16 August 2011

Top 100 F/SF

The listings are from an NPR survey of some sort
The usual Bold Face for those read, with comments free and for nothing.

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien Duh, yeah I've read it, maybe a dozen times. It's probably created more Fantasy addicts than any other work. But you never get off as well as the first time...

2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams Plot? "Stuff happens". But I read and re-read it for the fun with words.
Boiz liked it.

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert Worldbuilding on a truly Miffic scale. Then plug in a Russian novel. Then add sequelae ad infinitum.

5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin I understand that this is now on TV. Don't have one of those.

6. 1984, by George Orwell A cautionary tale, well worth re-reading on a regular basis, if you don't mind having your heart ripped out. "No, do it to Julia!" Required for cultural literacy.

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury Has not aged well.

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov Reasonably well written, but the "SCIENCE" is full of holes. Has not aged well

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley Often compared to 1984, but somehow both more parochial and "intellectual". I suggest that you read it once, then go back to it later with a strong stomach.

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman Just plain fun for the most part. Neat conceit, and very well written.

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell Another one from the master. Four legs good, two legs...

14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson Early, archetypal cyberpunk, the characters are riveting, the dialog moves well, a couple slow parts, but it's still great. As all the rest of Gibson's stuff.

15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore I understand that this is a comic book (ooh, excuse me, "Graphic Novel") and a movie.

16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov Meh. Source of the Asimov Laws for AIs. FWIW

17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein Wherein Admiral Heinlein invents the waterbed, a new religion, and introduced sex to the world of Skiffy. Editors fled in droves. Hippies read it in masses. Strange world, huh?

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut For high schoolers and undergrads only. 'Cuz it's like, deep, man.

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley Not a bad job of work for something tossed off in a weekend, but the movies are even worse.

21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick Far from the best of PKD, and I didn't care for the movie, either. Read The Man in the High Castle, or A Scanner Darkly, instead.

22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood Meh. Pretentious bullshit, IIRC.

23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King I can't read Stephen King. My mind hits a cliche, and I'm off supplying soundtracks. My problem, maybe not yours.

24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

25. The Stand, by Stephen King (see supra)

26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson How could you not like Hiro Protagonist, and his teenage girl sidekick YT (that's "Yours Truly")? Has the same before-its-time problem in describing teh innertoobwebnets as Gibson in Necromancer, but still great even if OTBEd.

27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury Bradbury just hasn't aged too well

28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut nor has Vonnegut.

29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman I understand that this another one of those comic book things. Like his stuff with like real words and things, but I don't understand the genre.

30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein Often misunderstood as RAH's prescription for a political system, it's really a coming-of-age YA piece by a man who could really write a good story, and set in a possible future.

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams Talking bunnies. Siflay hraka.

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey Meh. She turned it into an industry, so good on her. Just doesn't do much for me. Too girlie-pony for me.

34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein Is good. Was written when RAH's wife study Russian. Syntax reflects that. Prison colony on Moon (pardon, "in Luna") throws off shackles of oppressor Warden! Throw rocks! Is smart computer Mike! Read! Is good!

35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller but it's been so long ago I recall only snippets.

36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells I'm a Morlock, myself.

37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne Not nearly as bad as the many movies

38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys

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

40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny Good characters, but became a bit of an industry, which allowed him to do some better stuff, notable Lord of Light.

41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings

42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley Read and then promptly forgot

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven Lightweight fun, and easier to carry around than a TV

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

46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien Sometimes you just don't need all the backstory

47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White Great bit of YA fantasy, gave it to the Boiz who loved it.

48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman Neat uh..urban fantasy? The dude can write, that's for sure. Can't imagine why he does so many comic books.

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

50. Contact, by Carl Sagan Slogged through since it was on the girlfriend's shelf once upon a time. Poor writing, lousy plot, but, he's, like, Carl Sagan, dood Don't waste your time.

51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons

52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman (see supra)

53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson Maybe not SciFi by standard definitions, but still great. Don't sweat the math and the crypto.

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 So why are the Pratchett titles singled out one by one, rather than saying read the whole Diskworld series?

58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson Suck. Horribly unlikeable protagonist, poorly drawn alt-world, dreary dreary dreary.

59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold

60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett see supra

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

62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke long run for a short slide

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks Cups and Saucery from a master of the potboiler. Don't bother.

68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard Seriously? Shirley you jest.

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 Standard Verne characters, standard Verne plot.

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

74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi Like it.

75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson Very good riff on the culture divide, as well as good action and compelling characters.

76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke I remember liking it, but not re-reading it

77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey

78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin Supposed to be great. I don't know why.

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 I've liked everything he's written, but this just lacks a resolution.

86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher But not the Dresden series?

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

88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn

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

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock but I liked the Jerry Cornelius stuff better

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury meh

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 Post Apocalypse, and it's not a man made disaster!

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville The current darling of the lit-crit crowd. What's that line from Douglas Adams? Ah, yes. "Conceited Megapuppy".

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony Really? Bad puns and recycled fairy tales make the Top 100? No wonder all right-thinking lit-rary types shun the genre.

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis So yes he was a Christian writer, but as he pointed out himself, to be a good Christian writer one must be first a good writer. Ipse dixit.

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