With all the series out there it is hard to find a stand alone novel. It's a bit old, but about my favorite is Sentenced to Prism by Alan Dean Foster. It has the right mix of great story telling, a serious story, and humor. It's not a comedy like The Hitchhiker's Guide, but just little bits here and there that match the situations perfectly.
I'd offer up the Centauri Device by M John Harrison. It has a certain depth and feel I haven't encountered in any other novel. It weaves a fine balance between pulp sci-fi and adventure; a science fantasy novel that poses some very meaningful questions about the nature of humanity. And the prose feels effortless. There a many memorable characters and locales - John Truck and the Spacer's Rave - and technology that comes alive through very simple names and descriptions - I still want my own Chambers Reaction pistol!
The only SF novel that pops as one I keep going back to is Starship Troopers. With all of its flaws, I cannot help myself. The social commentary and hard-boiled lesson on civics give it bite in the consciousness, then there is the powered armor "...Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla, armed with gorilla-sized weapons." Yes!
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