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Dune by Frank Herbert
Follows the adventures of Paul Atreides, the son of a betrayed duke given up for dead on a treacherous desert planet and adopted by its fierce, nomadic people, who help him unravel his most unexpected destiny. (catalog summary)
Other books in the Dune series include: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune, Chapterhouse Dune
If you enjoyed Dune, you may enjoy these titles because of the detailed world-building, complex politics, and fascinating characters.
Artemis Awakening by Jane M. Lindskold
The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay. But the Empire was shattered in a horrific war; centuries later humanity has lost much of their advanced technology, and Artemis is a fable told to children. Until young archeologist Griffin Dane finds intriguing hints that send him on a quest to find the lost world. Stranded on Artemis after crashing his ship, he encounters the Huntress Adara and her psych-linked companion, the puma Sand Shadow. Their journey with her will lead Dane to discover the planet's secrets...and perhaps provide a key to give unimagined power back to mankind. (catalog summary)
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. Seriously funny, stunning, and tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece. (catalog summary)
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (eBook)
He went off to war, but the Earth he came back to wasn't the one he left behind Man has taken to the stars. Deep in space, humans discover the fearsome Taurans after a transport ship is destroyed. To combat the threat, humanity sends in the United Nations Exploratory Force—a highly trained unit built for revenge. Conscripted into the service, physics student William Mandella fights for his planet against the alien force light years away. However, because of the relative passage of time when one travels at incredibly high speed, the Earth he returns to after his two-year experience has progressed decades and is foreign to him in disturbing ways. (catalog summary)
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future--to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire--both scientists and scholars--and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation. But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind's last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun--or fight them and be destroyed. (catalog summary)
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Eleanor Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. (catalog summary)
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction. (catalog summary)
Miles, Mutants and Microbes by Lois McMaster Bujold
Two complete novels and a short novel in one large volume!
-Falling Free: Leo Graf was just your typical efficient engineer: mind your own business and do the job. But all that changed on his assignment to the Cay Habitat, where children had been bio-engineered to have four arms (and no legs) to function in zero gravity. Now that they re no longer needed, a heartless mega corporation is getting rid of them before they eat into the profit margin. Leo Graf adopted 1000 quaddies now he had to teach them to be free.
-Labyrinth: When Miles Vorkosigan is captured while on a secret mission to a lawless world, his only hope of escape is an unlikely pair of allies: a quaddie and a teenage werewolf.
-Diplomatic Immunity: Miles Vorkosigan and his wife were heading home for the births of their first children, but a major diplomatic disaster is looming at Graf Station, colonized by the descendants of the original quaddies, and duty calls. Unfortunately, diplomatic immunity doesn t carry over to immunity from a very nasty biological weapon. The downside of being a troubleshooter comes when trouble starts shooting back...
Riverworld by Philip José Farmer
Imagine that every human who ever lived, from the earliest Neanderthals to the present, is resurrected after death on the banks of an astonishing and seemingly endless river on an unknown world. They are miraculously provided with food, but with not a clue to the possible meaning of this strange afterlife. And so billions of people from history, and before, must start living again. Some set sail on the great river questing for the meaning of their resurrection, and to find and confront their mysterious benefactors. On this long journey, we meet Sir Richard Francis Burton, Mark Twain, Odysseus, Cyrano de Bergerac, and many others, most of whom embark upon searches of their own in this huge afterlife. (catalog summary)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
Darth Vader may have been redeemed and the Emperor vanquished, but peace can be fleeting, and evil does not easily relent. Yet the simple belief in good can still empower ordinary individuals to rise and meet the greatest challenges. So return to that galaxy far, far away, and prepare yourself for what happens when the Force awakens...(catalog summary)
The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
One of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur—the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe's population was destroyed. But what if? What if the plague killed 99 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been-a history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. These are the years of rice and salt. This is a universe where the first ship to reach the New World travels across the Pacific Ocean from China and colonization spreads from west to east. This is a universe where the Industrial Revolution is triggered by the world's greatest scientific minds-in India. This is a universe where Buddhism and Islam are the most influential and practiced religions and Christianity is merely a historical footnote. Through the eyes of soldiers and kings, explorers and philosophers, slaves and scholars, Robinson renders an immensely rich tapestry. (catalog summary)