Isaac Asimov - Foundation trilogy
2) Foundation And Empire
3) Second Foundation
Asimov wrote more books in this series, but this is the classic trilogy. A rather terse SF story about preserving humanity's knowledge & history at a secret location throughout a period of epic intergalactic wars. It's mostly men talking in spaceships, but still very intriguing.
Margaret Atwood - MaddAddam
1) Oryx And Crake
2) The Year Of The Flood
Another trilogy, set in a dystopian near-future peopled by bizarre animals, genetic splices of existent species. Amidst the rubble, the few survivors of a worldwide pandemic try to survive. A philosopher's acid trip.
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale
A claustrophobic nightmare scenario: what would happen if the religious right controlled America? The TV series is pretty good as well.
Rutger Bergman - Utopia For Realists
The Dutch economist explains why it simply isn't feasible any more to expect people to work 40 hours every week for their wages. He proposes several simple measures to ameliorate human existence: a radical re-division of resources enabling a robust social network to cover everyone equally. The original title, Gratis Geld Voor Iedereen (free money for everyone) gives an indication of how he envisions the future. I would still like to write a similar book one day, as the theme of utopia/dystopia continues to fascinate me.
Arthur C. Clarke - The Collected Stories
The author is most famous for 2001: A Space Odyssey, but he also grew a decent crop of short stories, all collected here. Funny, wistful, philosophic, and it's amazing how often he gets the science right. A sort of proto-version of Black Mirror: if it is not possible yet, you feel that it might very well be soon.
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
1) The Hunger Games
2) Catching Fire
Pretty well-known by now from the movie franchise, but a lovely & exciting read on its own. Very well written young adult fiction.
James Dashner - Maze Runner
1) The Maze Runner
2) The Scorch Trials
3) The Death Cure
4) The Kill Order
5) The Fever Code
Another dystopian (I just happen to like those...) trilogy (same here), expanded with two prequels. After most of the world's population has been wiped out by a mysterious illness, a group of teenagers finds themselves in the middle of a deadly maze. Young adult fiction, most engagingly written. The movies are pretty nice too.
Kameron Hurley - Worldbreaker
1) Empire Ascendant
2) The Mirror Empire
3) The Broken Heavens (forthcoming)
A spectacular mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Pretty violent & gory at times, and highly interesting in its use of gender fluidity. Check her other books as well.
Doris Lessing - Canopus In Argos
2) The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four And Five
3) The Sirian Experiments
4) The Making Of The Representative For Planet 8
5) The Sentimental Agents In The Volyen Empire
A phenomenal retelling of human history, as seen through the eyes of various extraterrestrials. There is even a big lawsuit during which humanity has to answer for all its crimes. The five books more or less retell the same story from different points of view. "The Making Of..." is one of the saddest books I have ever read. Hauntingly beautiful and special. Philip Glass composed operas for #2 and 4, with libretto by Lessing herself.
Sinclair Lewis - It Can't Happen Here
Written in 1935, it describes an America ruled by a Hitler-like demagogue. Eerily topical these days, as proven by the soaring sales of the book on Amazon.
Cixin Liu - Remembrance Of Earths Past
1) The Three Body Problem
2) The Dark Forest
3) Death's End
An amazing tour de force, starting with Mao's revolutionary China and ending with the death of the entire universe. Philosophy, history, anthropology, science (fiction)... these books have it all. The ultimate mindfuck. While I'm at it, I might also strongly recommend everything else Liu wrote, like his gorgeous short story collection The Wandering Earth.
Titus Lucretius - De Rerum Natura (On The Nature Of Things)
A grand poem, written over 2000 years ago to celebrate knowledge. Lucretius has a keen and inquiring mind, although he gets lots of things wrong. But his dogged persistence and reliance on logic and nature instead of gods and fairytales is admirable.
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Six interlocking stories throughout the ages. Lavish & intriguing. The movie (helmed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, who later teamed up again for the equally fantastic Sense8 series) is pretty spectacular too.
Dominique Moïsi - The Geopolitics Of Emotion
Fear, humiliation and hope lie at the heart of everything, according to Moïsi, as he neatly explains the actual predicament of humanity with his simple model.
Philip Pullman - His Dark Materials
1) Northern Lights
2) The Subtle Knife
3) The Amber Spyglass
Yes, I know, I got a trilogy fetish. This one starts as a children's fairytale in the vein of Chronicles Of Narnia, but quickly descends into far darker territories. Basically a retelling of Paradise Lost, it's a unique and elegant mix of fantasy and philosophy. There are several companion stories, and a new trilogy (The Book Of Dust) is in the making (La Belle Sauvage, book 1, has already been published).
Philip Reeve - The Mortal Engines quartet & Fever Crumb trilogy
1) Mortal Engines
2) Predator's Gold
3) Infernal Devices
4) A Darkling Plain
5) Fever Crumb
6) A Web Of Air
7) Scrivener's Moon
More young adult fiction, again wonderfully and engagingly written. Adventure stories set in a far future, where cities have become huge wheeled monsters gobbling up everything on their path. A big war breaks out between the traction cities and the static settlements. The sort of books I would have loved as a child. Interestingly, religion (as with Cixin Liu and Philip Pullman - there is a common theme here) is mostly used here as a means of controlling and coercing populations. December this year, the first Mortal Engines movie will be released. Go see it in the cinema, the stories are really epic and BIG.
Arundhati Roy - The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness
Again, a book that starts like a fairytale but quickly becomes almost suffocatingly violent and dark. A history of modern India. Roys essay collections (like Listening To Grasshoppers) make fascinating reads too, although they might somewhat tarnish your faith in humanity. Not for the fainthearted.
Jeff VanderMeer - Southern Reach trilogy
A modern-day Lovecraft: intangible and weird horror/fantasy, like a half-remembered nightmare. "Annihilation" is out now as a movie; let's hope they do the other two as well.