Top Ten Tuesday is brought to your screen courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is 10 Books That Make You Laugh. In keeping with this site’s theme, I’m going to do Top Ten Funniest Science Fiction Books.
Top Ten Funniest Science Fiction Books
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – It was a given this one was going to be on the list, right? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will make you do everything from smirk in amusement to expel your soda through your nose as you listen to it.
- Year Zero by Rob Reid – It’s utterly ridiculous and completely fantastic. Read my review on it to get my full opinion, but needless to say it was one of the first books that popped to mind for this list.
- The Martian – Mark Watney’s wit is self-deprecating at times, and whips from dry to corny quicker than you can blink. This book still makes me giggle, and I’ve listened to it so many times I’ve lost count at this point.
- RedShirts by John Scalzi – When you snicker and nod in agreement with the ridiculousness on the very first page you know you’re in for a treat. Scalzi’s Redshirts skewers some of the most well-known sci-fi tropes with amazing accuracy and hilarity.
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Yes, Douglas Adams has two books on this list. It should come as no surprise. I mean, if I hadn’t ruled out series, it’d pretty much be Adams, Adams, Weir, Reid, Adams, Scalzi, Adams, Ad…you get the point.
- Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke – Clarke is not someone I associate with funnies, to be entirely honest. However, within the first few pages of this series of short stories that take place in “The White Hart” (a local London pub), I found myself snickering and sending quotes from it to one of my friends. The funnies aren’t for everyone, true, but if you like English humor, this’ll tickle your toes.
- Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – Sorry, sorry, I know this is the second author to feature twice, but let’s face it, if you’re talking strictly sci-fi, there’s a distinct lack of funnies available! While Old Man’s War isn’t exactly laugh-out-loud funny, it’s filled with some amusing observations, and moments that will definitely make you grin.
Okay, so just to be fair: I only got to 7 on my own. So I scoured the web to find 3 other science fiction books that seem to tickle most people’s funny bones.
8. The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison- This book is lauded in basically every article listing funny science fiction books. Apparently the Stainless Steel Rat is a Criminal Mastermind with a Heart of Gold in a society of fuddy-duddies. Side note: I actually have this one on audio, I just haven’t listened to it .
9. Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor (Red Dwarf #1)- The first paragraph of the synopsis ” The first lesson Lister learned about space travel was you should never try it. But Lister didn’t have a choice. All he remembered was going on a birthday celebration pub crawl through London. When he came to his senses again, with nothing in his pockets but a passport in the name of Emily Berkenstein.” – Yep, this one’s going one on my To-Be-Read list!
10. Venus on a Half-Shell by Philip Jose Farmer/Kilgore Trout – Scroll back up. Look at the last cover. ‘Nuff said. Though, if you need more, I will remind you yet again that all these underlined titles are links to the appropriate Goodreads page.
One of the reasons I love doing lists like Funniest Science Fiction Books is because someone always is like “Hey! You forgot about — ” and turns me on to a new author or book. So feel free to chime in – who do you think should be on this list? and why?
Talk to me!
Also, feel free to leave links to your own Top Ten Lists in the comments 🙂
YES YES YES! oh douglas adams <3
I had Redshirts out from the library last year but never got around to reading it before I had to return it. I hope to read it and Fuzzy Nation sometime later this year but too many books, not enough time. Great list and I have added a couple to my TBR – even though I already own the complete Hitchhiker’s Guide. (See previous comment – haha)
The Martian was a funny one for sure. It wouldn’t have been the same without that humour. Nice choices 🙂
Some old books to consider.
The Space Merchants (1952/53) by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth: humor and satire, the world of the future through the eyes of an advertising executive. Kornbluth’s “The Syndic” (1953) is somewhat similar in describing a future America run by the Mob, but not quite as sharp. Both books suffer a bit from the apparent requirement to shoehorn in a romance, albeit one without sex; this is the 1950s, you know!
Norstrilia (1964/75) by Cordwainer Smith: a teenage boy becomes the richest man in the world by buying up sheep excretions, and sets out to buy a postage stamp. An amusing romp through Smith’s Instrumentality of Mankind universe.
Masks of the Illuminati (1981) by Robert Anton Wilson: James Joyce and Albert Einstein use their distinctive talents to logically unravel a diabolical mystery afflicting a young English gentleman. Features sex, drugs, blasphemy, and nursery rhymes. No direct connection to the Illuminatus! trilogy Wilson co-wrote with Robert Shea a few years before.
To Say Nothing of the Dog (1998) by Connie Willis: HOW COULD THIS BOOK NOT MAKE YOUR TOP 10????? The most humorous of Willis’s time travel stories (as opposed to Doomsday Book, the darkest, but also good), Ned Henry is suffering from the time travel equivalent of jet lag as he tries to fix an anomaly in Victorian England while coping with a domineering financial sponsor . . . and cats. Yes, cats. You know it’s going to get more complicated from here.
Like with Clarke, I had no clue Willis did funnies! Thanks for the list. I will look into it further when I have more time. 🙂
It looks like we have several overlaps this week! I included The Martian, Red Shirts, and Hitchhiker’s Guide on my list as well. And I’ve been meaning to read Old Man’s War for a long time now. I’m hoping to get to it this summer! My TTT
Aw, hell yes Scalzi!
I liked Old Man’s War. I never thought of it as funny, but now that you mention it, it was pretty amusing what they did when they first got their new bodies.
Yeah. I have to say, I think Scalzi wrote that perfectly, lol.
I have to add some books to my TBR now… I really need to read that Martian book, ahah 🙂 Great choices! 😀