Find out which books Nicole Bremer Nash says are vital for every geek to read in order to pass into full-grown geekdom.
Science fiction is pretty universally considered a vital element to the geek life. Proud parents strive to find the perfect beginner sci-fi with which to introduce children to the wild realms that become possible when we allow science and imagination to procreate. I recommend heading to the used bookstore and stocking your teen's bookshelves with stories based on Dungeons & Dragons. I know it's more fantasy than sci-fi, but it's still a good introduction to the realm of geekdom and often leads to more serious science-fiction reading. Heck, as an adolescent girl, I was obsessed with the Ravenloft series; I dreamt of being taken away by the mists.
As a grown geek who sadly hasn't seen her d20 in years, I get my science-fiction fix through bedtime reading. To that end, I offer up this list of literature that is vital for every geek to read in order to pass into full-grown geekdom. I realize this list is far from complete, but I can really only speak for texts that I've read. To that end, I give a nod to Robert Heinlein. I'll start reading him when my home-geek shares his Heinlein collection. In the meantime here are my recommendations:
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Consider who the real monsters are.
- The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. I love this as a geek and as a writer. The ability to terrify people like that is immense power.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I think soma stands for television.
- The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. I found this to be a great gateway text for adolescents during my teaching years.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. You have to read the entire series in order for it to count toward your geek diploma.
- If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell. Not particularly well written, but, you know. Hail to the king, baby.
- The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft. I've been to towns like that. The Call of Cthulhu is also a must-read.
I'm sure I've left a number of good ones out. As I am still working on my geek diploma, I hope you will share your suggestions in the comments.
- Geeks and IT pros are not always one in the same: 10 books every IT pro should read.
- Jay Garmon likely doesn't agree with me either: The perfect sci-fi library.
- James Gunn stocks the shelves: A Basic Science Fiction Library.
- How to introduce non-geeks to science fiction: Outreach in Action: Gateway Science Fiction.
- Wally Bahny considers sci-fi social commentary and vehicle for change: Science-fiction's subversive side.
- Jay Garmon offers his take on what geeks who like Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein are reading: Who are today's Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein?
- Edmond Woychowsky reveals the ultimate geek book: Atlas Shrugged, the book all geeks should read.
- Jay Garmon shares his sci-fi reading preferences: The ultimate science fiction book meme.
- Edmond Woychowsky is a geek rebel: I read banned books.
What geek lit should I check out?
I'm looking for something good to read, and my library card has sadly gone unused for a while. I especially enjoy stories with rich underlying social commentary; that is fairly standard in sci-fi, but not all social commentary is well thought out and well presented. What is my geek library collection lacking? Please educate me, my geek masters.Where the geeky things are Need a break from the daily grind? Then sign up for TechRepublic's Geekend newsletter, delivered each Friday. You'll receive off-topic chatter about all things geeky, including science fiction, movies, gaming, books, space, gadgets, and more. Automatically subscribe today!