Cyberpunk: Well, everybody knows Gibson's books and Snow Crash, but the other required reading IMO are
Hardwired, by Walter Jon Williams (everything from Neuromancer, up to eleven) Little Heroes, by Norman Spinrad (Jem And The Holograms meets William Gibson) Fairyland, by Paul J. McAuley (to biopunk what Neuromancer is to cyberpunk) Market Forces, by Richard Morgan (Mad Max meets Wall Street) Shockwave Rider, by John Brunner (proto-cyberpunk)
General SF: I dunno what you've read, but the big ones everybody knows are:
Dune series, only the Frank Herbert books Foundation series, by Isaac Asimov Ringworld series, by Larry Niven Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke Hyperion, by Dan Simmons Red Mars trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson Anything by Phillip K. Dick (mostly UBIK and A Scanner Darkly) or Robert E. Heinlein (mostly Starship Troopers; Stranger In A Strange Land; Have Spacesuit, Will Travel; and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress) Anything by Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451 FTW) A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (try and get the British edition, the American version is missing the last chapter and includes a glossary that spoils the intended effect of the futuristic slang) 1984 and Brave New World, even though they're a bit "lit-class", lol. The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling Anything by Jules Verne or H.G. Wells, if you don't mind steampunk written when everything WAS steam.
Less known stuff:
The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman The Gap series, by Stephen Donaldson The Dumarest Saga, by E.C. Tubb The Stainless Steel Rat, by Harry Harrison Deathworld, by Harry Harrison To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Phillip Jose Farmer Midworld, by Alan Dean Foster (see where James Cameron stole Avatar from!) Anything by Roger Zelazny (Damnation Alley in particular), Kurt Vonnegut or Ursula K. LeGuin. It's all gold. The Ship Who Sang, by Anne McCaffrey Roadside Picnic, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky Destiny's Road, by Larry Niven Bug Jack Barron by Norman Spinrad
Leaving out comics and manga, to prevent my usual sin of inclusion.
>>4854 Great list, totally agree with the line > Anything by Roger Zelazny ... Kurt Vonnegut or Ursula K. LeGuin. It's all gold.
>>4849 > I've read all the famous ones. Really? My experience (with all reading, but SF in particular) is that the more deeply read you become in the canonical or famous works, the larger you consider the pool of "famous" books to be. Do you mean the classics, or are you including e.g. Liu Cixin or Hannu Rajaniemi?
These things below are not part of the "SF canon" but are too well-known to be called underground. Lots of short stories because when you're overloaded with recommendations they're easier to gobble down and play the field.
* 'Compass Rose' is a collection of LeGuin's science fiction stories that I thought was excellent. * Greg Egan does some enjoyably strange stories, mixing conceptual with technical very nicely. 'Border Guards' is one example (http://www.gregegan.net/BORDER/Complete/Border.html). * 'The Planet on the Table' is a lesser-known collection of Kim Stanley Robinson. If you'd prefer a novel but don't want to start on his trilogy, try '2312' which has similar themes but a bit more techy. * 'Wireless - the Essential Charles Stross' has stories pretty rich in cyberpunk flavours. A novel of his that I recommend to seriously everyone is 'Accelerando' (which is actually just a triptych of integrated short stories). * Bruce Sterling's probably most famous for editing the anthology 'Mirrorshades' but has written his share of both great and ordinary stories. 'Green Days in Brunei' and 'Taklamakan' are both really good. * Stephen Baxter has written tonnes of hard science fiction. A good introduction to his universe is the anthology 'Vacuum Diagrams'. Way more spacey than punky but very stimulating.
Hope this list helps someone. Looking forward to other suggestions.
>>5136 If you want to be on the absolute cutting edge of patrician science-fiction you should check out Gene Wolfe. He's most well known for his complex genre-epics but his short fiction can be shockingly sharp and biting when dealing with modernity. 'Forlesen' and 'Petting Zoo' hit me particularly hard. It's strange seeing something so bitter produced by the same man who wrote Book of the New Sun. I suppose when you're that idealistic reality is horribly depressing.
I'd recommend flipping through some of his selected short-fiction here if any catches your attention and then if you like what you see and want to try his longer work go to 'The Fifth Head of Cerberus', in my opinion one of the greatest works of science-fiction ever written. The first of three parts is included with his short work, but the complete story is truly something else entirely. He's not entirely cyberpunk but I don't doubt for a second that he understands modern times better than any other science-fiction writer alive. He was an engineer, he knows his stuff and he's very technical minded. But despite this he also writes excellent prose, not just by science-fiction standards either. He's a fantastic writer and if his work wasn't so damn strange he'd be an absolute giant in literary circles rather than a niche topic for nerds like me to obsess over.