The Sunday Salon: Geeking out over a scifi list (and one author I can't wait for you to read)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The Sunday 
Salon.com

Couple of weeks ago, I came across this list in NPR books. My brother first shared it with me, then I saw it featured on the websites of a couple of bloggers I follow and then I kept running into it every once in a while. NPR Books asked its readers to vote for their favorite science-fiction or fantasy reads and drew up this list of top 100 from the votes. This is the kind of reading list that I love the best, because it is based on popular opinion and not something that a few people at a table decide from a few nominations. And when I looked through this list, I found very little to complain about. True, I haven't read most of these books, but many are titles that I have been recommended time and again by readers whose tastes I trust. Besides, I like it that the books in the list are not YA fantasy but something that caters to the adult readers as well (or mostly?).

Still, I have to say that I am surprised to see The Time Traveler's Wife and the Outlander series in the list. I read and liked the former, but I wouldn't rate it among the top fantasy reads. As for the Outlander series, I have no interest in reading the books, I know some have loved it and some have felt meh about it, but I have a feeling Outlander and I are not going to get along well. George Martin's series is the one I'm most keen to read - I'm hoping to get a chunk of reading time at some point to work through these HUGE doorstoppers. Do you like this list?

  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
  15. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
  16. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  17. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  18. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  19. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  20. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  21. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  22. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  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 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 A. Heinlein
  32. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  33. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
  34. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
  35. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
  36. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (Watched the movie)
  37. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  38. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  39. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
  40. The Amber Chronicles by Roger Zelazny
  41. The Belgariad by David Eddings
  42. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  43. Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  44. Ringworld by Larry Niven
  45. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  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
  61. The Mote in Gods Eye by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  62. The Sword of Truth Series 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 Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  68. The Conan the Barbarian Series by Robert E. Howard & Mark Schultz
  69. The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
  70. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  71. The Way of the Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  72. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Watched movie)
  73. The Legend of Drizzt Series by R. A. Salvatore
  74. Old Man's War by Jon Scalzi
  75. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  76. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series by Jacqueline Carey
  78. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  79. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  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 Banks
  84. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  85. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
  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 Gabaldon
  90. The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
  91. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (I've read some stories from this collection)
  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 Xanath Series by Piers Anthony
  100. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

Last night, I started reading Miriam Toews' Irma Voth. I read her The Flying Troutmans two years ago and fell in love with her conversational writing about dysfunctional families. Since then, I had been planning to read more of her books, especially A Complicated Kindness, which has received a lot of praise. Irma Voth features similar elements in a different setting and the writring is just as wonderful. If you haven't read any of Miriam Toews' books, I hope you give her a try. Her characters are about as realistic as real people and their dysfunctional relationships only serve to remind me that all people are just like that - there really is no perfect person or family. I'm reading this book for a TLC book tour and my review should hopefully be posted next week.


21 comments:

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

I don't read much science fiction or fantasy, so I've only read a few of those books.  Having said that, I finished Ready Player One today and thought it was great!

Helen Murdoch said...

I had also seen that list and have read about 12 of them, mostly a long time ago!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... said...

What a great list. I see many on my TBR on this list.

celawerd said...

This is a very interesting list. Im going to save it and add a lot of these to my TBR list.

zibilee said...

I like the list, and think that there are some very eclectic and interesting things on it, but I might have to agree that Outlander doesn't belong. It's more of a historical fiction rather than fantasy. I mean, there is a little time travel in it, but that's more a setup to the story than a focus of the narrative. I am also excited about the Martin books and just bought the first four in a Kindle bundle. I think my husband would be interested in this list!

Athira / Aths said...

Oh yay! Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Athira / Aths said...

Yeah, my read list is also yawn-old. I really feel like reading some of those though.

Athira / Aths said...

I love some of the books on this list, I really feel like reading them!

Athira / Aths said...

Yay! I really feel like reading some of these.

Athira / Aths said...

That's what I remember hearing of Outlander too. It just felt more of a Historical romance than a fantasy to me. That's the same reason I felt Time Traveler's Wife didn't belong either - the time travel thing is just a setup than a major elaborate technical thing. 

I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the Game of Thrones series! I'm close to buying my set too!

Ali Watts said...

There are so many great titles on here! Once you finish the Martin series I would ABSOLUTELY recommend Stephenson's Snow Crash (sooo good) and anything by Neil Gaiman. And Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series... And The Princess Bride...and and and.. many others?

M J said...

I'm not a bit scifi/fantasy reader, but I have read a handful of these. I really enjoyed "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" A few are on my TBR list, like "American Gods" and "The Princess Bride." 

Alyce Reese said...

I love science fiction and really should read more on this list (I've only read 16). There are also a few that I have read parts of  - like the first book in the Foundation series, and the first in CS Lewis' space trilogy - or longer books like the first half of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A lot of these are on my list to read though.

I agree that Outlander is more Romance and Historical Fiction that just happens to have time travel involved. I really wouldn't classify it as Sci-Fi. That being said, it's one of my favorite series. Sadly only the first three books held up for me upon my last re-read. I think I may be growing out of the series.

Nina said...

That's  a very good list. I haven't read a lot of Sci-fi books, but I really want to expand my horizon. lol. My best friend is now reading the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin. Because there's going to be a tvshow made out of it and it looks awesome, I want to read these books too. Probably will borrow it from her and see how I will like it. :) I hope you will like it too and I'm looking forward to your review of the first book. :)

Athira / Aths said...

LOL! I know what you mean! There are so many in there that I want to read! I'm hoping to get through most of the books in that list!

Athira / Aths said...

My brother recommended the Androids book too! And American Gods! The latter is another book I want to read asap!

Athira / Aths said...

I'm glad that you liked Outlander. I think I've seen the book hyped up so much that I am hesitant. But some day, I could give it a try and see how it goes! I love scifi too, but I realized I watch more of it than read. I need to change that too.

Athira / Aths said...

That's my same thought - I want to expand my reading more - try more of those books that I wouldn't read otherwise. I can't wait to read Martin's series!

Lenasledgeblog.com said...

Great list. Some I have never heard of before and some I really enjoyed reading, like I Am Legend and Time Machine.

Athira / Aths said...

I want to read both the books, I'm glad that you enjoyed them.

Bibliophilebythesea said...

I do like the sound of Irma Voth; hope to read that one soon.