The Best Fiction of All Time: 26 Books You Must Read

The Best Fiction of All Time: 26 Books You Must Read

The Best Fiction of All Time: 26 Books You Must Read

8 August

Likbez Books

These cult books, with a Goodreads rating of 4, have earned their authors literary awards.
Photo by Elizaveta Chernaya

Elizabeth Black

The Best Fiction of All Time: 26 Books You Must Read

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1. The Lord of the Rings, John Tolkien

  • Goodreads rating: 4.4.
  • Awards: International Fiction Award for Fiction (1957), SFinks Award for Book of the Year (2000), Prometheus Award for Hall of Fame (2009).

The Tolkien trilogy, based on which Peter Jackson made the legendary film saga, stands the test of time and sets the bar for fantasy fiction. The book is different from the film, so the reader will be pleased with many interesting details and unexpected plot twists.

The hobbit Frodo and his companions set off on a journey through the fairy-tale universe to destroy the Ring and restore peace on earth. Many dangers await them on the way, which will require great valor and courage from little heroes.

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2. Dune, Frank Herbert

  • Goodreads rating: 4.2.
  • Awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel (1966), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1965), SFinks Award for Book of the Year (2008).

The action takes place in the distant future, where social life and culture revolve around the spice, and there is a constant struggle for the extraction and use of this special substance. At first glance, it may seem that this is another story of the confrontation between good and evil, nobility and selfish interests. However, the book is more polyphonic.

Herbert managed to create a kind of chronicle of the distant future, which explores the issues of politics, religion, ecology and technology, rightfully considered the most striking and original in the history of world fiction.

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3. A Song of Ice and Fire, George Martin

  • Goodreads rating: 4.4.
  • Awards: Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Award – first two books (2001), Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Award – first three books (2002).

This ranking would be incomplete without the Game of Thrones saga. The book allows you to follow the endless confrontation between the Starks and Lannisters without downloading the next season of the series. Magic, mystery, intrigue, passion, romance and adventure fill its pages and take the reader to a whole new world.

According to the author, in the last volumes he did not kill those characters who die on the screen, which allows him to follow the fate of his favorite heroes for a longer time.

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4. “1984”, George Orwell

  • Goodreads rating: 4.1
  • Awards: Prometheus Award in the Hall of Fame category (1984).

Orwell managed to create an antipode to the great, but not universally recognized dystopia of the 20th century – Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The author tries to answer the question, what is more terrible: an ideal consumer society or an ideal idea society? It turns out that there is nothing worse than complete lack of freedom in both the first and second cases.

Orwell predicted the total power of television, ubiquitous surveillance, and many other cultural phenomena that we see today. Therefore, the book has not lost its relevance over the years.

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5. The Gods Themselves, Isaac Asimov

  • Goodreads rating: 4.
  • Awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel (1973), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1972), Locus Award for Best Novel (1973), Dietmar Award for “Foreign Fiction (USA, novel)” (1973).

The novel by Isaac Asimov consists of three parts, the titles of which, if listed in the correct sequence, make up the famous saying of Friedrich Schiller: “Against stupidity, the Gods themselves are powerless to fight.”

Two worlds appear before the reader: dying and full of strength. The greatest scientific discovery in the history of mankind gives people an inexhaustible source of cheap energy, which gives hope for saving the fading universe. But everything is not so simple, and the price for this discovery is too high for everyone.

6. Date with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke

  • Goodreads rating: 4.
  • Awards: Hugo Award for Best Novel (1974), Nebula Award for Best Novel (1973), Locus Award for Best Novel (1974), British Science Fiction Association Award for category “Best Novel” (1974).

The case when the novel received as many as seven prestigious awards in the field of science fiction (Lifehacker listed the most famous of them) and marked the beginning of a series of books by various authors that explore the relationship of earthlings with a different mind.

The action takes place in the near future. An unusually shaped asteroid is moving across the galaxy towards the solar system. The crew of earthlings land on the surface of the asteroid and begin to collect data that only complicate the search for an answer to the main question: “Who and why created this hulk? ..”

7. Roadside Picnic, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

  • Goodreads rating: 4.5.
  • Awards: Jules Verne Prize in the Novel (USSR) category (1979), Golden Graulli Prize in the Foreign Novel category (1981).

One of the few works of Russian-language science fiction that does not lose, but only gains popularity over time.

“Roadside picnic” is reflected in world culture. According to him, Andrei Tarkovsky shot his legendary film “Stalker”. A few decades later, the story formed the basis of a computer game and became the beginning of a series of books, which take place in the Strugatskys …


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