Check It Out: Science fiction
When I asked the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for a few recommendations, Balticon 42 program coordinator Sue Wheeler directed me to an entire page of lists, including the books that author and N.C. State professor John Kessel has his students read. It's a broad list, with plenty to explore.
Dave suggests a classic of the genre: Frank Herbert's Dune.
In fact, a sequel, Paul of Dune, written by Herbert's son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson, is due out in September. The official Web site includes a blog, message board for fans of the epic series of Dune titles and a preview of the other goodies Brian Herbert has cooking. There's even a Dune Myspace page. Caution: This page has a lot going on, so it could take a while to load.
As for me, I have to complicate things and recommend an author, rather than just a book. I discovered Garth Nix in high school, with the first of his Abhorsen trilogy, Sabriel, and have enjoyed everything I've read from him since -- including his chilling take on a dystopian future, Shade's Children. You'll have better luck finding both of these titles in the young adult section, but trust me -- this stuff is good.
Nix has his own engrossing site, where you can register and enter "The Hidden Kingdom." Cheesy, I know, but what more would you expect from a man who's made his living creating new worlds?