eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
[personal profile] eruthros
I'm bored and on the internet, so I decided to do a book meme, because why not. NPR's top 100 sf/f books meme, from [personal profile] troisroyaumes. This is the usual kind of book meme: strong the ones you've read, emphasis the ones you intend to read, underline series/books you've read part of, and strike the ones you never intend to 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
- though I actually really disliked Ender's Game; I know a lot of people think of it as one of their favorites from when they were first reading scifi, but I didn't read it until I was in college, after I'd read The Forever War, so.

4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert - I decided to strong this on the grounds that I know I read at least the first four, and I think I might've read all of the Frank Herbert ones. I remember nothing about them; this was my period of Reading Dudely Scifi Recommended By Dudely Histories of Scifi. I think it's telling that I could make this exact comment to quite a bit of this list.

5. A Song of Ice and Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin - omg is this not my genre

6. 1984, by George Orwell - part of a Reading All the Dystopias project

7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury - it was mandatory in seventh or eighth grade

8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov

9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
- part of the same Reading All the Dystopias project. I notice "We" isn't on this list, though.

10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman


12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan - it's like a giant WIP! Everyone tells me there's no character resolution! aaah! *flees*

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
- I actually read a lot of Heinlein! See above re: Dudely Scifi. But even when I was thirteen I found Stranger in a Strange Land eyeroll-worthy, and made an enemy for life in college when I said I thought it wasn't interesting at all. (Her email address might've included the word grok, which I only found out later. Whoops.)

18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss

19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut - Someday I will read Vonnegut. Someday.

20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley - oh, hi, book by a woman! Nice to see you down here at #20.

22. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick

23. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood - I think I only read part of it? I might've finished it. I missed the moment on it, I think.

24. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King - I have basically only read Stephen King's short stories, which T'wings tells me is a crime

25. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

26. The Stand, by Stephen King - I read half a third at least two hundred pages of the complete and uncut edition in a hostel while traveling. Then I left and had to leave the book there.

27. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson - I loved it ten years ago! But now I can barely remember the plot.

28. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury - Dudely Scifi check.

29. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

30. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman - I think I missed the right time period and state of mind for The Sandman; I didn't read it in high schoool when many of my Rocky Horror-going friends did, and it's always seemed like too much work since then.

31. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams - T'wings is going to get me to read this book if she has to read it out loud to me.

32. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein - I read a lot of Heinlein. A lot. This was not even the worst Heinlein I read.

33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey - I, uh, didn't like the Pern series. I might've finished Dragonflight? But I don't remember either way. (I read a bunch of other Anne McCaffrey serieses, though.)

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
- It's funny, because I copied this list from [personal profile] troisroyaumes, who said: "This book was assigned as part of the seventh grade English curriculum. To this day, I'm not sure why. (I mean, I liked the book at the time but it still puzzles me.)" And that's true for me, too, I read it in seventh grade and was never really sure why it was in the curriculum. We certainly never talked about it in any interesting ways.

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 - I read it, but I didn't love it the way I know some people do.

43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven - Why, I don't know. I also read Larry Niven's short stories. I have never spent so much time dealing with imaginary planetary physics in my life.

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
- Look, I love Small Gods and Going Postal, but how they end up on here and Night Watch doesn't? I don't even know, guys.

61. The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle - And I will never read it again.

62. The Sword of Truth, by Terry Goodkind - uuugh.

63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke - Unlike everyone else in the world, I found this book really boring.

65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist

67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks - I read the whole trilogy, because there I was and there they were, but I don't remember much of them. I remember being frustrated by the way all three books had the same basic structure, though.

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 - so not for me.

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 - I could never get through it.

81. The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson

82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde - I didn't like it and haven't read the sequels.

83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks

84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart

85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson - well, I own it, and it's signed, I guess someday I should read it. It's a giant fucking brick, though.

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 - I read so many Star Wars novels! I still nostalgically reread the bit of the ... second? first? one where Mara Jade and Luke travel through a forest without the force. And he's her prisoner. And she enjoys having power over him. Which is the important bit, obviously.

89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon

90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock

91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury

92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley - Turns out it's totally not my genre.

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 - No, seriously, younger me, why?

97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis

98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony - I read a whole bunch of them because they were all available at my library. Also a bunch of the other Piers Anthony series.

100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Let me just say that the exclusion of young adult sff from this list is ridiculous, like, the idea that you can draw a firm line between those two genres makes me roll my eyes and I'm sure leads to a lot of people questioning their decisions in comments. I mean, the Xanth series is on this list, but I'd call it young adult fiction, no question. Wouldn't it be easier to just call it sf/f and not try to decide what the original marketing strategy was? Do they just do this so that Lord of the Rings doesn't have to go up against Harry Potter?

Also, wow, only about a tenth of the books on that list are written by women. And the only two WoC on the short list (Octavia Butler and NK Jemisin) didn't make it to the final list. (I don't know about men of color; there sure weren't many on the short list, but I don't know all of the authors on this list, so.)

In short: I think it's pretty telling and awful that I can tick so many boxes on this list only because I was given one of those Histories of Science Fiction when I was twelve, which I very studiously went through in order to read all of the Great Works of Science Fiction.1 I mean, of course I read Asimov and Bradbury and Clarke and Heinlein and Herbert and Niven! And of course I went back and read Jules Verne and HG Wells - isn't that where scifi started? And the things that that history left out, well, the guys down at my local sff store were there to help me out by recommending Haldeman and Gaiman and Stephenson and Dick.

1By great men, obviously. Great white English or American men.

2Intriguingly, my scifi history didn't mention Frankenstein at all.

Date: 2011-08-12 03:59 am (UTC)
chagrined: DC comics: Bart Allen hugging Max Mercury (bart max)
From: [personal profile] chagrined
YOU ALREADY HEARD ALL MY THOUGHTS ON THIS haha. Also, ilu buddy. *HUGS*

Date: 2011-08-12 04:07 am (UTC)
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)
From: [personal profile] troisroyaumes
It's good to know that Flowers for Algernon in seventh grade wasn't just a quirk of my school but I am still really puzzled over the choice. My class wasn't really able to discuss it in any real depth at that age either.

Date: 2011-08-12 05:01 am (UTC)
livrelibre: DW barcode (Default)
From: [personal profile] livrelibre
This sort of list confirms for me that when I call myself a sf/f fan I am only vaguely gesturing at a quarter of what these folks consider canon and mostly relying on my YA reading and movies/TV. So be it.

Date: 2011-08-12 05:24 am (UTC)
katekat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] katekat
wow that list is a terrible list! although i understand what you mean about the whole great white men of sci fi reading list - i once went into this amazing (but staffed by geeky white men) sci fi store and unless you could prove your bonafides by saying you'd read the classics (and by classics they meant those classics), you weren't a real sci fi fan and they dismissed you.

But also, what's up with no Tanith Lee, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree Jr, Patricia McKillip?

And i don't understand how some authors get to have multiple books from the same series, while others get the series as one mention? I absolutely adore Terry Pratchett, but shouldn't he have just gotten a Diskworld mention and made room for others? (sorry, i know you didn't actually write the list, but these things always distress me this way)

last note - while Sunshine by McKinley isn't worth reading (in my opinion she was trying to go for the vampire market and just ... failed), The Blue Sword & The Hero and the Crown are still favorites of mine.

Date: 2011-08-12 09:02 am (UTC)
inkstone: Samurai Deeper Kyo's Yuya sighing over a book, caption: reading is money (reading)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
I find it interesting that they randomly excluded YA when I'm pretty sure Ender's Game was (is?) marketed as YA at one point in time!

I do like that Frankenstein was included -- why so low though?? -- because as far as I know, people tend to classify that as horror.

(I hate this list. I hate it with a passion! The only thing I'm really happy to see on there is the Jacqueline Carey series, which a lot of people haaaate.)

Date: 2011-08-12 05:41 pm (UTC)
inkstone: Air Gear's Ringo looking dubious, text: ... (...)
From: [personal profile] inkstone
Oh, they did? That's interesting considering THE STAND is on there and that was considered horror as well! Am I the only one who remembers that post-apocalyptic books were once considered horror (I AM LEGEND TOO!!) before SF decided post-apocalyptic stuff was A Thing and claimed it? O_o

Date: 2011-08-13 05:29 am (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
From: [personal profile] firecat
It's a list nominated and voted upon by listeners, which might explain some of the $FAIL.

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eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
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