Skip to comments.Top 100 Science Fiction/Fantasy books
Posted on 08/11/2011 5:46:33 PM PDT by Tanniker Smith
More than 5,000 of you nominated. More than 60,000 of you voted. And now the results are in. The winners of NPR's Top 100 Science-Fiction and Fantasy survey are an intriguing mix of classic and contemporary titles.
A quick word about what's here, and what's not: Our panel of experts reviewed hundreds of the most popular nominations and tossed out those that didn't fit the survey's criteria (after we assure you much passionate, thoughtful, gleefully nerdy discussion). You'll notice there are no young adult or horror books on this list, but sit tight, dear reader, we're saving those genres for summers yet to come.
So, at last, here are your favorite science-fiction and fantasy novels. (And a printable version, to take with you to the bookstore.)
I had wondered what had happened to that guy. I really enjoyed those books, but I got the sense that he rather went off the deep end.
“A figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression. “
Some people use the word “trope” when they mean “cliche”.
Ahhh NPR... That explains a lot! I guess its why this book didn't make the list:
Initially, I recall his writing career went on hold over disagreements with the publisher on sales. Then there was a lot of drama with girlfriends, child custody, their ex’s, medical issues, etc. that I read about on one of his blogs. He also apparently went blind in one eye from macular degeneration. I’d about given up on him ever writing any more books, and his new book appears to only be avail as an ebook directly from him at fsand.com.
3 “authors”! Ah, that’s real litter-a-chew-rrr!
I agree. Hunger Games is excellent.
heheh the book is priceless. The authors stick a thumb in the eye of the Church of GlowBULL Warming. I recommend it to everyone!
No Burroughs, although I guess he is not widely read anymore. Extremely influential, though. His Mars novels contain many scenes and ideas recognizable in Star Wars.
I was surprised that I’d read as many of these selections as I did, and I must say I at least recognized most of them. Stranger in a Strange Land at #17 was enough to keep me pacified through the rest of it.
Will check it out, thx!
Just a slightly OT grumble, but who on earth decided it made sense to lump science fiction with fantasy? Other than the fact that a few authors mine both genres, “SciFi/Fantasy” makes about as much sense as “Murder/Pet Care”. I like science fiction with the rivets showing, and am disgusted every time I go into the book shop and have to wade through endress “Sword of the Silver Claw”, “Claw of the Silver Talon”, “Empress of the Dark Woode”, “Talon of the Grey Wilderness” claptrap. Put it in another section so I don’t have to wade through the drivel to find something worth reading.
Wow - Starship troopers.. first Sci Fi book I ever read, ruined me... 50 years later still reading sci-fi.. great book, yep movie sucked.. Contact-Sagan... intellectual sci-fi.... movie.. almost sucked.. Sword of truth... really good swords and mayhem, 12 books, read them all... TV series... sucked.... Riftwar saga.. most of Feist pretty good hope they don’t make a movie... King Killer Patrick Rothfuss... good series, reading one of them now.... Really liked Codex Allera by Butcher.. then again I like Butcher, kinda droll.... waiting for the latest one to drop from the ridiculous Nook price (it is electronic you ninnies, no printing costs) before I buy it.. My opinion was not solicited, but there it is...
“endress” not “endless”? Don’t know how that happened, the r’s not even close to the l on the keyboard. Time for bed.
What, you mean “Hammers Slammers” didn’t make #1? jk
Nice to see the Crystal Cave make the list.
Looks like the Dorsai! series didn’t make the cut. Love em.
Not surprised the Hitchhiker books are near the top due to their insane popularity. Good reminder to read them again. First, I better make a nice hot cup of no tea.
I’ll put in a plug for Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “The Outlaw of Torn”.
So many on the list I don’t recognize. I wonder if that is due to pop culture or NPR’s audience.
By the way, does anyone know the name of a book , scenario.. aliens land on earth and take over..americans go commando on them and really start asymmetrical warfare with them,,, accidentally launch a campaign with the mythical ghost of “GRAMPER” killing aliens (aliens have some kind of ancestor worship) that saves the day.. read it many years ago,, can’t find it now
Great book. Nice to see it on the list.
They missed one of my all time favorites. Earth Abides. Don’t remember the author. Way back in the 70s.
Like Monty Python, I’ve found that women don’t like Douglas Adams books (in general) while men find them hilarious. Just an observation. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions among both sexes.
I can’t really say how it is received by the other 2 or 3 sexes that the California public school system currently recognizes. Ugh!
Thank you. I have waited a long time to read that article.
Combining fantasy and science fiction is ridiculous - they are totally separate genres. And there is far too much fantasy on the list, which may simply be symbolic of the times. Rather than trusting in reason, people (Democrats) prefer stories where magic somehow saves them from the dragon. :)
Look again, it was on the list.
I plan to read Mockingjay (Bk #3) this weekend. Generally the series is interesting, but the feminist character annoys me a little. I'm tired of girls who act like boys--or have male best friends. Maybe because I live in a religious community, where interaction between the sexes (especially at that age) is more limited.
Good point. See "Horowitz, David."
The first trilogy was on the list, #58.
A Clockwork Orange? [A great book, yes. SF/Fantasy, no.] Same comment for 1984, Animal Farm, Brace New World...
These sorts of books/stories are often lumped into the SF genre, but I think Harlan Ellison had a better term for it, "Speculative Fiction." Ellison was a master at the genre, but while he's a terrific author, I like him better as an editor: Check out his "Dangerous Visions" anthologies. If not for them, I never would have discovered Piers Anthony or Fritz Lieber.
Top fantasy book: Dreams From My Father
When Virginia Heinlein saw what they they had done with the movie, she attempted to have his name removed from the project.
I heard that a movie is coming out soon.
Interesting observation, I thought it was just me.
I DID look at the top 100 list about 3 months ago. I read between 30 and 70 books a year (about 50-50 fiction and non-fiction,) and wasn't aware that NPR was having a survey/vote.
I have to check and see where my top ten ended up.
My mother, I, and both of my brothers, all without prior coordination, gave each other copies of “A Canticle” for Christmas one year.
The funny part - every copy gifted had been read.
NPR. What, no “Battleship Earth??” /sarc hee hee hee.
Not meaning to hijack the thread, but this is an ongoing war.
*Also add : no trees needed, no paper manufacturing and shipping, no warehousing, no remainers, no shipping costs, and yet the "publishers" make more money than the authors, and the "books" have not dropped in price.
The greedy bastards are going the way of the RIAA. Good riddance.
As for me, I have read it, and I have also read all of Le Guin's stuff hoping in vain that someday I'd get a glimpse of what people in college assured me was her brilliance. Nope. It's awful: only an NPR audience would put one of her books in the top 100, let alone several.
As would Lucifer's Hammer, and Footfall. On the positive side, Rendezvous With Rama made the list. I challenged my daughter, a precocious 12 year old reader, to "just read the first 20 pages," and just leave it if it was not interesting. She finished it overnight that weekend.
As for combining S/F and Fantasy in one list, was a horrible idea, but understandable. NPR's audience would not have given the vote a second glance if there were no "Sword and Sorcery" chick books on the list.
Another author hot in about the same period was John Varley, whose first book, The Persistence of Vision should have made this list and did not. The Star Trek film with the whales stole one of the core ideas in The Ophiuchi Hotline from him, again without attribution. So it goes.
Yes indeed. One of the fond memories of my undergraduate reading list. I re-read that about a month ago. Holds up very well.
>>> How is Starship Troopers controversial? Oh ya mean the part where citizens have more rights than the leaches.
But you see even you get it wrong. ALL people under that political system have the same RIGHTS. It is the full citizen who however chooses to undertake the added RESPONSIBILITY of the franchise.
“”Superficially, our system is only slightly different; we have democracy unlimited by race, color, creed, birth, wealth, sex, or conviction, and anyone may win sovereign power by a usually short and not too arduous term of service — nothing more than a light workout to our cave-man ancestors.
But that slight difference is one between a system that works, since it is constructed to match the facts, and one that is inherently unstable. Since sovereign franchise is the ultimate in human authority, we insure that all who wield it accept the ultimate in social responsibility — we require each person who wishes to exert control over the state to wager his own life — and lose it, if need be — to save the life of the state. The maximum responsibility a human can accept is thus equated to the ultimate authority a human can exert. Yin and yang, perfect and equal.””
Keyboard made in China?
I already self-corrected, Donaldson around Post #63, but thanks. The list’s still a disgrace.
Always liked The Left Hand of Darkness. I wish someone clever would tackle a film version of it.
I'd have thought a Satanist's fantasy trilogy would have made the list. Pullman denies he is one, of course [it would be bad for sales] although he does call himself "the anti-CS Lewis."
His hammering on a "world government" as a solution to all the world's woes and the assumption that it would cure all the ills of human nature by some sort of magic, mimics Socialism without explicitly asserting the obvious.
It's all collected by Heinlein himself, in Expanded Universe.
I couldn't agree more. Proof, if any more were needed, that most NPR listeners don't read, and those that do, don't think.
No Eddison, for one. Predated Tolkien by a quarter-century. No Doc Smith. No Laumer. No Poul Anderson, no Piers Anthony, no Harlan Ellison. Neil Gaiman fully 20% of the list? I don't think so. And Wicked, for the love of God? Next to Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Heinlein, Tolkien, Gibson, and Stephenson, that piece of fatuous, derivative fluff sits like a monkey turd in a bowl of emeralds?
Let us consider the source.
Yah. People can say what they want about Asimov, but that was some serious SF stuff.
The Mule is now our President, as far as I can tell. But this time around it is the ears instead of the probiscus.
No matter, I have decided to apply the Charm of Forlorn Encystment, which constricts the subject in a pore some forty-five miles below the surface of the earth.
- from The Dying Earth by Jack Vance
“Cordwainer Smith is not as well known as his talent deserved.”
You might appreciate this. One of the nicknames of my little female cat (an adorable brown tabby with intense green eyes — all my friends keep offering to adopt her) is “Peerless C’mell — the most beautiful girly-girl in all the known worlds.”
Where is Fritz Leiber on that list? Where is Lois McMaster Bujold? For goodness’ sake, where is Gordon R. Dickson?
(Glad to see Connie Willis on there, though. “Doomsday Book” is excellent, though not cheerful.)
Tropes is big business, baby!
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