People and Capital. The author in a detailed manner wonderfully describes how Mr. Buffett had the knack of handling both: People and capital at an utmost efficiency that added to his monumental success. Buffett as a CEO and sound capital allocator has been portrayed in this book. Easy access to funding causes one to make ill-disciplined decisions. Discipline regarding the use of money from the available resources is the most important lesson to be learned. Respecting people and giving them the importance they deserve no matter what stature they are making a big difference in their attitudes towards us.
Which company to invest in? When to invest? What to look for before investing? These are the most common questions which are asked by any investor. What could be more fascinating than to learn all this from Warren Buffett himself? Research is of utmost importance when it comes to investing. Buying when nobody wants the stock is the key to buying low. Identifying low priced stocks which are strong in nature are the key to enormous future profits. A novice or a master, artist or an engineer, no matter who you are, before investing one needs to learn to understand the financial statements Income Statement , Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement.
It forms the financial face of the company and depicts its financial health. Discovering strengths or weaknesses of a company solely from its financial statements will give anybody a definite competitive edge in the investing premise. A successful business largely depends on the management style its managers inculcate. Over the years there have been ample strategies developed for efficient and productive management of various types of business. But the key lies in simplicity. Warren Buffett as a manager has always taken the role of leadership to increased levels of improvement.
Mary Buffett and David Clark share the management styles of Buffett suitable for entrepreneurs and new managers. Find managers with integrity, passion, and intelligence about the business. Motivating and encouraging them with right ideas goes a long way. Placing of the right kind of individual in the right place is the first step of an effective delegation which leads to surprising results. This best Warren Buffett book is a collection of articles published by Fortune from about Warren Buffett and some articles written personally by him.
Readers of all facets will have an enriching view into the life of the successful business magnate. Nevertheless, it's safe to say that without Neuromancer, there would have been no cyberpunk. Neuromancer wasn't the first science fiction novel set among the low life and street people of the near future, but Gibson inhabited the Sprawl with utter conviction, inventing a street slang that caught on in the real world.
In this underground, Case is a washed-up hacker whose been treated with drugs to stop him accessing the Matrix ever again, while Molly is a street samurai who offers case a cure in exchange for his services. Through a violent world of double-dealing corporations and government cover-ups, Case and Molly risk their lives in the bright and threatening landscape of cyberspace, following a trail that eventually leads them to Wintermute, a powerful AI at a time when machine intelligence is banned.
A heady mixture of computer know-how and grimy film noir action, Neuromanceris like no novel before it, a totally original and absolutely gripping take on the near future. Neuromancer was the first novel ever to win the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards. It also set the tone for cyberpunk and made Gibson one of the most acclaimed of modern writers. Neuromancer didn't just catch the zeitgeist, it created it, giving us terms like "cyberspace" and "ICE", and being instrumental in the way the World Wide Web developed. In a balkanised Los Angeles, where everything is privatised and the economy is breaking down, a new computer virus appears that affects the users as much as their computers.
A key part of this future is the Metaverse, Stephenson's futuristic version of the Internet where people "log on" via virtual goggles. Everything is conducted through the Metaverse, from business to dating. Stephenson not only presents us with a very realistic look at what could be, but there are some subtle social observations about the way things are different and the same.
Stephenson frames the modern social constructs intruding into this cyberworld; ones' social wealth is judged by the look of the avatar they use to interact with the Metaverse, with the wealthy being able to afford custom while the "poor" use off the shelf. This book has it all, from hacker heroes who wield Samurai sword destruction by night in the Metaverse and deliver pizza by day for the Mob, governments and police controlled by private corporations, and a conspiracy that might the world needs some saving from. Joe Haldeman has said: "Our field has produced only a few works of actual genius, and this is one of them.
This is an out and out brilliant novel that does things no science fiction novel had attempted before, and very few have attempted since. It took the sf field by storm, and it has had a greater effect on more writers than just about any other book. The innocent man condemned to a lingering death is Gully Foyle, the sole survivor of an attack upon his ship, but when another ship passes by he is ignored.
When he does manage to return to Earth he is anxious for revenge, and having unearthed a fortune he gets his chance. This is a much darker novel than most of the far future space operas being written at the time. It's a violent story and Gully Foyle is no hero. But the rich and poetic language, the word play and the sheer fun of Bester's writing, the vivid colourful future, the breathtaking escapades, all keep us glued to the story and cheering him on. Thirty years before William Gibson wrote Neuromancer, Alfred Bester was inventing many of the tropes of cyberpunk. The result is an unputdownable novel that demands to be read over and over again.
Samuel R. Delany claims that this is considered by many to be the greatest single sf novel, while Robert Silverberg insists it is on everybody's top ten list. It's an unforgettable tale that just gets better every time you read it. And it's a gripping, very human, very disturbing tale about the extent men will go to for revenge, and the ultimate futility of the event. Read this one if you have not because you can't call yourself well read in the genre if you've missed it. And you might just be surprised how good the read is and how well aged it still is even in Philip K.
Dick was one of the most idiosyncratic and successful writers in science fiction. Okay, he's probably better known these days for all the films that have been based on his work, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau and heaven knows how many others. Certainly there have been many more films based on Dick's fiction than any other sf writer. But forget the films, even the great ones, like Blade Runner, can't begin to match the compelling weirdness of the novels. Dick used to explore the same ideas in novel after novel. Reality was undermined, usually as a result of drugs; there was a truth under the illusion of the world, but it wasn't always good to learn that truth; things we trust turn out to be unreliable.
And yet, the novels were far from samey, indeed the narrow range of obsessions resulted in an incredibly wide range of fiction. What's more, Dick wrote with a mordant wit that made his work consistently among the funniest of all science fiction. Because he was so prolific, and because he hit the target so frequently, it is very difficult to choose just one book as a representative of his work.
In the end we chose The Man in the High Castle, which in some ways seems a very untypical book because there is none of the pyrotechnic weirdness that often turns up in his fiction. Indeed, the novel seems like a fairly conventional alternate history in which the Axis Powers won the Second World War. As a result, in the s of the novel, America is divided in three; Germany rules the East Coast, Japan controls the West Coast, while a narrow independent buffer state exists between the two.
But in the end it is far from conventional. The story is full of fakes and deceptions; several major characters are travelling under false identities, some of the characters are dealing in fake American "antiquities", and Mr Tagoma, the Japanese bureaucrat who becomes central to the plot, attacks a German agent with a fake Colt revolver. All of this leads us to doubt and question what is going on; and then we come to The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, a novel written with the aid of the I Ching, which describes a world in which America did not lose the war; though the world described is not the same as the one we recognise.
He followed this with two novels that both displayed an awareness of and interest in science fiction, so it was no surprise when he added the middle initial and produced a straightforward science fiction novel. What was surprising was that it was a full-blooded space opera, full of battles and last minute escapes and epic explosions.
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What caught everybody's attention, however, was that the novel introduced a vast, interstellar, left-wing utopia, The Culture. The Culture was an immediate hit, and over the next 30 years he produced nine more novels and a bare handful of short stories about the Culture, which grew into one of the most popular and interesting of all science fiction series. Typically, he would look at this post-scarcity universe obliquely while concentrating on the edges, where the Culture rubbed up against other space-faring societies, and the Culture's most disreputable organisation, Special Circumstances, operated.
Occasionally we would be shown what it is like in a society without money, because everything is freely available, a society in which people could be whatever they wanted, changing sex freely and even, in one instance, taking on the appearance of a bush. It's a world of dangerous sports and comfortable living, but mostly we saw it only from the outside, through the eyes of those who did its dirty work.
Zakalwe is a mercenary, a bloody and effective soldier, who has worked for Special Circumstances on a number of occasions before, but now is called on for one last mission. In the odd-numbered chapters we follow this final mission; but in the even-numbered chapters we go backwards in time through his earlier missions and back towards the secret of his childhood. The final revelation about Zakalwe's true identity is brutal and breathtaking. The unique structure of the novel is what makes this an especially powerful story.
And it is told with a combination of cruel, unflinching violence and sparkling wit that is typical of Banks, and helps to explain his extraordinary popularity. The Culture is one of the great inventions of science fiction, a communistic utopia that actually works. It is also a universe absolutely stuffed with amazing inventions, including the ships that are characters in their own right and have typically witty names in Use of Weapons, for instance, we meet "Very Little Gravitas Indeed" and "Size Isn't Everything".
All of the Culture novels are worth reading, and Use of Weapons is easily the most rewarding of them. Some will recommend Player of Games as the 'best' intro to Bank's Culture novels as it's an exciting, action packed read that takes place a very personal level between characters. Consider Phlebas is another good intro, and as Culture goes, is Bank's classic "Space Opera' entry into the series. Asimov was, with Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, one of that triumvirate of star science fiction writers who first came to prominence in the late s and continued to dominate the field for another 30 years.
His magnum opus was this wide-ranging tale inspired by Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. We begin with a great galactic empire that has spread peace and civilisation far and wide across space. But Hari Selden has developed the science of psychohistory which combines sociology, history and mathematics as a reliable way of foreseeing the future, and thanks to psychohistory Selden predicts that the empire is due to collapse into a dark age that will last thousand years. But if the light of civilisation can be preserved, there is a chance that this dark age will last only one thousand years, and so he establishes a Foundation at the extreme end of the galaxy from which a new empire might grow.
For a while things go as Selden had foreseen: the Foundation becomes a haven of scientific progress, is challenged by the declining empire but emerges triumphant. But then something is thrown into the mix that Selden could not have anticipated: a mutant, the Mule, who emerges as an unpredictable power within the galaxy. And the Mule has heard rumours of a Second Foundation at the other end of the galaxy, and he's out to find it and destroy it.
But what is this Second Foundation, and where is it hiding? Epic in scope, ambitious and readable, the Foundation Trilogy deservedly won the Hugo Award for the best ever series, the only time that award was ever presented. It is science fiction on a huge canvas, the very definition of sense of wonder.
Foundation is one seminal ' Hard Science Fiction ' novels -- a form of science fiction that aims at making the science as realistic as possible. It's science fiction that puts a lot of emphasis on the 'science' part of the word, rather than relying on the sciencey magical hand waving of science fantasy to describe the science.
In the course of all this belated expansion to the original conception, Asimov also managed to tie in his Robot stories to create, rather unconvincingly, a future history that united all of his major science fiction. Alternative Choice. The series introduced the Three Laws of Robotics, one of the best-known formulations in the whole of science fiction, which has had an influence on every single robot story written since, and which has also had an effect on the actual development of robotics.
The early stories all challenged the three laws in some way, with either a robot apparently disobeying one of the laws or a human agency attempting to subvert them, but the laws themselves always won out in the end. As the series went on, the focus changed from the three laws to the question of the increasing humanity of the robots, so that one of the later stories, "The Bicentennial Man", which won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novelette, actually concerns a robot that becomes human.
Space Odyssey. In the early s, Arthur C. Clarke was approached by the film maker, Stanley Kramer, to ask if he would be interested in writing a film. Clarke recalled a short story he had written some time earlier called "The Sentinel", in which a strange, alien object is uncovered beneath the surface of the moon, and thought this might make a good starting point for a film. And thus , A Space Odyssey, one of the best and most famous of all science fiction films, was born.
The novel, which was written at the same time as the film, differs in occasional minor details from the film, but essentially the two tell the same story. The story is, surely, too well known to need repeating here. The black monolith whose appearance abruptly converts primitive man into a tool-using creature; the identical object unearthed on the moon that sends a signal towards Jupiter; the two spacemen contending with a computer gone rogue; the psychedelic journey through the star gate that ends in what appears to be a Belle Epoque palace, and the final mysterious appearance of the star child.
As in so much of Clarke's fiction, it's about humankind coming to the brink of a new evolutionary leap. In a sense the story is cold and intellectual, Clarke never was a writer of strong emotions, but if you love science fiction that appeals to the mind then this is the story for you.
He wrote three sequels to , Odyssey Two; , Odyssey Three and , The Final Odyssey; the first of these is good but the quality does fall off across the series. Both aesthetically and intellectually, , A Space Odyssey is one of the most influential films of all time, certainly it's effect upon all subsequent science fiction is incalculable.
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And let's not forget the movie by Stanely Kubrick was just as influential to film and general pop culture and generations of science fiction pop culture as the very book it was based on. Arthur C. Clarke has been voted one of the all-time best science fiction writers, and he left plenty of work that deserves that title. Aliens known as Overlords arrive suddenly over the earth and bring an end to war. For fifty years there is peace and prosperity, but it is finally revealed that the real purpose of the Overlords is to prepare humanity for the next step in their evolution, a merger with a cosmic mind.
But one person leaves Diaspar and discovers another community, Lys, an oasis where people have rejected the technology of Diaspar. By bringing the two communities together, a new future in space is opened up. Campbell Memorial Awards, is a story of alien contact without the aliens. An asteroid is spotted heading towards Earth, but when it is investigated it proves to be an uninhabited spaceship.
The story tells of the exploration of the craft, and the deductions that can be made about the aliens without the aliens ever appearing. The Forever War. The titles of these three novels Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars illustrate the way the planet is transformed over the course of this long work, from desert to the first stirrings of life to open water. It's a magnificent conception, carried out with great attention to scientific plausibility as well as psychological insight. The story begins with the arrival of the first hundred colonists, and from there chronicles their struggles to survive in an inhospitable environment, their arguments about the ethics of terraforming the planet and the best way of doing it, and their first tentative attempts to turn the world into a place where people can live openly.
Meanwhile, as resources become limited on Earth, transnational corporations come to dominate the planet and while a brief Martian rebellion flares, it is soon put down.
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But as terraforming proceeds over the succeeding years, so discontent about the authoritarian control from Earth grows, and another rebellion starts to brew. Coincidentally, a catastrophic environmental collapse on Earth paves the way for Martian independence, but with the additional problem of refugees from Earth. With Mars now a planet where people can live openly on the surface, attention starts to turn towards populating the rest of the solar system. A fourth volume, The Martians, is a collection of stories and other related pieces that link to the trilogy.
It's a glorious and fascinating vision of the different ways that humanity might find to live among our different planets.
The new scientific knowledge about Mars that we began to acquire during the s, and the scientific literacy of the Mars Trilogy, also inspired a number of other books about Mars. Wells, Stanley Weinbaum and others. From the First World War onwards, as communist rule was established in Russia and fascism spread from Italy to Germany to Spain, writers started to explore the notion of dystopia. They were, invariably, states in which conformity was enforced, and in which individuality had no place. These dystopias were generally from authors not usually associated with genre, and were often though not always the only genre work that they produced.
And yet they are works that have lasted, work that have become recognised as classics not just of science fiction, but of world literature. The one that stands out for us is Brave New World, in part because it is more ambiguous about the world it portrays so that we end up having to think that bit more about the world presented to us. Written among the disturbances of the Great Depression, Brave New World proposes that stability is the ultimate need of civilisation, and the World State of the novel is peaceful, all needs are met, and everyone is happy.
Yet it is a world in which children are not born but decanted, and everyone is assigned at birth to a place within society that permanently limits what they can do or where they can live. But thanks to the drug, soma, there is no dissent, no unhappiness. Into this perfectly ordered society is introduced John the Savage, who was born in a reservation outside the reach of the state and thus has none of the conditioning of every other citizen.
By the end f the book we are having to choose between the artificial happiness of the controlled state, or the unhappiness of the natural state: a choice that is harder than you might imagine. Nearly thirty years after writing the novel, Huxley brought out a non-fiction book, Brave New World Revisited, in which he argued that the world was approaching the state described in the novel more quickly than he had imagined. And in his final novel, Island, which was a deliberate utopian counterpoint to Brave New World, with a society in which science was at the service of humanity rather than in control.
Brave New World regularly appears on lists of the best novels of all time. It is a perfect example of the sort of dystopian fiction written between the s and s, and even after all this time it is an exciting and an engaging read. It is set in a world where people have numbers rather than names, everyone lives in glass houses so that nothing can be hidden from the state, and when there is a suggestion of rebellion our hero is subjected to a surgical procedure that makes him love the Great Benefactor.
Here, "Big Brother is Watching You", and when Winston Smith embarks upon a forbidden love affair it is an act of rebellion. But because the state sees everything, Smith is soon captured and subjected to the terrors of Room , which of course makes him love Big Brother.
Zones of Thought. The Zones of Thought, which Vinge introduced in this novel, is one of the great original ideas in science fiction. He imagines that the galaxy isn't uniform, in our part of the galaxy we are limited to the speed of light and our thought too is subject to similar restrictions.
But if you go further in towards the centre of the galaxy you come to a zone that's even slower in terms of speed and thought, while if you go outward there are zones where speed and thought are much faster. The trouble is, of course, if you move from a faster zone into a slower zone, everything from travel to communication is hampered.
When researchers in the Beyond happen to unleash an entity known as the Blight, all they can do is flee. But that brings them into the Slow zone, where they crash onto the planet of the Tines, dog-like aliens that have a herd-wide group mind and a medieval level of technology. While the researchers on Tinesworld find themselves caught up in a war between rival packs, others out in the Beyond try to activate countermeasures that will halt the Blight.
A Fire Upon the Deep is one of those books that you either love or hate, but you have to read it. It's a book with an incredible vision of the galaxy and man's future among the stars, but it's also a rip roaring tale that doesn't get lost in all that "vastness". A perfect combination of story and ideas. A Fire Upon the Deep is a fantastic read for anyone who loves old school Space Opera with plenty of science mixed in.
Indeed, there's a hell of a lot thrown into the basket which includes physics, hard sci-fi technology, different races, galactic history, political wrangling and betrayals, conspiracy, a passionate war thriller, and even romance. It won the Hugo Award for best novel. For its entire history, science fiction has been written across the globe, emerging from all sorts of cultures and all sorts of languages.
But since the Second World War, those of us in English speaking countries can have been aware of hardly any science fiction that appeared in a different language. Fortunately, that is starting to change, but for a long time it was a very rare and exceptional science fiction writer whose work was translated into English. Of these, easily the most important, and the most prolific, was Poland's Stanislaw Lem. Solaris is set aboard a human space station hovering just above an alien planet. After decades of research, the humans have realised that the ocean which covers the planet is actually a single organism, but they don't really understand what this may mean, and they have no way of communicating with it.
What they don't realise is that the ocean is also observing them, and has the ability to transform their secret, guilty thoughts into actual figures. So the scientists become haunted by characters from their past. The first English translation of Solaris, the only one that most of us will have read, was actually translated from the French version of the novel and was not approved by Lem himself. This can make the novel hard to read, particularly as the ideas that Lem expresses are so subtle and complex. Fortunately, a new translation has become available that is much better.
Vorkosigan Saga. There's a time for everything. There's a time to read heavy novels filled with grand ideas about space, the universe, and the destiny of mankind, and there's a time to read meaningful discourse on the human condition. Then there's just a time to sit back and read something that's just pretty damn fun without having to think complex thoughts.
Miles Vorkosigan is that read. This is heroic, romantic space opera that has the best character writing and development in the entire genre. The series follows Miles Vorkosigan, a young man with a crippled body but a brilliant mind, as he rises through the ranks, taking on and conquering impossible odds with genius strategy. This is character-driven military sf that mixes comedy and tragedy, politics and romance in various proportions. Lots of action, lots of adventure, and always fun, this is one of science fiction's most endearing and enduring series.
Miles is the definition of an underdog, a man who's bound by serious physical limitations but with a brilliant mind.
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It's the juxtaposition of Mile's clear physical inadequacies his bones are fragile as glass and he's under five feet tall and the strength of his mind that fuel the emotional conflicts of this novel. Miles is forever the underdog, both in physical contests and strategic ones; he also faces serious prejudice because of his physical appearance, prejudice he is able to overcome through his own heroic efforts, though he must deal with them at an emotional level.
To date, there are 16 novels in the sequence, plus a variety of novellas and short stories. If you want science fiction that's unfailingly entertaining, romantic and exciting and full of action, you really can't go wrong with Lois McMaster Bujold. It's easy to understand why H. Wells has been called the father of science fiction. Starting with his first novel in , he wrote a sequence of books which effectively defined some of the most familiar and important aspects of science fiction, from time travel to alien invasion.
Any one of these five early books would fully deserve a place in our list, but we have chosen to go with the first of them. The Time Machine was the first novel to consider the idea of time as a dimension, and therefore devise a machine that would allow you to travel at will through time. The novel begins in late Victorian Britain, when a small group of acquaintances are summoned to meet at the house of an eccentric inventor. When he finally bursts in, late, the inventor has an amazing story to tell, for he has invented a device that will allow him to travel through time. He describes gradually speeding up, so that the sun crosses the sky faster and faster until it becomes a blur, a cinematic effect before cinema itself had done anything like that.
He sees future cities rise, devastating wars, buildings giving way to nature once more. Finally, hundreds of thousands of years in the future, he arrives in what seems like a peaceful meadow in which beautiful, innocent people, the Eloi, live in peace. But there is a dark secret in this world, the monstrous Morlocks who live underground and emerge only to feast upon the Eloi. The Time Traveller realises that the Morlocks are the distant descendants of the working class, forced into a dismal subterranean world by uncaring industry, while the Eloi are the descendants of the wealthy and carefree.
Escaping the Morlocks, the traveller goes further forward in time to witness the eventual death of the Earth, before returning to tell his story in Victorian London. There can be very few more influential works in the entire history of science fiction. Before this, time travel had been a form of magic or dream, but now it became something we could control. Effectively, modern science fiction starts here. Science fiction likes to play with history. Look how fragile our world is, just one small change there, or there, or there, and things would be ever so much worse.
Of course, because we like doing it doesn't always mean that we do it well. But here's a book that does it very well indeed. Robert E. Lee won the Battle of Gettysburg, and as a result the Union surrendered and the United States were split in two. In the south, the Confederacy is now a global powerhouse gearing up for a war with the German Union which won this version of the First World War , a war that will almost certainly be fought out in the territory of the United States.
In the north, what remains of the United States is impoverished and kept subdued by the South. The story concerns Hodge Backmaker, who arrives in the backwater of New York in hopes of getting into a university to study history. He is robbed of his possessions, and ends up working in a bookshop that is the cover for an underground organisation aimed at restoring the North.
In time, Hodge comes to the attention of an eccentric community near the former battlefield of Gettysburg, a place where they have invented a time machine. While studying the War of Southron Independence, Hodge is given the opportunity to travel back in time and witness the climactic battle. But when he gets there he accidentally delays the Confederate forces on their way to Little Round Top, and changes the outcome of the battle. There had been occasional works before that imagined a Southern victory in the Civil War, but it was only with Bring the Jubilee that this became one of the key themes in alternate histories.
This was one of the most influential of all alternate history novels, at the same time shaping the subgenre and showing how it should be done.
It is the s. Joanna lives in a world much like our own, where the feminist movement is just beginning. In Jeannine's world, however, there was no Second World War because Hitler had been assassinated, but the Great Depression is still going on. Janet lives in a peaceful, utopian world known as Whileaway, where the mendied of a plague years ago and women give birth by parthenogenesis. Jael is in a world where there is a literal battle of the sexes, a war that has been going on for 40 years already.
The four are versions of the same woman, and when they are brought together it gives Russ the opportunity to dramatically examine the different relationships with men and with other women experienced in the various worlds.
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The novel displays both the anger and the irony that are characteristic of her work at its best. James Tiptree once wrote to her: "Do you imagine that anyone with half a functional neuron can read your work and not have his fingers smoked by the bitter, multi-layered anger in it? Always controversial, The Female Man is credited with starting feminist science fiction. It is one of only three novels to have been awarded a Retrospective Tiptree Award.
It is a time travel story of a young black woman who moves between contemporary California, and pre-Civil War Maryland, where she meets her ancestors, a black slave woman and a while slave owner. Ever since it was first published, Kindred has been a mainstay on both women's studies and black literature courses. By the s, the world was changing more rapidly than ever. The digital age foreseen by the cyberpunks was already becoming more complex as writers began pushing the ideas forward into areas of posthumanity and nanotechnology among others.
At the forefront of this advance was Neal Stephenson, whose vision of the world incorporated a vast slew of notions ranging from economics to artificial intelligence to social structure and more. All of these various elements came together in The Diamond Age. In a future that has been radically transformed by nanotechnologies and ever greater advances in computing, tribes or "phyles" have now become the dominant social structure. Phyles are groups of people brought together by shared values, ethnicity or cultural heritage, while old groupings like the nation state are withering away.
To be outside a phyle, therefore, is the lowest of the low. That is the fate of Nell, until she acquires a copy of an interactive book, The Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, which was intended for someone else. By following the advice in the book, Nell is able to rise in the world until, by the end, she has founded her own phyle. Following Nell's story gives Stephenson the chance to show us all the various workings of this world, and how different it is both in technological terms and in its assumptions, from our own.
If you want a vision of the future that will stop you dead in your tracks, a vision that is so brilliantly interconnected that it is absolutely convincing, then look no further. From hive minds linked by nanotechnology to the limits of artificial intelligence, this is a world that is different from our own at every point, even though we can see how we might get there from here. Why It's on the List. But really it glitters like the title, this is a diamond of a novel, filled with incalculable riches.
For alternative choices, we'll stick with Stephenson's 3 other most regarded works. Each of these could take this spot on the list, and truth be told, your preference will depend on your personal taste as each of these books offers quite a different experience. If you want to start reading Stephenson, this is a good book to start with.
It's also a seminal work in the Cyberpunk genre. Is this even science fiction? Who Knows?