My Top Five Favorite Books and Why
Posted on July 19, 2020
Category: Zeedub Fivers
Zachry Wheeler, Science Fiction Novelist

As of this post, my author blog has been active for four years. I have talked about everything from football and fitness to comic cons and comedians. So it seems like a giant oversight to have never talked about my favorite books (which is kinda why this blog exists). So without further ado, let me correct this embarrassing omission.

Here are my top five favorite books and why.

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  (Douglas Adams, 1979)

Douglas Adams has been my favorite author since childhood. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the first book I fell in love with, which prompted me to devour the entire Adams library. To this day, I am always in the mood to revisit the wacky worlds of Arthur Dent and Dirk Gently. Adams has also been a major influence on my own writing. I even dedicated the first Max and the Multiverse book to his memory.

 

World War Z  (Max Brooks, 2006)

This was the first “somber sci-fi” that I ever read, which left a lasting impression. Brooks tells the tale of a worldwide zombie war, but does so after-the-fact through the eyes of survivors. It’s presented as an interview series, which sounds like a dry way to talk about zombies, but ends up being utterly engrossing. Halfway through the novel, you are all but convinced that the story actually happened, which is a testament to Max’s impeccable writing skills.

 

Rendezvous With Rama  (Arthur C. Clarke, 1973)

The most fascinating thing about this book is that it could never get published today. Clarke was the master of enthralling exposition, which is showcased in Rama from start to finish. In modern terms, this novel is a giant info dump, which is a huge no-no by current standards. The story is about a mysterious spaceship that enters our solar system and follows the team that is sent to investigate. It’s very slow, very dense, and absolutely spellbinding.

 

The Martian  (Andy Weir, 2011)

Hard science fiction is a very difficult genre for writers. The basic rule is that the science needs to be sound, and more often times than not, the story suffers as a result (read: it’s tedious and boring). Then came along Andy Weir, who managed to do something that no other author had done up to that point: he made it funny. The Martian follows Mark Watney, a stranded botanist who struggles to survive on Mars. I laughed from the very first line and finished the book in a single sitting. (The movie is also fantastic.)

 

Old Man’s War  (John Scalzi, 2005)

The most recent addition to this list, which dethroned Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. Military sci-fi is a popular sub-genre, but has never been a personal favorite. There are definite gems, but I find the genre to be a little repetitive. However, I kept seeing Old Man’s War pop up on best-of lists, so I decided to give it a try. Thank goodness I did, because it’s one of the best books I have ever read. The premise is unique, the action is captivating, and the psychological exploration is second to none. (Read my full review.)

Old Man's War by John Scalzi

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