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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    I know a guy who believes violent video games create killers and DnD leads to interest in the occult. They also wish there was no violence in TV. This person grew up in the 80s go figure.

    They also enjoy reality shows and sitcoms.

    Would you hand them DVDs of Babylon 5 and/or LOTR?
    Last edited by CmdrShep2183; 2017-12-22 at 12:15 AM.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    They seem to not be interested in the typical power fantasy of 'hero grows strong to save the world", or the more adventurous SciFi stories. That's perfectly fine, not everyone likes the same things.


    Pratchett is, obviously, fantastic. The Hogfather book or TV dramatisation are timely.
    Synopsis: assassin is hired to 'terminate' Hogfather, a stand-in for Santa Claus, ultimately aiming to target humanity's system of beliefs. Death, who is a big fan of humanity, sees an opportunity to bring joy for once and does his best to fill the jolly red boots while the big man is occupied.

    Other than that, maybe Guards, Guards! could work. A hero arrives in the city-kingdom of his ancestors, ruled by a tyrant and threatened by a dragon. However, the time of heroics, rooftop chases and fights involving chandeliers is long gone. It's a story about the heroism of a civil servant, instead of the more typical heroics of kicking in doors to battle evil-doers.



    Asimov's books about the three laws of robotics are relevant for discussing AI even more so today than back then. If you can find a collection of his short stories that includes the story 'Sally', featuring self-driving AI cars, that might be interesting.
    Last edited by endoperez; 2017-12-22 at 02:58 AM.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2183 View Post
    I know a guy who believes violent video games create killers and DnD leads to interest in the occult. They also wish there was no violence in TV. This person grew up in the 80s go figure.

    They also enjoy reality shows and sitcoms.

    Would you hand them DVDs of Babylon 5 and/or LOTR?
    Neither of those are nonviolent. So, no.

    I'm trying to recall fantasy or sci-fi sitcoms. The Orville? Futurama?
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    For literature, I recommend Will Save the Galaxy for Food, a satirical sci-fi story by Yahtzee Croshaw. (aka, the Zero Punctuation guy.) It's about a hot-shot star pilot who is now out of a job because someone invented instant teleportation machines that render star pilots useless. It's focused more on humor and hijinks than action.

    The TV Tropes page is here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...eGalaxyForFood

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    I'd go for high brow speculative fiction, which is mostly sci-fi. "Flowers for Algernon", "Nightfall", "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas", that sort of thing. There are entire anthologies full of the stuff, which makes handing someone one object that much easier.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    If they like reality shows and sitcoms, chances are they are into social intrigues and stuff in their material. So, as cliche as it is, Game of Thrones (or more correctly, A Song of Ice and Fire) may work better than LoTR.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Tam Lin, by Pamela Dean.

    Although it is genuinely a fantasy novel (loosely based on the 16th century ballad of the same name), it mostly reads as the story of a normal American girl going to college to study Literature - pretty much a straight romance/coming of age story. The overt fantastic elements only come in at the end (although there are hints all the way through the book).

    Instead of fey influences, Janet has to deal with two roommates, some very interesting dorm mates her father (who lectures at the college), a ghost story (based on the tragic suicide of a Victorian student - whose ghost is supposed to throw certain books out of the window) and lots of college lore.

    If you have a reasonable knowledge of literature (and the history of literature) there are lots of details in the story as Janet (and the rest of the literature crowd) are forever making references.


    As noted, B5 and LOTR contain too much violence (and the original LOTR book is a bit of a doorstopper to boot - a good read, but you really have to be in to the subject matter).
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cespenar View Post
    If they like reality shows and sitcoms, chances are they are into social intrigues and stuff in their material. So, as cliche as it is, Game of Thrones (or more correctly, A Song of Ice and Fire) may work better than LoTR.
    Well, there's the matter of this little detail in the original post:

    They also wish there was no violence in TV.
    Even if Game of Thrones wasn't violent, it would still be the exact opposite of a sitcom, so I don't understand the logic of this post at all.



    I have to stress I can't see the point of trying to convert people to the fantasy genre who very clearly lack any interest in it. I doubt recommending your favorite works is going to get you anywhere - sure, Terry Pratchett is brilliant, but I doubt someone who won't play DnD because it may lead to "an interest in the occult" is going to crack open a fantasy novel of any kind anytime soon.

    The closest thing to a fantasy TV sitcom that I've watched personally is Sabrina the Teenage Witch (dating myself big time).
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silfir View Post
    The closest thing to a fantasy TV sitcom that I've watched personally is Sabrina the Teenage Witch (dating myself big time).
    If you feel dated, I remember "Bewitched", and its sort-of Arabian cousin "I Dream of Jeanee".
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silfir View Post
    I have to stress I can't see the point of trying to convert people to the fantasy genre who very clearly lack any interest in it. I doubt recommending your favorite works is going to get you anywhere - sure, Terry Pratchett is brilliant, but I doubt someone who won't play DnD because it may lead to "an interest in the occult" is going to crack open a fantasy novel of any kind anytime soon.
    I agree. Still, if the op wants to recommend something, works like Pratchett's are a better fit for this than, say, LotR.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    If animation could be considered, the work of Miyazaki might not be a bad fit- Laputa: Castle in the Sky, or Howl's Moving Castle could work, since by my memory of them, there is very little violence shown (Howl's Moving Castle is set in the background of a war, but very little detail is offered, and it mostly exists as a means of generating tension for the actual plot, since one character keeps having to go away to deal with it). But both of them are amazing, fantastical movies with tons of action- Miyazaki is fascinated by flight, and you can see it in the animation for both movies- the flying sequences are spectacular to watch. Just... if you do start picking up Miyazaki, be cautious of Grave of the Fireflies, which is notorious for being one of the most depressing movies ever filmed (seriously, the plot is 'children starve to a background of WWII') >.0

    Other ideas- just tossing things at the wall to see what sticks- Stardust, maybe? Not a bad movie at all, and not terribly violent from what I can recall. I'll Nth Sir PTerry's Discworld books, of course- your friend might enjoy them more than you'd expect, because Sir Pratchett had a sharp eye for human nature, and a knack for a witty turn of phrase. Going Postal or maybe Pyramids would probably be the ones I'd recommend to get them started... leaning more towards Going Postal, I think, since it's both accessible and highly entertaining. Other than that... Labyrinth, maybe? If nothing else, you can get 'Dance the Magic Dance' stuck in your friend's head forever

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    I don't think anyine gets killed in Labyrinth

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Book

    Chronicles of Narnia for a fantasy theme with a religious connotation.

    I would not recommend Lord of the Rings unless he wants to read about scenery and a musical of events and people that have nothing to do with the story.

    Television

    Classic Star Trek

    Lots of good science fiction, some humor, and the occasional social commentary.

    Movie

    Star Wars. Original trilogy. No movie beats Star Wars.
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2183 View Post
    I know a guy who believes violent video games create killers and DnD leads to interest in the occult. They also wish there was no violence in TV. This person grew up in the 80s go figure.

    They also enjoy reality shows and sitcoms.

    Would you hand them DVDs of Babylon 5 and/or LOTR?
    No.

    It's OK for people to like different things. Not only are you under no obligation to "convert" them to loving fantasy, or even tolerating it - you are, arguably, disrespecting their clearly expressed preferences by even wanting to.

    Having said that, I'd suggest Connie Willis's 'To Say Nothing of the Dog', which is one of the best romantic comedies I've ever read, and can't remotely be accused of fostering interest in the occult or violence.
    "None of us likes to be hated, none of us likes to be shunned. A natural result of these conditions is, that we consciously or unconsciously pay more attention to tuning our opinions to our neighbor’s pitch and preserving his approval than we do to examining the opinions searchingly and seeing to it that they are right and sound." - Mark Twain

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    As for the Stardust recommendation, there is the goat that headbutts a unicorn with predictable results.

    Plus, if D&D is tied to the occult in their mind, a literal Faerie story is a bit much.

    If you must give recommendations, I suggest Pratchett Guards series, as the fantasy weirdness is more toned down.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Thinking.

    For science fiction, Foundation. The first book has no battles, characters ate shot to no effect several times, bit it's all about historic forces (note that wars happen in the later books, but generally from far away).

    Fine Structure is also interesting. There's a couple of fights in it, but it's mainly people sitting around and talking (in pubs, drinking good British Ale).

    Night's Dawn is always the one I recommend, for being amazing epic space opera, bit it doesn't fell right.

    I also recommend either Stardust or Never where. One is a modern fairytale, the other is an interesting adventure in London Below.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeChameleon View Post
    If animation could be considered, the work of Miyazaki might not be a bad fit- Laputa: Castle in the Sky, or Howl's Moving Castle could work, since by my memory of them, there is very little violence shown

    Other ideas- just tossing things at the wall to see what sticks- Stardust, maybe?
    Howl's Moving Castle is based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones. The themes and parts of the story remain the same, but the animation did change many things,including the ending.
    DWJ wrote lots of excellent books - funny, light-hearted, warm like a friend's helping hand - but aimed at young adults / older kids, and not as interesting for an adult reader as, say, Pratchett's works. For the younger audience, though, I rate her one of the best.

    Similarly, Stardust is based on a novel by Neil Gaiman. His works feel like half a step into horror, and I'm not sure if his novels are a good fit here. The film might be a better fit than the book. Neil is a great writer, though.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    One other thing I want to throw out there- the friend in question isn't... exactly wrong about D&D potentially fostering interest in the occult, but not for the reasons they likely think; finding a burnt spot on ones' toast that looks a bit like a goat could foster interest in the occult, too, as could interpreting the vague nonsense of a fortune cookie as being particularly accurate... if a bit of wanton cruelty to an inoffensive metaphor could be excused, if occultism were recreational drugs, D&D would be less the weed and more the bong.

    *shrug*

    I do enjoy a bit of Dianna Wynne Jones, however. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland still enjoys a place of honour on my bookshelf

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    I think the dreamlike breed of world presented by Neil Gaiman is well worthwhile, but I'd choose Michael Ende or George Macdonald as the newcomer's guide - the OP's reluctant fantasy reader would like Macdonald if any fantasy's in his blood at all, and I'd recommend (in ascending order of length) The Light Princess, The Wise Woman and Phantastes.

    Neverending Story, the book, is probably the best bet in general.
    Last edited by DomaDoma; 2017-12-26 at 06:12 AM.
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Brandon Sanderson's "The Emperor's Soul" might be good.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2183 View Post
    I know a guy who believes.....

    .....Would you hand them DVDs of Babylon 5 and/or LOTR?
    .
    Probably not.

    Several good suggestions have been made up-thread.

    If they're a "reader", you may try these short stories:

    The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics

    by Daniel Abraham


    and

    Hell is the Absence of God

    by Ted Chiang


    My wife says she doesn't like sci-fi but she read all of
    The Martian

    by Andy Weir


    and

    Wool

    by Hugh Howey


    And I'd recommend the film

    Gattaca
    Grim specter of noogie hangs like shroud over us all


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    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2183 View Post
    Would you hand them DVDs of Babylon 5 and/or LOTR?
    LoTR, no. I think Tolkien's work can be very heavy handed, specially for someone new to fantasy.

    I'd start someone new to fantasy off with something like Harry Potter. You are slowly introduced into the fantastical world of wizardry along with Harry. He discovers things as you do. Also, it's easier to relate with a kid going to school than it is a kid roaming the countryside on a mystic quest. Despite being wizards, Harry and co are also "regular" kids at the end of the day. You can relate to the "modern" problems of family dysfunction, fitting in at school, mean teachers, and so on.

    Sci-fi... Star Wars :P Westworld. Stranger Things. Dirk Gently. Superhero movies.

    The idea is to expose them to relatable, modern things before showing them the real classics.
    Last edited by Lunetec; 2017-12-27 at 07:19 PM.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunetec View Post
    Sci-fi... Star Wars :P Westworld. Stranger Things. Dirk Gently. Superhero movies.

    The idea is to expose them to relatable, modern things before showing them the real classics.
    Sludge problem here, Star Wars is very much fantasy. It has spaceships and glowy guns, but no other elements of science fiction.

    Not that it isn't good, but it's just science fiction. The presence of a spaceship does not make something science fiction.

    Note that it can work the other way around. Science fiction can look like fantasy (Fine Structure has several superheroes and characters who can essentially cast spells). While the line is a bit blurry the basic dividing line can be summarised as of the world/universe is wondrous it's fantasy, of understanding is wondrous it's science fiction.

    As for why it's fantasy? Because the science fiction elements are little more than window dressing. The story would work if the Death Star was a summon meteor spell that destroyed countries, the Millennium Falcon was replaced by the fastest horses in the world, and so on (the hardest not to replace is the trench run).

    Spoiler: Night's Dawn spoilers
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    In the Night's Dawn books some fantasy elements take central stage, and are immediately affected by the science fiction technology. The possessed can't get off planets without spaceships, which limits their spread once they're discovered, and their power affects electricity enough to make them easy to detect. It then proceeds to have characters analyse these fantasy elements, come up with a couple of hypotheses, and develop weapons against them. You couldn't have the story without spaceships, the possessed would spread too quickly for the later events to happen.


    Star Wars looks like science fiction at a casual glance, but look closer and what's important is the Force and the philosophies that revolve around it. Compare this to Lensman, there lens use is more akin to a skill (and the lens itself is a piece of technology) and the application of skill, techniques, and technologies is important.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    At a guess, I would say that people who do not really enjoy fantasy/science fiction for its own sake are probably going to much prefer those works that stray into such realms as minimally as possible.

    As in, stick to only the absolute minimum that separates a fantastic world from the real world. Star Wars should be right out.

    Idiocracy could work, maybe, but it's humor is potentially a bit too lowbrow for many people.

    As suggested by 2D8HP, Gattaca is great. I would also add Arrival.

    It's quite difficult to think of really good candidates.
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    I mean the obvious answer is Weaveworld, right?

    Yeah but really I wouldn't unless they have asked and I would just suggest what I like. Practical Demonkeeping maybe. It's set in modern times, easy read, light hearted, and liked by everyone that I've lent it to.
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Well, obviously, nothing that delves too deep into fantasy or "complex" sci-fi (nothing to do with soft/hard; both can be complex enough). Aasimov is very much like Poe for Horror/Mystery: very friendly for beginners, a good old friend for the connoisseurs. Most of his short stories rely on a sci-fi device to deconstruct a reality of the human nature. It's generally very straightforward and not all that hard to swallow.

    Ghibli is also perfect introduction for "amazing" fantasy. While the good old classics are truly the best of the genere (Howl, Mononoke Hime, Spirited Away); I think that for somebody with prejudice against fantasy in general; the best picks would be the more mundane: Whispers from the Heart is about a girl whose dream is to become a fantasy writer. It centers more in the fantasy/imagination of the girl than the proper fictional world, while still giving glimpses of good fantasy narrative. Kiki's Delivery Service is a nice story about a "witch" who tries a new apprenticeship at the postal service (actually, she just delivers packages around the 'hood on her own). The fantasy elements are rather mundane, and the story centers on the human aspects more than the magical devices. Laputa is also really good on every level, and might be a nice introduction to steampunk/fantasy.

    And since we are talking about flying islands: Gulliver's Travels is a great fantasy classic. I know, it's considered a "children's book"; but the point of the novel is a critique of society that I think your friend might enjoy. Unless he has issues with misogyny, I guess (?). On the sci-fi novels (that isn't Asimov or any other already recommended) I think The Giver is a good introductory step into dystopian worlds. Unlike other dystopian stories, takes its time to reach the darker side, and even then, it never gets too dark.

    Spoiler
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    Also, I don't think Star Wars isn't Sci-Fi, but I don't really wanna argue about it either


    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post
    Similarly, Stardust is based on a novel by Neil Gaiman. His works feel like half a step into horror, and I'm not sure if his novels are a good fit here. The film might be a better fit than the book. Neil is a great writer, though.
    Actually, other than The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I wouldn't qualify Gaiman's works as anything too close to "horror". If anything, Gaiman is very surreal, but not specially dark. He is no Tim Burton, IMHO.

    Note: The Ocean... is a marvelous novel, but probably too overwhelming for OP's friend bc of the hardcore witch references.

    Quote Originally Posted by DomaDoma View Post
    I think the dreamlike breed of world presented by Neil Gaiman is well worthwhile, but I'd choose Michael Ende or George Macdonald as the newcomer's guide - the OP's reluctant fantasy reader would like Macdonald if any fantasy's in his blood at all, and I'd recommend (in ascending order of length) The Light Princess, The Wise Woman and Phantastes.

    Neverending Story, the book, is probably the best bet in general.
    Neverending Story, while being awesome on every fricking level; is probably a lot to swallow for OP's friend for a first meal. Sometimes it gets a little... too weird.
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeltion View Post

    Actually, other than The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I wouldn't qualify Gaiman's works as anything too close to "horror". If anything, Gaiman is very surreal, but not specially dark. He is no Tim Burton, IMHO.
    I agree that Neil Gaiman's weirdness isn't as dark as horror stories, but he's half a step off from most fantasy. Maybe not towards horror exactly, but I can't really think of any good way to describe the direction. New weird?

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Quote Originally Posted by endoperez View Post
    I agree that Neil Gaiman's weirdness isn't as dark as horror stories, but he's half a step off from most fantasy. Maybe not towards horror exactly, but I can't really think of any good way to describe the direction. New weird?
    Honestly, I'd be inclined to call it 'Fairy Tales', with the understanding that I'm using the term in the more... classical(?) sense- think 'less Disney, more Brothers Grimm'. Paradoxical children's tales that are, rather ironically, decidedly family-unfriendly (at least by modern standards).

    ... then again, some of the old-school fairy tales had elements darker than what a lot of modern horror can muster, so who knows.

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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Black Mirror is excellent sci-fi TV but can be very disturbing though due to the ideas behind it rather than excessive violence
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    Default Re: What works of sci fi and fantasy would you recommend non fans?

    Phillip K. D1ck (ah, forum algorithms... never change lol) is good, provided you recommend the books and not the movies. Not that the movies are bad, they just will take his stories and expand them to include violence as an element. Same with Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.

    Some of the works of Neil Gaiman. American Gods/Anansi Boys, Ocean at the End of the lane

    A definite second on the recommendation of Flowers for Algernon, The Martian, and Ted Chiang's Stories of your Life and Others (Which includes both Hell is other People, mentioned above, as well as the short story the movie Arrival is based off of).

    If they're more... progressively minded, you may try Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. However, if they're coming from a fundamental/conservative background, they may miss the forest for the trees... I have a good friend that so completely misunderstood that book.

    Ender's Game, and the subsequent books, would likely be a good read for them if they're against the glorification of violence, as the climax of that book (and the subsequent books) is an exploration of that.

    If they are familiar with tropes and enjoy satire, then Stardust, Princess Bride, and the works of Terry Pratchett would certainly fall into line.
    Last edited by Vogie; 2017-12-28 at 11:16 AM.

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