NPR's Top 100 of F / SF Books


Books

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The votes have been tabulated.

It's been getting lots of discussion in other places, but I thought it could use its own thread over here. What do people think? My own rather personal reactions are below.

Spoiler:
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Yes, yes, Lord yes!
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
I know this series has legions of fans, but the first volume just didn't grab me for some reason, though I could see it was funny.
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Only have read excerpts. I think I like his American fantasy writing better.
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
Yes, yes, Lord yes!
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
I wait for the cable series to become available to me.
6. 1984, by George Orwell
What? Maybe F/SF = Speculative Fiction in general for them.
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
On shelf waiting.
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
On shelf waiting.
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
It was okay.
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Good.
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
Good. I think I liked it more than I would have because of the movie and the shared experience.
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
I might give it a chance some day. Mixed feelings.
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
It's official, you people have genre confusion.
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
??
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
Loved the movie.
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
On shelf waiting.
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
On shelf waiting.
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
??
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Haven't read.
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Good.
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
Good.
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Still haven't gotten to it.
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
Never finished it, but the ones I read were good.
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
On shelf waiting.
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
Memory is hazy. Pretty sure I did read it, though.
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
All these NS books. I've only read Quicksilver. LOVE IT!
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
Good.
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
Haven't read.
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
Couple I read were good.
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
See all my Orwell/Huxley comments.
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
The movie gives me pause.
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
Good.
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
The excerpt I read made me both snoozy and apathetic.
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
On shelf waiting.
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
Still haven't gotten to it, in spite of high recommendations from friends.
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Good.
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
Good.
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
Hope to get to.
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
Good.
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
I think I only want to read the first five.
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
Recommended to me, I might read it.
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Good: Don't go by movie.
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
Have the first one as an ebook; haven't gotten to.
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
Heard of it.
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
Haven't read.
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
YES!
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
Good.
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
Saw BBC series. Like the idea.
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
Haven't read.
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
Movie.
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
Haven't read.
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
GOOD.
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
All these NS books. I've only read Quicksilver. LOVE IT!
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
Haven't read.
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
Good.
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
Huh?
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
Pratchett is the one of the few, if only, folks that makes me pause before saying No Thanks to humor.
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
Might well read due to what I've heard.
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Haven't read.
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
See 57.
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Haven't read.
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
Don't plan to read; TV series was better than most average TV and watched with wife. Was hoping they would continue.
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
Haven't read.
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
YES! (And Yes to related works.)
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
Have been wanting to pick up.
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
Not sure. I think I'd rather read the Magician books.
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
Blah. The first one hit the spot when I was given it and I was in withdrawal/forgetfulness during a period of academic orgy.
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
YES!
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
Haven't read.
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Movie.
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
?
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
Yes.
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
Read the comic books with my nephews.
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
Haven't read.
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
Haven't read.
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
Haven't read.
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
Don't plan to read.
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
Haven't read.
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
Read the original short story; plan to read.
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
Haven't read.
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
Haven't read.
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
All these NS books. I've only read Quicksilver. LOVE IT!
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
Haven't read.
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Haven't read.
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
?
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
??
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
Overrated.
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
Yes.
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
Don't think I'm interested in his message/assumptions. We're both Pathfinder fans, though.
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
Read the first one, enjoyed it.
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
YES! Severely underrated..

DENIED: Jack Vance, Manly Wade Wellman, C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett?
I absolutely disagree with that! Still this list was more satisfying than Gollancz's top ten in each category was. But then, this list had five times the chances theirs did, combined.


15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
Loved the movie.

I got the graphic novel somewhere.

99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
Read the first one, enjoyed it.

Pornucopia, by Piers Anthony, is da bomb.

96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
?

This book is awesome as all getout. Go get it now. It's 500 pages, and you will put your life on hold to finish it in 2 days. Best asteroid hits earth book ever.

87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Haven't read.

have to wiki to make sure it's what I'm talking about.....

31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
The movie gives me pause.

Haven't read, but have heard the book is way different, way better than the movie; Heinlein is a genius.

81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
Haven't read.

picked it up; it was great; a lot of books I stop reading because I'm busy with life/three kids/work/ but it's good stuff.

44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
Heard of it.

Niven is the kind of writer that blows your mind once every 50 pages with a cool ass idea that makes you go think about it for a week. Star Trek writers do this and come up with episodes.


My feeling is that half the stuff on here seems really recent(ish) and there's a ton of stuff that's older that really ought to bump some of the more recent(ish) books off of there.

But what are you gonna do?....

Mairky Mairk said,
"DENIED: Jack Vance, Manly Wade Wellman, C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett?
I absolutely disagree with that! Still this list was more satisfying than Gollancz's top ten in each category was. But then, this list had five times the chances theirs did, combined."

right on.


I think that Huxley, Vonnegut, Burroughs (EDIT: I mean Burgess!), and 1984 are legitimate considerations, but they are probably outside of what I think of first if you ask me for my favorite sci-fi novels.

CJ made an argument for Animal Farm which makes sense, but I disagree with.

On a whole, the list is pretty much what I expected from a reader-tabulated list. Books, movies and record lists that are determined by the fans are usually heavily-centered around a few incontestable classics (Lord of the Rings, The Godfather, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band) and a bunch of recent bestsellers.

For example, I really liked The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear but it's way too soon, imho, to rank them in the top 100 fantasy/sci-fi books. At least wait for the third book to get written, I say!


Starship Troopers: The book is pretty much the polar opposite of the movie, in tone and philosophy.

The Eyre Affair: You haven't read this, Mairkurion? It's a great series: an alternate world where the Crimean (?) War was still going on into the 1980s, reading is the king of the world of culture and entertainment, and a policewoman learns to jump in and out of classic works of literature to solve crimes both in and out of fiction. (In the world of Tuesday Next, Jane Eyre had a different ending before she jumped into the book....) There's time travel paradoxes and lots of literary allusions and the Bellman from "The Hunting of the Snark" is the captain of a police force made up of fictional characters. It gets pretty convoluted as the series goes on and the question of which of the worlds are fictional and which are real (if any) gets more complicated, but it's tons of fun.


Joana wrote:


The Eyre Affair: You haven't read this, Mairkurion? It's a great series: an alternate world where the Crimean (?) War was still going on into the 1980s, reading is the king of the world of culture and entertainment, and a policewoman learns to jump in and out of classic works of literature to solve crimes both in and out of fiction. (In the world of Tuesday Next, Jane Eyre had a different ending before she jumped into the book....) There's time travel paradoxes and lots of literary allusions and the Bellman from "The Hunting of the Snark" is the captain of a police force made up of fictional characters. It gets pretty convoluted as the series goes on and the question of which of the worlds are fictional and which are real (if any) gets more complicated, but it's tons of fun.

I haven't read this but it made my eyebrows rise when scrolling down the list. I'm a big Bronte sisters fan and it looks like fun.


OH EMM GEE.

I mean...yes, I think I shall avail myself of an opportunity to cast my eyes over said tome. Thanks, Joana.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would agree that the list favors some so-called "SF literary classics" that really don't deserve to be there by modern standard, (The illustrated Man - really?) and also overvalues some newer titles whose staying power has yet to be ratified by time ( The Kingkiller Chronicles needs more fine-aging before it deserves such a lofty status).

I do think that Kim Stanley Robinson's Red/Blue/Green Mars trilogy deserved to rate vastly higher than it earned -- but I was gratified to see it there. One of the best pseudo-hard SF series in the past generation.

The one book series which (I think) was omitted but which has had a profound impact upon all modern fantasy was Glen Cook's The Black Company. The first three novels in the Annals of the Black Company are required reading by any fantasy reader and are easily better than 80 of the 100 listed. The combined hardcover of the first three novels, sold by the SF/F Book Club from time-to-time, was reason enough on its own to join it.

Sadly, Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series was left out as well. Has there been any series which has fallen out of (and into, and out of) print so unjustly? This series remains the foundation and cornerstone of ALL urban FRPG campaigns -- and most gamers don't even know it!

Ill Met in Lankhmar deserves to be a major motion picture. *sigh*


I gues the Charles Stross laundry novels were too new or too obskyew to make it on there,......long as we're mongering in good grapes that haven't aged yet.


Steel_Wind wrote:


Sadly, Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series was left out as well. Has there been any series which has fallen out of (and into, and out of) print so unjustly?

+1


Joana wrote:
Tuesday Next

Thursday Next is the name of the character. :P I should have gone and doublechecked on my bookshelf before posting.

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.

As I make my way down the list I find the first book that catches my eye as maybe a poor example is The Wheel of time. series. While I know it has been popular, having read some of the books. I think I gave up on number four, I found it.... lacking, for um lack of better word. I just do not see that it should be on the list or at least much lower like say #100.

The Exchange

Then we hit the Watchmen, while it is not bad, I find it just as hard to swallow a justification for this one as AD does for say Animal Farm.

The Exchange

The Kingkiller Chronicles I have never heard of this one before. While I am sure I do not know a majority of the books out there, on a top 100 list, I should think I would have some inkling of it's existence. I guess now I do.

The Exchange

The Handmaid's Tale another of those, where did this one come from. hm

The Exchange

The Dark Tower Series, I love the first novel, enjoy the next few. Meh on the ending. While I personally don't mind it on this list. I find myself wondering on the comments of others on some of the novels listed as being too "young" to qualify and have to ponder what about these books.

The Exchange

A Canticle For Leibowitz
On in which I am only recently familiar with, thanks to people on this messageboard. Sad I had not heard of this book before but yes it so deserves its place.


I'll just go ahead and troll and call The Wheel of Time trash. That being said, I have no problem with trash.

Love The Watchmen, but I kind of agree with you. However, there was a Time-Life poll a couple of years ago that included it in the Top 100 Books Written Since Time-Life has been published, so I guess it's working its way in.

The Kingkiller Chronicles is The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss plus the final, unwritten book. I immensely enjoyed both.

Margaret Atwood I haven't read, but I suspect that she can slide next to Burgess, Orwell and Huxley in her sci-fi-ness.

Never read Canticle but I've seen it mentioned on lists over the years.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:


Margaret Atwood I haven't read, but I suspect that she can slide next to Burgess, Orwell and Huxley in her sci-fi-ness.

Yeah, more dystopia than sci-fi. The Handmaid's Tale is about a US taken over by a theocracy of the Religious Right and how they oppress and rape women to keep them in their place. It was required reading for one of the English classes my senior year in high school, so it's got a very Reagan-era vibe about its fears.


Seems odd to me to try to rank fantasy and sci-fi books together. Reckon I'd keep the top 10 pretty much as they are, though I've never read Martin or Gaiman (I know, I've already heard how I'm missing out).

I highly recommend all of the Heinlein stuff (SST is a LOT different than the movie but the movie was fun too) but The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of my particular favorites.

A Canticle for Leibowitz is probably one of my favorite books of all time. The Stand fits in there too. Where's The Road? Can you tell I like P-A?

I'm less of a Fantasy hound but have to say that they got two of my top ones in there (LoTR and Silmarillion)...but where are The Hobbit and Elric?

I'd have thrown Niven's Integral Trees/Smoke Ring books on my list.
M


Brave New World is still a mainstay in secondary English curricula but is hard for me to read now; it seems horribly dated. Silmarillion, I dunno. I have loved LotR since I was a kid, but I can't get through that thing. I believe many other Tolkien fans feel the same way. Disappointed that Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green Sky didn't make it, though it has been out of print for a while I think.


mearrin69 wrote:

)...but where [is] Elric?

He's down near the bottom.


Steel_Wind wrote:


Sadly, Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series was left out as well. Has there been any series which has fallen out of (and into, and out of) print so unjustly? This series remains the foundation and cornerstone of ALL urban FRPG campaigns -- and most gamers don't even know it!

Ill Met in Lankhmar deserves to be a major motion picture. *sigh*

UGH! I can't believe I left that omission out of my complaint at the end. Good call, Steel Wind.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
He's down near the bottom.

Heh. Don't know if it was bad eyesight or TLDNR. :) Thanks for pointing it out.

M


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Love The Watchmen, but I kind of agree with you. However, there was a Time-Life poll a couple of years ago that included it in the Top 100 Books Written Since Time-Life has been published, so I guess it's working its way in.

In case anyone is interested.

They appear to have added a Top 10 Graphic Novels section since the last time I checked it out.


mearrin69 wrote:

Where's The Road? Can you tell I like P-A?

I'm less of a Fantasy hound but have to say that they got two of my top ones in there (LoTR and Silmarillion)...but where are The Hobbit and Elric?

Also, The Road is on there. The list specifically excludes Young Adult/children's novels, so I expect The Hobbit will show up there.

Liberty's Edge

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:


The list specifically excludes Young Adult/children's novels, so I expect The Hobbit will show up there.

Yes, god forbid that JK Rowling might show up near the top of a list. If she wasn't so rich that she could buy all of the other authors on the list, combined (yes, even when the list includes Stephen King), she'd be mighty pissed how the Young Adult bestseller list was created and all of the other bestseller lists she was on were retconned almost a decade back for the explicit purpose of keeping Harry Potter out of the discussion and record books.

I'm not saying that her books are the be all and end all -- but as a series, they are certainly better than half of the books on this list. Worse, the whole list definition thing, whether it's a bestseller list or otherwise, is "rigged" in a manner so as to keep Harry Potter out of the list. It's pathetic, really.


Steel_Wind wrote:
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:


The list specifically excludes Young Adult/children's novels, so I expect The Hobbit will show up there.

Yes, god forbid that JK Rowling might show up near the top of a list. If she wasn't so rich that she could buy all of the other authors on the list, combined (yes, even when the list includes Stephen King), she'd be mighty pissed how the Young Adult bestseller list was created and all of the other bestseller lists she was on were retconned almost a decade back for the explicit purpose of keeping Harry Potter out of the discussion and record books.

I'm not saying that her books are the be all and end all -- but as a series, they are certainly better than half of the books on this list. Worse, the whole list definition thing, whether it's a bestseller list or otherwise, is "rigged" in a manner so as to keep Harry Potter out of the list. It's pathetic, really.

Except that there's going to be a whole Young Adult list where, I'm sure, Harry Potter and The Hobbit will feature prominently.

EDIT: I'd imagine that Le Guin's Earthsea books are also missing for the same reason.

EDIT II: And The Chronicles of Narnia and Philip Pullman, although I haven't read the latter.

Down, Steel Wind, down!

The Exchange

My version of Mairkurion's comments.

Spoiler:
1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Not going to go so far as to say I disagree with it's presence of the list, it deserves to be. But moreso for the influence it had on the genre than anything else. Maybe I'm just jaded from the years of hype generated by the films...
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
Good book, not great.
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Years since I read it, good as I recall.
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
Awesome!
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
One of the best series I have read in a long time.
6. 1984, by George Orwell
Good read, but overrated. IMO
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
As 1984.
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
Not a huge Asimov fan. I need to read this eventually.
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
1984, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World. The triumvirate of good, but still overrated science fiction.
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Have not read.
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
Enjoyed the film, but haven't read this.
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
Started strong... I'll finish it one day, not that it's done.
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
Good read, but why is it on THIS list?
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
The birth of cyberpunk. This book set pretty much all the standards.
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
Loved it. Is it a comic? Is it a novel? Yes!
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
Asimov... I know I need to read this. One day.
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
Awesome!
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
Never heard of it...
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Haven't read. But I think I will. Soon.
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Classic.
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
Meh. I think this would have faded from sight if not for Bladerunner. Not saying it's bad, just not great.
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Not read.
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
The Master of the Macabre needs to stick to horror/supernatural WTF? This series did nothing for me.
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
Haven't read. Probably should.
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
This was a great read. Don't be put off by the mediocre TV mini-series.
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
Not read.
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
Loved this when I was a kid. Been awhile though.
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
Not read.
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
Not read.
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
Great book.
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
Great book. Really, amazing read. Nothing like the crap movie.
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
Loved it.
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
I really enjoyed her Dragon books. Not sure if I read this particular one, but in general I loved 'em.
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
Not read.
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
Not read.
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Great book.
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
GREAT book.
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
… I tear up just remembering this book. Loved it.
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
Good book.
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
Great books.
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
I prefer The Elenium, but the Belgarion books are good too.
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Long time ago... I liked it though.
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
Not read.
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven Not read, but have been meaning to.
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
LeGuin is awesome!
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Really? I mean, really? It's like reading the Book of Numbers. Great information in there, but who would want to wade through it?
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
Loved it.
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
Not read.
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
Not read.
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
Saw the movie...
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
Not read.
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
Not read. (A lot of Gaiman here, maybe I should take a hint?)
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
Not read.
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
Haven't read.
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
Good read. Cute cartoon as well.
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
Mmm... What? Who?
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
Not read.
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
Tried to read these years ago. Seemed kinda dry.
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Not read.
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
Nope.
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Not read.
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
Read the first few. Good as I recall.
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
What? Really? Can we get past the, “oh it's so edgy and groundbreaking tripe”? Refusing to follow basic grammar that we all learned in grade school is not 'artsy' it's lazy. Steaming pile o'crap. (And the movie sucked too!)
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
Not read.
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
Excellent story. Better than ANY of the films.
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
Loved 'em.
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
Great books.
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
You could fill a good portion of this list with Howard's works. Conan is probably the best of it though.
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
Not read.
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Not read.
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
Not read.
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
Another classic and deservedly so. Great book.
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
The Dark Elf and Icewind Dale trilogies, yes. Beyond that... meh.
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
Not read.
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
Not read.
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
Not read.
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
Huh?
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
LeGuin, 'nuff said.
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
Good read.
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
Not read. Not likely to either...
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
Huh?
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
Huh?
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
Huh?
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
Huh?
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
Not read.
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
Not read.
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Not.
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
Good books.
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
Good books.
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
Overrated, but not terrible.
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
Good.
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
Huh?
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
Huh?
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
Asimov...
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Not read.
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
Not read.
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
Huh?
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
Not read.
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
Great books. The whole 30+ book trilogy.
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
Not read, need to.


Yeah, okay, me too.

Spoiler:
I'll omit anything I haven't read.

The Lord of the Rings--awesome

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--funny and I like it, but I wouldn't place it at #2

Dune Chronicles--only read the first three; good stuff

1984--doubleplusgood

Brave New World--haven't read it since adolescence, but liked it back then

The Wheel of Time--read it when I was a kid, meh

Animal Farm--excellent book, don't believe it belongs here

Neuromancer--awesome

Watchmen--awesome

Stranger in a Strange Land--read over 20 years ago, liked it then

The Kingkiller Chronicles--loved the books

Slaughterhouse-Five--"Listen, Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time"; awesome

Frankenstein--awesome

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?--awesome

The Martian Chronicles--I didn't care much for this

Cat's Cradle--awesome, one of my faves as an adolescent

A Clockwork Orange--once you figure out how to make it through Nadsat, awesome

The Time Machine--awesome

20,000 Leagues under the Sea--awesome

The War of the Worlds--awesome

The Belgariad--trash, imho

The Silmarillion--pretty good, but you have to acclimatize yourself to epic-style writing. I'd suggest practicing with prose versions of Homer before reading

The Last Unicorn--awesome

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant--undecided; my initial reaction is that I didn't like it, but I couldn't stop until I'd read all three books, so what does that mean?

I Am Legend--I didn't like this very much

The Sword of Shannara--trash, imho

Conan--awesome

Journey to the Center of the Earth--read as a child, don't remember much except that they didn't get there

Drizzt--trash, imho

Elric--awesome

Xanth--read tons of these as a child, kind of doubt I'd like them if I read them again

C.S. Lewis's Mars books--only read the first one, liked it.


And, because I'm bored and I love lists:

Spoiler:
Time list

Again, I'll omit anything I haven't read and anything on the NPR list:

An American Tragedy--read in summer school one year, preferred Sister Carrie, but liked the Montgomery Clift/Elizabeth Taylor film

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret--thoroughly enjoyed

Atonement--this book blew me away, liked the film, too

Beloved--awesome, wonder if in a different world this could get included as fantasy

The Berlin Stories--awesome, big Cabaret fan

Catch-22--awesome, one of my faves

The Catcher in the Rye--I go back and forth on this one; I find the older I get the less sympathy I have for Holden Caulfield

The Day of the Locust--awesome

The Grapes of Wrath--awesome, first read in high school, might've been the catalyst for my lifelong pinko bastarddom

The Great Gatsby--awesome

Invisible Man--1st 1/2 awesome, 2nd 1/2 pretty good

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe--pretty good, but I prefer later books in the series

Naked Lunch--haven't read since I was 16; was probably unprepared at that time to understand the book, should revisit soon

Native Son--awesome

On the Road--mixed feelings about this book, but, yeah, it's good

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--awesome

The Painted Bird--awesome in a horrific way

Pale Fire--enjoyed it, don't pretend to understand what was going on

Red Harvest--awesome

The Sound and the Fury--pretty difficult going, enjoyed it

The Sun Also Rises--pretty good

Their Eyes Were Watching God--awesome

Things Fall Apart--awesome


I am very surprised this didn't include Good Omens by Gaimann and Pratchett. Neverwhere was good and I haven't read Stardust but I would rate Good Omens above it.

On Anklebiter's last list.

Their Eyes were Watching God - I like the second half where everything picks up.
If I ever read ANYTHING by Faulkner again, it will be too soon. I don't get along very well with the Great American Novel.

I picked up an HG Wells anthology containing several novels (and all really famous ones) at the used bookstore a little while back and realized something - I can't stand Wells' writing style. Everything begins in medias res (or just before) and has exactly zero conclusion. Every. Single. Story.
The one I liked the most is not one that has a popular following - The Food of the Gods.


what a ridiculous list

Wheel of Time: 12th place, Sword of Truth; 62nd, Sword of Shannara: 67th, Drizzt, Codex Alera

yet Culture (83), Malazan (81), Book of the New Sun (87), Perdido Street Station (98)

No Jack Vance, Clark Ashton Smith ...


I get the feeling that certain fan-clubs were mobilizing their members


For those who prefer their Best Fantasy Novels Lists a bit more on the snobby side.

And, because I'm still bored:

Spoiler:

The Gormenghast books--awesome

The Book of Ptath--didn't much care for

The Well of the Unicorn--awesome

Three Hearts and Three Lions--awesome

A Wizard of Earthsea--awesome

Salem's Lot & The Shining--liked them a lot when I was a kid


And, for Sci-Fi.

Spoiler:

The Inheritors--didn't like

The Sirens of Titan--awesome

EDIT: I don't know who David Pringle is.


Mmm...Pringles...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:

The votes have been tabulated.

It's been getting lots of discussion in other places, but I thought it could use its own thread over here. What do people think? My own rather personal reactions are below.

** spoiler omitted **...

The fact that the vomitous drivel that is The Wheel Of Pain...err Time, is even on this list calls into question the intellect of the public. All of America's troubles now make more sense if this is the voice of the real populace.

I'm not hatin or anything ;)


Steel_Wind wrote:

...The one book series which (I think) was omitted but which has had a profound impact upon all modern fantasy was Glen Cook's The Black Company. The first three novels in the Annals of the Black Company are required reading by any fantasy reader and are easily better than 80 of the 100 listed. The combined hardcover of the first three novels, sold by the SF/F Book Club from time-to-time, was reason enough on its own to join it.

Sadly, Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser series was left out as well. Has there been any series which has fallen out of (and into, and out of) print so unjustly? This series remains the foundation and cornerstone of ALL urban FRPG campaigns -- and most gamers don't even know it!...

Yeah, it would have been nice to see these two on the list. One other I would have liked to see would be Thieves World.

The Exchange

The List:

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Great novel
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
One of my Favorites.
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
I have read this within the last year, very good book. I want to read Speaker for the dead next.
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert
Loved the first book, I could not read the next bit of drivel that are the sequels.
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
I have only read the first book and a bit of the second. I will try to get to the second book before the next season comes out.
6. 1984, by George Orwell
Great novel, however not what I think of when I think of Sci Fi.
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Another great novel, I was made to read this in Highschool in 1984.
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov
I have yet to read this, I will one day I am sure. I may even have my father's old copy somewhere.
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Have not read.
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
Very good book.
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
Good. Different from the movie.
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan
Blah, why is this even on this list.
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
I can kind of see this one on here, but just by stretching it.
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
Great book.
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
Once again, this is only here by stretching the concept.
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
Still need to read.
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
I know I read it, but so long ago, I just can't recall it.
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
Who, what?
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Another, that I can barely remember.
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Re-read this just last year. Great novel.
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
Good book, however I think having just read it, The man in the High Castle was much better.
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
first I have heard of it, the more I do hear, the less I seem to care.
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
As above, the first couple of novels are great, the rest. meh.
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
Another one of those, I may get to it somedays.
25. The Stand, by Stephen King
Great novel.
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
Been sometime since I have read these.
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
Great stories one and all.
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
Have not read.
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman
hmm while I like them, I don't love them.
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
Been way too long, and the movie peppers my thoughts.
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein
Such a crappy movie from such a good book.
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
I have never read it.
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
Great novel.
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
I still have yet to read.
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
I have just read this one. Loved the first two stories, the third left me disappointed. May try reading the sequel.
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Very good.
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
Also very well done.
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
I have never read it.
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
Also have never read it.
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny
Great novels, should have been much higher on this list.
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
Not bad, a little too "world spanning" to me.
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
have yet to read.
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
Not really interesting to me.
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
Also have not read.
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
Haven't read.
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Took me three tries to finally read it. Well worth it. It reads like trying to force myself through Leviticus and Numbers.
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
Very good.
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
Very good.
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
not interesting to me.
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan
Movie.
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
Haven't read.
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
not bad.
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson
meh.
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
Haven't read.
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
Good.
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman
not bad.
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
Not a Pratchett fan.
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson
I plan on reading some day.
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
great novels. Bujold should write more Sci Fi and stay far far away from fantasy.
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett
no thank you.
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
great book.
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
I will someday read.
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
Haven't read.
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
Never heard of.
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
So much better than any movie version. VAMPIRES PEOPLE, not mutants.
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
first four books and a couple of the others are spectacular.
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
I have spottedly read a couple of books. Meh
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard
Should be much much higher on this list.
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
Haven't read.
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
Never read
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
Never heard of
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
Good book.
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
um yeah I might read these some day
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
Haven't read.
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson
Haven't read.
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
Haven't read.
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
Never heard of
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin
Haven't read.
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
very good
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire
Haven't read. don't plan on it.
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
Haven't read.
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
??
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
??
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
Good book
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
have not read.
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher
Haven't read.
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Haven't read.
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
great books
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
??
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock
not bad. I have the set.
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
Great book
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
Not interested.
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
Read the first one, enjoyed it.
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis
Very good should be much higher on the list.

Hmm so many I have never heard of. Maybe it is just me then.


I never read any of the Drizzt books. I have the Cleric Quintet however and liked that. None of this neverending Dark Elf BS. Though it has a downer ending (which is revealed in the Never Ending Tales of an Unnamed Dark Elf to end up being undone anyway - until he sacrifices himself to try and protect the world from 4th Edition)


CJ--

In case you didn't notice my post above, The Kingkiller Chronicles are The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear. I'm pretty sure there's a Patrick Rothfuss thread on here somewhere.

The first book seems to be very well liked. I liked the second book as well, but others expressed disappointment. The third one has yet to be written.

Rothfuss is a grad student/TA in the University of Wisconsin system (I think) and the plots mostly center around a child prodigy in wizard's college. I think a quick, reductio ad absurdum summation would consist of: Joss Whedon writes Harry Potter with a lengthy interlude reminiscent of Gary Gygax's Saga of Old City. But better than that sounds.

--
The more I think about 1984 the more it becomes obvious (to me, anyway) that it's straight-up sci-fi.


And since we're complaining about what's NOT on the list:

--Titus Groan and Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake

--The Harold Shea stories by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp

--Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson

And does anyone else think it's strange that the only gamer fiction is Salvatore's work? I would've thought the first three DragonLance books, but maybe I'm out-of-touch.


Isn't The Belgariad "gamer fiction?" I haven't read it, but my husband did and he lumps it in with Drizzt and Dragonlance....


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'd have liked to see Stephen R. Donaldson's awesome Gap Cycle on the list.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Joana:

No. At least, not in the sense that it's set in a published campaign world by a RPG company.


Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

@Joana:

No. At least, not in the sense that it's set in a published campaign world by a RPG company.

Ah, okay. Like I said, I haven't read it, but I got the impression when my husband talked about it that it was based on characters the author had played or seen played. Perhaps I'm getting it confused with something else.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie should have been on the list. Also, the Commonwealth Saga (5 books) by Peter F. Hamilton.


I don't know much about Eddings, so it's certainly possible. And I wouldn't be surprised if there was a RPG sourcebook for his world. And, also, I'm using a pretty strict definition of "gamer fiction".


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mischief Mondragon wrote:
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie should have been on the list. Also, the Commonwealth Saga (5 books) by Peter F. Hamilton.

Abercrombie would probably be on my list, too.

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