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16 November 2006 @ 10:31 am
SF/Fantasy Meme  

This is a list of the 50 most significant speculative fiction/fantasy works, 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 underline the ones you loved.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury one of the best books ever
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett <-- list of Discworlds I liked better listed below
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice <-- I liked Queen of the Damned better
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin <-- one of the next sci fi books I plan to read
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon <-- read his short stories first! Then you can forgive him for not being the world's greatest novel writer, for he is the world's greatest short story writer.
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Last Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip José Farmer

According to me, these books should be listed:
Perseus Spur (& the rest of this series), Julian May (space opera)
Perdido Street Station, China Mieville (dark fantasy)
Exogenesis series, Octavia Butler (bio xeno sci fi)
Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (fantasy humor)
Nightwatch, Terry Pratchett (fantasy humor)
Thud!, Terry Pratchett (fantasy humor)
Steel Beach, John Varley (bio genetic space opera sci fi)
All short stories ever, Theodore Sturgeon (speculative philosophical sci fi)
The Integral Trees, Larry Niven (bio xeno sci fi)
The Mote in God's Eye, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle (xeno space opera)
Amber series, Roger Zelazny (urban fantasy)
Children of the Night, Mercedes Lackey (urban witchy fantasy)
Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson (but not necessarily the rest of the series, bio space sci fi)
 
 
 
Vulturevulture23 on November 17th, 2006 11:42 am (UTC)
My list:

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Last Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip José Farmer

My decisions on "loved" are a bit idiosyncratic -- there's a number of others that I loved at the time but don't really feel appropriate to so mark now. Then again, there's a couple that I marked as loved which I would not choose to re-read, so.... ::shrug:: Also, I realize I'm a bit of a freak for actually having thought that the Silmarillion was great... but then, I never saw it as a story so much as a world background. (It probably helped that I was on one of my big mythology kicks then, too...)

A few books that I think should've been on this list but weren't --

The Mote in God's Eye -- Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Blood Music -- Greg Bear
Queen of Angels -- Greg Bear
The Gods Themselves -- Isaac Asimov

Kburgunder on November 17th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC)
The Gods Themselves, I so agree! Have intended to read some Greg Bear for a long time so thank you for the suggestions.

RE: the Silmarillion - I've known one other person who liked it and he also enjoyed it for the world background. The interesting thing is, usually if you give me a big with an immersive new world, I don't even need a plot, and yet I couldn't get through the Silmarillion. Would seem like the world-bias would preclude liking it...
Vulture: sombrerovulture23 on November 18th, 2006 12:54 am (UTC)
It probably doesn't help that about 90% of fantasy authors over the last 50+ years have been ripping off Tolkien to some degree or another. If one comes to the Silmarillion after reading enough other fantasy, it's not going to seem terribly original. (To be honest, I'd have thought that your interest in linguistics would tend to make you more interested in the larger body of Tolkien's work, given that the whole world of Middle Earth was more-or-less created as a backdrop for the Elvish language that he'd created... )

As for Greg Bear -- I'd suggest reading Blood Music first. While most of Bear's books are not directly related, he has tended to build on certain ideas that are explored in detail in earlier works and just sort of assumed in later works. Blood Music is a pretty deep exploration of bio/nanotech; Queen of Angels heavily uses nanotech in an exploration of humanity and consciousness.