Many of the sci-fi blogs I read (IO9, Biology in Science Fiction, and SF Signal) mentioned NPR’s choice of their top 100 science fiction and fantasy books, and then asked for people to vote for their top 10.
When working on the book Religion and Science Fiction that was just released, we adopted from the outset an approach that would make the book interesting and useful to those whose own choice of favorites might be different from those of a given contributor. Each chapter treats a specific theme, such as artificial intelligence, good and evil, scientists playing God, or the sociology of fandom. It may focus on specific examples from the seemingly endless number of books, movies and TV shows in the sci-fi genre, but is written in such a way as to be not merely intelligible but relevant and easy to connect with other texts that touch on the same themes.
What would your choice of the top 10 science fiction (or fantasy, if you prefer) novels be that touch on religion as a major element in the story? Feel free to let yourself be guided by NPR’s suggestions, or come up with ones they didn’t include in their top 100.
For me, I think my religion and sci-fi list would include the following:
Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos series
Frank Herbert’s Dune series
Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Children of God
Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man and/or The Martian Chronicles (his story “The Fire Balloons” was only in some editions of the latter)
Perhaps also Contact by Carl Sagan, for this particular category.
Then there are a great many that I would find it hard to choose between for the remaining slots.
What would be on your list?