Dune by Frank Herbert

Arrakis

It’s an Absolute Truth that Dune, Frank Herbert’s 1969 classic novel, is the greatest work of science-fiction ever put to paper. The sci-fi equivalent of Lord of the Rings, Dune is a without competition, a fully realised world of ecology, history, and human societies that interact and devour one another. Dune is the finest the genre has to offer, of that there is no doubt or argument.

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The British Problem with Europe

For most British people European history stopped somewhere around 1950. The Europe most people have experience of is a continent in stasis, and it’s this that breeds complacency. We British are so used to getting on with our daily lives that it’s impossible to connect modern Europe to the tumultuous nation-states of the recent past.

It seems unfathomable to someone living in 2018 that Germany could be at war with France, or that Poland could be considered “virgin territory” ripe for invasion, or that European nations would step back as Czechoslovakia was subsumed under another country, but these events happened within a human lifetime, and will happen again if allowed to.

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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake rabbit

Oryx and Crake tells the story of Snowman, a strange, bedraggled loner who lives outside of what remains of human society as he struggles to stave off hunger and survive. To say much more would be to spoil the story, but Oryx and Crake is one of the most intelligent, clearly defined works of dystopian — or is it utopian? — science-fiction I’ve ever read. Atwood clearly understands not only the science of genetics in some depth, but also the worrying implications for the development of the human race.

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