More Must Read SF for physicists
- Haldeman - Forever War (but avoid the "sequels" at all cost!)
- Forward - Dragon's Egg
- Abbott - Flatland - ok, I'll give on this one. On my shelf, liked it in my youth
- Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle - see comments below for other recs on the literary side
- Wouk - A Hole in Texas - not read it myself; recommended by someone with taste
- Vinge - True Names: this is a short story, it (and the rest of the collection if you can find it) are mandatory reading.
- Egan - anything really; but I'd start with Axiomatic. Bleeding edge physics.
- Iain M Banks - try Algebraist, or any of the "Culture" novels. Also does very good "mainstream" fiction, including the definitive "great Scottish novel".
- McLeod - Star Fraction
- Walter Jon Williams - half-recommend, its a mixed bag
- Lois McMaster Bujold - the "Miles" novels and stories. Also does good fantasy.
- Bear - mixed bag scientifically, but I'd go for Slant
- van Vogt - Slan - for perspective only
- Piper - Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen
- de Camp - Lest Darkness Fall
- Sterling - Schismatrix
- Stirling - Island in the Sea of Time + sequels (bit gratuitious; if you have a strong stomach, try the Draka trilogy - Marching through Georgia, Under the Yoke and Stone Dogs)
- Spinrad - Russian Spring. Spinrad's writing is very "70's", but this is a thoughtprovoking novel.
PS: ack! Lest we forget...
- Stapledon - Odd John, Sirius and Last and First Men
- Niven - early Tales of Known Space
- Clement - Mission of Gravity
- Anderson - Tau Zero - physics oriented; I think the polesotechnic league and Flandry novels are much better fun
On the previous recommendations: Smith - EE "Doc" Smith or Cordwainer "Paul" Smith?
Yes, they're complete opposites, but read the Lensmen and "Instrumentality of Mankind" respectively.
Heinlein: I'd go for the early shorts and mid-career juveniles. The later novels are mostly for hardcore fanboys only. Need editing.
Clarke: Childhood's End and the shorts
Asimov: End of Eternity and the first three Foundation novels, only. (Skip the sequels!)
For beautiful writing and fantasy: Guy Gavriel Kay's later books and recent George RR Martin.
Enough for now; comment or e-mail for those I miss.
Oh, and with Brin - read Startide Rising or Uplift War. Short stories are also good. The Practise Effect is primarily a long running inside joke.
Extra bonus points for anyone who spots the thinly disguised Count Belisarius in any of the above. The go read Graves and Procopius's Secret History for context, if you haven't already.