The Cryptonomicon – Neil Stephenson

Every book Stephenson writes seems to be better than the one before, I loved Snowcrash, really like The Diamond Age and this is better than both of them. Some people think he gets a bit verbose at times, but I actually enjoy those bits! The Baroque Cycle is even better again, but I'm not sure it's really Sci-Fi in the sense I mean.

Neuromancer – William Gibson

Though I like some of his later books better, this one is a classic. It was the first science fiction book I ever read and is therefore the reason for the rest of this list :)

Diaspora – Greg Egan

Egan's books are wonderfully detailed, sort of like physics textbooks but interesting. The impressive thing is that the plot seems to fall out naturally from the science. I could have picked any of his books, they are of such consistent quality.

Holy Fire – Bruce Sterling

Another author I really like, this book doesn't seem to get talked about as much as some of his other work but I found the idea behind this one to be extrememly interesting: as people live longer and those who live longer tend to be the people who are more risk averse, society becomes increasingly conservative.

Fallen Dragon – Peter F Hamilton

There's nothing like clutching a very thick paperback, and Hamilton is responsible for quite a large number of very thick books. Although I enjoy those, this shorter, stand alone novel is the one I like the best.

The Algebraist – Iain M Banks

Banks' early science fiction novels were really great, they tailed off somewhat (though were still very good) but I felt this novel is something of a return to form. An interesting and unusual universe, weird aliens, and an almost whodunnit like plot.

Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami

I really love Murakami, he's only written one Sci-Fi book and it's the first novel of his I read. Not much for the hard science, but enough off-beat and plain weirdness to keep everyone interested.

Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson

Really I like this whole series, I just arbitrarily picked the middle one :)

Elvissey – Jack Womack

It's not often that science fiction books invent a new dialect of English (it's more of a fantasy thing, I think), once you've deciphered the dialogue this is a great novel, the terror of the rise of scientology is set against an Elvis from an alternative universe.

Spares – Michael Marshall Smith

Not so much in the hard science vein, but Smith is a very witty and imaginative writer.

Honourable Mentions

OK, so really what this section means is I couldn't limit myself to just ten books...

Vurt – Jeff Noon

The Winter Queen – Joan Vinge

Learning the World – Ken MacLeod

Wetware – Rudy Rucker

Firestar – Michael Flynn

Woken Furies – Richard Morgan

Sea of Silver Light – Tad Williams

Darwins Radio – Greg Bear

Red Dust – Paul McAuley

Jennifer Government – Max Barry

Please see Robs Top Tens for a general description of the criteria and reasons for exclusions.

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