I think the fiction we read can be a massive influence on our interest in science, and our appreciation of the ethics and nuances of different technologies and their effect on both the human and natural world. After all, much fiction is written in reaction to technological advances and people's reactions to them; the perceived threats and benefits.
So I've selected my top 10 picks, in no particular order. Where possible I've selected the cover of the edition I first read. I've tried to find as many non-sci-fi books as I can (difficult, considering). There are many more I could list, particularly the classics - such as the many H.G Wells titles. However, this selection sticks out as having influenced my attitudes to science and technology in the first 25 years of my life.
How do they compare with yours?
Oryx and Crake (2003)
by Margaret Atwood
The most influential thing about this book for me was the application of genetic engineering: her 'ultimate humans'. I won't say more in case I spoil it, but I recommend this to everyone.
Cats Cradle (1963)
by Kurt Vonnegut
The Day of the Triffids (1959)
by John Wydham
Brave New World (1931)
by Aldous Huxley
Much food for thought.
Jurassic Park (1990)
by Michael Crichton
The Hitchhiker Trilogy (1979-1992)
by Douglas Adams
|(Note: these are not the editions I originally read, but I've forgotten what they looked like)|
Of course they are also totally hilarious - teaching me that science is also fun.
The Earth Children series (1980-2011)
by Jean M. Auel
|This is not the edition I read. Mine was pale yellow/green with shiny green lettering, I've never seen another edition of it.|
Auel's attention to archaeological detail is massively impressive, incorporating many significant finds into the narrative, including ideas about the origin of animal domestication, and Neanderthal vs human culture. You can forgive her the embellishments for the sake of good story telling. I still surprise myself with my knowledge of palaeolithic human culture, and almost all of it comes from reading the first in the series, The Clan of the Cave Bear, and the many sequels that followed it.
Real door-stoppers, but you just can't put them down.