Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Okay, The List...

Seen pretty much everywhere. I've been avoiding this one, because as a science fiction geek it pains me greatly that I'm so horrifically lacking in this list...

The NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels with the ones I have read in bold:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
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
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
49. Childhood’s End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
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
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
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
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel’s Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
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
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
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
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
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
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
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
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

24 out of 100 - I have to do better than that!

That is all.


LC Scotty said...

Don't feel too bad-I'm a sci-fi nerd and a libertarian that's never read any Heinlein.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

No World War Z? For SHAME, sir!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Now I don't know if I can trust you for Overwatch duties in the Zombacalypse.

Alan said...

A lot of it is pretentious bullshit only the critics liked. It's from NPR after all.

Ray Bradbury? Fuck him, totally overrated.

Jay G said...

Alan, if "Fahrenheit 451" isn't one of the greatest commentaries on our modern society, I don't know what is.

wrm said...

Depressing to think that 1984, Brave New World and, as I mentioned elsewhere, This Perfect Day were all regarded as "fiction" at some stage...

Seriously, dude, you hafta read the HHGG. Also, Stephenson rocks. Go speak to your friendly librarian.

Alan said...

Fahrenheit 451 is an English teacher's idea of what science fiction is. I still say it's overrated.

Dave H said...

@Alan: I liked Lois McMaster Bujold's take, when asked if there was a message or philosophy in her stories:

I prefer to imagine Ms. Average Reader as a 40-year-old children's cancer hospice nurse just home from a bad day at work. She doesn't need me (or any other wittering writer) to teach her all about the human condition. She needs someone to hand her a drink.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Read 50 of them. Whoever put this list together is an idiot. For example, why are 2 of Terry Pratchett's Books considered Separate, when there are over 25 DiscWorld novels, and some of these Books are Sequels and/or Continuations? How many Ring World Novels are there? How many Mote Novels are out there. Yet they list "Sagas" and "Trilogies" for other authors? Typical NPR: Insufficient and Incorrect Facts spewed upon the Public with Your Tax Dollars.


lee n. field said...

A lot of the list is schlock.

wolfwalker said...

24 out of 100 - I have to do better than that!

Nah, not so much. Several of those are junk. Do NOT, for example, read The Forever War unless you like massive lead-balloon endings. Don't read Childhood's End if you don't like tragedies. Don't read American Gods if you don't like horror. I don't think you'd like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Watership Down, or Dragonflight. Don't go anywhere near The Sword of Shannara if you liked The Lord of the Rings.

On the other hand, you would probably like the Miles Vorkosigan books -- most people who read 'em like 'em, me being perhaps the only exception I know of. You MUST read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and I think you'd like Ender's Game quite a lot. And I can't believe you never read The Princess Bride.

Eck! said...

I drop a large sword between SF and fantasy even though I like both, they are not the same thing to me.

Only 65 of the list members. However I agree with sever here that the list is a lazy hack at best.


Ruth said...

Totally agree with the folks recomending Bujold, totally an enjoyable read. Bujold's gotta be insane too cause she wrote the VERY out of order. But you'd never know it to read them.

Dennis said...

What no Honor Harrington on that list. I am sock truly shocked.

Glenn B said...

Classic Fantasy and Classic Science Fiction should never, I repeat NEVER, be combined in a single list as if they were one and the same genre in my opinion. It is like combining Classic Horror and Science Fiction and or Fantasy. Yes each can be a bit of the other but most, the great majority, stand strongly in one category or another by themselves.

Ross said...

I wouldn't worry about it, Jay... that list is pathetic. Sorry, but Zahn's Hand of Thrawn series made it?? As did Scazi's Old Man's War??? Kushiel's Legacy? I've read them... and they're good, but they just don't belong there. (or in the case of Kushiel's Dart, tried to read them!)

And what is with all the Neil Gaiman??? Blech!!! I've tried to read him. Yick. And as for Dune... well... someone must read him because they keep selling that tripe.

Ross said...

Hmm... interesting. I've read 46 on that list, and what's more, 10 of the ones on the list I've started and never finished (Dune, Last Unicorn, Amber, Cryptonomicon, Mists of Avalon and Silmarillion are some of the ones that bored me to tears).

And there are at least a dozen of the ones I have read that I've never bothered to re-read.

This list reads like it was put together by a committee. Whose members all hated each other, no less.

However... Jay, I will personally loan you copies of Dragonflight, I, Robot and Lucifer's Hammer. Well-worn copies, at that. When shall we meet for the transfer?

greg said...

I can't believe both you and Tam have it in for Issac Asimov...and my issue with the list is Lucifer's Hammer at #96...give me a break...

Mad Saint Jack said...

You need to read Zodiac by Neal Stephenson. Not really Sci-Fi but it is set in Boston and is an awesome book.

Dave H said...

This list reads like it was put together by a committee. Whose members all hated each other, no less

Well, duh. The list was voted on by NPR site readers, from a larger list of nominees selected by NPR from titles suggested by NPR readers.

Internet lists aren't supposed to be informative; they're just supposed to start arguments.

Gunnutmegger said...

Fantasy isn't science fiction. There ought to be 2 separate lists.

2001 is a better book than it is a movie.

"The Road" isn't science fiction or fantasy. It was good, but it isn't in either of those genres.

"The Stand" is more horror than anything else. And "The Dark Tower" books are complete crap; amateurishly plotted and poorly written. King probably wrote the first one when he was in high school.

Where is Alfred Bester on that list? And E.C. Tubb's Dumarest books? And Harry Harrison? And Fred Pohl's Gateway series? And James Hogan's "Giants" series?

Ross said...

Well, duh. The list was voted on by NPR site readers, from a larger list of nominees selected by NPR from titles suggested by NPR readers.

Ah, now THAT makes sense.

Ed said...

I remember reading "A Canticle for Liebowitz" for high school English class.

Food for the mind? Delicious!

Maureen said...

See, here's my question... as a relative sci-fi fiction novice (it's the only genre in which I tend to prefer the movie), I'd ask you, Jay, and your loyal readers:

Which of these hundred books are absolute MUST reads for someone new to the genre?

You're welcome for the blog fodder.

BornLib said...

41 for me, though I'm counting any series where I finished at least one of the books, rather than the whole series.

No K.J. Parker, Michael Swanwick, Mary Doria Russell, Richard K. Morgan, Paul Kearney, or Christopher Barzak on the list makes me a sad panda.

No Tim Powers, Guy Gavriel Kay, or Philip Jose Farmer on the list makes it a joke.

BornLib said...


Just for sci-fi?

A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson (the movie shared a title and not much else)
Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
1984, by George Orwell
Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
Lord of Light, by Roger Zelazny (wasn't on the list, but is much better than his Amber books which were)
The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin (and The Lathe of Heaven)
The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe

greg said...


The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the one Heinlein book everyone should start with.

Also, must reads off this list are Lucifer's Hammer(the book that makes Deep Impact and Armageddon wet their pants) and, for classic Sci-Fi, 'I, Robot'...much shorter and easier to handle than The Foundation Trilogy...

Fûz said...

Plus one on the absence of Bester's The Stars My Destination. And fantasy does not belong on an SF list.

Bill Chunko said...

What? No John Ringo? Maureen, one of the best things you will ever read is John Ringo's "Into the Looking Glass". It is extremely thought provoking. It has a great "inside" science joke in it. And in addition, the main character will turn out to be a real surprise if you read the second book in the series!

Shy Wolf said...

There are about ten here I've read- and nine of them were for college classes and were 'hadda reads'. There are many on this list I'd browsed at one time or another and found zilch interest in, such as Watership Downs and the like- just not into that kind of fantasy. For scifi, give me ER Burroughs and CJ Cherryh. Otherwise, I'll more readily read a mystery, spy, war, historical or western.
Judging from the comments on all the blogs relating to this series, it's no wonder I often scratch my head at what people are writing and say, 'Hmmmmm...'