I'm completely unfamiliar with science fiction. I'm not entirely sure that is a direction that he'll be interested in but I'm curious -- what are the hallmarks of good science fiction?
I have no idea. I can only give you my recommendations.
won the Pulitzer. I think it's pretentiously written, and is a horrible story with a horrible ending.
Would zombie stories be considered science fiction? He likes zombie stories. I think it's because there are elements of the possible but the people in the book have to deal with them by using their wits.
Zombie stories are definitely science fiction, but it's not a sub-genre that I'm familiar with.
Zombie stories also cross over into the "disaster" category. Lot's of science fiction about that. Alas Babylon, Lucifer's Hammer, Earth Abides, Planet of the Damned, etc.
Lots and lots and lots of science fiction is about getting by on your wits.