Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top 100 SF Books!

NPR has come up with a list of The Top 100 F&SF Books, although it's not a list of 100 books per se, as it includes a number of entire series. But as usual...I'll bold the ones I've read and italicize the ones I'd like to read at some point. And I'll add occasional comment.

Here's the list:

(Oh wait, complaint the first: there is no GGK on this list. WTF!!!)

(And yes, I voted.)

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien (Probably my single favorite book of all time. I re-read it this past spring.)

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (Own it; haven't read it yet. Maybe one of the next few books.)

3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card (I started this once and didn't get into it, decided to save it for another time. Since then, I've discovered that OSC is a lout to the degree that I will not read him again, ever. I dumped my copy of Ender.)

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert (Just the first one, and recently, too.)

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin (All except A Dance with Dragons, which I own but will need to re-read the entire series before tackling this one. I'm not as enthusiastic about this series as many -- the bloat of the books is off-putting.)

6. 1984, by George Orwell

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov (Probably should re-read sometime. Read them in college and liked them a lot.)

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (Wonderful book, as I recall. Maybe a candidate for re-read.)

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (Fantastic book, and quite different from the movie...which is still fairly faithful in its adaptation. You have to read the book to see what I mean.)

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan (Just the first one. Gave up a hundred pages into the second. Not my cuppa joe.)

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson (Cheating here...I'm counting having started this book a dozen times as 'reading' it. I really tried to get into cyberpunk, I really wanted to like cyberpunk...and yet, ultimately, I had to admit to myself that I just didn't care for cyberpunk.)

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore (So frakking brilliant. Just astonishingly good.)

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov (I haven't read Asimov in a long time.)

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein (Just because. I generally find Heinlein kinda weird.)

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss (Great stuff. Love this series.)

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
(All titles I need to read.)

22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (Wait, isn't this the one that Atwood swore up and down was NOT science fiction, because she doesn't want to be one of those writers?)

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King (Started it, bounced off. Maybe another time.)

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke (This is one of the first 'pure' science fiction books I read, if not THE first one that wasn't a Star Wars or Star Trek tie-in book. A truly great book -- I love Clarke at the top of his powers. 2010 was also very good. 2063 was decent. 3001? That one I could have done without.)

25. The Stand, by Stephen King (This is one of the all-time horror classics, as far as I'm concerned. I'm due to re-read it.)

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson (Really good. Liked it a lot. I haven't read Stephenson at all since Cryptonomicon, though.)

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury (A classic.)

28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman (I really need to read this. I own the first three of the TPBs, for Crom's sake.)

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams (I read half of it. Don't tell my mother.)

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey (Tried her in junior high, and never again. McCaffrey just didn't do it for me, and I have little interest in trying again.)

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein (Bounced off this one some years ago. I have a feeling that Heinlein and I will never be 'besties'.)

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller (Own a copy, right here. I can even touch my copy from my desk. Should read it.)

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells (Oh yeah, memo to self: write blog entry about the movie Time After Time.)

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne (I read this in grade school, so I think I understood damned little of it.)

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys

39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny (Just the first one.)

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings (Wow, really? Is this actually good? I always figured it was your standard 1980s-era Tolkien clone fantasy series.)

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Lots of folks have told me how amazing this is, but I didn't care for it. I'm open-minded about a lot of stuff, but this book seemed so gleefully hostile toward Christianity that it turned me off.)

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson (I might have read this...but Sanderson's recent nauseating comments about gay marriage have plunked him in the "Authors I'm almost certainly never going to read" list. Maybe I'm denying myself some good stuff, but way I see it, I'm never going to be able to read all the books I want to read anyway, so what's the occasion political filter going to hurt?)

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven (Didn't like it as much as I wanted to.)

45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien (Well, I've dipped into it a lot.)

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White (Wonderfully wonderful.)

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan (Well, the first fifty pages or so. I was not terribly impressed with Sagan's voice as a fiction writer.)

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons (Really need to read this one.)

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson (I loved this book for all the wild, wooly fun of it. I'm sure I didn't understand a lot of it.)

54. World War Z, by Max Brooks

55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman (Fine, fine book.)

57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson (The first two trilogies. I haven't gone near the current series yet, though. I'd like to.)

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (The first three books only. I absolutely plan to read the rest!)

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke (Wonderful prose, fascinating story, but it's also something of a slog in parts.)

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks (This, the most blatantly blatant of all Tolkien rip-offs, makes this list. Nothing by Guy Gavriel Kay does. Ugh.)

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard (Some of the stories, nowhere near all of them.)

69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb

70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson (OK, I'm sorry, but this has been out less than a year. Give me a break, even if it is really good.)

72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne

73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore

74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi (Good book...but one of the best F&SF books of all time? I'm really not sure of that.)

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke (I loved this book. Never read the sequels, though.)

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey (The first two, and I'll tackle the third one this winter. I love this series. It's amazing.)

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin (I read this in junior high. I didn't understand it at all.)

79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson (Just the first one. What a commitment, this series is.)

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks (Several of them, anyway...and I need to blog about the most recent one that I read, come to that. Very good, cerebral space opera.)

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart (I'm definitely re-reading this series -- a trilogy with a fourth novel added later on -- this winter. It's a gorgeous telling of the Arthur saga that strikes the best balance, I've found, between the "magical" versions of the tale and the "post-Roman Britain" versions of it.)

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn (Yes, they're media tie-ins. But they're so good they really deserve to be seen as terrific space opera books on their own.)

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan (Wait, what?)

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge (I'll be re-reading this sometime soon...and there's a sequel coming out this fall, too.)

94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov

95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Wow, I'm due to re-read this one, too! This trilogy made a powerful impression on me fifteen years ago. I wonder how it holds up.)

96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony (Oh, come now. I'm not as down on Anthony as many F&SF fans are, but inclusion on this list? Really?!)

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

So there you have it. Always fun to rant about book lists!


Jason said...

Quick note of explanation for Gabaldan's Outlander Series: they made the list because they involve time travel and, according to my lovely GF, they're damn fine historical novels rather than the bodice-ripping romance novels they're marketed as. I wouldn't know about the latter part personally, but my gal sure does love them...

Doug said...

I've found a way to get through books, I probably never would have sat to read (the Jules Verne titles in the list are good examples), audio book during my very lengthy commute, I've gone through Frankenstein recently and did 20K L.U.T.S. & Journey to the Center of the Earth last year. This list gives me some ideas on more audio books to get.

Cindy said...

What's the story with Orson Scott Card?

Kelly Sedinger said...

His politics -- and his writings thereof -- make me sick to my stomach. He had some utterly loathsome things to say about homosexuals some years ago, and for me, that's a deal-breaker. Ditto his global warming denialism.

martine said...

I have to take exception, Time travellers wife is magical realism and The Road is ... well beyond definition but cannot under any circumstances come under the title of either Sci fi or fantasy. But interesting list.
thanks for sharing

Lynn said...

Have you read A Deepness In the Sky? It's a prequel to Fire Upon the Deep

Matthew Jones said...

Seriously make an effort to read Slaughterhouse-Five. It's just an amazing work that is brilliant and evokes strong emotions. A true classic.