November 17, 2006

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 November 17, 2006 12:56 PM | TrackBack StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!
Comments

You made it all the way through the Silmarillion?

I'm impressed.

I fell asleep about 10 pages in and never picked it up again.

Posted by: Harvey at November 17, 2006 03:01 PM

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

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

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

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

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.

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