May the Fourth be with you! Who doesn’t love Star Wars? And who doesn’t love a good pun? Geeks rejoice for today is Star Wars Day. This is a great year to be Star Wars fan with all our hopes pinned on a new movie out in December. Personally, I’ve been trying not to get my hopes up but with every trailer I can feel the giddy excitement grow. And why call yourself a geek if you can’t let your pure unbridled enthusiasm show from time to time? So to tide you over until December or at least until the next trailer here are five books any space loving nerd can enjoy:
Dune, Frank Herbert – If you are looking for the Hero’s Journey than you should look no further than this classic. The beginning of an epic saga that spans millennia Dune centers around the political and personal machinations surrounding Spice, the incredibly valuable substance that allows for interplanetary travel and only comes from one planet Arrakis (a.k.a. Dune). This sprawling epic is grounded by its central character Paul, a young boy trying to make it against the odds who grows into his role as a true hero. Plus, there are giant sand worms!
Hyperion, Dan Simmons – If you took the Canterbury Tales and crossed it with hard science-fiction you’d think you would come up with something entirely unreadable. Instead you get Dan Simmons’ wonderful Hyperion, which tells the story of a diverse group of travelers seeking salvation on a pilgrimage to the realm of Shrike, part-god, part-killing machine. The structure of many stories set within a larger story, allows the intricate plot to unfold slowly while the excellent world building makes the characters believable and likeable.
Redshirts, John Scalzi – While the trope may be named for Star Trek, I’m sure the plight of the lowly underling killed for the sake of the plot would be all too familiar to just about any Storm Trooper. Told from the point of view of Ensign Andrew Dahl, Redshirts tells the darkly humorous tale of what happens when an underling starts to question his role aboard the Intrepid. While it is not as epic or as classic as the others on the list it is a quick, entertaining read perfect for summer.
Leviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey – While this space opera takes place not in a galaxy far, far away but in our own solar system years in the future its world is similarly well-crafted and its plot fast-paced. When ice miner Captain Jim Holder discovers a derelict ship apparently attacked by the Mars Navy he is thrown into a world of subterfuge and conspiracy. He must work to prevent a war and discover a truth that could be disastrous for the entire human race.
Foundation, Isaac Asimov – If you haven’t read Foundation than now is the time to do it. It is one of foundational (pun intended) classics of the science fiction genre. This novel tells the story of the collapse of an Empire (sound familiar?) and psychohistorian, Hari Seldon who is trying to preserve the accumulated knowledge of humankind and reignite culture. While the characters can be a bit one-dimensional the intriguing plot and elaborate world building move the story along.