Science Fiction books push our imaginations to experience possible futures that allow us to see beyond the present day and contemplate new worlds. Rather than limiting our reality, readers are exposed to science or technology that may be out of the box. It gives us countless opportunities to expand the environment in which we live by interacting with each other and creating a possible new vision of the future.
The following authors have done just that – they have let their imaginations run unrestricted and escape to innovative and unique realities and scientific developments that explain what a future would be like if different from what we already know.
A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs
A Princess of Mars is a science fantasy novel. John Carter goes prospecting in Arizona immediately after the war’s end. Having struck a rich vein of gold, he runs afoul of the Apaches. While attempting to evade pursuit by hiding in a sacred cave, he is mysteriously transported to Mars, called “Barsoom” by its inhabitants. Carter finds that he has great strength and superhuman agility in this new environment as a result of its lesser gravity and lower atmospheric pressure. He soon falls in with a nomadic tribe of Green Martians. Thanks to his strength and martial prowess, Carter rises to a high position in the tribe and earns the respect and eventually the friendship of Tars Tarkas, one of the Thark chiefs.
Mysterious Island – Jules Verne
The story opens in Richmond, VA, 1865, during the American Civil War. A small group of Union soldiers steal a hot air balloon to escape a POW camp. They take off during a storm. The balloon is blown across continents and oceans, and they crash land on a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific. It is both a shipwreck adventure and a mystery.
Dune – Frank Herbert
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud’dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family – and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. It is a stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics and won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
Macroscope – Piers Anthony
Throughout history, man has been searching for better ways to gather information about his universe. But although they may have longed for it, not even the most brilliant minds could conceive of a device as infinitely powerful or as immeasurably precise as the macroscope, until the twenty-first century. By analyzing information carried on macrons, this unbelievable tool brought the whole universe of wonders to man’s doorstep. The macroscope was seen by many as the salvation of the human race. But in the hands of the wrong man, the macroscope could be immensely destructive-infinitely more dangerous than the nuclear bomb. By searching to know too much, man could destroy the very essence of his mind. This is the powerful story of man’s struggle with technology, and also the story of his human struggle with himself. It is a story of coming of age, of sacrifice, and of love. It is the story of man’s desperate search for a compromise between his mind and his heart, between knowledge and humanity.
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Earnest and naive solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to organize the estate of the infamous Count Dracula at his crumbling castle in the ominous Carpathian Mountains. Through notes and diary entries, Harker keeps track of the horrors and terrors that beset him at the castle, telling his fiancé Mina of the Count’s supernatural powers and his own imprisonment. Although Harker eventually manages to escape and reunite with Mina, his experiences have led to a mental breakdown of sorts. Meanwhile in England, Mina’s friend Lucy has been bitten and begins to turn into a vampire. With the help of Professor Van Helsing, a previous suitor of Lucy’s, Seward, and Lucy’s fiancé Holmwood attempt to thwart Count Dracula and his attempts on Lucy and consequently Mina’s life.
Frankenstein – Mary Shelly
Frankenstein, published in 1818, is the most celebrated horror story ever written and one of the best-selling books of all time. It is the tale of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist whose unbridled quest for the secret of life unleashes a creature that embodies our deepest fears about the moral bounds of human progress. Readers have been fascinated with the iconic image of Frankenstein’s monster and the unresolved ethical questions his creation challenges us to answer.
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all – a treasure-troving dragon named Smaug. In this fantasy classic, master storyteller J.R.R. Tolkein creates a bewitching world filled with delightful creatures and thrilling dangers.
Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.
1984 – George Orwell
In 1984, London is a grim city in the totalitarian state of Oceania where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston Smith is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be. Though the year 1984 now exists in the past, Orwell’s novel remains an urgent call for the individual willing to speak truth to power.
Foundation – Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save humanity, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls this sanctuary the Foundation. But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. And mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and live as slaves—or take a stand for freedom and risk total destruction.
If you haven’t read these books, I hope you will soon. If you love books about dragons, check out my website at www.solitaireparke.com
A Dragon is a legendary creature belonging to the world of mythology, storytelling and fantasy. There are stories about dragons in Chinese culture, European culture, South American culture, and many others.
Dragons can look like dinosaurs and other extinct animals. Because of that, it is easy to think that those animals might have been an example for dragons as they were thought of in the history of humankind.
There are many kinds of dragons in the different cultures. In general –
- A dragon has: none to four legs, claws, scales and possibly spikes. Optional wings.
- A dragon can look like a snake with wings, or like lizards
- A dragon has a tail and a long neck.
- A dragon has a wide mouth with big and dangerous teeth.
- Sometimes they have horns and hair.
- A dragon can fly.
- A dragon can perhaps breathe fire (or other dangerous substances).
- A dragon can have special powers.
- Some dragons live in caves.
In a number of stories, dragons are dangerous and attack humans. Other stories have dragons that are looking for help, or giving help. In my Dragomeir Series, the dragons become companions and are lifelong friends to their specific riders. They can be dangerous to those who attempt to hurt the ones they love or their way of life, but to their riders they are the ultimate friend. Here are some interesting quotes about dragons:
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Hobbit
And though I came to forget or regret all I have ever done, yet would I remember that once I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content.
URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Farthest Shore
If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.
LLONA ANDREWS, Fate’s Edge
The ultimate challenge of a teacher lies not in the slaying of dragons, but rather in exposing them as beasts no longer to be feared.
ALAN BURTON, A Wayward Wizard’s Wistful Words
If you want to conquer the world, you best have dragons.
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN, A Dance with Dragons
O to be a dragon,
a symbol of the power of Heaven — of silkworm
size or immense; at times invisible.
MARIANNE MOORE, O To Be a Dragon
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
RAINER MARIA RILKE, Letters to a Young Poet
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you art crunchy and good with ketchup.
Come not between the dragon, and his wrath.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, King Lear
If you see the dragon fly,
best you drink the flagon dry.
GREG HAMERTON, Second Sight
The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate.
URSULA K. LE GUIN, A Wizard of Earthsea
Imagine a land where people are afraid of dragons. It is a reasonable fear: dragons possess a number of qualities that make being afraid of them a very commendable response. Things like their terrible size, their ability to spout fire, or to crack boulders into splinters with their massive talons. In fact, the only terrifying quality that dragons do not possess is that of existence.
DAVID WHITELAND, Book of Pages
A dragon stranded in shallow water provides amusement to the shrimps.
I desired dragons with a profound desire. Of course, I in my timid body did not wish to have them in the neighborhood. But the world that contained even the imagination of Fáfnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever the cost of peril.
J. R. R. TOLKIEN, The Tolkien Reader
It is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.
URSULA K. LE GUIN, A Wizard of Earthsea
Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an impossible monster? And do we not now know that there are hundreds of them found fossil up and down the world? People call them Pterodactyles: but that is only because they are ashamed to call them flying dragons, after denying so long that flying dragons could exist.
CHARLES KINGSLEY, The Water Babies
Here be dragons to be slain, here be rich rewards to gain;
If we perish in the seeking, why, how small a thing is death! DOROTHY L. SAYERS, Catholic Tales and Christian Songs
People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.
URSULA K. LE GUIN, The Wave in the Mind:
Talks & Essays on the Writer, the Reader, & the Imagination
Do you love reading about dragons? Check out this ongoing series at my website –
“The Emerald Dragon”
“Flight of theAguiva”
“Egg of the Amphitere”
And the forthcoming book –
“Daughter of the Dark Lord”
“The Burning Sky”