Books can have a huge impact on an individual’s life. These ten novels each, in their own way, had a huge impact on me as a young reader as well as giving me hours upon hours of entertainment as my imagination took each story and played it out in my own adapted version.
Number One: 1984 by George Orwell
Growing up in the Cold War in a family that understood all too well what the ramifications of the west losing Cold War meant, this was a scary novel for me. Orwell, a former Socialist himself, predicted so many things that have come to pass. This novel, despite its namesake year having coming and gone, is still incredibly relevant. Don’t think so? Name a place of business where there is not a television screen playing mindless repetitive news spewing the media’s mantra. Doublespeak? Try political correctness on college campuses and just about everywhere else. If this world is utopia, I think I’ll do without.
Number Two: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner) by Philip K. Dick
This one has it all as far as I am concerned. Moral and philosophical issues, replicants, futuristic technology and a fantastic noir atmosphere set in the nightmarish Los Angeles of the future. Decker could have been written by Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler just as easily as Phillip K. Dick.
Number Three: Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
The novel that spawned five movies, two television series and who knows how many comic books. I will never forget the scene where the hunt for the humans starts, in either the novel or the film. What a great twist for the ending as well!
Number Four: The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I loved this story as a young boy and still enjoy reading it. Professor Challenger is a larger than life character and Professor Summerlee it turns out is a match for Challenger. What a grand adventure, going to a hidden land where dinosaurs still live!
Number Five: Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
Hard to believe, but this science fiction class, also made into a movie, is anti-war. The novel version though seemed to be pro-military. There is a difference. At any rate, the war with the Bugs makes for great action and some really creepy aliens.
Number Six: Dune by Frank Hebert
A masterful creation of a completely new universe to tell a story in. Hebert’s imagination and his ability to bring his vision to life via the printed word is magnificent.
Number Seven: Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
A fun story that takes a look at what it means to be a sentient being. Little Fuzzy can’t help it if he’s cute. Piper’s tale also looks at the dark side of human nature as the need to declare the Fuzzies as non-sentient in order to protect profits shows the lengths mankind will go to because of the deadly sin of greed.
Number Eight: Runaway Robot by Lester Del Ray
YA Science fiction and it was a great adventure! A boy and his robot, instead of a boy and his dog. One of the first science fiction books I ever read and I still get a kick out of it.
Number Nine: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Jules Verne may have been off with a lot of the science in his novels, but he had a way of predicting things that would come about such as man traveling to the moon and nuclear power. Given that he got those two big ones right, he gets a pass for thinking it was possible to descend into a volcano in Iceland and travel to the center of the planet.
Number Ten: The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndam
Triffids sound horrible if you weren’t blind. I can’t begin to imagine the sheer horror of facing these strange plants with my eyesight being normal. An early story of global disaster without relying on the Cold War theme of a nuclear holocaust.
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