Thursday, January 18, 2007

significant SF

A meme snagged from The Silvereel

The Key:
Bold the ones you've read.
Strike-out the ones you hated.
Italicize those you started but never finished.
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

I would question some of the choices on this list (are they SF? are they significant?) but agree that most are significant SF works. Interesting meme.

7 comments:

The Silver Eel said...

Intrigued - why couldn't/didn't you finish The Book of the New Sun? (Neither did I.)

And which books from the list would you like to have read?

Am enjoying the pometry muchly.

Yvonne said...

I would like to have read Caves of Steel, The Demolished Man,. and The Man in the High Castle. They're on my list of "must get round to it".

I thought Gene Wolfe's work was a pile of outrageously pretentious tosh.

Books I'd like to see on the list - see SF books in the previous post about favourite books.

Glad you liked the pomes, cheers - there's lots more poetry on my website.

Joe said...

One of the problems with this list I found when I was doing it was that it was from an American SF group and is very US-centric - no Iain M Banks, no John Wyndham.

Caves of Steel is interesting rather than actually good as such. Demolished Man and Man in the High Castle are both excellent though and highly recommended (we did Demolished Man last year at the book group and the loved it. Was first time I had re-read it since the 80s and still impressed with it). Demolished is also a teeny-weeny little novel (a snack book as I now describe anything crossing my desk less than 500 pages) so you can skip through it in a couple of hours.

Yvonne said...

Ah well I can't stand Iain M Banks (too much of a sadistic torture-fest) and I'm not that keen on Wyndham either. Maybe we should make our own list (or you could buy a copy of my mate Steve's 100 Must Read Science Fiction Novels - only £5.99).

My list would include Ursula Le Guin (of course) plus Liz Williams, Karen Traviss and Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow (not sure if it was SF or not, but it was very good).

Joe said...

Sparrow was indeed SF, although also sold on many a mainstream fiction shelf too - seem to recall she won either the Clarke of BSFA award. On which subject Liz Williams is on this year's shortlist nominations.

Iain's more nasty scenes have never bothered me, although I sometimes have difficulty in thinking this genial, smiling, friendly, bearded chap I'm talking to is the same man who came up with the Wasp Factory :-)

Ursula would most certainly be on my list too, probably twice actually since I doubt I could only pick between Left Hand of Darkness (stunning) and Earthsea. I'd need to get some of Ken MacLeod's humanist work in there too and probably some early Jeff Noon before he went off the rails, maybe some Vurt.

Yvonne said...

The Sparrow was interesting because the setting was SFnal, the style was almost like a thriller, and the core subject matter (whether the hero should lose his faith because of what happened to him) could have been in a mainstream or an SF work.

Yes I was quite impressed by Ken Macleod's stuff, but have to say I think Alistair Reynolds is better (I enjoyed Century Rain hugely).

Talking of British SF, some would add Christopher Priest and M. John Harrison - I myself find both of them a bit depressing, though they can certainly write well.

Deborah said...

Here's 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. (*loved it when I
read it the first time, didn't love it when I re-read it last year)
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<