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Favorite Books
Some of my favorite books of many genres.  Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternate History, Historical Fiction, and even some true History and Biography.  This list is not all inclusive, and I may have forgotten the names of some books that influenced me, though I still remember the idea.  Some of these books are classics.  Some are stinkers.  But all were influential.  Where there was a series I will just link to the first book while mentioning that it is part of a series.   In most cases I am recommending the entire series when I mention a series.  In the few cases where I thought the followup books really weren't that good I will say so.  So with no further comment, here are the books.
Science Fiction and Alternate History.
Fantasy and Horror.
Historical Fiction and History/Biography.
Science Fiction to me was literature in which the science was a main factor in the story line.  In some the science is in the forefront.  In others it takes a backseat to the characters.  Alternate history is a subset of science fiction, in which some part of of history is change and the world proceeds from there.  Some science fiction has fantasy leanings, such as Star Trek (a little) and Star Wars (a lot).  And there are some crossover novels that have elements of both and don't apologize for it.  On this list I will limit myself to at most two books per author, even though I may have found more of their works of great interest.  Check them out yourselves it you wish to know more.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea:  Jules Verne.  1870.  Captain Nemo and the Nautilus travel the world's oceans.
The Mysterious Island:  Jules Verne.  1874.  Sequel to 20,000 Leagues.  Travelors from the South are stranded on Nemo's Island.  I thought it was better than the first book.
The War of the Worlds: 1898.  H G Wells seminal work about Martians invading the Earth.
The Time Machine:  1895.  H G Wells.  A Victorian era man invents a time machine and travels into the distant future.
The First Men in the Moon:  1901.  H G Wells.  With the invention of Cavorite men travel to the moon.
Starship Troopers:  1959.  Robert Heinlein's contraversial book about interstellar war.  Introduced powered armor, a mainstay of modern science fiction.
Stranger in a Strange Land:  1961.  A man raised by Martians is repatrioted to Earth to become the new Messiah.
Ringworld:  1970.  Larry Niven.  Introduced me to the Known Space series of Larry Niven.  Great story about a megastructure in space.  Spawn other books including The Ringworld Engineers, The Ringworld Throne and Ringworld's Children.  How can you go wrong with 3 million times the Earth's surface to explore.
The Mote in God's Eye: 1974.  Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell.  First contact story that won all the major awards.
Foundation:  1951.  Isaac Asimov.  Great series starter about a fallen Galactic Empire.
I, Robot:  1950.  Isaac Asimov.  Series about Robots on Earth, and Asimov's most recognizable product.
2001: A Space Odyssey.  1968.  Arthur C. Clarke's seminal work about space travel and advanced aliens.
Rendezvous with Rama:  1972.  Arthur C. Clarke.  An enormous spaceship passed through the Solar system and ignores us completely.  And expedition is sent there.
Flandry of Terra:  1965.  Poul Anderson.  One of many of the books about the Polesotechnic League and the following Empire.  Nicholas van Rjinn of the original league is also a favorite character.
Tau Zero:  1970.  Poul Anderson in the hardest of hard science fiction, as a sublight ramjet gets trapped into near light speed.
Dune:  1965.  Frank Herbert's masterpiece about a future civilization and a holy war.  Spawn sequels and more.
The Lost Fleet:  2006.  Series by John G Hemry under the pen name Jack Campbell.  The fleet of Earth must fight to make it back to Earth through the space of their enemies.
The Forever War:  1974.  Joe Haldeman's tale of a never ending sublight war across intersteller distances.
Ender's Game:  1985.  Orson Scott Card.  Children are trained from an early age to become the warriors in an intersteller war.
Eon:  1985.  Greg Bear.  An asteroid assumes orbit that is the entry to an infinite world.
Berserker:  1967.  Fred Saberhagen.  Series about Earth's war with killer machines, the children of a lost war.
The Andromeda Strain:  1969.  Michael Crichton.  A killer germ falls from outer space.
The Age of the Pussyfoot:  1969.  Frederick Pohl.  A man wakes in the future to a world of idleness facing an intersteller war.
Gateway:  1977.  Frederick Pohl's great work about an asteroid with thousands of hyperlight ships programed to go to random destinations.
A Princess of Mars:  1912.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, beginning of the John Carter series.  A favorite.
The Weapon Shops of Isher: 1951.  A E van Vogt.  The Earth's one immortal man combats the Imperial Government that would take away all freedom.
Quest for the Future:  1970.  A E van Vogt.  A man travels back and forth in time to find the woman he loves.
On Basilisk Station:  1993. David Weber's first book about Honor Harrington, called Hornblower in Space.  Great series.
Into The Storm: Destroyermen Book 1: 2008. Taylor Anderson's tale of ships and men transported through the dimensions to another world unlike Earth.  Great series/
Midworld:  1975.  Not the first of the Alan Dean Foster Pip and Flinx Series, but in my opinion the best.
Glasshouse: 2006.  Charles Stross' great novel of the 27th Century, with imagination enough for two writers.
The Lost Fleet: Dauntless: 2006.  Jack Campbell (John Hemry) space opera of a man out of time who must rally the survivors of a fleet ambush and lead them back to Earth space.  Great series.
Probability Moon: 2002.  The first book of Nancy Kress' Probability Series.
WWW.Wake: 2009.  The first book of Robert Sawyer's trilogy about an AI that emerges spontaneously on the net.
Cold As Ice: 1993. Charles Sheffield imaginative start of a trilogy about the solar system in the late 21st Century.
Dracula: 1897. Bram Stoker.  The original novel about the blood sucking Count written as a series of letters and diary entries.  A masterpiece in all respects.
Frankenstein: 1818. Mary Shelley's book about a man obsessed with creating life, and instead making a monster.
Conan: 1932. Robert E Howard.  One of the first heroes of Sword and Sorcery and in so many works it's hard to name one.  Instead find one, read it, then read the rest.  Great stuff.
Elric of Melnibone: 1972.  Michael Moorcock's albino sorcery with a soul stealing blade, pledge to Chaos but the champion of law.  The entire series is essential reading.
Darkness Weaves: 1970.  Karl Edward Wagner's first novel about Kane, an immortal man who is chaos personified.  Three novels and sixteeen shorts were all that Wagner completed before dying muc too early.  Essential reading.
The Lord of the Rings: 1954. J. R. R. Tolkien's trilogy about a hobbit who must bring the Ring of Power into the Land of Mordor to destroy it.  Three volumes that must be read.
The Chronicles of Amber: First published in 1970 (The Nine Princes of Amber), Roger Zelazny' tale of shadow worlds, including out own Earth, ruled from the only true world, Amber.
The Chronicles of Narnia: 1949-1954, C. S. Lewis' classic tales of children transported to a world of magic.
Thieves World: Series of volumes of shared short stories started by Robert Lynn Asprin in 1978.
Homeland: 1990. The first of the Dritzz Do'Urden series by R. A. Salvatore.  Over twenty books are now in the series
and they are all worth reading.
Storm Front:  2000. Jim Butcher's urban fantasy about a wizard working in Chicago, it introduces just about every myth imaginable into the modern world during the long series.
The Secret Texts:  1998.  Holly Lisle's imaginative series about two magical houses at war.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant:  1977. Stephen R Donaldson's imaginative tale of a man transported to a land of fantasy and the wielder of the ultimate artifact, who doesn't believe he is really there.
The Sword of Shannara:  1977. Terry Brooks novel that was somewhat of a ripoff of Lord of the Rings, but was still a good tale in its own right.