Flaming Geeks

Books - Top Five Lists

We've all grown up as avid readers. Wanting to encourage this nasty habit however we can, we've made this top five list. This is a list of five books (or series of books) that we really loved and we think other people will too. There are no spoilers here, other than brief summaries of the plot and characters. Clicking on an image or title will bring you to Barnes and Noble's online store. Out of print books don't have a link.

J. Andrews

1. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
This is the story of a young boy of the future going off to a military academy in space. But it's so much more than that. This novel portrays a truly intelligent child in surroundings he struggles to control. Intelligent kids, teens, and adults should love this book. It lacks some of the power it had when I first read it as a kid, but that hasn't stopped me from reading it three or four times over.

2. Seafort Saga (Series) - David Feintuch
You'll start to think I have a military fetish, but I swear I don't! This series is about a young man in the navy (space navy of course!) and the extraordinary circumstances he encounters and has to survive through. I have a hunch it's Feintuch trying to do Hornblower justice after the mockery Star Trek made of it. The navy is very military and much closer to the navy Hornblower served in. To sum this series up, I would call it Hornblower meets Ender's Game. The story is very character-centered, so don't let the word 'military' or the phrase 'science fiction' turn you off to it. Give the first book a shot.

3. Star Trek: New Frontier (Series) - Peter David
Star Trek as you wish it were written. Peter David has built his own ship and peopled it with minor Trek characters and characters of his own invention. Dr. Selar, Cmdr. Shelby, and Robin Lefler all serve aboard this ship. This series gets mucho points from me for having a realistically portrayed true hermaphrodite. Peter David is always a trip and this series really allows him to shine. You'll love every single one of his characters, each in their own way.

4. Farseer Series - Robin Hobb
I had mistakenly put this up as one book, but it's a trilogy. It's about the bastard child of the heir to the throne. Having no real place among the royalty, he becomes the apprentice to an assassin and becomes pivotal to everything. This series is set in the same world as her Liveship Series.

5. Native Tongue - Suzette Haden Elgin
This is a future, and some might term it a dystopia in which women have lost their equal rights. It's very much a feminist book, sometimes too much so, but why I chose it for my list here is its very accurate linguistic science. Elgin is a linguist, a PhD I believe, so does what no other science fiction writer has seemed able to do. She writes believably about language and the lives of a very interesting society of linguists. Anyone interested in languages and linguistics should read this, and ignore the feminist claptrap if it bothers you.

J. Dunbar

1. To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
My only entry that has no fantastical element, and probably the one that touches me the most. A coming of age story in the Depression-era south...but more importantly, a story of the decency inherent in some people.

2. Matilda - Roald Dahl
A little girl living with a pair of monsters discovers that she has incredible powers. And it's not just Harry Potter with a female protagonist...it's something more. (This, after all, is the source of The Pokey.)

3. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine l'Engle
Meg Murry, my first hero, and the template for my mental image of Hermione Granger. Calvin O'Keefe, one of the only males in literature I've ever had a crush on, and the template for my mental image of Ron Weasley. No wonder I ship for those two in the Harry Potter series. I love this book. That's all I need to say.

4. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
What war is so terrible that we would have to recruit small children to be our tactical geniuses? I view this book as I do 1984, a very dark image of a possible future.

5. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
This story SCARES me. I can see the seeds of this scenario planting themselves in today's culture, and I fear what would happen to me if it should happen. My age and sexual identity would surely get me...okay, it's a good book, it's a scary book, and you should read it, because I'm NOT following that line of thought.

Honorable Mention: Polgara the Sorceress - David and Leigh Eddings
Polgara is my hero. Eddings makes me laugh. The end. :)

K. Butler

NOTE: These are my top 5 individual books; it's too hard to include series in a list that's just supposed to be books, since I judge series on different criteria.

In no particular order:

Matilda - Roald Dahl
Excitingly, this book actually has a female main character. And not only is she brilliant and talented, she's not afraid to use those factors to her advantage. There are so many books (movies, etc) about little boy geniuses, I was just so thrilled to find one with a girl in the middle of it. And, of course, Dahl is always excellent.

Watership Down - Richard Adams
I can't really pin down what it is about this book that captivates me. When I was younger, I was devoted to books about animals, both realistic ones and those with a touch more fantasy. This tale of a group of rabbits escaping disaster and attempting to make a place in the world would fall somewhere between the two, I think.

Pawn of Prophecy - David (and Leigh) Eddings
I'm a big fan of Eddings in general, and have read and reread all of the books in their series countless times. This, the first book in the Belgariad, is my favorite. Garion's reactions upon having his world turned upside down and inside out, along with the introductions of most of the main characters, put it near the top of my list.

A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle
Again, another one of a series, chronologically fourth of those that feature the Murry family. Charles Wallace is 15 and old enough to be more of an active protagonist in this adventure, which is what makes it stand out for me.

The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
I've read a lot of fantasy surrounding the court of Arthur; various retellings of the tale from different perspectives and with different motivations for the characters. Of them all, I find this one the most well drawn and interesting.

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and J.Dunbar. Email is flaminggeeks@yahoo.com.