SF book meme
Found via Ith
This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club.
Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved.
Here's my list, which doesn't exactly match Ith's; I really, really loved Dune.:
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien*
The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov*
Dune, Frank Herbert*
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin*
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.*
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Cities in Flight, James Blish
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey*
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card*
The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson*
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams*
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke*
Ringworld, Larry Niven*
Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien*
Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester*
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein*
Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
Timescape, Gregory Benford
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer*
One question: why is Dragonflight listed as a single book, while the entire First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant listed? Why not the Dragonflight/Dragonquest/White Dragon trilogy? Just curious.
Posted by: Physics Geek at
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You made it all the way through the Silmarillion?
I fell asleep about 10 pages in and never picked it up again.
Posted by: Harvey at November 17, 2006 03:01 PM (L7a63)
That's the reaction that I've heard from lots of people. You have to wade through about 40-50 pages of the creation of the world stuff before you get into the mythos of the Tolkienverse. Without that background, the whole Silmarillion doesn't make sense.
Actually, the Silmarillion makes sense out of a lot of the "historical" references through the LOTR, which was kind of cool. The next time I reread the trilogy, I had a better understanding of what was happening.
Posted by: physics geek at November 17, 2006 03:21 PM (KqeHJ)
And why is the first Harry Potter listed? HP didn't become a juggernaut from which all flee until the fourth book in the series. The Book of the New Sun is listed as one work.
On the other hand, Cordwainer Smith gets a short story anthology counted as a novel. As does Harlan Ellison, plus a collection of stories by other people that he edited. Why not "Astounding/Analog, 1953-2002"?
It's not a bad list for "most influential." Just needs to be better defined. And, since it's "most influential," not "best" or "favorite," there needs to be more unreadable stuff. "Influential" lists always have more unreadable stuff.
Of the few books you haven't read, I'd recommend starting with New Sun, followed by Rogue Moon and Cities in Flight. If you haven't read any Cordwainer Smith, throw him in there.
Posted by: Bob Hawkins at November 17, 2006 04:51 PM (eZ0vq)
I've read several Cordwainer Smith short stories and thought that they were great. I'l take a gander as soon as I can grab a copy.
Posted by: physics geek at November 17, 2006 10:01 PM (vKMFv)
Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream", seemed to me to be much more important.
I kept looking for Orwell's "1984", especially with the parallels in current events.
Nope, sorry, can't buy this list, and the only one I HAVEN'T read is, "The Book of the New Sun" by Wolfe (which I plan to rectify ASAP).
But then the SF Book Club has never been known for it's literary (as opposed to commercial) acumen. Some of the crap they've put out makes Herbert's, "Battlefield Earth", look like Shakespeare.
Posted by: nofile404 at November 19, 2006 02:28 PM (jv9xE)
They left out
The Retief stories
Commander Grimes and the Rim stories
Startide rising by Brin
Various Pournell/Niven works
David Drake's stuff
Barry B Longyear, (The circus world series)
The Marching Morons by Kornbluth
All of the Xanth books
Finally, how bout the ones you hate? My personally worst author is Philip K Dick. His books are ones you can't put down, you have to fling them in the trash with great force.
Posted by: Frank Borger at November 22, 2006 08:25 AM (N3f9I)
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Posted by: Alisaeum at March 19, 2007 12:11 PM (ANeQC)
Posted by: wbvrg at October 24, 2007 07:54 AM (dTsaj)
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