The book every geek should have under their utility belt.
In recent months the subject of geekdom has been appearing in recent news. The articles have been reviewing the geek influence in our current movies, books and TV shows, but the topic of book often gets overlooked. Nicole Bremer Nash has recently released an article on TechRepublic entitles A required reading list for geeks.
The list of seven books spread Science fiction, fantasy, horror and even an autobiography. Now while her list is varied I do find that most of her choices are poor and borrow heavily from the predetermined ‘classics.’
In my extensive reading and my vast library I have developed my own list of ‘required reading for all Geeks.’
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
While may would have chosen The Lord of the Rings Trilogy over the Hobbit I chose to limit each category to a single book. I am also one of the few who believe that The Hobbit was better written and paced then its younger trilogy. This book has the unforgettable riddle contest, the evil Smaug, the famous speech by the Bowman as he fires at the dragon overhead, and my personal favourite battle in the Tolkien-verse, The Battle of Five Armies
On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony
This is book 1 of 8 in the Incarnation of Immortality series. The series revolves around a world where magic and technology co-exist and mortals who take up the positions of god-like Immortals to perform their tasks. These positions include War, Time, Gaia, Fate, and even Satan himself. Each book is a standalone adventure but a longer and closely weaved story reveals itself with each following book. The first book follows Zane as he assumes the position of Death after accidentally killing the former reaper. Now he must take the souls of the departed, pass judgment and send them towards their final destination all while trying to avoid the tangled plan of Satan.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
It is not often when a person can claim that a book changed his life but when the first book in the Trilogy of Six (You heard me) fell into my 11-year old hands it changed my view on science fiction, comedy and even opened my eyes to a whole realm of imagination I thought forbidden. Could science fiction and comedy be combined? Star Trek and Star Wars never did it? Douglas Adams left my mine and thousands others with a quest for The Question of Life the Universe, and Everything. We already know the answer is 42, we just don’t understand the question.
Ender’s Game by Orsen Scott Card
In Card’s most famous novel, a Nebula awarded best novel for 1985, an imperilled Earth in preparation for an anticipated third alien invasion, constructs a school to find and train future fleet commanders. The world’s most talented children, including the novel’s genius protagonist Ender Wiggin, are taken at a very young age to a training centre known as the Battle School.
There, teachers train them in the arts of war through increasingly difficult zero gravity games. The addictive book shows the making of a true military commander and an unbeatable tactician through the years as a child is forced to grow up in a warring future.
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft
The Cthulhu mythos, which follows the fictional writings of Lovecraft, was the birth of the American horror genera. In recent years it has gained quite a following and can be given, ‘Cult Status” (pun intended). While I am not a big follower of the cult or the writings, I did enjoy the first story. The original story is presented as a manuscript “found among the papers of the late Francis Wayland Thurston, of New York”. In the text, Thurston recounts his discovery of notes left behind by his granduncle, George Gammell Angell, a prominent professor of Semitic languages at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The story is told in three parts and is the basis for all following novels and stories and helps give a better understanding of the origins on the heavily Lovecraft influenced writings of modern books, movies, video games and role-playing material.
The Crystal Shard by R.A. Salvatore
I have left this book for last as this is the one that would draw the most criticism. In Salvatore first novel he introduced the world to the Drizzt Do’Urden. Drizzt is a Drow (Dark Elf) ranger who has cast off the shackles of his evil race in bid to be a warrior of good. He fights with two scimitars, Icingdeath and Twinkle, a dire panther named Quenhwyvar and is the best fencer of his kind. While Drizzt’s popularity has let Salvatore become a twenty-two time New York Times Best Seller, it has also lead to Drizzt being classified as a cliche. Drizzt is dubbed as an ‘emotional loner from an evil race who is trying to be good,” but the truth is that Drizzt was the original and the imitations spawned from him. Salvatore, with his writings of Drizzt, is the father of the drow. The drow, which were created by Ed Greenwood, existed as single paragraph in the Fiend Folio before Salvatore began his writings. With ‘The Crystal Shard” we see the first appearances of Drizzt and his allies (Regis, Bruenor, Cattie-Brie and Wulfgar) in an classic adventure with an original twist.
There are numerous books which could have been added to the list, books like Frankenstein, Neuromancer, Eye of the World, The Frozen Throne, or Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep, but I have limited my list to books that were influential and original. I was looking for books that have affected my life, that have affected the way I think, and raised the bar by which I hold all books in comparison.