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This page is meant to cover the basics works and stellar pieces of science fiction literature. While the bulk of Science Fiction is trashy genre-work there are genuine masterpieces. The purpose of this article is to illustrate those masterpieces as best as possible. As always however, this list is imperfect and always growing. If there is anything missing please add to it.

The Big Three[]

Isaac Asimov[]

Title Author Description Pages Book Cover
The Caves of Steel Isaac Asimov

In this novel, Isaac Asimov introduces Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw, who would later become his favorite protagonists. They live roughly three millennia in Earth's future, a time when hyperspace travel has been discovered, and a few worlds relatively close to Earth have been colonized—fifty planets known as the "Spacer Worlds". The Spacer worlds are rich, have low population density (average population of one hundred million each), and use robot labor very heavily. Meanwhile, Earth is overpopulated (with a total population of eight billion), and strict rules against robots have been passed. The eponymous "caves of steel" are vast city complexes covered by huge metal domes, capable of supporting tens of millions each. The New York City of that era, for example, encompasses present-day New York City, as well as large tracts of New Jersey.

Asimov imagines the present day's underground transit connected to malls and apartment blocks, extended to a point where no one ever exits to the outside world. Indeed, most of the population cannot leave, as they suffer from extreme agoraphobia. Even though the Robot and Foundation series were not considered to be part of the same fictional universe until much later, those "caves of steel" resemble the planet Trantor.

The Complete Robot Isaac Asimov A collection of 31 of Isaac Asimov's short stories, they share a theme of the interaction of humans, robots and morality, and put together tell a larger story of Asimov's fictional history of robotics. Includes the story "Runaround" which outlines Asimov's laws of Robotics. 496
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The Gods Themselves Isaac Asimov The main plotline is a project by aliens who inhabit a parallel universe (the para-Universe) with different physical laws from this one. By exchanging matter with Earth, they seek to exploit these differences in physical laws. The exchange of matter provides an alternative source of energy in their dying Universe. However, the exchange of physical laws will have consequences. 304
The Foundation Trilogy Isaac Asimov Orignally published as a series of novelettes, the foundation trilogy is regarded by many as a itself a key foundation of science fiction. Asimov published another three stories in set in this universe. Before finally wrapping together the timelines of these stories with those of his robots stories. 678
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The Naked Sun Isaac Asimov Another Science Fiction/Mystery Novel that features Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel, who investigate a murder in a outer space world which has its economy, culture and society closely tied with subservient robots that obey the Three Laws of Robotics. 288

Arthur C. Clarke[]

Title Author Description Pages Book Cover
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke It's 2001. I shouldn't have to give an introduction 320
Childhood's End Arthur C. Clarke Story regarding the future of mankind after the advent of an alien race appears and offers them a golden era of prosperity. 256
The Collected Short Stories of Arthur C. Clarke Arthur C. Clarke A Collection of nearly every short story Arthur Clarke has ever published tallying at over 100. Includes: The Nine Billions Names of God, The Sentinel, and his flash fiction "God said, 'Cancel Program GENESIS.' The universe ceased to exist." 976
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The Fountains of Paradise Arthur C. Clarke 332
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Rendevous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke Classic book featuring mankind's encounter with the alien vessel Rama. 274
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Robert Heinlein[]

Title Author Description Pages Book Cover
Friday Robert Heinlein The tale of a genetically modified female, designed to be superior physically, and mentally to normal human beings. The story follows her struggles with the prejudice against artificial humans and her attempts to assimilate. 368
Have Space Suit - Will Travel Robert Heinlein boy wins space suit in a lottery, goes to space and has adventures. 256
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Methuselah's Children Robert Heinlein 183
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress Robert Heinlein The moon is a penal colony declaring independence from Earth, with a spontaneously self aware computer to help. Lots of philosophy of government, alternate social organism, alternate marriage arrangements. 384
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Orphans of the Sky Robert Heinlein 224
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Starship Troopers Robert Heinlein One of Heinlein's most famous pieces of science fiction, Starship Troopers follows the eyes of a human soldier going through the ranks in an alien war. 263
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert Heinlein Boy raised by Martians theoretically owns Mars, has strange powers due to his upbringing. Grok that. 528
Time for the Stars Robert Heinlein sup light interstellar travel and consequences, plus mental telegraphy and other odd ideas. 256
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Early and Proto Science Fiction[]

Title Author Description Pages Book Cover
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Verne, Jules 426
A Journey to the Center of the Earth Verne, Jules 256
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A Voyage to Arcturus Lindsay, David 274
Frankenstein Shelley, Mary 328
The Invisible Man Wells, H.G. 208
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The Island of Dr. Moreau Wells, H.G. 160
The Last Man Shelley, Mary 352
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True History Lucian of Samosata 44
Micromegas Voltaire 48
The Time Machine Wells, H.G. 104
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The War of the Worlds Wells, H.G. 138

Golden Age Science Fiction[]

Title Author Description Pages Book Cover
A Princess of Mars Burroughs, Edgar Rice 160
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The Big Time Leiber, Fritz 152
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The Day of the Triffids Wyndham, John 256
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The Demolished Man Bester, Alfred 256
Dorsai! Dickson, Gordon R. 288
The Martian Chronicles Bradbury, Ray 288
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Mission of Gravity Clement, Hal good hard science about being on the surface of a 300 gravity world. 203
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Out of the Silent Planet Lewis, C.S. 160
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Slan van Vogt, A.E. 272
Star Maker Stapledon, Olaf 232
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Stars My Destination Bester, Alfred 272
To Your Scattered Bodies Go Farmer, Philip Jóse 184
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Triplanetary Smith, Edward E. 240
The Voyage of the Space Beagle van Vogt, A.E. 224
Who? Budrys, Algis 158
Who Goes There Campbell Jr., John W. 168
The World of Null-A van Vogt, A.E. 272
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Modern Science Fiction[]

Title Author Description Pages Book Cover
A Fire Upon the Deep Vinge, Vernor Three tiers of galactic civilization face a common threat from a malicious, sentient super-AI. Hard to describe. Basically a must read. 624
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A Time of Changes Silverberg, Robert 304
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The Algebraist Banks, Iain M. Guy looks for secret formula to unlock wormhole travel in a varied and imaginitive universe. 434
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Babel-17 Delany, Samuel R. language determines the thoughts and ideas that can be conveyed efficiently. 158
Behold the Man Moorcock, Michael 124
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Beyond Apollo Malzberg, Barry N. 156
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Bill, the Galactic Hero Harrison, Harry Anti-War Military Satire and the cafeteria tray problem. 208
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Blood Music Bear, Greg Hard science-fiction microbiology about a strange microorganism that a guy creates and willingly infects himself with. 294
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Camouflage Haldeman, Joe 304
Consider Phlebas Banks, Iain M. 544
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Cryptonomicon Stephenson, Neal 1168
Darwin's Radio Bear, Greg Hard science-fiction. Hard to get into if you don't know anything about molecular biology, but this makes it awesome. Retrovirus based disease changes the genetic code of sex cells in women. 544
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The Dispossessed Le Guin, Ursula K. 400
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Doomsday Book Willis, Connie 592
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Downbelow Station Cherryh, C.J. the Alliance/Union space and a station with resource problems on its associated planet, Downbelow, and its inhabetants. 352
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Dune Herbert, Frank Fueding families fight over a precious resource that is only avaliable on a single planet. This resource, spice, is essential to galactic civilisation. Spice must flow. Classic. 544
Dying Inside Silverberg, Robert 304
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Ender's Game Card, Orson Scott Young boy selected for military service to fight off an invading force of alien ant like creatures. Must read. 352
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The Faded Sun Trilogy Cherryh, C.J. 784
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Fire time Anderson, Poul 288
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Flowers for Algernon Keyes, Daniel 324
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Footfall Niven, Larry & Pournelle, Jerry 524
The Forever War Haldeman, Joe Preachy anti-war vietnam era science fiction about an interesting facet of slower-than-lightspeed intergalactic warfare. 384
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The Forge of God Bear, Greg 480
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Gateway Pohl, Frederik An abandoned alien space station is discovered that contains many capsules that go to random locations in the galaxy. 288
Halcyon Drift Stableford, Brian 175
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Adams, Douglas 272
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Hyperion Simmons, Dan A group of people are drawn to a planet, which links them all together. Heavy on the backstory. 481
I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Ellison, Harlan I have no words and I must describe. 20
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Ilium Simmons, Dan 752
The Illuminatus! Trilogy Shea, Robert & Wilson, Robert Anton 805
Kiln People Brin, David 336
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The Left Hand of Darkness Le Guin, Ursula K. 320
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Lord Valentine's Castle Silverberg, Robert 528
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Lord of Light Zelazny, Roger A starship breaks down and the on board in stasis passengers are decanted on to the planet below. The crew contends with the planet inhabitants to allow the humans to prevail then sets up Karma machines to control longevity, becoming a pantheon of god like powerful very old humans.

Sam starts the revolution.

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Make Room! Make Room! Harry Harrison Soylent was neither green nor made of people in this book, which is quite a bit different (better) than the movie it spawned. This story is basically a murder mystery set in an overpopulated world. The tone of the novel paints a slightly goofy (but always sympathetic) portrait of humanity.
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Man Plus Pohl, Frederik Superhuman project for Mars colonisation. 320
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The Man Who Melted Dann, Jack 274
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The Man Who Folded Himself Gerrold, David Ever wondered what would happen if you abused the everloving shit out of time travel? 144
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The Mote in God's Eye Niven, Larry & Pournelle, Jerry Mankind discovers alien race with an extremely different method of using resources. 592
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Moving Mars Bear, Greg Something about rebellious students making a big fuss about losing their freedoms or some shit. 448
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Old Man's War Scalzi, John Earth is a backwater and the only way off is a one-way ticket off-planet with the Colonial Defense Force- the catch is they only take retirement age geezers to serve. The main character, John Perry, takes that deal and faces the consequences. 320
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The Peace War Vinge, Vernor Post-war. A war that was ended thanks to the invention of an encapsulating technology, and now the populace lead a life monitored by an anti-technology faction. 304
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Rainbow's End Vinge, Vernor Cyber-space avatar worlds clash with a real world developing increasingly deadly bioweapons. 368
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Raft Baxter, Stephen Book 1 in the engaging "Xeelee sequence". A creative world where the laws of the universe are different, and life prevails. 264
Red Mars Robinson, Kim Stanley 592
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Revelation Space Reynolds, Alastair 576
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Ringworld Niven, Larry Trip to the ringworld. 352
Rite of Passage Panshin, Alexei Coming of age on a generational starship. A young girl finds out what her real ambition is. A great read. 260
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River of Gods McDonald, Ian 599
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Singularity Sky Stross, Charles 352
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Slaughterhouse Five Vonnegut Jr., Kurt A soldier with a time-travel problem survives a bombing, is abducted by aliens, and has a fat wife that he doesn't really care about. Makes you think a little about time and free will. 288
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The Snow Queen Vinge, Joan D. 448
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Solaris Lem, Stanislaw 204
The Sparrow Russell, Mary Doria 408
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Spin Wilson, Robert Charles 464
Sundiver Brin, David Stars + explorers = sundivers. 352
Tau Zero Anderson, Poul 190
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Think Like a Dinosaur and Other Stories Kelley, James Patrick 275
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This Immortal / ...And Call Me Conrad Zelazny, Roger 176
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Timescape Benford, Gregory 512
The Time Ships Baxter, Stephen Time travel. Time machines powered by flubber or kryptonite or something travel into massively distant futures. 544
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The Troika Chapman, Stepan 256
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Ubik Dick, Philip K. 224
Vurt Noon, Jeff 342
World of Ptavvs Niven, Larry 192
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Title Author Description Book Cover
Accelerando Charles Stross
Altered Carbon Richard K. Morgan Planets are colonized and people's minds are digital. Intelligent soldier-turned-criminal is bailed out of mental prison and sent to Earth to investigate a murder. Of course, there are those who don't like him investigating.
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The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Philip K. Dick the book Blade Runner was made from.
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Islands in the Net Bruce Sterling
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Neuromancer William Gibson The beginning of cyberpunk, the invention of the words cyberspace, an many of the memes of the Internet, plus AI and some of the consequences of an insane AI.
Permutation City Greg Egan
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The Shockwave Rider John Brunner
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Snow Crash Neal Stephenson
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Software Rudy Rucker

Post Apocalyptic[]

Title Author


Book Cover
A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Humanity fucks itself with nukes and decides that knowledge is evil. Order of Catholic monks decides to preserve knowledge until humanity unfucks itself. Contains three shorter stories. One taking place in Dark Ages II, Renaissance II and the build up to WWIV. Also Latin.

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A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'Engle
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The Chrysalids John Wyndham
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Cloud Atlas David Mitchell
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The Deep John Crowley
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Dies the Fire S.M. Stirling
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Dr. Bloodmoney Philip K. Dick
Dr Bloodmoney.jpg
Dreamsnake Vonda M. McIntyre
The Dying Earth Jack Vance
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Earth Abides George R. Stewart
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The Elfin Ship James Blaylock
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I Am Legend Richard Matheson
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Lucifer's Hammer Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle A comet strike, and its aftermath in California.
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The Mount Carol Emshwiller
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The Nightland William Hope Hodgson
The Night Land.jpg
The Planet of the Apes Pierre Boulle
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The Postman David Brin
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Ravage Rene Barjavel
Riddley Walker Russell Hoban
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The Road Cormac McCarthy A man, foreseeing a freezing winter, and his son traverse a bleak landscape caused by an undescribed disaster. A good gift for your parent.
The Road.jpg
Shadow and Claw Gene Wolfe
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The Sheep Look Up John Brunner
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The Tripods Trilogy John Christopher
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Title Author Description Book Cover
1984 George Orwell Where actions, words, and even thoughts are regulated by a small aristocracy, a man begins to rebel against the enforced social norms. Rather long but a classic dystopian novel.
A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick
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Brave New World Aldous Huxley
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Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury Firemen don't put out fires anymore, they start them to burn books since all books are now illegal. A few shocking events begin to make a fireman question why he does what he does and why his society is like it is.
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Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said Philip K. Dick
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The Giver Lois Lowry
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The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood
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Logan's Run William F. Nolan & George Clayton Johnson A twenty-year-old, living in a future-Earth that calls for euthanasia of people at or over twenty-one, hunts down people who, instead, run. Then, when he turns twenty-one, he runs too.
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The Man in the High Castle Philip K. Dick
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Stand on Zanzibar John Brunner
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We Yevgeny Zamyatin
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang Kate Wilhelm
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The World Inside Robert Silverberg
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This Perfect Day Ira Levin
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