Let’s talk about the future.
Sci fi is a seriously big genre. Futurological Sci Fi is a subgenre that has fun with projecting future societies.
It’s all about enjoying the exploration of ideas and projections of what our world isn’t. And those differences indicate the fears, hopes and humour of any given author. So here are my top ten FSF books.
The Time Machine by HG Wells
One of the earliest books to explore the concept of time travel but also one that prompted people to think about the distant future.
We by Yvgeny Zamyatin
The Russian version of 1984 (it came first), but different enough to make it worth reading. A world without privacy trying to become a world without dissent.
1984 by George Orwell
Using an ad absurdum future society to depict political trends of the time. Like Brave New World this exploration of a concept from micro to macro has contributed many powerful ideas to today’s political discourse (and a terrible reality TV show).
Neuromancer by William Gibson
You just can’t go past this one as a benchmark. Great micro and macro world-building and examinations of how the virtual world and real world can clash. Technology and humanity in a blender.
The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem
Follows a visiting dignitary, Ijon Tichy, to the eighth World Futurological Congress, drinks some water and begins hallucinating. Reality and illusion become very confused and gives Lem a vehicle to explore the ideas and limits of Utopia.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick
Forget the movie. Like many PKD books, this is a post apocalypse world and we are watching the survivors and what has survived of our society, for better and worse.
The Old Twentieth by Joe Haldeman
Another mindbender like The Futurological Congress, this one unrolls mainly through holodeck-type sequences that go through a future history of Earth.
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
Imagine a society with telepaths including counter-measures and corporate misuse. A great parallel for surveillance and data hacking.
Ghost in the Shell by Shirow Matsumune
I know it’s got pictures but it’s big enough to be a book. This is a projection of nearly perfect human machine interfaces and a hyper complex society facing today’s problems and tomorrow’s that have arisen from new technologies.
Peter F Hamilton’s Confederation series
Begins with the what if that wormhole technology is successfully developed premise and then jumps forward a few hundred years. Not a utopia or dystopia but an extended exploration of intergalactic society that has come from our own. This is a mammoth read, don’t start unless you can dedicate yourself to it.
His world takes inspiration from all the books listed above and many more places.
Hunt for Pierre Jnr
by David M Henley
The epic conclusion to an explosive trilogy.
Benders. Tappers. Robots. Clones.
As the Weave breaks down and Pierre Jnr’s control over the population becomes complete, who – if anyone – will be able to stop him?
Star Trek meets Akira in this futurist thriller about connectivity, control and artificial intelligence.