I, Robot, Isaac AsimovWe’re sure you’ve heard of this book, thanks to the Will Smith movie with the same name. This is a classic story, told exceedingly well: in a world where robots must follow three basic laws in order to co-exist with and serve humans, androids soon become free thinkers. Considering who quickly technology is progressing, this story throws up some interesting questions for us today. While automation and the Internet of Things become common place, and discussions on taxing robots who take away human jobs are gaining traction, this book is a cautionary tale of what could happen if robots get too smart. It might be over 50-years-old, but Asimov’s lessons are as important to us today as they were when they were first written.
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
As Elon Musk powers on with his Mars colonisation programme, it’s time to focus on alternate scenarios of what the Red planet can mean to us. Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles is just the book to explore. Written with a dry everyday humour, it also uses a fear psychosis of the unknown to further the story. And although aliens, war and destruction abound in this collection of short stories, the one thing that ties it all together is the human psyche behind the colonisation of space. No matter how far we travel, humans cannot escape the vortex of their own mind.
Rendezvous With Rama, Arthur C Clarke
The godfather of science fiction, Arthur C Clarke’s contribution to science can never be fully absorbed. With Rendezvous With Rama, we can come close to acknowledging his genius. The book is a meditation on everything humans know about space and touches upon things that we may never find answers to. It’s more of an introspective than a Big Bang book, and you will find parallels between this story and that of Arrival, which is nominated for Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars. Written in simple prose, this is the book to begin your quest for deep answers that only science can offer.
Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, Philip K Dick
We’ll give you one very good reason to read Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep - Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling’s upcoming movie, Blade Runner 2049, directed by none other than Arrival director Denis Villeneuve. Philip K Dick’s self-deprecating style of writing and the constant gratification of owning a real animal in the wasteland that Earth becomes in the future only adds to this classic post-apocalyptic book’s allure that deserves to be in your must-read list for 2017.
The Emperor Of Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee
It’s the biography of the biggest silent killer known to us today – cancer. Award-winning science writer, physician and researcher Mukherjee’s book delves into cancer’s history and impact like no other. It talks about cancer patients and survivors from the Greek ages to today. In the end, Mukherjee’s book solves the fundamental problem of making cancer accessible to the layman by peeling off its layers and demystifying it to a great extent. This is a must-read book for anyone interested in healthcare, and cancer in particular.
The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins might be remembered as the most famous atheist of all time. In The Selfish Gene, Dawkins almost does the impossible by side-tracking Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution with his own theory that genes play a far more important role than organisms. The biggest factor in favour of Dawkins is the simplicity and lucidity with which he puts forward his views. There is hardly any technical jargon and there are even some diagrams to explain what Dawkins wants to say. All in all, an enjoyable book on science that makes you believe in the power of your genes over everything else.
A Short History Of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
When Bryson says a short history of nearly everything, he means it. Because of the vast breadth it covers, there might be certain topics that you’d want to gloss over. Bryson’s informative and amusing style of writing permeates throughout the book and is perfect for a science noob. You can learn interesting and obscure facts about life, evolution and even find the elusive answer to why are you here and what are you meant to do if you read between the lines. In short, don’t miss this book.
–Like this article? Also read: 7 Incredible Indian Language Authors To Discover This Year Cover Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.com