Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Significant SF&F books (past and present)

From here (explanation; criticism of list [edit: see also my comments at the bottom of the post]).

I am incapable of reading lists that are bolded/starred/whatever to represent certain things without constantly scrolling back up to look at the key. So text-only for you!

[Edit: at Chad's request, I have bolded the books & authors to make them stand out; the bold has no other meaning.]

"Unread" books without further comment are books that I don't have any opinion on.

The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of 1953-2002

  1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

    Not only have I read it and loved it, I'm re-reading it (still! honest!).

  2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov

    Unread; somehow missed it when I was reading Asimov, and now I doubt I would like it.

  3. Dune, Frank Herbert

    Unfinished; I recall trying the first few pages and putting it down, bored.

  4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

    Unread, no desire to read.

  5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin

    Read, barely remembered.

  6. Neuromancer, William Gibson

    Read, unimpressed.

  7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke

    Read, liked it, don't know how it would hold up.

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

    Read, barely remembered (and that was in college; the movie stuck more, and I didn't even really like it).

  9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

    Read, disliked.

  10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

    Read for school, no opinion.

  11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe

    Unread, might read.

  12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.

    I might have read this. I'm not sure.

  13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov

    Read, as are the rest of the Robots stories (okay, until whatever point it started explicitly crossing over with the Foundation series).

  14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras

    Unread and unheard of.

  15. Cities in Flight, James Blish


  16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett

    Read, and while it's not that good on its own, it was the start of my binge on Discworld (summer, college, Boston Public Library) which has matured into a long and happy relationship.

  17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison

    Possibly read some, unsure.

  18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison

    Unread, probably.

  19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester


  20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany

    Unread, scared to try it.

  21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey

    Read, and a lot more besides, which is embarassing now.

  22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card

    Read, will never re-read for at least two reasons.

  23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen R. Donaldson

    Read, though I really don't know why as I didn't enjoy it.

  24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman

    Read, don't recall much about it.

  25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl


  26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling

    Read, hoping book 7 doesn't suck.

  27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

    Read, and the next three (in my universe there was no fifth book).

  28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson


  29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice

    Unread, no desire to read.

  30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin

    Read when too young, should read again.

  31. Little, Big, John Crowley

    Read, enjoyed, have no desire to read anything else by him.

  32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny

    Unread, but I intend to read it.

  33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick

    Unread, unlikely to read.

  34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement

    Unread, might read.

  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

    Read, enh.

  39. Ringworld, Larry Niven

    Read, enh.

  40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys


  41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien

    Read, loved parts of.

  42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut

    Unread, unlikely to read.

  43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

    Read, enjoyed most of it but nevertheless was put off further Stephenson even if people swear he does better endings now.

  44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner


  45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester


  46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

    Unread, no desire to read.

  47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock

    Unread, no desire to read.

  48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks

    Read. Well, the second one wasn't a waste of time . . .

  49. Timescape, Gregory Benford


  50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer


[Edit: in addition to the criticisms in Sherwood Smith's post, on thinking about this further, I have more: where is urban fantasy (War for the Oaks), fantasy of manners (Swordspoint), the new space opera (Iain M. Banks, Ken McLeod)? Standard biases for such a list, I guess: toward older, toward hard sf, toward male authors.]

More interestingly: look into your crystal balls, dear readers, and predict the most significant books since 2002. I'll start: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Tags: books, memes, sff
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