Good Science ficition can expand your mind better than drugs!
Here are some excellent books to do just that.
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451 - Ray Bradbury
Title refers to the temperature at which books will ignite and burn. In the future books are banned. Your only source of information is the government. You can't have your own ideas. But a group of people are determined to save the great works.
New World - Aldous Huxley
Test tube babies, cloning, soma holidays, so what's new? Perhaps the fact that Huxley wrote about these things in the 1930's when they seemed as unlikely as time travel is today. This classic SF book deals with a scientifically ordered society where everyone has their place, and the populace is groomed to consume. As frightening as it was in the 30's.
Lunch - William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs' breakthrough autobiographical/Science Fiction book about drugs, murder, and homosexuality. Allen Ginsberg helped Burroughs piece together the stream of consciousness fragments of prose. Considered a landmark work of fiction, it was banned in Boston as obscene until the courts ruled otherwise creating a legal precedent for free speech. Made into an excellent movie by David Cronenburg.
- George Orwell
Dark scenario of a world where the government controls every facet of your life. Totalitarian Big Brother is watching you! Animal Farm is another good Orwellian nightmare.
|Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein is "a brilliant mind bender" according to Kurt Vonnegut. The story is of a Mars-born human who is transported back to earth as an adult. Naive at first, he ends up transforming society by way of his shocking perceptions of earth society. This book should be read by all who are interested in the dangers of trying to create a new society without destroying the old.|
|To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer was the first in a vast series about the fabled Riverworld. Imagine a planet covered by land with one long incredibly sinuous river snaking across it's surface. The place isn't real, but every soul that has ever lived on Earth has suddenly awakened along the banks of this mighty stream. Historical characters band together and attempt to figure out why they are there and what is the purpose of this granfaloon. Four other books followed in the series.|
|The Postman by David Brin - a terrible movie wherein they change the plot entirely to trash. The book is an interesting essay on what could happen in a New World where civilization has completely broken down, and hippie communal ideals come to the fore and everyone strives to achieve lasting peace.|
|Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - is it sci-fi or is it fantasy? Who cares, we all read this tale of Middle Earth and the evils lurking under mountains. These books inspired a generation of dungeon and dragon tales and games, as well as many an acid trip. The incredible characters ranging from Frodo to Gollum will amaze and entertain you for days.|
|The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin is for thinkers, philosophers and everyone who likes sci-fi. A classic from 1969 the theme is about the differences between civilizations and how to bring them together. A primer for utopia? Heavy reading but well worth it.|
|Foundation by Isaac Asimov is a series of books about the future, and the science of Psychohistory - or pre-history of the future as predicted mathematically. Perhaps this series inspired Terrance McKenna to come up with the Novelty Theory of historical chaos and our future. Spanning millenia, the underlying theme is a utopian society on a hidden planet, secretly observing the passing of history and constantly updating and comparing the pre-written Psychohistory written ages ago by one Hari Seldon.|
|Dune by Frank Herbert - is this book about drugs or what? Paul Atreides moves with his family to the spice planet of Dune. His father gets killed, his mother gives birth to a psychic witch and Paul becomes the saviour of the planet. The first in a series of books later made into a hi-camp sci-fi film by David Lynch.|
|Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke - another classic by the brit who lives on Sri Lanka. Utopian society is achieved on earth when aliens arrive and straighten out our affairs, but after fifty years things get weird.|