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.)
Please send Freepmail to get on or off this rarely-used list.
I’m sure I can say the same about 4 or 5 others.
many of these books are crap, but there are some I don’t know about which may be a nice read.
The Lord of the Rings is #1.
As it should be.
The Lord Of The Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien’s seminal three-volume epic chronicles the War of the Ring, in which Frodo the hobbit and his companions set out to destroy the evil Ring of Power and restore peace to Middle-earth. The beloved trilogy still casts a long shadow, having established some of the most familiar and enduring tropes in fantasy literature.
I would have added David Weber’s Honor Harrington series and Robert E. Howard’s Conan series to the list. But I’m not an Asimov fan.
LOVED the first 2 books in that series, but by the 3rd I just couldn't stay focused on it.
“The Mote in God’s Eye” made 61. I would have rated it higher. And,,,, it would make a great movie series!
Forever War & The Mote in Gods Eye are very good.
I have read more than half of those...
Like eating candy.
I think the top ten is solid except for the omission of Heinlein and the inclusion of the nihilistic Douglas Adams. Considering it’s NPR, the list is not bad at all.
There are a few eyeroll choices, and the descriptions are very tendentious (Starship Troopers is “controversial” yet man-hating The Handmaid’s Tale isn’t “controversial” at all)
How is Starship Troopers controversial?
Oh ya mean the part where citizens have more rights than the leaches.
I read the first book it was good.
Me too, but about half of the ones I did read were crap.
Science fiction for popular consumption and not the Science Fiction enthusiast.
I don’t read that many science fiction books anymore (well like 0) but I’ve read 7 of the top 10.
The Wheel Of Time Series
by Robert Jordan
At 13 volumes and counting, this sweeping some would say sprawling richly imagined epic chronicles the struggle between servants of the Dark One and those of the champion of light known as the Dragon Reborn.
Would probably be in the top 5 if Jordan would have kept the series at his originally planned 5 books. The first 4 books were some of the best fantasy I've read since Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately, under pressure from his publisher to keep a successful series going, Jordan kept agreeing to extend the storyline, first to 7, then to 10, then to 12 books, he actually died before book 11 and another author has taken over, which I believe the new author has agreed to ANOTHER 3 books. (I gave up after #10.) Unfortunately, Jordan's original story line never changed from his original plan, so most of the content from book 6-10 are essentially "fluff" and the core story moves at a snails pace. To put it into context, Imagine if J.K. Rowlings would have agreed to extend the Harry Potter series from 7 to 14 books. However, the story didn't really change, she just "padded" the original 7 books with pages of detailed descriptions of Hogwarts, dozens of characters that are only vaguely related to the story and many pointless story arcs not remotely related to the main plot.
Agreed, Just about the only book I have ever read that really seemed to "get right" just what it might be like when humanity made "first contact" with an alien race.
What an outstanding book.
Nothing by Alfred Bester?
Yea, most after 6 were fluff, but Brandon Sanderson has picked up the pace in the last 2 - including the much-awaited return of a character that was missed - and is working on the last one. the final book will be most bittersweet, since I’ve been reading the series since college.
While we're at it, the Iliad and the Odysee would fit right in.
Notice they didn’t include ‘young adult’ but I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy and loved it. It contained no bad language or gratuitous sexual imagery. It posed valid reasons for war, and against it, leaving the reader to determine whether it was worth it or not. And the main characters, Katniss, Peeta and Gale, were outside of the box, atypical main characters. LOVED each of the books!!!
Not to mention America could be Panem any day now.; )
Zero’s autobiography isn’t there.
Douglas Adams is one of the authors that you either love or don't understand what the fuss is all about. I personally agree with you, I found the Hitchhikers series to be dull, not particularly witty or funny, and essentially pointless. However, my two brothers absolutely love the Hitchhikers series, think it one of the best series of all times. To this day they still quote lines from the book.
Yea, Neal Stephenson. Four times. I’ve read everything he ever wrote. Not so sure about Anathem though.
And about half of PKD’s book.
Surprised the “shanara” books by Terry Brooks didn’t make the list.
What the heck is a “trope”?
Watchmen over I, Robot?
That’s... that’s a bold statement.
“that really seemed to “get right” just what it might be like when humanity made “first contact” with an alien race.”
And what a great movie series it would make. Just as exciting as “Star Wars.” With today’s tech,,,,, no problem!
Rendezvous with Rama should be higher
this list was written by jerks
“Trope” is a fancy modern way of saying “theme” or “motif.”
I think that they did...
The Mote In God's Eye
by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The accidental killing of a group of emissaries to Earth threatens man's survival.
**** Minor Spoilers To any that haven't read the book********
WTF?!? Did the people that write the description even read the same book? Granted it's been over 10 years since I read the book. But as I recall the "emissaries" didn't go to earth but to a human colony in a different solar system, and they weren't really "emissaries", but a colonizing force that were directed to crash their craft into the sun if it was discovered the system was already occupied by another species so they couldn't be traced back to their home planet. so they weren't killed "accidentally".
NPR? WhO cares what they think about anything
No Jack Vance on this list? Absurd.
The Man in the High Castle, Phillip K. Dick. Come on, a masterpiece. Farnham’s Freehold, Heinlein, really a classic. I recall parts of both of these novels today, having read them over 35 years ago.
You can stop there.
I noticed that they only mentioned the first, not the entire series.
Because they made a movie out of it that really blew?
I don't know. Military. NPR. Go figure.
I’m glad the Foundation trilogy made it in the top ten. My favorite of all time.
I like those fantasy books “I never thought this would happen to me...”. Oh.....not THAT kind of fantasy book. Sorry.
I agree some of the ‘top pics’ are just crap....Yawners.
I am surprised any of Heinlein’s books made an NPR list, he did not care much for pansy socialist types.
I really need to read “A Canticle for Leibowitz” I’ve just always wanted to read it because of the great title and never have.
Some of these I’ve read, and all of those have been good, although I wasn’t crazy about “Brave New World”.
“A Clockwork Orange” was one of the greatest reading experiences of my life. I’d recommend it to anyone. There is a glossary of the thugs slang and at the start you’ve got to turn to it all the time. But by the end you can pick up a new word’s meaning just from context. It’s like learning a new language.
And the first Dune book is also one of the greatest reading experiences, you are in a whole ‘nother world and yet it is complete.
I’m not a big sci fi/fantasy person, but there a a few things I would suggest, and admit it, they seem to have been pretty “big tent”. I mean “The Once and Future King”? But OK, going with all that....
No Blade of Grass by John Christopher, I read this years ago when my then sci fi loving bf got it for me. I don’t really remember the story, but I did enjoy it a lot.
Samuel R. Delaney, I had a short story collection by him and he was a very elegant writer. My recollection is that he wrote the single best sentence I’ve ever read.
Ridley Walker by Russell Hoban. “The heart of the wood’s in the heart of the stone” Something like that. I really enjoyed this book too.
Now, as I said, I’m not a sci fi person and if I re-read some of these I might find them objectionable for various reasons, so, you know, don’t flame me if you hate them!
But to me they were all great reads and I WILL see if I can get “A Canticle for Leibowitz” and also “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” for my kindle.
Maybe have a sci fi late august!
No. 67: The Sword Of Shannara Trilogy
It’s from the listeners and the folks that heard about it on the Internet. I saw it posted on both reddit and digg, and I’m sure it was elsewhere. Sorry that I didn’t post it here.
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