Two Specific Novel Suggestions Needed
May 19, 2022 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Asking on behalf of a friend: I need two relatively well-known novels to fit the following criteria. One of them should address the value of human life over and above technological fixation (so maybe something humanistic in science fiction?). The other should convey that friendships will take you farther than talent alone. Searching for books by theme is, as you might imagine, rather difficult. Any ideas?
posted by xenization to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For your first criteria, maybe Never Let Me Go?
posted by cakelite at 8:12 AM on May 19 [6 favorites]

Best answer: for the 2nd I would suggest "The Calculating Stars"

a more classical suggestion could be Dumas' "The 3 Musketeers" perhaps?
posted by alchemist at 8:25 AM on May 19

For the first: any of the Hainish novels by Ursula Le Guin? The early ones are: City of Illusions, Rocannon's World, and Planet of Exile - I particularly like Rocannon's World. The Left Hand of Darkness is a Hainish novel, a masterpiece.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:30 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For 1, consider a A Canticle for Leibowitz. It's bleak novel, but these are bleak times. It's an all-time great in SF, hailed by readers, critics, etc. Major themes of cyclical history and humans blowing each other up are apt, and yet there's also a clear message that technology cannot and will not save us, and that human life is a precious thing that must be cultivated and cherished, or lost.
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:30 AM on May 19 [2 favorites]

Perhaps Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers, for the first.
posted by dizziest at 10:49 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]

I feel like you could make a case for Parable of the Sower for both of these!
posted by quatsch at 12:02 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

+1 for The Left Hand of Darkness.
posted by missmobtown at 3:48 PM on May 19

Ooo, I came in to suggest Parable of the Sower, but on reread I think N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy is a perfect fit.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 8:49 PM on May 19

Response by poster: The Three Musketeers and A Canticle for Leibowitz sound pretty dang close to what my friend is after. If anyone happens to see this question and has other suggestions, please feel free to post them!
posted by xenization at 8:00 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

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