed
AuthorUrsula K. Le Guin
ISBN0061054887
Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly...
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
AuthorPhilip K. Dick
ISBN1407247425
Dick at his wildest and strangest - a mystifying but brilliant book - SF: 100 Best Novels

In the overcrowded world and cramped space colonies of the late 21st century, tedium can be endured through the drug Can-D, which enables users to inhabit a shared illusory world. When industrialist Palmer...
AuthorGreg Bear
ISBN0765301075
On July 26, Arthur Gordon learns that Europa, the sixth moon of Jupiter, has disappeared. Not hiding, not turned black, but gone. On September 28th, Edward Shaw, a geologist working in Death valley, finds a mysterious new cinder cone in very well-mapped area As more unexplained phenomena spring up...
AuthorJohn C. Wright
ISBN0812579844
The Golden Age is 10,000 years in the future in our solar system, an interplanetary utopian society filled with immortal humans.

Phaethon, of Radamanthus House, is attending a glorious party at his family mansion celebrating the thousand-year anniversary of the High Transcendence. There...
The Left Hand of Darkness
AuthorUrsula K. Le Guin
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose—and change—their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must...
A Scanner Darkly
AuthorPhilip K. Dick
Substance D is not known as Death for nothing. It is the most toxic drug ever to find its way on to the streets of LA. It destroys the links between the brain's two hemispheres, causing, first, disorientation and then complete and irreversible brain damage.

The undercover narcotics agent who...
Time Out of Joint
AuthorPhilip K. Dick
Time Out of Joint is Philip K. Dick’s classic depiction of the disorienting disparity between the world as we think it is and the world as it actually is. The year is 1998, although Ragle Gumm doesn’t know that. He thinks it’s 1959. He also thinks that he served in World War II, that he lives in a quiet...
AuthorGreg Egan
The story of a man with a vision - immortality : for those who can afford it is found in cyberspace. Permutation city is the tale of a man with a vision - how to create immortality - and how that vision becomes something way beyond his control. Encompassing the lives and struggles of an artificial life junkie...
Red Mars
AuthorKim Stanley Robinson
ISBN0553560735
In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research & cutting-edge science in the 1st of a trilogy chronicling the colonization of Mars:

For eons, sandstorms have swept the desolate landscape. For centuries, Mars has beckoned...
Blindsight
AuthorPeter Watts
ISBN0765312182
It's been two months since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent since - until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who to send to meet the alien, when the alien doesn't want...
A Maze of Death
AuthorPhilip K. Dick
ISBN0679752986
Fourteen strangers come to Delmak-O. Thirteen of them were transferred by the usual authorities. One got there by praying. But once they arrived on that treacherous planet, whose very atmosphere seemed to induce paranoia and psychosis, the newcomers tound that even prayer was useless. For on Delmak-O,...
AuthorCordwainer Smith
ISBN0915368560
The third story in this volume takes place 16,000 years in the future. When you realize that the 33 stories are ordered chronologically, you begin to grasp the scale of Cordwainer Smith's creation. Regimes, technologies, planets, moralities, religions, histories all rise and fall through his millennia.

These...
AuthorIain M. Banks
Prologue

Stars were barely visible through the tiny oval. The reader looked up from his novel, blinked. Checked his watch -- still hours to go. His wife sat slumped next to him, still asleep. Some people could sleep on planes. Some people couldn't.

"What are you reading?" asked the...
The Ship Who Sang
AuthorAnne McCaffrey
ISBN0345334310
It was Thanksgiving, I was out of town, had just gotten ready to head out for dinner when I heard that Anne McCaffrey had passed. It hit me like a punch in the gut. I couldn't quite shake it all evening. What was going on? Sure, I've read her books but she has never been on a list of favorite authors, why was I so...
AuthorChristopher Priest
ISBN0060134216
The city is winched along tracks through a devastated land full of hostile tribes. Rails must be freshly laid ahead of the city & carefully removed in its wake. Rivers & mountains present nearly insurmountable challenges to the ingenuity of the city's engineers. But if the city does not move,...
The Word for World is Forest
AuthorUrsula K. Le Guin
Centuries in the future, Terrans have established a logging colony & military base named "New Tahiti" on a tree-covered planet whose small, green-furred, big-eyed inhabitants have a culture centered on lucid dreaming. Terran greed spirals around native innocence & wisdom, overturning...
AuthorHal Clement
ISBN0515034797
Cover Artist: Ed Emshwiller
Mission of Gravity is an sf novel by Hal Clement. The title is a play on words, one meaning "the force which pulls" & the other being "extremely serious or important". It was serialized in Astounding Science Fiction, 4–7/53. Its 1st cloth publication was in '54....
AuthorAlastair Reynolds
ISBN0575099127
Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. But now, someone is eliminating the Gentian line. Campion and Purslane — two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden...
Doomsday Book
AuthorConnie Willis
ISBN0553562738
For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking...
AuthorRobert Charles Wilson
One night in October when he was ten years old, Tyler Dupree stood in his back yard and watched the stars go out. They all flared into brilliance at once, then disappeared, replaced by a flat, empty black barrier. He and his best friends, Jason and Diane Lawton, had seen what became known as the Big Blackout....
AuthorJohn Varley
ISBN0575072830
After the effortless capture of Earth by vastly superior aliens, humanity is forced to fight for existence on the Moon and other lumps of airless rock. The invention of the Hotline -- a constant stream of data from a star in the constellation Ophiuchus -- facilitates survival and enables the development...
AuthorNorman Spinrad
ISBN0586203621
An over-the-hill rock star, a Puerto Rican street kid, and two children of the electronic age discover strength in numbers when they take on the power of Musik, Inc., in a war of nerves, passion, and rock 'n' roll. Spinrad uses the violent, sexually explicit language of new wave sf to communicate an ultimately...
The Fall of Hyperion
AuthorDan Simmons
ISBN0553288202
"Nurse, this patient’s chart is very confusing.”

“Which patient, Doctor?”

“Uh..Mr. Kemper. He’s the one in the vegetative state.”

“Oh, that’s a very sad and odd case.”

“According to the patient history, he was admitted a few weeks ago...
AuthorGreg Egan
ISBN1596061553
First Story. "Luminous."
I found this story to be OK, but not great. The idea involves the basics of mathematics being invalidated due to certain remote regions of formulation having been corrupted in the quantum craziness of the early universe...or something. Mainly the characters sit in front...
AuthorDavid Zindell
ISBN0553279033
This is a really enjoyable 'big idea' science fiction novel that takes place millenia in our future on the planet Icefall, also called Neverness. It's kind of Dune meets Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol 1 with high level mathematics, posthumanism, and trippy metaphysics thrown in.

The story...
AuthorCordwainer Smith
ISBN0345323009
Rod McBan 151st farms 'stroon', the immortality drug, and is the last scion of one of the oldest and most honourable families on Norstrilia, only source of stroon. But he's also a telepathic cripple and faces the ever-present risk of being culled under the government's draconian population laws.

To...
AuthorMary Gentle
ISBN0451136063
Orthe - half-civilized, half-barbaric, home to human-like beings who live and die by the code of the sword. Earth envoy Lynne Christie has been sent here to establish contact and to determine whether this is a world worth developing. But first Christie must come to understand that human-like is not...
The Shadow of the Torturer
AuthorGene Wolfe
ISBN0671540661
Wolfe has an almost legendary status amongst fellow authors; Gaiman called him 'a ferocious intellect', Swanwick said he's "the greatest writer in the English language alive today", and Disch called this series "a tetralogy of couth, intelligence, and suavity".

You can rarely trust the...
AuthorStephen Baxter
But wait. There was something new.

Out of the blocks this novel scratched a sensawunda itch that was causing me no small amount of reading distress (I haven’t really been reading a lot of books for the last three years, and I was desperately looking for something to kickstart my reading obsession...
AuthorMichael Flynn
ISBN0765318172
A triumph of the New Space Opera: fast, complicated, wonder-filled!
Hugo Award finalist and Robert A. Heinlein Award-winning SF writer Michael Flynn now turns to space opera with stunningly successful results. Full of rich echoes of space opera classics from Doc Smith to Cordwainer Smith, "The...
Adulthood Rites
AuthorOctavia E. Butler
ISBN0446603783
In this sequel to Dawn, Lilith Iyapo has given birth to what looks like a normal human boy named Akin. But Akin actually has five parents: a male and female human, a male and female Oankali, and a sexless Ooloi. The Oankali and Ooloi are part of an alien race that rescued humanity from a devastating nuclear...
AuthorMichael Flynn
ISBN0765322846
Hugo Award finalist and Robert A. Heinlein Award-winning SF writer Michael Flynn returns to space opera with Up Jim River. There is a river on Dangchao Waypoint, a small world out beyond Die Bold. It is a longish river as such things go, with a multitude of bayous and rapids and waterfalls, and it runs through...
AuthorDan Simmons
ISBN0380817926
The Trojan War rages at the foot of Olympos Mons on Mars—observed and influenced from on high by Zeus and his immortal family—and twenty-first-century professor Thomas Hockenberry is there to play a role in the insidious private wars of vengeful gods and goddesses. On Earth, a small band of the...
Grey
AuthorJon Armstrong
ISBN1597800651
In a society controlled in large part by an elite group of corporations and characterized by its wild extremes -- economic, political, sexual, etc. -- young Michael Rivers is a demigod. The heir apparent to high-tech security juggernaut RiverGroup, the 19-year-old has it all: He's handsome, fashionable,...
The Lifecycle of Software Objects
AuthorTed Chiang
ISBN1596063173
What's the best way to create artificial intelligence? In 1950, Alan Turing wrote, "Many people think that a very abstract activity, like the playing of chess, would be best. It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it...
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