People say it all the time: they’d love to get into science fiction or fantasy, but they’ve no idea where to start. If this is you (or if you’re one of those stubborn folks who looks snootily down on genre), listen up. Your trusty Flavorwire editors have a few suggestions for you — that is, a whole 50 sci-fi and fantasy novels that are well worth your time, whether you’re brand new to the concept of dragons and/or spaceships or a seasoned veteran. A few notes on the construction of the list: no short stories or short story collections, no matter how brilliant (looking at you, Kelly Link), were included. Also, in the interest of fairness, only one work or series by any given author was included. Finally, because this is a list of novels that adults should read, it skews light on the YA, including only those books that grown-ups should pick up if they missed them in their teens. Even with all of the above, you’ll probably have quibbles. After all, 50 novels over two genres doesn’t even begin to cover it. So air them (politely, please) in the comments and you’ll add to all of our reading lists.
Ubik, Philip K. Dick
Any number of Dick’s works could have made this list, and choosing just one wasn’t the easiest task, but the brilliant, existential Ubik, with all its conflicting, unresolved “realities,” just might be the best of the bunch.