📚 The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

33/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1980 Hugo Best Novel

The story of the construction of humanity’s first space elevator, tied to the history of the (semi-fictional) island that serves as its base. An easy read, concerned primarily with exploring how such an engineering feat might happen, and without any real antagonist or great interpersonal dramas.

Michael holding The Fountains of Paradise

📚 Gateway by Frederik Pohl

15/2022 – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1978 Hugo Best Novel

The main character’s something of an ass (admittedly, this is part of the story, so at least he’s not an ass for no reason), but the general conceit and worldbuilding is fascinating. Humanity has found the remnants of an alien race, including a fleet of FTL ships…but nobody really knows how to work them. Take one out and you might come back with treasures worth millions, you might come back with nothing, you might come back dead, you might not come back at all…and the odds aren’t in your favor.

Michael holding Gateway

📚 24/2021: Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1974 Hugo Best Novel

This one still holds up really well. Still fascinating, as much for the many questions left unanswered as for those which aren’t. A great picture of possible first contact.

📚 21/2021: The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1973 Hugo Best Novel

One of my favorite classic SF authors, but not a favorite of his works. The ideas were interesting, but the dialogue felt particularly dated, and the final third’s sociological bits were a bit silly.

📚 17/2021: To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer ⭐️⭐️ 1972 Hugo Best Novel

What sounded like an interesting premise was actually an incredibly unpleasant journey with unpleasant people that killed any interest in the purported mystery of what’s actually going on.

📚 3/2021: Ringworld by Larry Niven ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1971 Hugo Best Novel

This was one of my formative SF books of childhood, and for the most part, still holds up well, especially in the sheer mind-boggling nature of the Ringworld itself and the true alien-ness of the puppeteers.

📚 forty-three of 2020: The Nemesis from Terra (originally Shadow Over Mars) by Leigh Brackett ⭐️⭐️ 1945 Retro Hugo Best Novel

Rather amazing to think that this is just a year before Asimov’s Foundation win. If this was the best of ‘45, that was a bad year for SF.