Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Everybody else is doing it...

Since I've seen this in various places on my daily rounds, I figured I'd play, too. (The list, for the two of you that didn't know, is the "100 Best SF/Fantasy Books" based on a poll of NPR listeners. The meme that's going about its to bold the ones you've read.)

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 (Only the first two.)
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

It's obvious that this was a poll of NPR listeners. I mean, The Handmaid's Tale? Really? (And was The Road actually SF or Fantasy?)


Robert said...

" A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess (Hey, there’s a book on this movie?) "

Yes. And as is typical of Hollywood, they change it around and leave out the end where he meets the 4th member of his former gang, who's grown up and now has a wife and family.

Tam said...

Oops. I copypasta'ed the list from Robb and missed one of his editorial comments. Gone now. :o

Art said...

(And was The Road actually SF or Fantasy?)
The Road was DF ... Depression Fiction

og said...

I stole it from Alger, and had to remove his editotrial comments ex post facto as well- though I could have let them stand, I agreed with most of 'em.

Bram said...

Strange list. I'm reading the 4th "A Song Of Ice And Fire" book right now. No way would I put it at #5.

Joe in PNG said...

You didn't read (book)? I cant beleive that- (author) is the greatest ever!

Tam said...


It's on HBO right now, so it's at the forefront of the minds of the kind of people who actually have lists of their favorite books and listen to NPR. ;)

aczarnowski said...

While 40 probably means I've been neglecting other important reading I refuse to feel bad about it.

As for editorializing, I would put The Dragonlance Chronicles on the list before Drizzt's story. I could only push myself through 2.5 books in The Foundation series before my inner individual said enough. That put me off Asimov, probably for life.

Bubblehead Les. said...

You can tell it's a NPR list, because at least 2 of the books became Trilogies, (Ringworld and Mote), and they were also part of a "Universe" (Known Space and Co-Dominium), plus then you have how Heinlein wove everything together towards the end of his life. Insufficient Facts spewed forth with some of your Tax Dollars, as usual.

Sigivald said...

There's ... so, so much wrong with the contents of that list.

Not that all the picks are wrong, but... Christ.

DaveFla said...

What Sigivald said. Also, I'm not shocked that the late Joel Rosenberg's "Guardians of the Flame" titles aren't on it, given that it's NPR.

hektor said...

Am I the only one on the planet who thinks Lord of the Rings was kind of weak?

Tam said...


I'm sure other people do. I, however, am not among them.

Ruth said...

I have issues with alot of the list, but then I've also read almost half of it so I'm not sure how much room I have to talk....

Matthew said...


Vernor Vinge's "Fire Upon the Deep" is worth a read.

Don't know what it says about me but it was one of those mind-opening books.

Does it count if you've read most of a series?

I didn't finish Xanth or the last few Wheel of Time or Riftwar books for a variety of reasons.

WV: "enobskie" reverse Polish pig latin for "NPR listener"

Bob H said...

Nothing by John Ringo? David Weber? Glen Cook? Elizabeth Moon? Eric Flint? C. J. Cherryh? Janny Wurts? Mercedes Lackey? Patricia McKillip? L. E. Modesitt?
Tom Kratman? Harry Turtledove? (I think his Guns of the South is the finest alternate history book ever witten.)

They chose Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep over Dorsai!?

Multiple books by Vonnegut?

4 books by Neal Stephenson?

4 books by Gaiman?

I have to admit having read 88 of those... But their choices are... odd.

I think I see a bit of a theme though. Very few of those books have a strong moral tone. Most of the heros are more gray than black or white, and none are at all pro military.

Oh, well. It's NPR what did we expect?

Mikael said...

I'm reading the third and final book of 43 atm, and I've read 7 of the 10 in 81, and those, along with 5, are some of the best fantasy I've ever read(and I'm a voracious reader), 69 deserves a mention as well.

The science-fiction side is a bit more barren, several questionable works, and missing authors like Greg Bear, Alastair Reynolds(a personal fav for hard sci-fi), and Peter F Hamilton.

Do go ahead and read through the Dune books by Frank Herbert though!

NotClauswitz said...

Lord of the Rings was *perfect* for Junior High School, it was complicated!

Don M said...

Princess Bride above Starship Troopers?

Odd choice that.

I would recommend "I, Robot" though.

Anonymous said...

Nobody reads Doc Smith huh.

TimP said...

@Bob H:

"I think I see a bit of a theme though. Very few of those books have a strong moral tone. Most of the heros are more gray than black or white, and none are at all pro military."

Yep, because Starship Troopers isn't even remotely pro-military. :-P

Also a fair chunk of the books can be considered moral fables, though most of them probably hold to more gray sort of morality instead of black and white, Starship Troopers, Lord of the Rings, the Space Trilogy (by CS. Lewis), and some of the older books by Wells and Verne all stick to fairly black and white morality.

Mike Gallo said...

uhhhh. No Simak? Really? City? Cosmic Engineers? Srsly? No?

LawDog said...

A "Best of Sci-Fi List" with no Alfred Bester?

Oh, NPR. Never mind.

mongo78 said...

"The Time Traveler's Wife" on a list of all-time great SF? Are you effin' kidding me?

Eck! said...

Handmaid's Tale, The Road, I'd have put them on the branch of the SF tree of alternate realities.

The list and its order a lazy hack at best. First I've have classified the list by subspecies or genre. Some barely fit.

For me the classics include Asimov, Bradbury Vonnegut, Herbert, Heinlein, Verne and Clarke to focus on a few. I enjoyed the foundation set and Dune set. I considered Dune trilogy a weekends read.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Bob H. No S. M. Stirling, no David Drake, no Dean Ing.....

But, screw Weber, his last "book" sucked serious butt.

Al T.

Mark Alger said...


I thought the editorial comments were kinda the POINT. Although Tam's minimalism seems to have proven a sort of a rorschacht test, which is interesting, too.


Drang said...

Like Tam said, it's an NPR list, the kind of people who (on their "game show" "Wait Wait!") assume that any fiction list simply must include Funnygut.
I gave myself credit for a series if I read at least one item from it.
I also think it should be noted that Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave does not belong on the list, neither SF nor F.

Considering that science fiction has been popular for well over 100 years (note the on-going debate over whether Jules Verne qualifies) such a list should take publication date into account.

og said...

"I thought the editorial comments were kinda the POINT."

Very much so, but I wasn't going to take credit for YOURS. And, frankly, the list was wrongity wrong, not being- as you pointed out- even all SF.

Anonymous said...

Not really a bad list as I have read close to half of them. There are a few idiosyncracies and bad picks but to be expected from the NPR crowd.

On a personal note, never was a Vonnegut fan, but enjoyed the stylized realities of Frank Herbert.

the pawnbroker said...

To make sense of it, it is important to remember that while all SF is Fantasy, not all Fantasy is SF.

So while NPR lumps the genres as SF/Fantasy, Tam acknowledges the distinction in her final parenthetical and rhetorical sentence.

And it's an NPR poll; those folks as a group might not match up with the readership here as to what is science, fictional or otherwise. But fantasy? Well we *are* talking about the constituency of Obama '08.

Don M said...

Note: they are missing all the Robert E. Howard books to include all the Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, and Brekinridge Elkins.

russell1200 said...

The disaster theme from "The Road" is heavily influenced from John Christopher's "No Blade of Grass": definitely Sci-Fi.

You are lookig at a list generated by Science Fiction/Fantasy fans (I am guessing) from 50 to 60 years in age. When they would have started reading in the late 60s to early 70s, there was not much fantasy available at the time to your typical reader outside of the big cities. Think of a (by today's standards) tiny mall book store, with Sci-Fi and fantasy in the same rack and most of it Sci Fi. So that age range is going to hit the classics, but not too much else that is fantasy. When I moved to NYC for a couple of years in the late 1980s, I was stunned at was available.

Unless my tired eyes missed it, I don't see anything in Jack Vance's "The Dying Earth" series: of which at least the first book belongs.

The other one I would add would be Fritz Leibers :Fafhred in the Gray Mouser" series. They are the first truely great "low fantasy" that I recall being out. At least the first books came out in serialized form originally.

For myself, I have been reading apocalypse in progress tales.

The only one that is good enough, and Sci Fi enough to make the list is Paolo Bacigalupi's The Wind Up Girl. It is every bit as grim and comparable to Gibson's Neuromancer.

Guy Savidges' Kingdon of Four Rivers is also good, but I am not sure it cracks the top 100.

greg said...

Are they really supposed to be ranked in the order listed, because Lucifer's Hammer at #96 is just wrong. I think it is the finest example of TEOTWAWKI fiction there is.

And I guess from looking at your list Tam, that you aren't a big Issac Asimov fan...

Canthros said...

The inclusion of the Drizzt (never read) and Thrawn (did read) books is interesting. Given the overall quality of the list (dubious), I'm not really sure what to make of it, though.

RDH said...

A list of SciFi/Fantasy that doesn't include any Edgar Rice Burroughs smacks of elitism and snobs. Every week I took my 50 cent allowance down to the local drugstore and and bought another book in the Tarzan/John Carter/Carson Napier/Pellucidar series and spent an hour or two lost in other worlds.

Anonymous said...

it's good to see Dune in there, but I haven't read the whole series. Only the books by Frank himself.

Seriously, a bibliophile could slide through Neuromancer in an afternoon, but you can't tick off Dune until you get to at least Chapterhouse?


Mad Saint Jack said...

Technically I didn't read Lord of the Rings, It was read to me at bedtime (long, long time ago). So was The Wizard of Oz series and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Rob Reed said...

I agree with DaveFla, I'd put "The Guardian's of the Flame" series by Rosenberg in there before many of the books that were listed.

The list is a great example of selection bias.

Rob (Trebor is my geek name..)

NotClauswitz said...

Selection bias. Sci-Fi goes waaaay-back. Before Herbert wrote "Dune", back in 1510 Garci Ordonez de Montalvo wrote "The Adventures of Esplandin," featuring an exotic island paradise inhabited by a Black Amazon warrior queen named Califia - with man eating griffons on rocky cliffs and shores where gold and pearls lay abundant - and from that we got the name California. With Columbus there occurred an impulse (albeit Spanish, but don't forget the Portuguese and Dutch) to boldly go where no man had gone before.
Herbert didn't invent the word "dune" but Montalvo gave us California...

Drang said...

Russell1200 @0904: Speaking as a Science Fiction fan "from 50 to 60 years in age. ...{who} started reading in the late 60s to early 70s", and who started attending cons in the late 70s, I am pretty confident in saying that there's an awful lot of stuff that was put on that list by a bunch of damn kids who need to get off my lawn.

WW said...

Stunned at the lack of Jack Vance... Science fiction without Vance is speculative indeed.

Brad K. said...


What Drang said.

I posted my own list

We get Frankenstein, but no Patricia Briggs (Moon Called, etc.?) And they didn't even mention Pauline Ashwell's "Unwillingly to Earth".

Phil said...

I felt like this list makes me a bad person for not liking any Stephenson books that weren't Snow Crash, until I realized that they Listed the Codex Alera instead of the Dresden Files.

Spud said...

The "Road"
Prophetic if anything, quite realistic of probable future.

russell1200 said...

Drang and Brad K:

I was giving a hypothesis as to why the list was Sci-Fi heavy since it is a Sci-Fi and fantasy list. You have no argument from me that some of the choices are odd. My changes would not be your changes simply because of different reading preferences, but the very pattern of the list is odd.

I checked the demographics of NPR, and all I could come up with is a claim that their median age listener is 50. That is younger than I would have thought. The baby boom was after-the-fact stretched into the declining birth rate years of the 1960s, but even if you go with 1946 to 1964, and ignore that the birth rate is much heavier at the front end, you come up with 1955 as the mid-point and a median age somewhere around 56.

Tam said...

Bob H.,

"Nothing by John Ringo? David Weber? Glen Cook? Elizabeth Moon? Eric Flint? C. J. Cherryh? Janny Wurts? Mercedes Lackey? Patricia McKillip? L. E. Modesitt?
Tom Kratman? Harry Turtledove?

This is a poll of NPR listeners. I could have told you ahead of time that there weren't going to be many Baen authors on it, and it was going to be heavy on "Lit SF": Gaiman, Stephenson, and that sort.

I am actually shocked that there isn't a single Bruce Sterling book on there; he's the darling of the Smarter Than You set. He's a columnist for Wired, for Chrissake!

Tam said...

No Cory Doctorow, either, which is even more odd, given the demographic surveyed...

Lazy Bike Commuter said...

I'm going to HIGHLY recommend that you check out the Mistborn trilogy and add it to your list. Brandon Sanderson is very nearly at the top of my "favorite authors" list.

If you don't want to commit to a trilogy, I do recommend Elantris as well--a little rough since it's his first work, but rather awesome.

On a Wing and a Whim said...

Having read, or started to read and put down due to disgust or lack of interest, most of this list - it seems a mish-mash of "What we were told were important books", and books that have been made into a movie/show/musical/tv series.

Calmer Half reports a lot of the books that I think are under the "what we were told were important" are mandatory in a "British education" - which explains how 1984 is on there, despite its big-brother message, and why they miscategorized Animal Farm from political humor to "SF/F".

Ken said...

While I'm not as high on the Mistborn trilogy as LBC, it is worth reading. Also, re: LawDog's remarks, any list that doesn't include at least The Stars My Destination isn't much of a list.

Given that it's an NPR list, I'm surprised Charles Stross isn't on there somewhere -- and that Lucifer's Hammer is. Also somewhat surprised at the absence of John Boyd (The Last Starship from Earth and The Rakehells of Heaven). Certainly anyone who's ever drawn a paycheck in a university system should appreciate Boyd (or, come to think of it, maybe not).

No Eddison, either. To be fair, I had trouble finding the Zimiamvia books back when I wanted to read them (almost 20 years ago). Appears to be easier now.

I recently finished Against All Things Ending (from the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant -- one more to go, in 2013, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise), and -- hoping this ain't a spoiler -- I don't think they're all going to settle down in Andelain and live happily ever after. :-)

Haven't read The Mists of Avalon, but I will confess to reading and liking the Darkover novels back in college.

I'll close by throwing out a recommendation for The Once and Future King. I rank it right behind Lord of the Rings.

wv: andenc, located just southeast of Orthanc off the Basingstoke roundabout.

OrangeNeck said...

What about the M.Y.T.H. series by Robert Asprin or the Martian Tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs?????

Mad Jack said...

I noted the absence of ERB's John Carter, which I enjoyed. In fact, no ERB.

In an effort of me-tooism, here's my own version of the meme Worthy Reads: Fantasy and Science Fiction. I note that there's some crossover here.

While the list was likely generated by NPR fans, what I really wonder is if the staff did any judicious editing before the list was published. It's just a list of popular F&SF, so it shouldn't make any difference, right? But then I guess you never know.

JimB said...

You only read the first two of The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King ....You're lucky. I read them all and was trulu disappointed in the final chapter. King wrote some great stuff but the quality seems to have fallen off since he was run over.

Zendo Deb said...

Why the Codex Alera by Butcher and not The Dresden Files?

And yes, Tam, The Handmaid's Tale is Science Fiction - at least as much as Brave New World is, since it is set against the aftermath of a plague.

So if Lucifer's Hammer is in there, why isn't Alas Babylon?

The Doomsday Book is a good read, but "To Say Nothing of the Dog" is much more entertaining.

RobertSlaughter said...

I was hoping you and Roomie X would do these, because I know you're literate, well-read types of folks.

Mine is over here, in case anyone cares:

Zendo Deb said...

No David Drake. No David Weber. Did they screen out anyone who makes the military look like the good guys from time to time?

No Pern books? (I am not a fan of the Pern series, but they must appeal to someone, since there are so many. I always expected "Stray Cats of Pern" to show up.

At least the list isn't full of teen-angsty vampires.

RobertSlaughter said...

Zendo Deb, number 33 "Dragonflight", is the first (as in original, not story-timeline) Pern book.

Anonymous said...

A list from NPR and it doesn't have

The Power by Frank M. Robinson.


Brad K. said...

@ Zendo Deb,

No H. Beam Piper (Little Fuzzy), no Andre Norton (Jardoon Pard, Time Traders), no E.E. "Doc" Smith (Skylark of Space), no Kathleen Skye (Witchdame). No Murray Leinster (Time Tunnel), no John G. Hemry (Stark's Crusade, A Just Determination), no Juanita Coulson (Tomorrow's Heritage), no F.M. Busby (Rissa Kerguelen).

I wouldn't expect NPR to carry Weber's Honor Harrington books - the "People's Republic" is an obviously pointed canard against modern American socialist policies.

NotClauswitz said...

And somehow they missed the first, seminal, "Last-Man-on-Earth" epic "Earth Abides" - written in 1949, set in Berkeley!.

SoupOrMan said...

I thought NPR listeners treated The Handmaid's Tale more as a prophecy than a science-fiction novel.

Tam said...

Zendo Deb,

"And yes, Tam, The Handmaid's Tale is Science Fiction..."

I didn't question its SF'ness, but rather its "bestness".

I don't think it would have made my Top 100, let alone placed above TMIAHM or The Mote In God's Eye. (And I do own a copy, and have read it two or three times.)

You should write an email to Marge Atwood and tell her you think she's a great SF writer, BTW. The reply would probably be worth a post in itself. ;)

"Talking squids in outer space!"

Tam said...

PS: "At least the list isn't full of teen-angsty vampires."

Amen! :)

Ken said...

Wait a generation.

Justthisguy said...

I see nothing in there by H. Beam Piper (if you don't love you some Little Fuzzies, you have a defective soul) nor anything by Hal Clement (Dondragmer is my Homey.)

"The Door into Summer" is missing, as is "Double Star." All of Clarke's earlier, and best, stuff, is also missing. Sense of Wonder, Baby!

Anathem is missing, though arguably Stephenson's best yet, because NPR Barbie says, "Philosophy is Hard!"

Justthisguy said...

Oh, did somebody upthread mention Doc Smith? Skylark of Space is not on the list, nor is Galactic Patrol, nor is First Lensman, etc. usw.

I am now going to soothe myself by puttting on the headphones, and by virtue of a hyperspacial tube, cue up "Our Patrol", peformed by the massed bands of the Galactic Patrol.

Clear ether, spacehounds!

WV:steddies. I snear at yer steddies; I am on a roll, here!

Justthisguy said...

Um, that's "performed" and "sneer". Nothing lets the gas out of a roll as much as the consciousness of having spelled it wrong, if one is of a certain turn of brain. Sigh!

WV: harshn. Honest! Everything seems to be harshn my mellow, these days.

Tam said...


"Anathem is missing..."

It is present and accounted for at #85.

Bruce H. said...

And no John Varley?

Justthisguy said...

Tam, I sneer at yer steddies. Bruce, I think there is some Varley in there. Sheesh, some of you people are as bad as I am, if not worse!

Brad K. said...

@ Tam,

OMG! The Mote in God's Eye!

How about the Witches of Karres, Outworld Cats, Palmer's "Emergence", Dalmas' "The General's President", Thomas T. Thomas' "ME" (multiple entity) and E.E. "Doc" Smith's "Subspace Explorers"! We go.

And I have to second the vote for Bradley and her Darkover books. "Hawkmistress!" rules.

Anonymous said...

. . . right . . . criminal negligence for not including the following:

The Dancer From Atlantis by Poul Anderson
The Starfisher Trilogy by Glen Cook
FRIDAY by Robert Heinlein
The Gandalara Cycle by Vicki Ann Heydon
Man-Kzin Wars by Larry Niven
The Fourth Profession by Larry Niven
The Barsac Mission by Jules Verne
The Weapon Shop by A. E. van Vogt


Anonymous said...

"A Clockwork Orange" is a damn fine book. Highly recommend it. Just make sure you read the British version!

Alexis said...

No Terry Pratchett??

"What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"

I do recommend Jasper Fforde, can you tell I lean towards the more comical sci/fi novels. If you enjoy Monte Python then you should like these authors.

markm said...

On a Wing and a Whim nailed it:

"it seems a mish-mash of "What we were told were important books", and books that have been made into a movie/show/musical/tv series."

I doubt that many of the NPR listeners polled have read every book, or even most of the books, they voted for, so it's not a list of "FSF books I liked" as much as a list of "FSF books I've heard of". I'm just surprised A Handmaid's Tale isn't at the top of the list; none of these leftists will ever admit they either never read it or didn't like it. Starship Troopers made the list, alone of all RA Heinlein's works, and alone of all the military SF, because it was mis-adapted into a fairly controversial movie not so long ago as to be forgotten. (At least one other RAH novel was filmed, and much better, but I guess you've got to really be an old SF fan to remember The Puppet Masters.)

Jack Vance? Most of his best work is unfilmable, and was remaindered a long, long time ago. OTOH, "The Dragon Masters" would make an awesome film, even though more than half would have to be CGI.

Hollywood should have filmed The Stars My Destination before Nick Nolte, Jack Nicholson, etc., got old. They have plenty of younger male actors that could play the aimless drifter Gully Foyle without even acting, but none that could switch from that to the driven man who came back from the asteroids.

Little Fuzzies? I'm afraid of how that would come out of Hollywood. Think furry Smurfs.

markm said...

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Doc Smith, etc.: Pure escapism. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I bet the typical NPR listener thinks there is, and so won't admit to liking such works unless she can find some intellectual hook to justify reading them.

Also, these authors, and many other great ones missing from the list, were dead or retired before the baby boomers learned to read. If you do your own looking for good books, you'll find them, but the fad-followers wouldn't.

Justthisguy said...

Markm, remember what C.S. Lewis said about people who decry "escapism." "What kind of person is against people escaping? Why, a jailer!"

I think you're off on the generational timing. I'm a boomer, and bought new-printed copies of Burroughs, Smith, Clement, and Piper in the sixties when I was in Junior High School. There were also all of those Gnome Press editions in the public library.