1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams. Arthur Dent, an ordinary Earthman, is catapulted into an intergalactic adventure with little other than his friend Ford Prefect, and a beat-up copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for companionship. Dent, who really just wants a cup of tea, must face impossible, or at least highly improbable, dangers in this humorous adventure.
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood. A popular series on Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale follows a woman who is not allowed to have a name, in a near future dystopian culture. While she remembers her life and family before the events that stripped women of their rights, the woman is now a handmaid, in charge of bearing children for a high ranking male official.
  3. The Long Tomorrow, Leigh Brackett. Two generations after a nuclear war, science is thought to be the enemy. Len Coulter and his cousin Essau are New Mennonites, prohibited from any contact with technology, but they’re fascinated by it. The young men set out for Bartorstown, a fabled bastion of technology.
  4. Kindred, Octavia E. Butler. A young African American woman, Dana, finds herself being dragged backwards through time. She saves a young boy from drowning, and comes to realize that he’s her ancestor. Dana must make difficult choices to survive, and the past changes her.
  5. Babel-17, Samuel R. Delany. This novel has all of the linguistic fun of The Arrival, plus spaceship battles. Poet and starship captain Rydra Wong is a natural with languages, and she discovers that Babel-17 is not a code but a language that alters how people perceive time. Delany writes with a poetic flair that doesn’t compromise the fun of the plot.
  6. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle. Young Meg Murray and her siblings, along with their friend Calvin O’Keefe must embark on an adventure to save Mr. Murray, who has mysteriously disappeared. With the help of three strange new neighbors, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, they travel through time and space. The book wrestles with the question of evil, and appeals both to children and adults.
  7. The Lathe of Heaven, Ursula K. Le Guin. George Orr, a quiet and unassuming man, has been having dreams that change reality. He tries to use prescription drugs to avoid sleeping, but then he gets caught and sent to a psychiatrist. When the psychiatrist comes to understand that Orr is telling the truth about his dreams changing reality, the whole world starts to change.
  8. A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin. Loosely based on the War of Roses, this high fantasy adventure is incredibly rich and textured. Featuring a wide cast, and famous for killing off main characters, this is the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, which is the source text for the popular Game of Thrones television series.
  9. Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut. An everyman named John, who calls himself Jonah, learns of a substance called Ice-9. Originally created to aid the military, Ice-9 is an alternate structure of water that becomes a solid at room temperature. When the world’s oceans and fresh water supply can be turned to a solid, a hilarious satire ensues.
  10. The Doomsday Book, Connie Willis. Historian Kivrin Engle goes back in time to Oxford in 1320 to observe the local populace, and gets stuck. Back in the present, a deadly new influenza is sweeping through the university, and it disrupts her ability to get back home. She has to fend for herself in an era she is not fully prepared for.
Amelia Beamer
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