SF book meme

The latest blog meme, this one courtesy of writer Ian McDonald

This is the Science Fiction Book Club’s list of the fifty most significant science fiction/fantasy novels published between 1953 and 2002. 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.

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. 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 Jose Farmer*

Not sure why the early cutoff date is 1953, there’s some significant work from before then. I also have to obviously question why Terry Brooks is on this list while Stanislaw Lem isn’t. And I’m not even going to snobbishly object to the inclusion of fantasy lit into a purported science fiction list (er, and Peter S. Beagle isn’t on this list because?)

I’ve been listening to StarShipSofa‘s podcast overviews of classic SF writers and I forget that I missed reading much of the early classics – no Blish, Budrys, Smith, etc.

Author: Chris Barrus

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3 thoughts on “SF book meme”

  1. Yes, by no stretch of the imagination can the Potter books be considered SF.

    I’m actually surprised that you haven’t read Colour of Magic and Lord of Light. I could have sworn we were still rooming together when I went on my Pratchett rampage at Connolly and Wade’s and we were swapping books back and forth. Then again my body and memory was probably badly affected by post Bruno’s protein coma, so what do I know?

    Same with the Zelazny book. Course now that I think about it, maybe I was rooming with Matt when I did the Zelazny spree.

  2. Regarding signifcant works which precede the 1953 cut-off date:

    1. Armageddon 2419 (Philip Nowlan) [The basis for “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”]
    2. We (Eugene [Yevgeny] Zamyatin)
    3. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
    4. H.G. Wells?! Not just *The Time Machine*, but *The Shape of Things to Come* and of course *War of the Worlds*

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