greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

another somewhat dubious "best of" list

These things always seem like fun, until I actually start doing them, at which point they quickly turn tedious and dull. In this case, for example, I cannot recall the html for a strike-through, which is just lame, as I've known html since 1995. I blame the Bailey's. Anyway, behind the cut you will find fifty "most significant" science fiction/fantasy novels, spanning the period 1953—2002, as deemed so by no less august and learn'd organization as the Science Fiction Book Club. I'm supposed bold the ones I've read, italicize the ones I've started but never finished, underline the ones I own but never started, strike out the ones I hated, and put an asterisk beside the ones I love. Okay. Here we go:

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien* (one asterisk seems insufficient; maybe five would do)

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. (In my opinion, one of the best sf novels of the 20th Century.)

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* (Again, maybe five asterisks would be suifficient.)

19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester

20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany

21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey

22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card

23. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson* (Read these in high school, three or four times through. Loved them. I don't know what I'd think of them now. Even then, I saw a lot of flaws in Donaldson's prose, and he might have been less blantant in his "borrowing" from Tolkien. I did adore the characters and the world, though.)

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* (I loved Rice's first three vampire books when I read them back-to-back in 1989; I have no idea how I'd feel about them today, given how aware I've become aware of her irksome personality and how godsawful the later Vampire Chronicle books are. I'd like to think I could still enjoy them.)

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 (I am truly ashamed to admit having read this book.)

49. Timescape, Gregory Benford

50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

You will note that, sadly, there's a good deal of "classic" sf I've not read and likely never will.

I think there are some pretty glaring and horrendous omissions to this list. Just for starters:

Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
The Stand by Stephen King
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Burning Your Boats by Angela Carter
The Nightmare Factory by Thomas Ligotti
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Wicked by Gregory Maguire

And that's just for starters, mind you. I could go on and on. I could.

Bedtime for nixars. If I head that way now, I might find sleep by 3 a.m. (CaST).
Tags: lists, memes, sf/f
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