Saturday, November 18, 2006

BOOKS: Top 50 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

It's list day! Apparently. Swiped from an entry on Monty's LJ, here, according to the Science Fiction Book Club, are the 50 Most Significant Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years. This is a bit old, so "the Last 50 Years" here encompasses 1953-2002. The books I've read are underlined.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
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.
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
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
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
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
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

25 out of 50 books. (Well, more than 50 books, considering Lord of the Rings and Thomas Covenant, for example, are both trilogies -- as is, funnily enough, The Foundation Trilogy...) Half the list. Some would see that list and say, "That many?" I see that list and say, "That few?" Yes, I see it as half empty, not half full. So many books I still need to read!

Up first: Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, which Monty tells me is one of his favorites. (Although my friend Lew -- not so impressed.) I've owned the book for ages, but have never gotten around to reading it. Now's the time.

I've tried reading Mists of Avalon, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and Ringworld at one time or another. They all bored me.

Also, for someone who's seen, like, 18 different "Director's Cuts" of Blade Runner, I can't believe I've never read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the book on which it's based.

Sidenote: for twenty years or more -- ever since I have been aware of the book -- I thought it was called The Simarillion. Really? It's Silmarillion? With that extra "l" at the beginning? I have never, ever noticed that. Weird.

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