While not as evidently prescient as Huxley or Orwell, Zamyatin explores a potential extrapolation of the Soviet ideal.
A very accessible book by which to begin reading Banks, an author whose core franchise/setting appears impenetrable.
While its plot can be considered a simple adventure or mystery, Banks' real strength is in realising a genuinely alien futuristic society which at the same time uses elements of the contemporary world, at times exaggerated, in unfamiliar or extreme ways.
It's got everything - essentially it's about Imperialism and Rhetoric, but it has many lessons and much wisdom for those interested in learning about Imperialism, especially the modern-day form of 'Aid' and 'helping the natives' - but then justifications for Imperialism have usually been wrapped up in fluffy-feel-good 'humanitarian' terms A good SF novel should be, above all things, a good novel.
Sturgeon, a great short-story writer, uses the genre to explore what it is to be human, and how we can strive to be more.
Iain M Banks, Alastair Reynolds), but was arguably the first novel to imagine a plausible posthuman solar system, riven by ideologies and wild economics, teeming with conflict and graft, and packed with moments of pure sensawunda.
Best of all, apart from the handful of short stories set in the same fictional universe, Sterling never felt the need to cash in on the critical success of Schismatrix with sequels; the end result is a novel that still reads as fresh and powerful to this day, more than a quarter of a century after its initial publication.
So much of science fiction focuses on heavy subject matter without a drip of humor.
Adams wants us to laugh at it all, the pretentiousness and the craziness and never forget our towel.
Put very simply he recognises that when something or anything is looked at more closely reality and consciousness will change ultimately meaning that both are unstable.
In Dicks books this manifests itself firstly in paranoia and then to transcendence.
I'm amazed that Zindell is not more popular than he is. Each chapter seemed to me a novella in its scope and depth when I read it. This last point is crucial as all the Hollywood adaptations of Dick have lack his wit and irony.