‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert is widely hailed as one of the best works ever in the science fiction genre. And with a narrative that creates stunning visuals in your mind, and a story so deep it has layers to it, one cannot dare to disagree. Frank has definitely invested a lot of time and creativity to create for the reader an ecologically rich world, ensuring one can picture the story as it goes. The story is set in the future but brings to light a problem widely faced in the present day society – how the people tend to amplify the status of religious preachers to levels of high power.
The tribal society of Fremen represents many of the religious groups that exist in the world. Through the rich ecology of the desert planet Arrakis, one can relate to the present world need for a balance between utilizing and conserving resources. Although like many novels of the genre, the story focuses on the protagonist’s hidden abilities, one can feel that here it is less about glorification and more about survival. The novel has so many layers to it that it may be tedious for a beginner to fully understand it, but this book is definitely an avid reader’s delight.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
Imagine the world has come to an end. You are the sole surviving human. What should you do next? Fear not, cause this book can guide you well. Douglas Adams’s masterpiece, the rather small read showcases the journey of two humans traveling in space and time to truly understand what life is after they see a total annihilation of planet Earth. Through their journey, they face terrible adventure, all to get ‘a decent cup of tea’ as the protagonist says.
The extent to which Douglas Adams explains all the technology of the new worlds is so intense one can actually feel the logic build up in their mind. And through his ‘wizardry with words’, he has created a subtle satire on religion, philosophy and bureaucracy. This book is one that will keep you hooked for days, to eventually discover the true meaning of life. SPOILER ALERT: it’s 42.
- The Time Machine:
Here’s the proud work of the father of science fiction, H.G. Wells. The story is simple – a time traveler recites his adventures in the future t his friends, who think he’s a fraud. His adventures are what gets this novel to the top – an intelligent satire on the divisions in society. He meets two kinds of people – the elite but dumb Eloi, and the filthy Morlocks who serve the Eloi and then eat them.
The time traveler’s machine gets stolen and he searches for it in this new world, set 800,000 years into the future. The story also serves as a wake-up call – when the time traveler travels further, he finds all life has ended, indicative of the unwise path humans had chosen at that time. For a book written before the onset of the twentieth century, it is far ahead of its time. This is one book easier to understand, and enjoyable for everyone.