Saturday, August 13, 2011

NPR's SF and Fantasy Booklist

From here. (hat-tip) A weird mix of books and series, with some obvious omissions. I've bolded the ones I've read. I've asterisked the ones that are actually on my shelf somewhere right now.

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 (I can't remember if I've read this one)
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov*
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein (I think this is one of his worst books)
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 (Awful)
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
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 (I think Dragonsdawn is actually better)
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein (I think)
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller* (Truly excellent)
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 (I think)
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells*
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny (only some of them)
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* (I wasn't really impressed)
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 (I'll likely be reading this in the next few weeks)
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson (I'll likely be reading this in the next few weeks)
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 (I think)
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 (Really great ideas, but I thought the execution was somewhat weak)
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 (the first thirteen, anyway; the first three are quite good, of which the first is on my shelves, and I also liked Night Mare, Dragon on a Pedestal, and Crewel Lye)
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis*


  1. John Perry10:09 PM

    If you know what the acronym TANSTAAFL means, then there's a good probability that you did, in fact, read Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    FWIW in my opinion, Algis Budrys' Who? is a far better book than most of those on there.

  2. Michael Sullivan3:07 PM

    You're right, some very odd omissions. The Martian Chronicles would be a more sensible choice than the other Bradbury books here, for instance. Similarly with the Neal Stephenson - The Diamond Age and the Baroque Cycle are much better than Snow Crash and Anathem respectively. I thought Anathem was a failure pretty much on every level and was very disappointed in it. And some of these, like Animal Farm, don't belong on the list at all.

    I'd recommend Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, if you're interested in time travel to the middle ages (who wouldn't be?).

  3. branemrys4:20 PM

    I was disappointed with Anathem, too; there were some rather cool ideas, but weakly executed all around.

    I'll keep an eye out for Willis.

  4. branemrys4:20 PM

    I haven't read it; I'll have to look into it.

  5. Dave M10:49 AM

    I read Doomsday Book, and I liked it fine (enough to remember some of it much later, anyway), but it was about 400 pages longer than it needed to be, I thought.

    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress [spoiler if you haven't read it, but this might jog your memory if you have] is about a colony on the moon which revolts.  It turns out that being at the top of the gravity well is a decisive tactical advantage.  There's lots of stuff about what it takes for revolutionary movements to succeed (I think it was written in 1966).  It's better than Stranger if that helps at all. 

    Neuromancer is an early "cyberpunk" novel about AI trying to overcome its human-imposed limitations (or something – I better read it again myself).  It and the next one (Count Zero) are very good; the third one is disappointing.

    I'm reading the Martin series (book 5, which just came out) right now, and I'm enjoying it a lot, but I have to say I wouldn't recommend it to you.  It's pretty nihilistic, with lots of gratuitous nastiness.  Plus there's no guarantee he'll ever finish, and there is a great deal of unfinished business to be done still.

    I would recommend Robinson's Mars trilogy though, and fantasy author Patricia McKillip (not mentioned here).  Try The Book of Atrix Wolfe.

  6. Ditto on Doomsday Book. 

    Lucifer's Hammer is a good disastern novel.  Johnny Carson still has the Tonight Show, but you can read through that. (Niven and Pournelle also wrote a pretty good imitation of Dante's Inferno in a book called (naturally) Inferno.)


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